Montreal’s Drogheria Fine

Drogheria Fine is Montreal’s year-old boutique pasta sauce emporium, championed by Franco Gattuso, a household name when it comes to Italian food in the Mile End. An ex-restaurateur, Gattuso decided to shift his extraordinary palette and particular culinary skills away from the restaurant biz and open his own shop. He conceived, branded and executed the idea all on his lonesome, and now shares the operation with a close family member.

In Italian, drogheria roughly means a place to purchase specialty goods with the end goal of feeling better. Not quite a drugstore, but shelves are usually stocked with feel-good remedies such as wine and the makings of comfort food.

Gattuso’s tight space—a mere 300 square feet—is home to ten pasta sauces ranging from traditional tomato sauce to spicy pesto. Up front are a few minimalistic shelves—by default, not by choice. Although it was only midday, wandering tourists and Mile End loyalists had thinned out their stock. In the rear are four massive vats for cooking and bottling the sauce. Throughout is the savory aroma of Italian cuisine.

We sampled the La Salsa Della Nonna—Granny’s Sauce—on the spot and left with our hands full and our wallets empty. While home chefs might think sauce to be an inexpensive venture, Drogheria’s olive oil is imported from the Calabria region in Italy, manufactured with the most gorgeous tomatoes and packaged with care.

The sauce tastes similar to how a garden smells. There’s an inimitable freshness to it, and the whole basil leaves transport us to a world beyond our own kitchen. This recipe is a family heirloom of Gattuso, one that has been passed down through the generations, and now finally sold to the public.

You haven’t made pasta until you’ve made it with La Salsa Della Nona. As Fairmount St. becomes one of the more increasingly gorgeous streets to spend time strolling, Drogheria Fine establishes itself as a frontrunner for main attraction.

68 Fairmount W., 514-588-7477

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