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Alsace On The Menu at Le Hangar: Return to Alsace

November 24, 2011

On this special evening Alsace wines returned to their roots to celebrate four major events: the first snowfall in Montreal; the birthdays of the charming Patrick Marsolais and our favourite oenologist, Nick Hamilton; but first and foremost, the final evening of Alsace on the Menu!

Don’t think for a minute that the cold and the snow put a chill on the red carpet, as glam as ever. Far from it! This happening took place at Le Hangar, the latest little brainchild of chef Louis-François Marcotte. On hand were our regulars, Philippe Fehmiu, Nick Hamilton and Aurélia Fillion, along with an impressive serving of invitees from different milieux: Ima, Patrick Marsolais, India Desjardins, Denis Fortin, Bruno Guglieminetti, Marie-Christine Proulx and Éric Salvail, to name but a few. What a way to set the tone for the evening! We also had the pleasure of crossing paths with owner Louis-François Marcotte, who took the time to greet the guests and to make sure everything was going as planned.


VIDEO


The evening in detail

Warming up at the freezing point

6:30 pm

What better way to warm up than to be welcomed with a choice of two excellent Crémants d’Alsace? The first, a white, the Wolfberger, and the second, the Calixte Brut rosé. The evening was off to a convivial start with many happy reunions. We chatted as we tasted the appetizers, which we have to admit were a pure delight. An important point to mention: the evening was based on Alsatian cuisine and the chef took great care to cook with our wines when the opportunity presented itself.

First, a dish of cloth-wrapped foie gras, muscat d’Alsace and gingerbread was served, followed by a delectable white pudding, finely diced green apples, sweet onions and Riesling d’Alsace. Then, snail doughnuts with herbs on mushroom duxelles and a duck tartar on plums and beer jelly completed the appetizers. We weren’t ashamed to help ourselves to seconds, if only to get another chance at the Crémant. A delightful guilty pleasure indeed.

When you think about great evenings, think great whites

7:30 pm

The evening officially started when Philippe Fehmiu took the microphone. Wandering among the tables, he stopped at the one where the bloggers were seated, and reminded us that in a certain era, the general rule was to turn off our cell phones, but today, we are invited to turn them on and share our favourites. He added that the evening had barely begun and already the portables were out in force.

He then handed the mike over to Nick Hamilton who presented the trio of wines that would accompany the cold entrée of lobster headcheese. It was the king of Alsatian varietals: the Riesling. Nick mentioned that we were going to taste Rieslings from three different producers, who used the same grape variety in three complete distinct ways. Off the top: Les Cigognes 2009 Riesling. Then we savoured the Léon Beyer Réserve 2009 Riesling and concluded with the Rosacker Hunawihr Grand Cru 2008 Riesling. A royal trilogy. In passing, Nick noted that the Riesling is the type of grape that can age for up to 20 or 30 years. A warning for wine lovers.

The hot entrée followed: a pan-fried lake pickerel on braised pork flank, spätzle with Meaux mustard, and white butter beer sauce. Our taste buds were enchanted. We were also served two great Pinot blancs: the Pinot Blanc Arthur Metz 2010 and the Pinot Blanc Pfaffenheim Grande Réserve 2009.

Let the gris make the dark clouds go away

8 pm

It was time for the main course of the evening: a stuffed veal tenderloin with Morteau sausage, red apple purée, pudding croquette and homemade sauerkraut, accompanied by two Pinot gris: the Willm Réserve 2010 and the Lucien Albrecht Réserve 2009. Two classics that never fail to please.

Our favourite’s favourite

Once again, Aurélia from Bu sur le Web, was able to charm us. Everything was in place for Aurélia, the bottle with its intriguing glass cork, but mainly the wine, a private import Pinot gris Domaine Binner 2009. “It smells of hay, spices and zing!” she declared. “Don’t you feel a little zing in your hearts?” Her enthusiasm was as contagious as ever. Even without knowing what zing is, I can tell you it was zinging at Le Hangar and Aurélia’s favourite found a special place in the hearts of many other guests.

A dynamic duo

9:30 pm

Philippe let himself carried away by the festive atmosphere and asked us to rhyme the six grape varieties of Alsace with different songs. We were treated to Patrick Marsolais rhyming Pinot blanc with the always popular Awingna han, a song based on a typical québécois expression. One guest suggested Muscat and Manon vient danser le ska. Finally, Ima proposed Gewurztraminer and C’était l’hiver.

