I was on a mission last week of finding Cretons for Sharkboy. For those of you who don’t know, cretons is a rough pate of pork butt boiled in milk and mushed together with delicyushs shcpices. More here at Wikipedia.
Anyhoo, I started out by Googling “Toronto”, “Quebec”, “Deli”, “cretons” etc. One place kept on popping up: Mel’s Montreal Deli on Bloor. I tell Sharkboy a small white lie and pay them a visit after work one night.
I walked into Mel’s all happy that I was going to bring Sharkboy a gift of tasty home memories. Visions of us waking on a sunny Sunday morning and running to the kitchen, madly spreading the delichisoucsh meat product across our warm toast and smothering it with mustard as Coronation Street plays out it’s drama on TV in front of us…
Cue “needle across record” sound effect.
Dirty. Empty. More “sit down restaurant” than “deli”. There is a refrigerated display near the back and I start towards it. It holds cans (Cans? Who refrigerates cans?) and other non-deli like product. I’m interrupted by a loud “You looking for take out?”
The waitress hasn’t even got up out of her seat to greet me, today’s paper spread out in front of her.
I ask if they serve cretons and get a “What?” in response. I explain what they are and she smiles wide and says she’s never heard of them.
“Your site says you do. It’s a Quebecois breakfast delicacy. They even serve it at Tim Hortons in Quebec,” I inform her. I’m tempted to go all John Cleese on her and say “Your sign does say ‘Montreal’ on it. Have you ever been to Montreal? I suspect that this ‘shop’ isn’t a ‘deli’ as you might define it, but more of a ‘doody’.” I could go on, you get the gist.
I leave. I visited 3 other delis (proper) and got pretty much the same reaction (except for one place who insisted that her croÃ»tons were cretons). The closest I came was a butcher on Church Street who use to sell them but nobody was purchasing milk-boiled pig bum.
To end this story on a happy note, we did find cretons at the St Lawrence Market at a stall on the main floor, south east centre (I didn’t catch the name). The heat-print label stated: CRETONS – QUEBEC – UNSPECIFIED.
That Sunday we recreated my breakfast fantasy, tears welling up in Sharkboy’s eyes as we gleefully swallowed lactate-boiled pig pooper.
(Thanks to Lex for putting a shout out on her site and Facelessbook.)