Montreal Canada

As the second-largest city in Canada, Montreal is a lively place with a strong mixture of English, French, as well as other cultures, such as Irish. It is the largest and most populous city of the Canadian province of Quebec and is characterized by its perfect blend of authenticity and urban life. Besides being described as one of the world’s friendliest cities, Montreal is also said to be a true foodie paradise. As a matter of fact, food makes a strong part of the Montreal identity.

The Montreal food scene represents a spin on French food that highlights local ingredients such as maple syrup, root vegetables, and game, such as caribou, goose, and wapiti, as well as lamb and emu.

Known for its comfort food as well as adventurous plates that lure travelers to the area. Salmon and mussels are also frequently used in local dishes. Strongest influences on the cuisine are that of Ireland and France, both of which are the largest ethnic groups in Quebec.

The entire region of Quebec is known for its high-class cheeses. Many of their cheeses are unpasteurized and made of raw milk, they can be tasted only in Canada. Moreover, they are subject to strict export rules and are not easily available worldwide.

Some cheeses you should consider are a blue cheese Ciel de Charlevoix, Valbert St-Isidor, a cheese similar to Swiss cheese, and Le Chèvre Noire, cheese made of goat milk and covered in black wax.

An interesting feature of the Quebecois cuisine is the so-called sugar season. At spring, all Quebecois go to sugar shacks to enjoy traditional meals consisting of baked beans, eggs, bacon, and ham, all drizzled with maple syrup.

The most iconic Montreal dish are probably bagels. These are not ordinary bagels, though. They are rolled by hand and blanched in honey water. The other Montreal delicacies include:

The most iconic Montreal dish are probably bagels. These are not ordinary bagels, though. They are rolled by hand and blanched in honey water. The other Montreal delicacies include:

  • Poutine: a Canadian twist to French fries. In Montreal, you will find French fries served with cheese curds and flooded with gravy.
  • Shish Taouk: although the origin of this lemony chicken kebab goes all the way to Persia, it has a distinctive Canadian touch that makes it one of the epic dishes of the cuisine of Montreal.
  • Smoked meat: when prepared in the unique Montreal style, this smoked meat is perfect for adding to sandwiches and bagels. Every Montrealer grew up eating smoked meat and this is not an overstatement. This kind of meat is free of preservatives, marinated with spices and herbs for 10 days and then smoked.
  • Steamies: a popular fast food in Montreal similar to hot dogs. To taste all the flavors of Montreal in just one bite, try it topped with onion, slaw, cabbage, and ketchup.
  • Meat pies: a dish popular worldwide. It consists of a ground beef filling baked in a piecrust.
  • Cretons: a spread made with ground pork and seasoned with cloves, savory, and cinnamon. It is usually eaten with toast.
  • Pig’s trotters stew: a stew made with potatoes, pig’s trotters, infused with many spices and simmered for about 8-10 hours.
  • Meatball stew: a thick stew with beef meatballs enriched with the aromas of nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves.
  • Sugar pie: a pie crust topped with a jelly-like filling made with eggs, flour, and maple or brown sugar.
  • Pea soup: a traditional Montreal soup made with salted pork, yellow peas, and carrots, infused with the aroma of bay leaves.

Planning your meal

Visiting Montreal or planning a Montreal epic dinner cannot go without some of its traditional specialties. The Montreal cuisine is rich in epic dishes, so it’s hard to pick a few you should try. However, there are a couple of iconic dishes, packed with all the characteristic flavors of the Montreal cuisine. So, we picked four that we believe you, your friends and family will enjoy the most when you prepare a Montreal feast.

Appetizer

To start off your Montreal feast, choose Cretons and/or Poutine. Both of these are simple to make and won’t take you much time. If you think Poutine is just like regular French fries, you are so wrong. The preparation process is a bit different, which gives the fries a distinctive taste, but more importantly, this appetizer is prepared with savory yet mild Emmental cheese. You will love it. As for the Cretons, just make sure you have enough crusty bread to serve with this pork spread. Cloves and cinnamon give it a distinctive flavor that you won’t forget.

