Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA)? Nocochi might be just the ticket.
It is located one block from the museum and provides a calm atmosphere in which to unwind and enjoy a little something to eat. While Nocochi offers a wide menu that includes breakfast and lunch items, the real stars of the show are the cookies and tea. These can really hit the spot after a few hours spent at the museum or shopping nearby.
What makes Nocochi unique in Montreal is its impressive variety of miniature Middle Eastern cookies that are flown in from Vivel Patisserie in Dubai. Each has its own personality in a small package, with a footprint roughly the size of quarter. These little gems are downright cute.
At $0.80 plus tax each, however, they don't come cheap, and you probably
will want to eat several. Fortunately, there is a price break on larger quantities. Select 15 cookies and the total cost is
$11, a savings of
almost $3 over purchasing the cookies individually.
One of the nice things about Nocochi is that several of its cookies are gluten free. (Be aware, however, that the gluten-free cookies are displayed very close to the others, so if you are highly sensitive you might want to verify with the staff that the handling standards match your needs.)
Among the gluten free choices available are Nocochi, Chocolate Nocochi, Caramel, and Egg Walnut. Nocochi and Chocolate Nocochi are made from chickpea flour and
have the fragrance of cardamom. Caramel and Egg Walnut consist of
nuts held together with a binder. All of them taste great.
Many of the cookies, such as Pistachio Meringue, Florentine, Square Date, Almond Rock, Square Chocolate, and Nocochi Brochtoc are square or rectangular.
Others, like Date Slice, Round Chocolate, Milan, Apricot, and Brochtoc, have more interesting forms.
Each cookie is distinct in flavor and has its own merits. My favorites of the bunch are the nut-rich Egg Walnut, crunchy Caramel, and flavorful Florentine, but the best thing to do is try out whatever looks good in the display case. Discover your own favorites!
Tea is the perfect beverage to enjoy with cookies at Nocochi. The tea menu is not the largest I have seen, but at nearly 30 choices it does include interesting selections of black, green, and white teas, as well as herbal infusions. There is an emphasis on flavored teas, but you'll still find classics like Darjeeling and Hojicha.
Other drinks like coffee are available for those who don't feel like drinking tea.
On my latest visit the service seemed a bit abrupt at first, but the staff ended up being very accommodating and took extra time to discuss all of my questions.
A good place to take a break
When I am in the neighborhood and could use a small rest and a snack in a pleasant environment, I keep Nocochi in mind as a good choice.
2156 Mackay St.
Price: Allow $7 - $12 per person for cookies and tea, including tax and tip.
Highlights: Fun miniature cookies. Convenient location for museum visitors and shoppers.