Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Market Abounds

(Read my review of Montreal, lunch, hot-spot, The Sparrow in Examiner.com)

Fig.1. Le Cendrillon goat cheese, winner of best cheese 2009.

Staring out the window on these sunny, spring days, my thoughts wander toward spring garlic and onions. If you’re like me, this warm air compels you to venture outdoors and straight to the Jean-Talon Market, and judging by the hordes of people I saw, I wasn’t the only one hungering for the sights and smells of a farmer’s market.
A market isn’t just a place to buy food: it’s communal. Markets are internationally common, existing in every country and culture in the world in one form or another. Farmer’s markets, however, are much more common outside of North America; it’s time for a change.
Here’s an overview of the two hours I spent wandering through the Jean Talon Market.

Walked into Boucherie Capital and talked to the butcher about his big sausages. (C’mon people, this is a family blog, but seriously, the sausages there are huge.) I then walked into Boucherie du Marche and found organic, free range chickens raised in a farm just outside Montreal. The butcher told me his product would indeed taste different, he was right. The chicken, which I roasted, had a very pleasant, cereal taste, it was also more tender than regular supermarket poultry.
The smell of grilled meat filled the air. The divine, porky perfume was coming from a small Eastern European butcher. I got in line and waited twenty minutes for a polish sausage and sauerkraut sandwich. I advised the Eastern European grillmeister that he should get a cooking line going as to speed up production; he remained very stoic and unresponsive. (I wasn’t complaining, I was only trying to help, but I saw at least four people leave the line.)
I then headed to Les Cochons Tout Ronds for some prosciutto and rillette de porc which I thought would go perfect with the bread rising at home. The bread also needed cheese, so I headed to Hamel for a piece of Quebec cheese heaven: A goat cheese from La Maison Alexis de Portneuf. For those who don't know, Le Cendrillon beat out 2440 cheeses from around the world and was named best cheese 2009.
I noticed some vendors unloading crates of winter apples from Rougemont; the apples, while not at their peak, are still sweet, and, being a locavore, I bought a bag.

Fig.2. Melt in your mouth prosciutto from Les Cochon Tout Rond.

My journey ended with Francois Brouillard from, A la table des Jardins Sauvages. I bought some of his incredible wild mushrooms and listened to him enlighten me on how butter producers in Quebec are as ruthless as the mob. Who knows, he might be right, dairy producers in this province can be brutal. I do know one thing however with absolute certainty; his passionate rantings made the mushrooms taste that much better.

Fig.3. Shitake, portobello, cremini, and oyster mushrooms sliced and ready to be added to pasta.

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