Poutine

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

2 tsp Canola Oil

2 Potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

⅔ cup Grated Emmental cheese

½ cup Demi-Glace Sauce

Salt, to taste

Instructions:

  1. Heat the oil in a skillet on medium-high. Add the potatoes and saute for 5 minutes or until the potatoes turn golden.

  2. Season with salt, cover the skillet and cook on medium for about 15 minutes or until tender.

  3. When the potatoes are done, transfer to a baking dish.

  4. Heat your broiler, drizzle the potatoes with the sauce and top with the cheese.

  5. Broil for about 1-2 minutes until the cheese has melted.

  6. Remove from the oven and serve warm.

Cretons

Serves: many people

Ingredients:

3 Onions, grated

3 lb Ground Pork

4 Garlic Cloves, minced

¼ tsp Ground Cinnamon

¼ tsp Ground Cloves

2 tsp Salt

1-2 tsp Black Pepper

Water, as needed

1 cup Panko Breadcrumbs

Instructions:

  1. Add the ingredients except the breadcrumbs to a pot and cook on high stirring continuously. Reduce the heat to medium, cover and simmer for 2 hours. Check occasionally, and if needed, add water to prevent burning.

  2. Uncover and cook until the liquid has evaporated. Stir in the breadcrumbs and cook for 5 more minutes.

  3. Transfer to a loaf pan or ramekins and keep in the fridge overnight.

  4. Serve with toasted bread.

 

Main/Entree

Meat pies are the staple in Montreal. They are typically made with a combination of ground beef, pork, and veal simmered with onions, garlic, potatoes and enriched with the aromas of nutmeg, clove, and cinnamon. Today, there are many variations to this traditional meat pie so that you can experiment and try chicken meat pie as well. The recipe for the pie below will serve 4-6 people.

Ingredients:

1 small Onion, finely chopped

1 small Garlic Clove, crushed

1 small Potato, grated

1/3 lb Ground Pork

1/3 lb Ground Beef

1/3 lb Ground Veal

1/2 cup Water

1/8 tsp Cinnamon

1/4 tsp Clove

1/8 tsp Nutmeg

1/4 tsp Celery Salt

1/2 tsp Salt

1 Pastry for double-crust pie

Instructions:

  1. Add the ingredients except the pastry to a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 20 minutes. When done, allow to cool.

  2. Preheat your oven to 400F / 200C.

  3. Line a baking pan with one pastry sheet and pour in the meat mixture. Top with the other crust and cut steam vents.

  4. Bake the pie in the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes or until golden.

  5. When done, remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.

 

Dessert

For the dessert, you should definitely try the epic Sugar Pie. It is so simple to prepare, and you’ll need just a few simple ingredients, but the end result will blow your mind away. Just imagine a golden crust topped with the sugary filling infused with the sweet vanilla fragrance. The recipe below yields 8 slices.

Ingredients:

3 Tbsp All-Purpose Flour

2 cups brown Sugar

2 Eggs, lightly beaten

1 ½ cups Evaporated Milk

1 tsp Vanilla

Pie Shells (approx. 9 in), thawed

¼ cup Butter, cold and diced

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F/190C.

  2. Combine the flour and sugar and set aside.

  3. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and vanilla. Gradually pour into the bowl with the flour and sugar mixture, stirring continuously to combine. Set aside.

  4. Line a cookie sheet with the pie crust and fill with the mixture.

  5. Scatter the butter cubes on top of the pie and bake in the preheated oven for about 50 minutes.

  6. Once the pie is ready, the filling got the jelly texture and the crust is golden and firm, remove from the oven and keep in the fridge to cool completely.

  7. Slice and serve.

Drinks

Beer is an indispensable part of Montreal life. Although imported varieties are available, the market is flooded with domestic products as well. There are many regional breweries that usually gather at the Montreal beer festival to show off their beer. Some of the best local options are Boréal and Belle Gueule.

The beverage you should not miss is definitely spruce beer. It may be either alcoholic or non-alcoholic but generally refers to a beverage that is flavored with the needles, buds, or essence of spruce trees. Thus, such beverage has a distinctive taste ranging from citrusy and floral to fruity. This differences in flavor are the result of spruce species, manner of preparation, as well as the time of harvest.

As for wine, local products are not that available because wine is not produced in significant quantities simply because the climate is not that hospital for growing grapes. To the east of Montreal there is the Cantons-de-l’Est region known for its vineyards, so you may try a bottle of their wine. Another popular place to find good quality beverage is the winery Vignoble de L’Orpailleur located about an hour from Montreal. They are famous for their sweet „ice ciders“ and „ice wines“ produced from apples and grapes after the first frost.