Montreal has so many fantastic independent shops yet week after week I find myself trudging up and down the aisles of the major supermarkets purely due to the convenience factor. I’d love to hit up all the small players but I just don’t have time and logistically it’s a bit crazy to run around all over the island.
But, the idea of even beginning to compare a grocery store croissant versus one from a local bakery isn’t even possible. Don’t get me started on coffee or fresh pasta.
That’s why we’ve been using the new service Montréal Frais which sources the best products from local butchers, pastry shops, bakeries, fruit and vegetable markets and all sorts of other specialty shops around Montreal and puts them into one place with their online webshop. Surfing through all the beautiful photos of food is a delight, and the service is quick. Your order is delivered the next day with convenient delivery slots.
There is a delivery fee, so we like to do a larger order less frequently. Some of our favourites include the bacon, pasta sauce from Drogheria Fine (which I think is contender for best in Montreal) and my afternoons always include a chocolate from Patrice Pâtissier.
Q&A with Montréal Frais Founder and President Vincent Lachance
Why did you decide to start Montréal Frais?
Online grocery options are very poor in Montreal and Canada. We saw an opportunity and we knew that especially here in Montreal people love good quality food. On top of that, local merchants don’t necessarily have experience with online sales and delivery. When we started contacting potential partners the response was incredible. One hundred percent of the businesses contacted were interested in partnering with us. I think this just goes to show that this type of business was long overdue.
We really believe in the power of buying local and we want to bring that option to a wider demographic.
How did you choose the suppliers?
It was tough choosing the best partners. We tried and tested a bunch of products, but we also listened and consulted with people who were very interested in food to hear their opinion. Our goal is to provide a highly curated selection of products so that those shopping with us really get the best of the best.
Where do you see Montréal Frais in the future?
We want Montreal Frais to be the reference for those looking for the best food businesses and products in Montreal. We want to bring all sorts of hidden treasures and niche products within easy reach to a wider public.
In the future we’d also like to expand to a larger delivery area in greater Montreal and eventually other cities.
Do you have any favourite products?
Fromagerie Hamel: La Tur cheese served with a good baguette is absolutely delicious.
Patisserie Rhubarbe: I love their granola. Add a little maple syrup, yoghurt and fresh fruit and it’s really simplicity at it’s best.
Patrice Pâtisser: His Kouign Amann is the best in the city.
Co’pains d’abord: Their croissants are just wow. Pair with a tartinade aux chocolats and noisettes de rhubarbe for a real gourmet treat.
And of course, I have so many other products I love. All our partners truly are exceptional.
What has been your biggest challenge with Montréal Frais so far?
Logistics are without a shadow of a doubt the most difficult part of the business. We had to work very hard on optimizing our service. It’s been a long road, but we have finally gotten there.
We are lucky because sales are taking off and our customers are spreading the word. We are working hard to take our business to another level so that even more Montrealers will know us and choose us as their grocery provider.
Thanks to Vincent for answering all my questions.
Check out Montréal Frais and let me know what you think!
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