The first time I heard mention of Marché Transatlantic was in 2002, in response to a query I posted about where to find niçoise and Nyons olives.
Its out-of-the-way location and limited opening hours (9:00 to 17:00, Monday to Friday) meant I never managed to visit -- until last Friday, that is, when four-wheeled friends and I dropped by to pick up some tarbais beans.
Don't let the name fool you into thinking it's is a market in the traditional sense, with aisles of products, shopping carts and cash registers. And expect to be surprised by the decidedly unappetizing surroundings: the dumpy building sits in a run-down industrial/warehouse neighbourhood on the corner of Waverly and Port Royal, north of train tracks, south of Sauvé and about halfway between Acadie and St-Laurent. You walk up narrow stairs to a second floor warren of offices and a showroom dominated by a long wooden table on which various products are arrayed. A few shelving units and display cases line the walls. If your experience is like ours, you'll have the place to yourself and will have to make a commotion before you see an actual employee.
Commotion made, we were served by Frank (pronounced the French way). He got us our beans and then gave us a tour of the catalogue and tastes of several products. Some of the more interesting were:
- small jars of flaked morel and porcini mushrooms (add to risottos, doughs, sauces and soups or use to crust meats and fish, Frank suggested)
- black truffle oil with a small chunk of truffle in the bottle
- jars of Australian wild hibiscus flowers in syrup (place one in a flute, fill with sparkling wine: the flower "blooms" in the glass and perfumes the wine)
- Abitibi sturgeon caviar (frozen, a 220-g jar runs about as many dollars; also available in 30-g and 85-g packages)
- custom-smoked Atlantic salmon loin (or maybe belly; a long, thick but narrow piece that Frank says is the best part)
- smoked Malabar peppercorns
- several vinegars, including vinaigre de vin jaune, Ontario ice wine vinegar and blackberry-infused Baco Noir vinegar
- La Carminée du terroir from Verger du Clocher in St-Antoine-Abbé, an "apple quintessence" that one in our party likened to apple balsamic.
Surprisingly, they didn't have any olives, though they will soon be carrying some, in particular Picholines.
They also gave us copies of their catalogue, with the triple disclaimer that the selection is constantly changing, that not everything may be in stock at any given time and that the online catalogue isn't updated very frequently. Far too long to list here, but the general categories are:
- Frozen/dried/smoked fish and seafood
- Caviars (imported and domestic sturgeon, flying fish, pourtague, whitefish)
- French and Quebec charcuteries
- Truffles (fresh in season, frozen, canned, juice, oils)
- Duck products (fresh, frozen, canned foie gras, dried duck breast, rilletttes, terrines, mousses, saugsages)
- Wild products from Quebec and Canada (daisy "capers," pickled milkweed buds, Saskatoon berry preserves, cedar and fir jelly, frozen cranberries, cloudberries, elderberries, etc.)
- Frozen and dried vegetables and mushrooms (French and Canadian, including a large selection of frozen mushrooms)
- Rices, flours and pastes (including wild rice flour, chestnut flour, brick sheets, pistachio paste, saté paste)
- Mustards (e.g. moutarde de Brive violette, Moutarde d'Orléans à la fleur de sel et au vinaigre de Chardonnay)
- Vinegars (lots including varietal vinegars, honey vingar, Banyuls vinegar, apple verjus)
- Oils (olive, truffle, nut, etc.)
- Salts (including smoked salts)
- Peppers (including whole nioras and canned piquillos)
- Fruit purées and coulis (blood orange, poire William, cactus-lime, etc.)
- Flavourings (from porcini to gin, tonka bean to lobster)
- Copper-kettle jams (orange, fig, quince, Reine Claude, green tomato, etc.)
- High-end maple products from Ferme Martinette
- Teas and coffees (Kusmi, Délice Boréal, Café Ricard).
Quantities range from small jars and bottles to 5 kg bags. You'll have to ask.
They take cash, cheque or Visa but not MasterCard or Interac. Free delivery on orders of $200 or more.
All in all, an interesting place to keep in mind when looking for obscure or high-end food products, especially as their dedication to quality is obvious and they express a willingness to try to source products they don't normally carry.
T 514 287-3430