… my annual trip to Montréal in December for 8 days is changing to 4 trips a year. The next one is June 15-18!
A great chat about maple sugar and cabane à sucre, the Quebec tradition of sugar shacks.
#7 on U.S. NewsTravel 25 of the World’s Best Places to Visit - Montreal, Quebec, Canada
As National Geographic Traveler puts it, “Like a stripper working on a doctorate in philosophy, [Montreal’s] forever letting slip her unexpected qualities.” With hundreds of shopping venues both above and below ground, a massive park ideal for games of hide and seek and a buzzing restaurant and nightlife scene, fringed by the wrought iron street lamps of the historic district, this bilingual city is a feast for pretty much every type of vacationer.
I’ve held off talking about this because Schwartz’s isn’t a part of my experience of Montréal. But smoked meat in general, and Schwartz’s in particular, is a big part of Montréal for many… hence the turnabout.
The Montreal Gazette, La Presse and other media organizations report that a sale is imminent. The rumor is the price is C$10 million and the new owner is a group of investors that includes René Angelil, the husband of Céline Dion. A confidentiality agreement surrounds all this, so we’re not likely to know much until there’s an official announcement of some kind, if any.
The Gazette article gives the interested tourist or the curious a couple tidbits that hint at the iconic status that Schwartz’s enjoys among many aficionados of smoked meat: first, there is no franchise; there aren’t even other outlets in Montreal – there’s only one Schwartz’s, and it’s on the Main (as boulevard St-Laurent is known locally); second, there’s “schmutz”:
According to the culinary experts, the key to Schwartz’s smoked-meat success is that no chemicals or preservatives are used in the curing of the beef. Nor does it hurt that the Schwartz’s smoke-house has 84 years of spices embedded in its walls – the “shmutz” factor – giving it its unique taste.
That’s 80 years of smoky, herbaceous buildup in the smokehouse, folks. That’s why the locals are touchy about what happens to Schwartz’s but we should note this isn’t the first sale in the deli’s history: it’s changed hands three times before.
It’s never too early to plan for The End of the World, right?
It seems only fitting that we end the world with a world-ending mound of foie gras.
(yes, I will be making dinner reservations for 12/21)
Where will be you eating on the night before the world ends?
Historical AND gay. Who could ask for more?
It’s not just a shop, it’s an institution. C’est la vie’s Elizabeth Robertson takes us to some of the best deps in Montreal, and introduces us to people on both sides of the counter.