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carswell

Sourcing Supplies & Ingredients in Montreal

243 posts in this topic

From a food-shopping standpoint, local eGulleters have pretty much got the city covered. Yet no one can be everywhere all the time. And while sightings of newly arrived or unusual products have occasionally been mentioned on this board (ID's snow crabs and Beaucher's meyer lemons, for example), it's been in a haphazard fashion. So, how about we keep our eyes peeled when we're out and about and report our discoveries here?

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Besides the moulard duck legs mentioned elsewhere, I saw several interesting products on yesterday's tour of Atwater Market. Fruiterie Atwater had meyer lemons ($1.35 apiece!), tiny key limes and salicorne. La Fromagerie du Marché Atwater is selling delicious niçoise-style olives in bulk; now, if only I can find a convenient and affordable source for picholines and nyons olives. And Les Douceurs du Marché had something I've been wanting to try for ages: Pimentón de la Vera, the smoked bittersweet paprika from Spain ($7.99 for a 4.5-oz./125-g tin).

Earlier in the week, I found another long sought-after product at Exofruits, the Côte-des-Neiges green grocer: Fura Austrian roasted pumpkin seed oil for $13.99 (ouch) a 250-ml bottle.

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Wow I'm really suprised you saw some meyers at this time... Must be an Australian or Cap offering... North Amercian meyers passed a couple of months ago.

One of my detour findings are the (now out of stock) white almond stuffed green olives from Petit Milos, out of this world in your month and on your wallet...

This is a good thread, it is currently down time for many local produces. Cold root veggies are still available and quite sweet from the aging process in cold rooms, personnaly, I'm holding off until the cold weather comes back again. It has been a slow spring for many crops. However, it is the time for the best lettuce, I have made mesclun from micro yellow beats, red italian dandelion, micro pack choi and red rustic frisée. Black radish and string thin french haricot making their way also. Be aware than many growers still sell supernatural american strawberries on their counters...cocktail onions, Rapinni heads (which had one the best cold starter year). Garlic flower (that twisted cone shaped bud is delicious and subtle, simply rasp it down). An excellent spring production of spinach also.

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For pea enthusiasts, peas in the pod are in season at Jean-Talon market.

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And Les Douceurs du Marché had something I've been wanting to try for ages: Pimentón de la Vera, the smoked bittersweet paprika from Spain ($7.99 for a 4.5-oz./125-g tin).

Carswell: are you referring to the label LA CHINATA? At Douceurs I have seen both the Sweet Smoked & Hot paprika under the La Chinata packaging. The sweet smoked is awesome but at $7.99 very overpriced. About a month or so I picked some up at Maitre Boucher on Monkland at $4.99!! and when I told the guys at Douceurs what I paid, they said they were going to speak with their supplier.

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Local Rapinis should be a very good hit right now with the cool spring. My personnal stash is also very mild (because of the weather).

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Boris, you're right, and the peas are wonderfully sweet, tender and bursting with flavour this year (pea plants like cool moist weather). Today's lunch was a salad of fresh spinach, barely cooked peas and French goat milk feta dressed with olive oil and lemon juice. Yum.

ID, Milos's almond-stuffed olives are addictive, aren't they? Another recent olive find of mine was at Milano: large, firm, preternaturally green olives with a mild, almost buttery taste that sends olive-lovers into ecstasy and has even managed to make believers out of olive-haters. Don't know what they're called but they're at the bulk olive counter. Not expensive, either.

Poutine, yep, it's La Chinata, though the label says bittersweet, not sweet. Amazing the price difference. Would never have thought of looking at Maître Boucher; neither Gourmet Laurier nor Les petits plaisirs d'Andéra has it. Still haven't opened my tin. I've got a leg o' lamb recipe where it's a major ingredient of the rub and a NYT recipe for razor clams and hominy with a pimenton and sherry vinegar butter sauce and I've heard of spinkling it on cod before roasting and on potatoes while sautéeing. How do you use it?

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Carswell - I've seen 2 types of La Chinata. I have only tried the smoked paprika sweet. The little sticker says Extremadura Pimenton Consejo Regulador Denominacion de Origen. I was hooked the second I opened the tin and breathed in the aroma. I use it liberally when roasting chicken or cooking beef and it's great for home fries or other roasted veggies.

BTW, I was very pleasantly surprised to find it at Maitre Boucher & I stand corrected - $3.85 is the price on the "seal" across the top. Cheers!

