We visited Montreal in January, and if there's one thing to be said for Montreal in January, it's that it can get cold. Very cold. Cold in ways that my previous UK-centric experience couldn't even begin to fathom. What does "minus 35°C" even mean, to someone whose day-to-day experience registers minus two as flippin' freezing? (Hint: don't take your gloves off outside.)
Fortunately, one of our favourite holiday activities is to sample charming cafes. And, doubly fortunate, we had recommendation to follow up on for one of Montreal's best patisseries.
In a city which often feels (if you ignore the temperature shift) rather like you've stumbled into Paris, a patisserie recommendation is not to be ignored. Indeed, we liked this one enough that we ended up making two visits to Olivier Potier over the course of our three-day stay.
The coffee was strong, and served with a square of single-origin dark chocolate. The hot chocolate was mild and milky, but had a delicate aroma that won me over despite the expense (and the waiter's appalled expression was an absolute picture when I checked it wouldn't come with cream or marshmallows).
Similarly, paying $6 for a dainty cake seemed a lot, but clearly a lot of work had gone into crafting each one, and Andy loved his choice (below). I opted for croissants instead, pain au chocolat on our first visit (decent but uninspired) and on our return an almond croissant (light and flaky, a contender for the best I've ever had).
And I say it was expensive, but when we got home and actually saw our credit card bill, I was pleasantly surprised. It was pricey compared to other food we'd enjoyed in Canada, but by British standards, it was just about what I'd usually expect to pay for coffee and cake.