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Clean out your cupboard, then bulk up

Part of the ritual for spring cleaning should include inspecting your kitchen cupboards.

There are many foodstuffs that reside there that are past their due date and should be refreshed. Don’t forget your flour, grains, herbs and spices, which lose potency over time. There are by-the-pound shops in Montreal where you can replenish your supplies with just the quantity that you need rather than the volume that supermarket jars or bags dictate.

Newest in town is the Bulk Barn, a transplant from Ottawa. The huge variety of what you can buy by-the-pound or by-the-pinch is wonderful. They have the usual flour, spices, nuts and gummies, but go on to the amazing: cashew or almond butter, honey mustard pretzels, candy Lego, dried fruits like cantaloup, kiwi, pear, whey protein and those cute chocolate pebbles. Where else would you go to find pigs’ ears for dogs, rabbit or pigeon food, gummy rattlesnakes, double salted licorice, fortune cookies, individual Rice Krispies squares, Hershey minis, cashew crunch and cassava chips? For specialty diets, there’s sugar-free chocolate wafers for candy making and a large gluten-free baking section (rice, soy, corn). 11600 de Salaberry, D.D.O. 514-822-0897, Right in the heart of Little Italy, Epices “Anatol” Spices is a wholesaler that also sells retail, so the prices you pay are quite good. There is a huge inventory, with 60 varieties of tea and 150 herbs (some for tea infusions), and it’s only $5.99 a pound for coffee. Add to that 600 spices (cinnamon sticks, star anise), 90 kinds of nuts (macadamia, hazelnuts), whole wheat, soya and spinach pasta, buttermilk powder, dried mushrooms (porcini, morels, bolete cepes), sugar-free candy, wasabi peas, goji berries, peppers (chili, Szechuan, espelette) and henna for your hair, too.

For baking, expect to find many flavour essences, bulk Callebaut chocolate, candied and dried fruits (papaya, pineapple, blueberries, peaches, cherries, cranberries) and silver pieces for cake decorating. You can get even better prices by buying in larger quantities.

6822 St-Laurent. 514-276-0107.

Buying food by the pound is a good way to save money, because you can buy exactly the amount you need for your pantry or for that one recipe. At Papillon in Plaza Pointe Claire, you’ll find herbs de Provence, toasted corn nuts, shake ‘n bake, psyllium husks, jelly bellies, blackstrap molasses, spinach pasta, 12 kinds of chocolate wafers, brown basmati rice, glazed fruits, probiotic cereal, Montreal steak spice, pickling spices, whole nutmeg, flax seed, buttermilk powder and sugar-free pancake syrup.

You can rent one of their 150 cake-mold pans, find many cake decorating necessities, and even buy pinatas. You may be looking for soy beverages, retro candy or Japanese rice candy. For gluten-free diets, there’s a nice selection of bread, pizza dough, cakes, cookies, pasta, pie dough and frozen dinners.

303 St-Jean, Pointe Claire. 514-697-5157.



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