I get to know a city with my taste buds. So the Fitz and Follwell tour “Flavors of Montreal” spoke to me. F & F also offers bicycle tours – they are a bicycle shop – but I wanted a slower pace and a chance to sample some classic Montreal foods.
Our guide, Jean-Phillipe, a wiry, intense Québécois, knows his way around Blvd St Laurent, Mile End, Little Italy, and the Marche Jean-Talon. Sharing his love of the city in English laced with “eh” and “uh,” linguistic fingerprints of his native French, J-P kept us well fed and entertained.
We visited a Portuguese bakery, Serafim, an Italian pasta stand where we sampled home made gnocchi, and a Montreal icon, Fairmont bagels. But one of my favorite stops was a classic cafe in Little Italy, Caffe Italia.
We found a table in the back, and were quickly served with wonderful espresso.
Refueled, we went on to a traditional Italian bakery, Alati-Caserta, to sample the cannolis and drool over all of the amazing offerings. J-P brought out a bakery box and we swarmed it like ravenous locusts.
Licking the whipped cream from our fingers, we pushed on to the Marche Jean-Talon, a feast for the senses, an outdoor market with more than 300 vendors established in 1933. At a smaller market, the Marche des Saveurs, we tasted iced cider, and sampled some beautiful cheeses. Jean-Talon is surrounded by speciality emporiums, too many to visit in one afternoon. Reluctantly, we said goodbye, still savoring the sights, sounds, and tastes of an amazing city.