City Bites

TO MARKET! Feta-making nuns and other marvels of the Marché Vieux Hull (Thursdays 10am – 3pm)

The nuns grow the vegetables, collect the honey and make the cheese by hand for their line of remarkable food products

I love markets. I love them for all of the obvious reasons — the fresh produce, the chance to connect personally with growers and food producers, the sense of community, the good food. But even more than that, I love how markets possess unique personalities. It’s something I like to observe when I visit markets anywhere.

It never ceases to amaze me how different the little market in downtown Hull feels than anything on the Ottawa side. In the world of wine there is the  term terroir, which is loosely translated as a sense of place. I’d advocate applying this term to markets. They are a constant reminder to me that all food is intimately tied to a sense of place. Perhaps that is what draws me time and again back over the bridge to the Marché Vieux Hull on Thursdays during market season.

I love the small scale and cozy feel of this market. I have found the quality of the food here to be superb rather than hit-and-miss like some other local markets. I also felt the prices were slightly more sane. Last week, my haul included some wonderful smoked arctic char, a package of maple & fleur de sel almonds, a pair of lemon-scented madeleines as well as fresh-picked berries and top-notch vegetables.

Superb spanakopita is sold fresh by the slice or frozen in a larger portion

But there is one stall alone that is reason enough to keep me coming back to this market:  Le Troupeau Bénit, the stall run by Greek Orthodox nuns from a Monastery located in Brownsburg-Chatham, Quebec. The sisters make all of the products by hand, including three varieties of excellent feta (sheep’s milk/goat’s milk/ mix of both), spanakopita, moussaka (lamb or vegetable), and a variety of traditional cookies and sweets. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Kourambie, traditional almond cookies that melt in your mouth