Jean Talon Market
So I was over in Montreal for the weekend and visited what is considered the largest outdoor public market in North America. Jean-Talon Market was opened in 1933 and is the oldest market in Montreal. The layout of the market is quite grand. Before even entering, you'll notice that bordering the market are these small restaurants that shoppers will go to after shopping for their produce. Then within the actual market, there are wings that sell cheese, seafood, mushrooms, ready-made foods, and of course produce, which is the largest section.
It's just amazing because you go through rows and rows of these fresh fruit and vegetables that are absolutely stunning to the eye. Then you taste the products - especially the fruit- and the quality and taste are just incomparable to anything I've had in the states. Not only that, but you would never expect that a market, which carries as much produce as this, would be opened year-round. I was seriously jealous and contemplated moving to Montreal right then and there. I thought with a market like that, it's no wonder Montreal boasts such a strong food scene.
Anyways, I thought I'd just share all my photos with you and let them do most of the talking. (Of course, I will offer a tad of commentary as well, but this might as well be someone's Flickr album.)
There's a Jean Talon stop on the metro where the red line crosses the blue. From there, it's only a couple minutes walk to the market on 7070 Avenue Henri Julien.
This is sort of the "prepared foods" and general goods wing of the market. There are small food shops to one side and shops like charcuterie and soap shops on the other.
Oh my gosh, the chorizo looked so good here. You could easily buy a fresh baguette from the market, pick up one of these guys, and have an amazing picnic by the waterfront in the old port quarter of Montreal.
Have you ever seen lard packaged so well?
This guy ran a cheese shop down from the charcuterie. I thought I could get an action shot of whatever he was doing, but as I was about to snap, he turned and looked straight at the camera. Mission...fail.
I couldn't believe they had egg tarts as well. These reminded me very much of the Portuguese-style egg tarts I had in Macau and Hong Kong, though they were a tad sweeter.
Yup - choripans. This was definitely somewhat of an international market as well.
Qui lait cru!?! "Who would have believed it!?!" This was a pretty neat cheeseshop in the market. I hear they specialize in raw milk cheeses, which are usually available in only Quebec and France.
The opening to the fresh produce side of the market. This includes not only fruits and vegetables, but also flower shops and even some stroes that sells baked goods like apple bread and maple syrup.
There were so many different berries at the market. All of them were perfectly ripe and ready to eat.
Most of the garlic were sold like this - tied together with the shoot still intact. It was gorgeous. I definitely saw "cerifié biologique" - certified organic, many times at the market.
Oh, these were ratatouille buckets! Literally, everything you needed to make ratatouille (well, produce-wsie) were in the bucket ready to be sold. We could totally do that with salsa in the states.
I think my eyes exploded when I saw these. The blueberries looked amazing. Unfortunately, when you buy the fruit, the basket is not included.
I bought my first flat of gooseberries right here. Surpisingly, they don't taste like berries at all. It's more like a less tangy tomato.
A lot of the fruits were grown locally, but there was produce like lemons, drgaonfruit, and mangoes that were imported from other countries. All were ripe to perfection though, so I think you can command that kind of quality when you are such a large food market.
These were the plant stores I was talking about. You can find gorgeous flowers, potted herbs, and potted vegetables right inside the market.
This was a shot taken from behind the stands.
You'll see that all the fruits and vegetables are put in these cute containers. All of the stands had similar containers, which made the display all the more grand.
Ooh! I bought a can of this maple syrup at the market. I just love the design and how it's maple syrup in a can! Interestingly enough, this design was featured on a lot of Montreal souvenirs as well, so it's definitely a memorabilia item to get if you see it.
Gorgeous squash blossoms.
This store sold maple syrup along with some bakery items. The people in Montreal really seem to favor apples in their baked goods though. I saw apple baba, which is this ball of apple cake that I'm dying to make.
Nearly all of the main fruit stands had plates in front of their fruits so you could try them prior to buying. There were peaches, cherries, blueberries, oranges, strawberries - you name it.
This was one of the variety stands that lined the outside of the market. After this, I went to one of the restaurants I said which surrounded the actual market and had myself a chorizo sandwich. Oh, I did not want to leave!