Cantine Pollens & Nectars: Exceptional delights at Ferme-Neuve

The Cantine Pollens & Nectars is the extraordinary canteen of the beekeepers of Miels d’Anicets. If you don’t already know them, Anne-Virginie Schmidt and Anicet Desrochers are the charming couple behind this exceptional project. 

“Crazy about honey!”

The couple, with the help of a solid team, is working miracles in the Ferme-Neuve area. “We are crazy about honey! We wanted to push the honey experience further. To bring honey to the table, to make a connection with the environment and honey, between the beekeeping and hosting professions.” Pollens & Nectars was born in 2015 with the goal of diversifying the offering and effectively valuing honey in the kitchen and honey wine at the table. No other sugar is used in the kitchen, and it gives the unique address a certain je-ne-sais-quoi. 

The address has about fifty seats in the dining room, and welcomes visitors for lunch and dinner, from Thursday to Friday.  

The decor for Cantine Pollens & Nectars was developed by Anne-Virginie and her architect dad, Richard Schmidt. “We wanted to do something that looked like us. A Miels d’Anicet canteen with our small means; an extension of the farm.” The decor, like the couple, is friendly, warm, good-natured, and in these pandemic times, respects all the rules of social distancing and sanitary measures. 

Why a canteen?

Why a canteen?! “Because we are not restaurateurs. We wanted to offer a delicious cuisine that offers quality and delicious products.” The Cantine Pollens & Nectars offers local cuisine enhanced with honey, and it’s extraordinary! The simple dishes made with fresh, quality ingredients show the potential of honey in cooking. In vinegars, sauces, breads, on pizzas or in burgers, the flavours are amazing and everything is downright good. “We wanted to share it, our love of honey!” 

In the kitchen, the talented Jonathan Boerboom prepares your delights with a Vietnamese twist, an ode to his background. Jonathan’s from British Colombia and has been with the team for 2 years. While the restaurant is only open during the summer, he works on the Miels d’Anicet gourmet products the rest of the year.

Wood-fired pizzas and more

On the menu, we find “what’s missing here! We had pizza cravings, so we made some. (laughs)” The wood-fired pizzas are incredible. Pollens & Nectars uses vegetables from the garden, products from the ranchers next door, delicious cheeses from here, and some rare local products. The menu changes depending on what comes in, but some dishes stick around. Among the popular ones are the Vietnamese crepe Ban Xeo, the tartare, the scallop aquachile, the zucchini accras, and the delicious wood-fired pizzas.

The excellent menu is accompanied by a very good wine list developed by wine lover Anicet. The cocktails (all made with honey and really impressive) are concocted by Marcos Almaguer, the host with an impressive bartending talent. He’s a former partner of Le Darling and is part of Montreal Plaza’s amazing service team during the winter. Anne-Virginie mentions : “But really, it’s us, but it’s also the team and restaurant industry friends who come by and are a great source of inspiration for us!” 

The personalized address is a lot like the lovely couple. “It’s important that people feel at home. We entertain here as we would at home.” And it’s true. They receive with simplicity, generosity, very good food, and without fuss. Between what is on the plate, in the glass, the environment, and the landscape, the address is ideal to have a memorable experience in good company. Cantine Pollens & Nectars is both simple and exceptional—and simply exceptional!

Photography by Élise Tastet

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