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Marché Atwater

Posted by Alban in Montreal + Places on 06/Aug/2007
Atwater Market
Like every good European, I am fond of food and like it to be as fresh as possible. I've always looked for the best ingredients to make my cooking exceptional for my wife, friends and family, as that's whom I usually cook for. Getting my groceries fresh from the market or straight from the farmer has always been my goal, because everything tastes better from the people who take care of their produce and work hard to bring the raw ingredients to our fridges.

In Montreal I was overjoyed to find that there's more than one farmer's market open seven days a week. One of my favorites (not only for its nice building, which I really like) is the Atwater Market, situated very close to the Lachine Canal path, making it the perfect stop after a walk or a bike ride...

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First of all, I should say that the market is located in an area where you can find almost everything that you might need. Even if the market doesn't carry something you are looking for, you can find it nearby. A day at the market can start with having breakfast either in the market's bakery/café, Premier Moisson, or in one of the nice restaurants nearby. Quoi d'un Oeuf, at the corner of Atwater and Saint Jacques, has an impressive selection of coffee.

In the fall, the market entrance appears orange from the pumpkins stacked out front and in the winter green from the Christmas trees. Otherwise there are flowers of every kind to give color to spring and summer. Going through the market's portico, which is enclosed with heavy plastic in the winter, you'll find a large selection of fresh vegetables and fruit nicely displayed. Don't miss the several kinds of raw honey, jam and maple syrup lined up at the door to the market's interior. Inside is the meat section; there's also a fine epicerie with many ingredients en vrac (that is to say, in bulk), a very nice chocolate stand and even a depanneur if you want to pick out a newspaper. If you want your coffee freshly roasted, Brûlerie aux Quatre Vents is the place to go. Across from it is Pasta d'Ici, where they make fresh pasta. Even the pizza place is surprisingly good. In the vegetable section people usually pay cash, which you can withdraw from any of the four ATM machines inside the market.

There is also a sushi shop around the corner from the market's main entrance. And the fish store usually has enough kinds of fish to please every taste. Don't forget to visit Fromagerie du Atwater, which is predominantly a cheese store but also has a decent selection of beer, some of which are rare. The cherry on top of the market is Le Marché des Douceurs, a little place that provides an enormous gourmet selection of sweets from around the world. If you get lost, don't hesitate to ask advice from the people who work there.

As I mentioned before, the market is situated where you can find everything without having to hop all over the city to assemble the ingredients for the right meal. Just across from the market you'll see a big wine and liquor store called SAQ, which has many, many kinds of wines and liquors. Again, if you feel overwhelmed by the choice, check out the "selection" part of the store where they choose the best wines for every price level.

Now that I've moved away from Montreal, I miss Sundays at Atwater Market, when we'd have our breakfast at Premier Moisson (where I finally found a coffee that didn't burn my mouth) and then spread out through the market to do our daily shopping.

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