Tag Archives: food

Sugaring-Off: Quebec’s Most Delicious Springtime Tradition

[Note: Apologies for neglecting my blog!  I wrote the below post in April but somehow forgot to actually finish and post it.  So here you go: a bit of time travel back to early spring, when the sap ran and snow covered the ground.  More updates on my Fulbright project to follow!]

It’s maple syrup harvest season in Quebec — the time of year to visit sugar shacks!

Here’s a song by Quebecois singer La Bolduc to listen to while you read this post.  (Not about sugar shacks, but somehow it captures the mood.)

I first learned of the sugar shack (cabane à sucre) tradition from The Tin Flute, a 1945 novel by Gabrielle Roy.  The Lacasse family, ground down by poverty in Great Depression-era Montreal, decides to visit relatives in the countryside while “the sap is running.”  On hearing that phrase, the mother, Rose-Anna, goes into a rural childhood reverie:  Continue reading

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Jean-Talon Market: A Wonderful Place in Montreal

Peppers at the Jean Talon Market. Photo by Tim Giebel. Used under Creative Commons license.

Today is Thanksgiving in Canada, the zenith of the harvest season here.  And so it seems appropriate to write about my favorite place in Montreal thus far: the Jean Talon Market.

Jean Talon is the largest open-air market in North America, and it happens to be two blocks from my apartment.

I go almost every day, and the scene is always one of novelty.  Each stall displays its own wonderland of food, most of it produced by farmers in the Quebec countryside.  Eggplants and colorful peppers gleam in the sun.  Infinite wheels of soft cheese sit behind glass at the fromagerie.  There are hearty cuts of meat.  Barrels of apples.  Garlic hanging in bunches.  Steamy spiced sausages and savory lunch crepes.  Continue reading

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