Opened in 1871, J.A. Moisan is the oldest grocery store in North America, and the shop is capable of conjuring nostalgia in all. Located in the charming Saint-Jean neighborhood, a fifteen-minute walk from downtown, the venerable general store is a portal into the past; wood furnishings and decorative antiques date back long before (most of) the goods lining the shelves. Visitors will find products from all over the world, from hard-to-find French biscuits and soft treacle toffee to locally brewed beer and a hodgepodge of delicate teapots. There is also a small prepared foods section and seating area for those who wish to sample their gourmet gatherings.
The name of this quirky boutique in the antiques district of Québec City is the French translation for “cool thingamajig.” The owner, who trained as a graphic designer, displays her funky creations along with antique and contemporary furniture. Among the treasure trove are footstools fashioned out of wooden butter crates, old record albums, wooden snowshoes and vintage cigarette tins.
Marché du Vieux Port
Foodies love to visit the farmer’s market near the Old Port where you can find artisanal cheese, bread, chocolate and jam makers alongside local farmers with their seasonal products. This is apple country and maple sugar may be the regional condiment of choice, so expect to find lots of variations on both. This is also the place to buy great fresh foie gras.
Tip: Be sure to try ice cider. It’s a relatively new phenomenon created in Québec through a longer freezing process. According to Canada’s premier newspaper, the Globe and Mail, “Once fermented, the syrupy liquid yields an ultrarich, amber-colored indulgence—usually measuring 12 per cent alcohol—that’s delicious on its own as a dessert drink or as a sublime partner for such fare as sautéed foie gras or a plate of crumbly blue cheese.”