Montreal‘s Jean-Talon Market (Marché Jean-Talon) is foodie paradise for anyone who loves a good farmer’s market. Whether you prefer local produce stands rather than supermarkets or you just enjoy browsing fresh foods in open air, there are so many reasons to dive into the colorful cornucopia that is the Jean-Talon market – and the best reason is if you want to pack a picnic for a day in one of Montreal’s charming parks.
Any picnic should start with the basics: bread, fruit, and something to drink. The market has a bakery with fresh baguettes and pastries; organic berries, apples and peaches; and plenty of juices, ciders and wine. You’ll also find Quebec cheeses, a butcher and delicatessen, health foods, snacks, organic veggies, chocolates, and gourmet international foods. Olive oil, crepes, spices, lobster, fish, peppers, pies, maple syrup, soaps and flowers are available too if you’re interested in shopping for non-picnic things to eat later. The best part of the market, though, is that many vendors are open to giving you a little sample of their yummy displays (which, if your appetite goes unregulated, could render moot your picnic idea before you even finish preparing for it).
The Jean-Talon Market, first opened in the 1930′s, is by Little Italy and can be accessed via Mozart, Casgrain or Henri-Julien Avenues, Jean-Talon Street, or the pedestrian street, Place du Marché du Nord. It’s open year-round but goes crazy in the summertime; get there earlier in the day in order to have the best picks and more freedom when it comes to navigating crowds. Non-french speakers might consider bringing a little dictionary with food words in case they’re hunting down a specific ingredient.
For your picnic, don’t forget to bring along a blanket or something to sit on, sunglasses or a hat, a bag or backpack for your food, and – most importantly – someone special to share the picnic with!