A Family Food Excursion to Montreal
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22 February 2016
Quebec Farm Sheep (photo Jeff Sonnabend)
Quebec Farm Sheep (photo Jeff Sonnabend)

by Karin Endy
photo by Jeff Sonnabend

Each year, beginning when my younger son was one, my husband and I have taken the kids on a trip somewhere with delicious food. Last year we found ourselves in Lake Placid, picking up our older son, now 12, from hockey camp, and then decided to drive two hours north to Montreal.

Montreal is surrounded by agriculture and known for great food. Friends peppered us with recommendations for where and what to eat – smoked meats at Schwartz’s, poutine twenty-five ways at La Banquise, and classic Montreal bagels.

We rolled into our Airbnb around the corner from Marche Jean Talon and set off to eat the city. Montreal bagels were soft and delicious; the market showcased all types of produce, meat and cheese produced a stone’s throw from the city; and I have a newfound appreciation for the umami in gravy slathered over potatoes fried in duck fat.

On our fourth day, we drove northwest of the city following a state sponsored agricultural route. Stopping to chat with producers, we purchased cheese, foie gras, and wine. We decided to stop to pick up some meat at a farm that raises pigs, sheep, and rabbits.

While the shop was not located on the farm, they had a barn adjacent to the store with a few animals, giving urban Montreal children a chance to see livestock. Mama pig and nursing piglets were a highlight for my boys. We bought some ham hocks in vinegar and sat down at a picnic table just outside to assemble lunch from our farm stops. Gnarly-looking pickled hocks were a first for all of us, but we dove in, finding them delicious, and the boys were clamoring for more. Bellies full, we headed back to the city.


Karin Endy is a senior consultant at Karen Karp & Partners.