Winter does a certain something to all of us. The dark skies and cold, harsh weather keeps us couch-ridden and in our sweatpants for as many minutes of the day as we can get away with, and in turn, leaves us constantly longing for warm foods and drinks to consume. And it turns out, Montreal is one of the best places to go for the winter feasting of your dreams.
As the snowy season descends upon Montreal, it really starts to show its culinary colors. For anyone who loves to eat and wants to visit Montreal, winter is the time to go.
With generations of worldwide immigration bringing flavors from all over the world, Montreal cuisine holds a unique diversity. They’ve been praised for their exotic imported cuisines thanks to rich cultures that have relocated there with strong traditions, but they also have a knack for perfecting that common denominator food that frozen hands want to reach for in a hurry wherever they go to warm up inside and out: one chef, for example, explains that their fresh house bread is one of their most cherished dishes, served alongside melted butter that’s sizzling with a dash of whiskey.
In Montreal’s Little Italy, which celebrated 100 years of recognition this year, a restaurant pays homage to the cross of both the areas immigrant roots and indiginous roots with a famous ‘eel carbonara’ dish, which has been fished for millennia in the area.
Just nearby, an open-air market boasts large selections of local and imported cheeses, specialty Canadian maple products, both freshly hunted and grilled game and hunting equipment for those who want their own taste of the frontier, and the best spirits of the season – ready to fill those hands on the go who are always in need of a warm, filling pick-me-up.
Rich with the winter’s best agricultural crops, Montreal makes the most of its seasonal produce and makes little attempt to continue using materials that are difficult to get their hands on. As the people there say, there’s nothing green on the plate, because there’s nothing green outside. Not that anyone missed it when there’s mouth-watering poutine on every corner…
But the brilliance of the local cuisine truly lies in its diversity of cultures who all equally embrace the winter – bringing the best flavors celebrated around the world to menus designed specifically for those cold, trying months. With robust Arab, Chinese, Vietnamese, Haitian, European, and Latino communities – and, of course, boulangeries with freshly baked breads and pastries comparable only to France itself – survival never tasted so good.