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Merci la Vie Café-Bakery: Growing to serve you better in Piedmont

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In Prévost since 2015, the Merci la Vie cafe-bakery—undeniably one of the best in the province—recently moved to Piedmont to expand and be able to pamper their customers even more.

Above all, Merci la Vie is a love story. Before opening the bakery, Johanne Martineau was a conference speaker and Albert Elbilia was an art director. It was the ups and downs of life that led the warm couple to open a cafe-bakery in November 2015. Since then, their establishment has been consistently busy; what more can we say than a simple “merci la vie!”—thank you, life!

Soon after they opened, their space in Prevost became too small for the bakery’s operations. Due to a lack of space, the couple had to work from an outside trailer to meet the ever-growing demand. The move—only a few kilometers north—allows Johanne and Albert to better accommodate and push their gourmet ideas even further.

Bread remains at the center of Merci la Vie’s offerings. Albert and Johanne prepare breads without leaven or poolish. To do this, the duo lets nature do its work; we’re talking about fermentation ranging from 72 hours to 10 days! Merci la Vie’s primary mission is as clear as it is noble: “to nourish the body as well as the soul”.

This approach is also felt in the cafe section of the house. In the kitchen, Albert has teamed up with Dutch chef Jesse Huijnen to create a fresh lunch menu featuring organic and sustainable ingredients. The duo is already looking forward to the spring to start working in their garden, established a few steps from the bakery. So are we. In addition, the new wood-fired oven promises delicious pizzas that will be added to the delicious kamut risotto, herbivore salad, and other delights. One of the big news is that Merci la Vie plans to open in the coming weeks in the evening from Thursday to Saturday. Very exciting!

Another first, Merci la Vie is currently waiting for its alcohol license. The team plans to build a natural and biodynamic wine list. It will also be possible, under certain conditions, to buy a bottle to take-out; an ideal formula when one passes by Piedmont en route to the cottage.

On the edge of highway 117, Merci la Vie bakery has given itself a wonderful location with a soothingly minimalist decor. Albert, who developed the plans for the new bakery himself, and Johanne teamed up with the friendly contractor Kevlar Construction; a company that earned their own sandwich on the Merci la Vie menu.

Upon entering, you are greeted with a counter filled with beautiful and enticing breads, pastries, baked goods, and coffees to take-out. To the left is a large open, glassed-in kitchen that offers space for everyone, bakers and cooks alike. The 50-seat dining room breathes with an abundance of natural light. In the evening, the house will offer the possibility of reserving the chefs’ table, a table for ten, directly in the Merci la Vie kitchen and offering a privileged view of the cooks’ waltz! For the summer season, Johanne and Albert are also preparing a magnificent outdoor terrace.

Johanne summarizes: “Here, the key word is love: love in the plates, how we prepare them, how we present them, but also where the products come from. It’s important to recognize what the earth offers us and to go back to basics.”

Exceptional bread, delicious small dishes, and very friendly owners. A staple!

Wishing you all the best!

PS: check out this program by Christian Bégin to help you make your own bread. Or at least try…


Photography by Alison Slattery





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