Mara Papatheodorou, your Tastes and Traditions Expert
Situated in the Canadian province of Quebec, the secret to the magic of Montreal is the irresistible blend of its French Old World “joie de vivre” and its New World cosmopolitan zip. Named after the triple-peaked hill located in the heart of the city, Mount Royal or Mont Real is also an amazing park where you can take in the stunning vistas at Kondiaronk Lookout. The beautiful Montreal Botanical Gardens (Jardin Botanique de Montreal) features 31 specialized gardens and over 20,000 different types of plants and sport buffs can visit Olympic Park (Parc Olympique) the base for the 1976 Summer Olympics and current home of the Montreal Expos. For indoor activities, the cultural diversity of this fine city is on view at any one of the various art museums. The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (Musee des Beaux-Arts) shows off impressive Canadian collections while the Contemporary Art Museum (Musee d’art Contemporain) highlights modern works and Pointe-a-Calliere Museum is actually an archaeological site that traces six centuries of the area’s history, peoples and artifacts. And if its trains that intrigue you check out the Canadian Railway Museum that houses over 150 locomotives, railway cars and memorabilia.
Stroll and shop in charming Vieux Montreal (old town) or the trendy Quartier Latin for tasty mementos (see below) and gifts. Besides terrific restaurants, cafes, bistros and wine bars, there is also Marche Jean-Talon, the city’s large open food market with great produce and stalls for savoring snacks and small bites (see below). And Montreal is a bilingual metropolis so whether you speak French or English, you’ll be fine. Enjoy!
SAIL: Montreal Before sailing away, bring the region’s flavors and flair home. The red maple leaf is the country’s symbol for a reason and this is the place to buy maple syrup since Quebec produces three-quarters of the world’s supply! And don’t miss the other sweet specialties from here “la tire de neige” also known as maple taffy and bottles of La Pomme de Glace or Canadian whiskey.
SIP: La Pomme de Glace: A local treat made from ripe frozen apples, this golden colored alcoholic cider smells like honey and tastes like a happy blend of applesauce and candied fruit.
SAVOR: Anything French! Have a crepe, a croissant a baguette sandwich, French Onion soup or escargots. Stretch your taste buds and try Poutine a dish found uniquely in Quebec. It is French fries topped with brown gravy and fresh cheese curds. Other ingredients such as lobster, shredded pork or beef can be added as a modern day twist to this Canadian classic. Bon Appetit!!