Montreal Culture - Food
People living in Montreal consume a variety of foods as they have access to over a hundred cuisines in the city, but food fare is strongly influenced by Jewish cuisine. There is a growing preference among the city's residents for healthy, nutritious food and for fresh produce owing to the large population of immigrants who enjoy cooking dishes from their own culture. Popular food experiences include attending yearly food events such as First Fridays, Mac n' Cheese week, Asian Night Market, Festival YUL EAT, and La Pizza Week.
TYPES OF FOOD CONSUMED
- People in Montreal appear to enjoy buying and eating fresh produce. According to George Pitsikoulis, the chief executive officer of Montreal-based Canadawide, "it's always been part of the culture [in Montreal] to eat fresh produce, and the trend and talk has been to eat more and more."
- Jean-François Laverdure, president of Montreal-based JB Laverdure, observes that locals are becoming more conscious of the types of food they eat. For example, he notes there is growing consumer demand for berries, kale, and other good greens. Pitsikoulis adds that avocados, tomatoes, and beets are gaining popularity.
- Pierre Guibord, a director at IGA Louise Ménard in Montreal, notes that their customers in the city are seeking locally-produced, organic, and fair trade food products. They are looking as well for transparent and sustainable food packaging.
- When it comes to restaurants, Catherine Morellon, manager at Tourisme Montréal, observes that residents of the city place a premium on "high quality, creative food."
- People in Montreal are showing greater interest in vegan food, poke bowls, ramen, Korean food, tacos, banh, empanadas, Thai food, dumplings, and healthy food, with these types of food emerging as new food trends. Seafood appetizers and cocktails/mocktails infused with fresh ingredients are growing in popularity as well.
- Montreal is known for its smoked meat, poutine, bagels, chocolate almond croissants, shish taouk, and maple treats. Bagels, smoked meats, and smoked salmon are quite popular in the city, owing to the strong influence of Jewish cuisine. Canada's oldest Jewish populations are in Montreal.
- Dietary patterns of French-speaking men in the city can be categorized into healthy, modified Western — salty, and modified Western — sweet.
OTHER FOOD CONSUMPTION BEHAVIOR
- Cesare Della Santina, president of Montreal-based CDS Foods, observes that locals, mostly immigrants, are "going back to their roots." They like cooking dishes from their culture. He clarifies, however, that people in the city like trying new types of food as well.
- Pitsikoulis of Canadawide says that even though buying and eating fresh produce is a global trend, it is particularly prevalent in Montreal because a considerable fraction of the city's residents are immigrants who are not used to eating frozen or packaged meals. This is an indication that immigrants would prefer cooking with fresh produce rather than buy frozen meals.
- Guibord of IGA Louise Menard adds too that there is growing interest in ready-to-cook products, for example, cut-up vegetables. This is an indication as well that a considerable percentage of locals enjoy cooking.
- There is increasing interest as well in healthy, nutritious food considering Laverdure's observation that consumer demand in the city for berries, kale and other greens, avocados, tomatoes, and beets is growing.
- According to Morellon of Tourisme Montréal, when eating out at restaurants, Montrealers enjoy sharing plates.
- People in Montreal have a much cherished tradition, First Fridays, a food truck festival that celebrates food trucks and beer. Taking place on the first Friday of each summer month, it is Quebec's biggest assembly of food trucks.
- The restaurant scene is quite eclectic considering there are over a hundred cuisines in the city that people can taste and experience.
- Food is celebrated throughout the year through food events. Yearly food events, apart from First Fridays in summer, include Mac n' Cheese week in April, the Asian Night Market in August, Festival YUL EAT in September, and La Pizza Week in October.
- Common gastronomic experiences in Montreal include eating at casual eateries, swanky bistros, and pop-up restaurants, biting into piping-hot, fresh bagels, browsing public markets for artisanal delicacies and farm-fresh products, sipping craft beer from any of the city's microbreweries, and eating smoked meat sandwich from Schwartz, poutine, maple products, or steamed hot dogs.
- Many Montrealers likely follow @mtlfoodsnob, an Instagram account showcasing Montreal's most scrumptious food. The account has over 20,000 followers.
- When it comes to desserts, there appears to be a preference among residents of Montreal for freshness and flavor. This can be seen in the emergence of pastry chefs emphasizing these two aspects, such as Patrice Pâtissier's Patrice Demers, Pâtisserie Rhubarbe's Stéphanie Labelle, Café Bazin's Bertrand Bazin, and Libertine Bakehouse's Nick Kemball.
- Animal bao buns appear to be in demand as well, as they were described as a "new food trend." These dessert buns come in various flavors and animal shapes, ranging from hedgehog-shaped taro baos to Hello Kitty-shaped custard baos.
- Other popular desserts include Pâtisserie Au Kouign Amann's kouign-amann, Pâtisserie Rhubarbe's mille-feuille, Patrice Pâtissier's cannelé, Café Bazin's chocolate coffee tartelette, Montréal Plaza's crispy fruits, Crémy Pâtisserie's lemon crueller, Au Pied de Cochon's pouding chômeur, KemCoba's seasonal swirl cones, Cacao 70 Factory's cornflake cookies, Noir Chocolat's croque-mous, Pizzeria Gema's frozen custard, and Cheskie's chocolate babka.