Speaking of Gewurztraminer, we were really pampered on this last Alsace on the Menu evening. Nick Hamilton introduced two Gewurztraminers: the Arthur Metz 2010 and the Les Vendanges Tardives Léon Beyer 2000. The latter, an 11-year-old Gewurztraminer, was tasted slowly so we had time to appreciate the pronounced note of litchi. A treat to savour with our fine Munster cheese pastry and our clafoutis etcetera dessert.

It can’t be over already!

10 pm

For the last time this year, Philippe took the microphone and wished everyone a good evening, taking care to thank all those involved in the success of Alsace on the Menu. However, it was Ima who had the last word, highlighting the exceptional work of Philippe, Nick and Aurélia, without whom these evenings wouldn’t have been the same.

Follow us on our Facebook page to find out about upcoming events in 2012!


Photos

Detailed menu

Appetizers

Cloth-wrapped foie gras, muscat d’Alsace and gingerbread

White pudding, finely diced green apples, sweet onions and Riesling d’Alsace

Snail doughnuts with herbs on mushroom duxelles

Duck tartar on plums and beer jelly

Crémant d’Alsace, Wolfberger

Crémant d’Alsace, Calixte Brut rosé

Cold entrée

Lobster headcheese with lemon salt, candied seeds and mustard sprouts, cider and herb dressing

Riesling, Les Cigognes 2009

Riesling, Léon Beyer Réserve 2010

Riesling, Rosacker Hunawihr Grand Cru 2008

Hot entrée

Pan-fried lake pickerel on braised pork flank, spätzle with Meaux mustard, white butter beer sauce

Pinot blanc, Arthur Metz 2010

Pinot blanc, Pfaffenheim Grande Réserve 2009

Main course

Stuffed veal tenderloin with Morteau sausage, red apple purée, pudding croquette and homemade sauerkraut

Pinot gris, Willm Réserve 2010

Pinot gris, Lucien Albrecht Réserve 2009

Aurélia Filion’s favourite

Pinot gris, Domaine Binner 2009 (Private import)

Cheese

Fine pastry with Munster cheese, green apple julienne, chervil and salted caramel

Gewurztraminer, Arthur Metz 2010

Dessert

Clafoutis etcetera

Gewurztraminer, Vendanges Tardives Léon Beyer 2000


Wines served

  1. Crémant d’Alsace, Wolfberger
  2. Crémant d’Alsace, Calixte Brut rosé
  3. Riesling , Les Cigognes 2009
  4. Riesling , Léon Beyer Réserve 2009
  5. Riesling , Rosacker Hunawihr Grand Cru 2008
  6. Pinot blanc Arthur Metz 2010
  7. Pinot blanc Pfaffenheim Grande Réserve 2009
  8. Pinot gris Willm Réserve 2010
  9. Pinot gris Lucien Albrecht Réserve 2009
  10. Coup de coeur d’Aurélia FilionPinot gris, Domaine Binner 2009 (Private import)
  11. Gewurztraminer Arthur Metz 2010
  12. Gewurztraminer Vendanges Tardives Léon Beyer 2000

Detailed menu

Le Hangar culinary creations

Snail doughnuts with herbs on mushroom duxelles

Ingredients

Doughnut batter

  • 8 g of baking powder
  • 4 g of sugar
  • 150 g of warm water
  • 460 g of all-purpose flour
  • 3 g of salt
  • 2 large whole eggs
  • 45 ml of canola oil
  • 50 ml of Alsatian beer
  • 100 ml of fines herbes (chives, parsley and thyme)

Snail marinade

  • 1/2 teaspoon of chili flakes
  • 60 ml of chopped lemon salt
  • 125 ml of chopped garlic
  • 50 ml of olive oil
  • 100 g of canned snails

Mushroom duxelles

  • 15 sliced mushrooms
  • 1 minced shallot
  • 2 minced cloves of garlic
  • 50 ml of white wine
  • Olive oil
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 1 bay leaf

Preparation :

Doughnut batter

  • Mix the baking powder, sugar and water and let sit for 15 minutes in a warm place.
  • In a bowl, combine the flour and the salt.
  • Make a mound from the flour, create a hollow and pour in liquids (baking powder, eggs, oil and beer).
  • Stir and slowly add flour until you get a supple batter, without lumps and not too sticky to the touch.
  • Cover and let the batter chill for 1 hour.
  • Cut the batter into 8 gram portions.
  • Using the fingers, make a disk and place the snail inside before completely enclosing it in a ball.
  • Put the doughnuts on a cookie sheet, cover and let chill for at least 2 hours.

Marinated snails

  • Rinse canned snails well in cold water and drain well before placing them in a bowl.
  • Add chili flakes, lemon salt, chopped garlic, and olive oil to snails.
  • Mix well and let marinate in a cool place for 6 hours. (If you don’t have lemon salt, lemon zest will do.)