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La Vieille Europe on St Laurent also has both types of smoked paprika. It's great, like adding bacon to your dish. They also have "Dutchy of Cornwall" organic shortbreads, which are a little pricy ($6.95) but are amazing, with flavours like Orange, Ginger, and Lemon as well as Chive, and Black Pepper (only tried orange).

Pickled daisy buds (Bourgeons de marguerites (?)) are available again at Les Saveurs du Marché.... A nice caper-like, caper alternative with an interesting... mmmm .. caper-like flavour.

I am now salitvating for olives.

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Replacing capers with Nasturium buds ? Anyone have seen nasturium buds sold like capers ?

I have tons of them in the backyard but I'd rather let them flower.

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Just back from a lightning tour of the Jean-Talon Market. Local sour cherries, raspberries and currants of various colours were on sale at a couple of stalls and one stall had Quebec corn on the cob. There were also some gorgeous strawberries from Île d'Orléans. Beautiful half-inch thick local leeks were crying out to be blanched, chilled, halved lengthwise and served as a salad (dressing of EVOO, white wine vinegar, chopped shallot and coarsely chopped anchovy, garnished with chopped hard-boiled egg and parsley). Chez Louis had many cases of the incredible, edible Philibon melon air-freighted from Quercy at $8.99 a pop (that's per melon, not per case, and it's a fair price for the ultimate melon experience) as well as plastic containers of micro-arugula ($14 for about half as many ounces, I'd guess; I took a pass) and some really lovely blewet mushrooms (aka pieds bleus). The clerk at Milano told me the name of the huge green olives mentioned above, which I promptly forgot (started with a C); they're Italian, packed with lemon, located in the case with the antipasti to the right of the regular olive station and priced at $19.99 a kilo, so a bit more expensive than I'd remembered.


Edited by carswell (log)

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I wish I could remember the name of this bakery! Taking a little stroll on Laurier east of Le Fromentier, maybe near Fabre, we came upon a small store with an intriguing menu du jour posted outside and ordinary looking display cases inside. What I didn't expect was an amazing pastry & cake find. And from the looks of what was going on in the back, there's some serious baking & cooking being done. There's not an abundance of variety, like maybe a dozen different types of pastry/cakes (available in single serving, & 3 different sizes), also fruit tarts, danish, croissants, etc & a display of real cute marzipan figures. We agreed that what we tasted was in a league of its own! They also appear to make their own ice cream. Does anyone know this place? It's real hot!

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I wish I could remember the name of this bakery!  [...]  Does anyone know this place?

Based on your description, it may be L'Amandier (1479 Laurier East corner Fabre, 514 523-1501). Have never set foot in the shop but glean the following from the 2004 Quartiers Gourmands:

- Run by Christophe Morel

- Much of M. Morel's work is chocolate-based

- The chocolate is never very sweet, always finely fashioned

- In 2003, he was awarded both the Grand Prix canadien de la chocolaterie and the Prix du public at the Montreal High Lights festival

- Keep an eye peeled for his lavender, verbena and basil filled chocolates; pastries including the Métis, mousse choco noir, crème brûlée vanille à l'intérieur; macaroons; fresh danishes and other "breakfast" pastries (viennoiseries)

- He makes his own sherbets (mango, morello cherry, lychee and coconut) and a trippy Szechuan pepper and gingerbread ice cream

Sounds like a visit is in order!


Edited by carswell (log)

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Carswell you are bang on; it is L'Amandier. The week before last I saw M. Morel speaking with what I assumed to be a contractor (they were poking & pointing around) and sure enough last Friday on a follow up visit, I noticed their "L'Amandier" sign as well as a hand-written sign in the window indicating they are closed for rennovations - probably during the construction holiday period.

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High summer at the Jean-Talon market on Sunday. Lots of favas (gourganes), berries (though I didn't see any wild blueberries), gorgeous cauliflowers and the season's first field tomatoes. Many stalls selling local corn on the cob, nearly all of them advertising it as très sucré; funny how what used to be an inducement is now, in this era of super sweet "candy" corn, almost a warning.

At the Marché des Saveurs, I got my first taste of D'Iberville, the artisanal tome-like raw/organic/cow's milk cheese from the St-Jean-sur-Richelieu area. It blew me away. Definite tome taste but a creamier texture than any French tome I've tried. This has got to be one of Quebec's top cheeses.

