While I pen cookbooks and magazine columns, I earn my living mostly through advertising copywriting. I couldn’t even tell you how many times, over the past 2-3 years, one client or another would come back from the States swooning over American gourmet stores, from the Whole Foods of this world to the trendiest Portland addresses. My client’s field research would lead to a modest but on-trend packaging, an innovative store display or, at most, a redesigned meat section. But investing heart, soul and pocketbook into a state-of-the-art foodie eldorado a la US of A, none dared… until now. Until the first Valmont Galerie Gastronomique which opened last week.
Located in Brossard’s Quartier DIX30 shopping center, with which I entertain a long-distance love-hate relationship, the new Valmont represents the dream “supermarket” for any foodie in the know. Looking for olive oil? They have the brands to convince. In the mood for an ostrich fondue? Search no further. Need to eat your emotions with some Christophe Morel choccolates? If your budget allows, do dive in… Kraft-dinner-loving kiddo couldn’t care less about your blue-ribbon puttanesca? A small section even features the top 2-3 market leaders for each supermarket category, at competitive prices too.
What I liked best about my guided tour of the new Valmont, led by Co-President Éric Fortin? The “specialized boutique” approach for every store section, with experts at every counter, such as Arhoma for baked goods, Rolland for desserts and catering, as well as Lorrain for meat and fish (my Rosemère butcher that I love and enthused about right here!).
Valmont also innovates with customer serves unheard-of in Montreal:
• The La Découpe counter will trim and cut the fruits and vegetables you picked yourself from the displays — no “recycling” old produce sights unkown into marked-up convenient packs here;
• A chef will be on site to cook and serve a recipe inspired from weekly Featured Products displayed in a one-stop-display for easy shopping, with a recipe handout to boot (guests were greeted with a seafood and pork sausage paella when I visited); and
• A Concierge will help answer all your foodie quandaries. For example, if you’re looking for the best olive oil for your buck, the Concierge could organize an impromptu taste test, even if it means opening bottles…
Finally, tip of the hat to GHA Design that signed the modern white-black-stainless-turquoise look of the new-style “Galerie”. It couldn’t be more removed from my old Plateau Mont-Royal fruit store, a regular haunt in a past, non-suburban life.
The Québécois banner reportedly spent millions of dollars on their 15,000-square feet flagship boutique, a concept that now needs to prove itself if the owners are to open other destinations already in their sights. So, quick message to the South Shore’s gourmets-gourmands? Please drop by to encourage them so other neighbourhoods may enjoy the privilege to shop until they drop…
Quartier DIX30, 8005, boul. du Quartier, local 101, in Brossard (J4Y 0N5 for your trusty GPS)
Disclaimer: For ethical reasons, let me point out that I was mandated by a Montreal agency to write Valmont’s Graphic Standards Guide last year, which means they’re an indirect client of sorts. So indirect in fact that I met the team for the first time ever at the media opening… This post is not sponsored and strictly represents my personal opinion. Thank you to Valmont and photographer Mélanie Bellemare for some of the photographs here. I take full responsibility for the bad ones here as usual.