Les cochons vont au marché
Updated: Aug 27, 2018
What we've learned is that Montreal is a city full of farmer's markets. There are large public markets throughout the city that run pretty much 7 days a week, 12 months a year. During the winter months, they build walls around the markets so that you can still shop without getting frostbite. So after going to the Marché Jean-Talon a few days ago, yesterday we decided to check out Marché Atwater. It's several metro stops closer to our apartment, so we figured it may be a better option for our shopping needs. Don't get me wrong-- there are plenty of traditional grocery stores throughout Montreal, but there's something about wandering through dozens of produce stalls or buying meat directly from a farmer that feels more charming and like less of an errand. This shopping trip though, we avoided the mistake we had made before going to Jean-Talon. At Jean-Talon, we were really just there to wander around and see all the pretty produce and buy whatever looked good at the moment. This time, we had a plan. A method to our madness. A grocery list.
The first thing you realize at these markets is that while every stall seems to have virtually identical inventory, the prices vary. So you have to shop around. One place may charge $1.50 CAD for an aubergine (eggplant), another may charge $2.00. Also, some of the stalls are selling produce by the basket (not by the kilo or pound, but literally by the amount of stuff they've put into a basket), others sell everything individually. And while the basket pricing may actually be better, you probably don't actually need a basket full of fennel. So it's all about strategy and keeping track of what you saw at what stall for what price. Way more fun that the grocery store.
Once you're done running yourself ragged through the produce stalls, you then get to go inside the air-conditioned building to work your way through the fromageries, boulangeries and boucheries where you can find any cheese or pastry or meat you're looking for. I've never seen so many different kinds of saucisse (sausage)!
But one of the best part about Marché Atwater are that in addition to all the produce and meats and cheeses is that when you're done shopping, there's a small outdoor food court called Pôle de Saveur serving sausages and ice cream and chicken satay and cocktails. And what are we gonna do? Not eat there? Of course we're gonna eat there.