Ever since then, they've been educating visitors and native Montrealers alike on the very best food products available in their 'hood: the Mile End and Mile X section of the city.
Montreal's Jean-Talon Market — Photo courtesy of John Cameron / Active City Travel
Pavlopoulos and Pellerin want their clients to walk away with a true local experience. So how do they select the stops for their tour?
"The selected locations are actually our favorite hangouts. We have spent hours in each of them enjoying their products. We call them our living rooms. The products are the best in their league, hands down," says Pavlopoulos.
The lively three-hour tour starts with the best pupusas in the Latin Quarter at Salvadorian restaurant Los Planes and finishes with a picnic meal of Southern barbecue from Triple Crown at Parc de la Petite-Italie at the junction of St Laurent and St. Zotique in the north end of Montreal.
In between, there’s serious food shopping at the Jean-Talon Market and surrounding areas.
"We show our guests around the way we would with a friend from out of town. We are proud to be part of only a handful of tour companies that share this ideology in the city," adds Pavlopoulos. "We aim to teach and to share our neighborhood experiences with our guests."
Fiddleheads for sale at Jean-Talon Market — Photo courtesy of Sherel Purcell / Active City Travel
Since 1934, the Jean-Talon Market has been supplying Montreal with fresh Quebec products and specialty items from around the world. Jean-Talon Market is open every day, year-round.
Visitors will find a wide variety of produce (including organic and pesticide-free items); flowers and fine herbs; fish and meat; and ice cream and sorbets that are made with local fresh fruits like sweet Quebec strawberries.
The market makes a great lunch destination. Delicious barbecued lamb, pork and chicken sandwiches – as well as bison on a stick – are all available for a few dollars.
The Jean-Talon Market is also a great spot to sample Quebec wines and ciders around a cozy outdoor bar that allows for great people watching.
At the Jean-Talon Market, participants will meet unique vendors such as the "Sausage Pimp," who produces tasty items like shrimp and scallop sausages.
Spade & Palacio can also advise on how to get the best deals on produce by shopping the back lanes of the stalls for bulk sales on produce that can be whipped into hearty soups and sauces to be frozen for later use.
At nearby Brasserie Harricana, guests discover a variety of tasty microbrews served with a spicy take on the famous French fry and cheese curd dish: poutine.
A short walk away into the light industrial area of Mile X, visitors can purchase vacuum-packed bags of fair trade Ethiopian, Peruvian and Columbian beans from Dispatch Coffee that are used in their excellent cold filtered brew.
Down the street, check out Manitoba restaurant, where the dinner menu changes frequently based on the availability of fresh and wild food items available – as it should be in a restaurant that prioritizes natural ingredients sourced locally.
These are all served in a cool redesigned space with an inviting patio attached that focuses on the great outdoors.
Rest assured that Spade & Palacio will show you the very best food products available in their 'hood.