After our very late breakfast, with Canadian dollars in hand, we were finally able to obtain metro passes and head toward Marche Jean-Talon. A quick note about the Montreal metro: Dave and I purchased three-day passes, each $14. At $2.75 for a single one-way trip on the metro, the three-day pass is an excellent value. Once we saw how clean, fast, and easy to use it is, we probably ended up taking the metro more than we originally intended. The trains come very frequently, which is an added bonus.
Jean-Talon is open every day, year-round, and is the largest public market in Montreal with about 300 vendors in the summer months. Much of the produce is Quebec-grown, but the selection is not exclusively local. Some vendors at the market actually remind me of Haymarket in Boston, in that they are selling produce grown far away and selling it in bulk for insanely low prices. Luckily though, this only represents a small part of the market. Several of the more local vendors also sell in bulk. I was amused by these massive buckets of husk cherries and wild blueberries, and curious what one might do with such a quantity of husk cherries.
I love exploring markets in other countries and finding quirky and interesting differences. I was impressed with the care that the vendors put into artfully presenting their goods. The produce itself was beautiful but many sellers got creative in the ways they arranged it.
The market’s offerings go well beyond produce. The perimeter is comprised of shops and stalls selling everything from cider, wine, cheese, and seafood to pastries, bread, and gelato. In the center of the market is Creperie du Marche, a charming stall that serves sweet crepes and savory gluten-free buckwheat crepes.
Dave and I shared an excellent lemon and sugar crepe, sweet, tender, and slightly crispy around the edges.
One stall sold several varieties of both honey and maple syrup. We bought a piece of Quebec honeycomb and had a few bites with the crepe.
And never one to say no to a cookie, I picked up a chocolate white chocolate chip cookie from La Fournee des Sucreries de l’Erable, rough translation, the maple batch. Not everything they make has maple, as I was hoping would be the case. Seriously, how cool would that be? A bakery that uses maple syrup as part or all of the sweetener in every product. The maple products they did have included a maple creme square, a maple cookie and a maple pie. My cookie, while not maple, was delicious, rich and chocolatey.
More scenes from the market below.