Mushroom duxelles

  • In a pan at medium heat, heat olive oil and add mushrooms, shallots, garlic, the sprig of thyme and the bay leaf. Cook for 4 or 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Once the mushrooms are well cooked, deglaze the pan with white wine and reduce.
  • Remove from heat and put the mixture in a food processor. Pulse the mixture a couple of times, taking care to preserve the texture of the mushrooms.

Assembling and plating

  • Fry the snail doughnuts in oil at 350˚Celsius until they turn golden brown, then take them out of the oil and sponge with paper towels.
  • In an Asian spoon, place the snail doughnuts on approximately 5 ml of mushroom duxelles and garnish with chives or a sprout of your choice.

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Alsace on the menu at Rumi’s: a wonderful blend of flavours!

Tonight, fine white wines are taking us to the Middle East to celebrate unexpected flavours. Exhilarating discoveries await! Our host for the evening is Ali Ashtiani, chef at Rumi’s. Throughout the evening, he’ll be dazzling and satisfying the most demanding palates.

Rumi’s red carpet is the hippest. Aurélia Filion and Nick Hamilton are among its famous guests, with renowned Philippe Fehmiu hosting the event. Among the celebrities present, we noticed Christian Bégin and Kim Rusk, one of the three hosts from “Par ici la sortie” (on Mlle Network).

A warm and welcoming decor, select guests and the perfect pairing of Alsace wines and Middle Eastern flavours: what more could one desire?


Video


Where all is luxury and fine whites

The arrival of each guest is saluted with a toast of wonderful Crémant d’Alsace, Wolfberger, accompanied by Middle Eastern mini-pita bites—a perfect appetizer and an ideal conversation starter.

Always passionate and friendly, Philippe sets both the table and the tone for the evening. He explains the evening’s program, ending with the promise of exciting discoveries.

Riesling: what a charmer!
Nick Hamilton, my favourite enologist, is next. He introduces the first two wines, which will accompany the cold entrée. Riesling, the undisputed king of Alsace vine varieties, kicks off the evening. Nick describes the Riesling Willm Réserve 2010, a fresh and supple wine, perfect for a smooth start. Next he charms the guests with the Riesling Kuhlmann-Platz Grand Cru Schoenenbourg 2007. Its pairing with white-bean hummus and goat cheese is so exquisite it leaves everyone begging for more.

We barely have time to share a few words and tweet our love of Alsace Riesling before the Borek chicken breasts and Pinots blancs make their entry. Nick comments: “These wines are so easy to love,” and he’s right—no one can resist!

Aurélia’s top pick
Philippe is back at the microphone, creating a twinge of suspense before announcing one of the evening’s key moments: Aurélia’s top pick. Delightful Aurélia steps up to the microphone and exuberantly describes her favourite wine, chosen specifically for the occasion. Spontaneously, she states: “One would like to smooch in it! Of course, I’m talking about wine!” The wine she is referring to is an Alsace Binner Muscat, 2009 vintage, a private import that immediately becomes everyone’s favourite.

Cockerel and Pinot gris
This is followed by two fine Pinots gris from Alsace, paired with a copious oven-roasted cockerel served with a jus of Muscat grapes and exquisite saffron basmati rice. Nick suggests that we start with the Willm 2010 Reserve Pinot gris, then continue with the Lucien Albrecht 2009 Reserve Pinot gris, a fine classic of this elegant vine variety.

The perfect balance between sweet and salty
It’s now time to indulge in the wonderful Gewurztraminer from Alsace. An effusion of roses, lychee and tropical fruit floods our palates. We savour both the Gewurztraminer Arthur Metz 2009 and the Gewurztraminer Hugel 2009. Nick explains that this vine variety should not be paired with an overly sweet dessert, a challenge brilliantly taken up by chef Ali Ashtiani, who serves us Warbat Bil Ashta, a cream-filled phyllo dough wonder drizzled with a syrup flavoured with rose water and orange-blossom water. Absolutely divine!

All good things must come to an end!
Philippe is back to conclude. He comments on the successful pairing of Middle Eastern flavours and Alsace wines, and invites us to the next event, to be held November 23. We tried to get more details on this new rendezvous, but the mystery remains. Follow us on our Facebook page to learn more!


