Saturday, November 19, 2011

Montreal's Jean Talon Market



Montreal is a true foodie destination, you won't be able to take more than a few steps without spotting a chic cafe, gourmet restaurant or specialty food shop. This vibrant city entices with lots of flavors and dishes but my most memorable sensory experience was at the legendary Jean Talon Market. Located in the center of Montreal  in the landmark Little Italy neighborhood, this colorful and lively market is the biggest outdoor market in North America and the most charming.  Opened in 1933, Jean Talon mixes old world character with contemporary style for a shopping experience like no other. Tackling Jean Talon requires fortification  so I headed to a nearby Italian bakery beforehand. The dreamy, creamy, cannoli above stopped me in my tracks. Mind you, I don't even like cannoli but I felt compelled to buy some and after one fluffy, crispy, nibble, I can say that I do like cannoli. As long as they are fresh and from Montreal's Little Italy.


Although you can skim the market in an hour, it took me two just to explore some of the over 300 vendors and that's not including tasting all the samples, which is an important part of the Jean Talon experience. The market is brimming with fresh produce but I gravitated toward the more typical Quebecois products like the maple syrup lollipops, above. 


I made my way to the locally produced honey in flavors like apple, blueberry and raspberry, above.


These zany plants caught my eye because of  prominent signs commanding shoppers not to touch them. Apparently, these plants capture insects with a sticky substance and leave movements and one little tap will stimulate this action . It made me wonder how in the world you are supposed to carry them home.


The fromagerie  or cheese shop, is a major part of Montreal culture and they are everywhere at Jean Talon. I sampled mustard with wild mushrooms and fresh goat cheese from the shop above. I topped it off with samples of  different varieties of ice wine and then finished with strawberry-cranberry-hibiscus cake. I left with a feeling of visual and gustatory satisfaction that few shopping excursions can deliver.

14 comments:

Catherine said...

I do love exploring markets and this looks like a good one indeed - I am glad that I have moved from one market country to another.....

Fly Girl said...

Catherine, yes, this is one of the most colorful markets I've seen. I will be exploring Montreal more in the next few posts.

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Fly Girl said...

Vale, thanks so much for stopping by.

A Cuban In London said...

Listen, in between these delicacies and its wolrd famous jazz festival I can picture myself setting up shop in Montreal for a few months, preferably munching whilst listening to Al Jarreau. :-)

Greetings from London.

Fly Girl said...

Cubano, you would love Montreal which reminds me, I never did a jazz fest post!

Andrew Graeme Gould said...

An very interesting sampler of this market. I just love markets for the experience, and of course, for the photo opportunities. Montreal is on my list to visit in the near future, on the same trip as New York. I'll certainly go to this market, then.

Fly Girl said...

Andrew,
Jean Talon has lots of amazing photo and food opportunities, you must go!

Angela said...

As you well know, I absolutely love local markets, great photos, looks like a lovely way to spend an afternoon (or two :P)

Fly Girl said...

Angela, there's nothing like a great outdoor market! It definitely requires 2 afternoons if you have the time.

jen laceda said...

Hahaha, I'm from Toronto, and have been to Montreal only 2x in my life! And shockingly, I've not been to Jean Talon market. Oh, boooh for me!

Fly Girl said...

Jen, for shame! A foodie like you should never miss a chance to go to Jean Talon.

Canada Museums said...

Whenever I used to visit Montreal, there are two places I never failed to drop by : the Jean Talon market, and the McCord Museum, one of my favorite museums in the world.But I must confess that after an eating binge in the market, museums were usually the last thing on my mind!

Fly Girl said...

Canada, I'll visit the McCord the next time I'm in Montreal. I only got a chance to visit the Museum of Fine Arts, which took a whole afternoon. Thanks for dropping by!