If you are interested in amazing food, beautiful architecture and friendly people, look no further than Montreal. Montreal is a mere 90 minute drive from Burlington, VT. During our New Year’s trip to Vermont, we decided to spend a few days in this wonderful French-Canadian city north of the border.
On our drive to Montreal, we decided to cross the border from New York State rather than Vermont. It added approximately 30 minutes, but the scenery was well worth the extra time. We were greeted with a stunning countryside as we hopped from island to island across Lake Champlain. North of Burlington, Lake Champlain is largely iced over. We saw many taking advantage of the lake’s condition by ice fishing and kite skiing. We even ventured onto the ice. When else can you walk to the middle of a lake?!
Our first stop in Montreal was the Jean-Talon Market. We first went here last summer and this is a “must visit” for all foodies! According to Lora, Jean-Talon is North America’s version of Borough Market in London and La Boqueria in Barcelona. Even in the winter, the quality and variety of food products is astounding. Why don’t markets like this exist in America?! Even New York City’s Greenmarket is miniscule in comparison. Ahh, we digress… The market is a bit smaller during the winter season; however, there are still a large number of stalls remaining which feature a plethora of produce, meats, prepared foods, etc. Luckily, the market is enclosed to make shopping comfortable and not exposed to the freezing temperature.
As expected with a farmer’s market, we see all the typical bounty from the land and sea. What makes Jean-Talon exciting is finding unique foods. We love to visit the stall that sells an incredible array of dried mushrooms. There’s an amazing cured sausage stand and a remarkable place to purchase pate, and “game” type meats. Our favorite stall in the market is “Porcmeilleur”. Everything in this store is pig-based. What really sets this shop apart from others is the quality and freshness of the goods. Porcmeilleur is a family-run shop that sells pork products from their farm located 30 minutes from the market. We spoke with Mylene Palardy about their business. Mylene told us that their farm and store are operated by family and friends. Mylene’s father and brother-in-law are the primary farmers and butchers. Mylene is one of five children and all dedicate themselves to the family business. It will remain this way to ensure the most humane treatment of the animals and to produce the best quality product. Every part of the animal is used. You can purchase anything from a whole suckling pig to a small package of pork chops. Prepared foods utilizing pork products are made in-house and available for purchase. If you think the taste and quality of pork products are amazing from your local butcher or from an upscale market like Whole Foods, you have never seen or tasted pork from Porcmeilleur! We’ve traveled the world and truly believe this is THE BEST pork purveyor we have discovered. Do yourself a favor and visit this amazing shop.
If you love food, please put Jean-Talon Market on your list of places to visit in Montreal. Whether you want to grab a quick bite for lunch or buy food to prepare at home, this is a place you must visit! The visit to the market was the perfect introduction to our two day visit to this gastronomic city.