The Jean-Talon Market is the great central market of Montreal. Impressive in the winter, I was told it is even more impressive in the summer when scores of people congregate outside and in to browse the food stands. Be prepared to have your nostrils assaulted by the alluring sweet and savory aromas of French food. Fresh crepes, they’ve got them, fromage (cheese), mais oui, and in an assortment of varieties. Fresh flowers, bread, meat and fish, are also sold out of neat little stalls and mini-shops. Everything is locally produced and tantalizingly fresh.
I walked away with a jar of lavender/violet preserves and a jug of rum infused maple syrup. I love charming little touches.
Also present were several cider vendors. The cider is a local favorite. Mild in alcoholic content, it is used to wash down a good meal, a digestive of sorts I have been told. Vendors are more than happy to provide you with samples if you request one. I'm not going to lie, I'm actually not a fan of cider, it was too reminiscent of beer for my tastes (I am a die-hard wino).
The market is a great place to find goods hailing from the indigenous Inuit population. Most of the Amerindians have been herded onto reservations in the North. This seems to be the sad story of the Americas. I bought some shaman-blessed traditional Inuit tea, promising mental clarity and detoxification. We'll see...
Anyhow, if you want to get into the mix and get a sense of local culture, the Jean-Talon market in downtown Montreal is a must-do!