Chez Louis had bouquets of local agastache, which I believe is hyssop. The slightly hairy leaves had an anise-like flavour. The Larousse Gastro suggests using the young leaves as a stuffing for oily fishes and to flavour sausages and fruit compots. I found it made a tasty addition to an herb salad.

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There is a new meat counter at Jean Talon - Boucherie Prince Noir. They will go in permanently in the new extension when that opens. Good selection of "viande chevaline". They used to be on St Denis. Seems to be associated with Resto Le Tartarin by the look of their card.

Also Pilibon Melons still available at Chez Louis - now at $6 per. Flown in from France each week.

/gth

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Seems to be associated with Resto Le Tartarin by the look of their card.

What address do they give for Le Tartarin, sf&m? Back in June, the owner told me that the resto was kaput. If the address is 4675 St-Denis, you've got a defunct card.

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Actually, they crossed out that address (on the card) which used to be the same for both Le Tartarin and Boucherie Prince Noir. The said they had moved. I guess to Jean Talon Market - sans Le Tartarin.

/gth

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On Sunday, Chez Louis had a few bunches of wild arugula, subtler and more complex in flavour than your run-of-the-mill rocket and shaped more like a small dandelion leaf. At the cash, they had plastic boxes of cultivated pourpier, which I believe is purslane. I combined the two and mounded them — along with ricotta salata shavings and pickled daisy buds (thanks, skunkbunny!) — atop a beet and orange carpaccio: a pretty (and pretty tasty) first course.

It's high corn season, of course. Unfortunately, I didn't see any old-fashioned yellow corn. Ended up chosing what looked freshest, a white and yellow non-supersweet variety called Tentation. It was good but awfully mild. Is anyone selling yellow corn anymore?

Oh, and Poissonerie Shamrock had an outdoor fryer set up, filling the air with deep-fried squid aromas. Lots of takers. What with the fish fry, the crepes, the merguez sandwiches and the occasional méchoui, Jean-Talon Market is turning into the city's prime street food destination. This trend should continue; it's an obvious draw. Dare we hope someone starts selling roasted chestnuts in the fall?


Edited by carswell (log)

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There should indeed be chestnuts. M "Marchand des Marrons" has been plying his nutty fares there for 3 years now, weekends only. Weekdays he can be found at Philips Square. His real name's Eric, and he's got Italian blood coursing through him. He tries his best to introduce roast chestnuts to the city, but I get the feeling he's a bit discouraged. Go support him when the time comes...

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On Sunday, Chez Louis had a few bunches of wild arugula, subtler and more complex in flavour than your run-of-the-mill rocket and shaped more like a small dandelion leaf. At the cash, they had plastic boxes of cultivated pourpier, which I believe is purslane. I combined the two and mounded them — along with ricotta salata shavings and pickled daisy buds (thanks, skunkbunny!) — atop a beet and orange carpaccio: a pretty (and pretty tasty) first course.

That reminds me! I just returned from visiting family in New Mexico where purslane grows wild everywhere. It's really a weed down there. I tried to convince my brother in law that even the finest Montreal restaurants served it ...but when I served it, slighly wilted atop sauteed halibut, he pushed at aside and scoffed at the thought of eating weeds.

It's great stuff.

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California green figs are in at the Jean-Talon Market. The stand just to the west of Chez Nino (Leopoldo? Leonardo?) has figues olympiques, humongous Greek black figs that are luscious enough to warrant the $1.50 sticker ($24 per case of 24, IIRC).

The real find, though, was lobster mushrooms at Chez Nino and Chez Louis, the first I've seen in Montreal stores. Chez Louis calls them champignons crabe, a new one on me. Francophone mycologists I know refer to them as lactaires parasités or rusulles parasitées, depending on the species involved. Have also heard the surprising term dermatose des rusulles used, though I'm unsure whether it refers to the lobster mushroom per se or to the parasitic fungus that lobsters the host.

I also hit every stall at the market in search of yellow (as opposed to white and yellow) sweet corn but not a single ear was to be found.


Edited by carswell (log)

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I have to say that I was mightily impressed with Jean-Talon Market on my brief visit. It's what San Francisco's Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market can only dream of being when it grows up (oh, screw organic). I haven't tasted strawberries, raspberries or blueberries like that since I was a kid and picked them in the wild. And Ma, I'll eat all my green beans if they look like those. And what about the bricks-and-mortar fromageries, saucisseries, boulangeries, and whateveries surrounding the market? Worth at least half a day of shopping by foodies on even the busiest travel schedule, even if you can't get it all through customs

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