Tuesday, November 09, 2010

You'll be happy to know...

Things were pretty quiet when we got to 4455 West Broadway.

C-S 1 fig. a: Spaceship St. Ignatius

There were barely any signs that anything was about to get underway.

C-S 2 fig. b: bazaar bazar

But then, magically, right at the stroke of 11:00, a door opened.

C-S 3 fig. c: enter the darkness

When we got downstairs we noticed things were quite a bit thinner than they had been in the past. Fewer vendors. Fewer attendees. Less food. The kooky mix of used books, windshield wiper fluid, Christmas sweets, and freshly-baked, homemade mitteleuropean pastries was still very much intact, but the good old Czech-Slovak Bazaar didn't seem to be attracting the throngs it used to.

And, horror of horrors, when we looked for our favorite pastries, they weren't there.

We nervously asked a Pastry Lady who appeared to be in charge whether they had any of the yeasted delicacies we're so fond of--"You know, the ones with the prune preserves and the nuts and the cottage cheese inside..."--and she said, no, they hadn't arrived.

Then she nearly gave us a heart attack, because she suddenly got very serious, pulled us aside, and told us in hushed tones, "Actually, the woman who makes them--she may no longer be with us."

This gives you some sense of the demographics of the Czech-Slovak Bazaar, but we were still shocked. "Are you sure? Can you double-check?" She ran off to inquire, and two minutes later she was back.

"Don't worry. It's okay. They'll be here. The woman who makes them--she just hasn't arrived yet."

Phew! We don't like to hear of anyone's passing, but that goes double for those who hold a body of knowledge that's rapidly disappearing--like making yeasted Eastern European delicacies.

So we made our way over to the book table to kill some time.

got milk? fig. d: got milk?

better robots & gardening fig. e: better robots & gardens

15 minutes later we looked back over towards the pastry table and saw the Pastry Lady waving wildly at us. We figured that was probably a good sign. So we ran back over, and, sure enough, our treats had arrived--two whole trays of them. Then, as we were trying to decide how many dozen to purchase, the Expert Pâtissière in question walked by and the Pastry Lady grabbed her.

Speaking Czech, the Pastry Lady told her. "These people here don't speak any Czech. They came to the bazaar especially for your pastries." (Little did she know that Michelle actually does speak Czech... )

The Pâtissière took one look at us, and in typical Eastern European fashion, god bless her heart, she made a sour face, waved her hand to say "Feh!," and continued on to catch up with her friends. Can you blame her?

All of which is to say, you'll be happy to know that we got exactly what we were looking for.

C-S 4 fig. f: Czech gold

November and early December is the height of Bazaar Season here in Montreal, offering some of the best bargains, the tastiest home-cooked food, and the strangest experiences of the entire year. Support your local bazaars!

Another of our favorites takes place this weekend: the Hungarian Bazaar, Hungarian United Church, corner of Jean-Talon and l'Acadie, November 13 & 14, 10:00 am - 3:00 pm.