PHOTOS


WINES SERVED

1. Crémant d’Alsace Wolfberger

2. Riesling Réserve Willm 2010

3. Riesling Kuhlmann-Platz – Grand Cru Schoenenbourg 2007

4. Pinot blanc Arthur Metz 2010

5. Pinot blanc Pfaffenheim – Grande Réserve 2009

6. Muscat d’Alsace Binner négoce 2009 (P.I.)

7. Pinot gris Willm Réserve Alsace 2010

8. Pinot gris Lucien Albrecht Réserve 2009

9. Gewurztraminer Arthur Metz 2009

10. Gewurztraminer Hugel 2009


DETAILED MENU

Aperitif and appetizer
Crémant d’Alsace, Wolfberger

Middle Eastern mini-pita bites

Cold entrée
White-bean hummus garnished with goat cheese
Served with naan bread

Riesling Réserve, Willm 2010
Riesling, Kuhlmann-Platz Grand Cru Schoenenbourg 2007

Hot entrée
Borek with chicken breast, pine nuts and greens

Pinot blanc, Arthur Metz 2010
Pinot blanc, Pfaffenheim Grande Réserve 2009

Aurélia Filion’s top pick
Muscat d’Alsace Binner 2009 Vintage (I.P.)

Main dish
Oven-roasted cockerel with a jus of Muscat grapes and a twist of lemon, orange thyme and marjoram, accompanied by cipollini onions and seasonal organic vegetables, served with saffron basmati rice

Pinot gris, Willm Réserve Alsace 2010
Pinot gris, Lucien Albrecht Réserve 2009

Dessert
Warbat Bil Ashta. Cream-filled phyllo dough sweet, served with a syrup flavoured with rose water and orange-blossom water

Gewurztraminer, Arthur Metz 2009
Gewurztraminer, Hugel 2009


Gholam Ali Ashtiani’s recipe: Lamb shank tajine with apricots

Ingredients

  • 2 lamb shanks
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 15 ml powdered ginger
  • 30 ml powdered cinnamon
  • 2.5 ml ground black pepper
  • 15 ml chopped garlic
  • 60 ml olive oil
  • 236 ml dried apricots
  • Freshly squeezed lime juice (optional)

Preparation

  • Mix all the ingredients–except the apricots–in a large saucepan.
  • Let stand for two hours.
  • Cook on a low setting until the hocks are golden brown.
  • Add water without completely covering the shanks.
  • Cover and continue simmering and stirring to prevent scorching.
  • When the shanks are almost done, add the apricots.
  • Continue cooking to desired tenderness.
  • Adjust sweetness with freshly squeezed lime juice.
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ALSACE ON THE MENU: A MASTERPIECE AT EUROPEA

Montreal, June 2, 2011

It’s a very sunny Monday in May and Jérôme Ferrer has just put together an exclusive lunchtime meal
for one very special occasion at Europea. It’s a meal befitting a superb restaurant whose slogan,
La finesse de l’art culinaire (The finesse of culinary art) says it all. Not surprisingly, the meal was a
masterpiece in every sense—and one for all the senses!

This year is Montreal’s turn to play host to a North American delegation of Maîtres Cuisiniers de
France (Master Chefs of France) during their 2011 conference. As such, Montreal graciously opened
its arms to welcome the many great chefs whose culinary expertise has crossed borders and taken up
root in renowned restaurants in Canada, the United States and Mexico. Today, Chef Ferrer has one
goal in mind: to showcase the distinctive know-how of local chefs and artisans to his peers. And what
better way to enhance the journey of discovery than with the flavours of Alsace Wines, which helped
set the tone from exciting entrée to fabulous finale!

Imagine if you will, a beautifully prepared room filled with master chefs. And almost perfect weather
that is both warm and welcoming, much like Jérôme Ferrer and his team who definitely outdid
themselves this time. For many, it’s their first trip to Montreal. Talk about creating an unforgettable
memory!


Video

Direction, camera and editing: Iouri Philippe Paillé


In the belly of the beast
Today’s menu took close to four weeks to put together and was extensively tested and re-tested. In
fact, many of the items being served are “must-haves” from the restaurant’s new menu, created just
last month.

We arrive just before “go time”. The servers, all of whom were extremely friendly and impeccably
dressed, were still receiving their final instructions and putting the finishing touches on the already
wonderful-looking tables. There were no fewer than 14 servers, along with a head sommelier and his
assistant—a veritable armada ready to dive right in to the action.

Then a moment of pure privilege as we’re invited down into the belly of the beast: the kitchen, where
many had been labouring their love since five in the morning. It’s a beehive of activity. The kitchen
itself is divided in an orderly fashion with clearly defined areas: hot dishes, cold dishes, garnishes
and a pastry and baking area. In total, we counted just over twenty hard-working individuals.

After all, everything on the menu is cooked from scratch right here.

We had expected nothing less than a kitchen atmosphere in full boil and we definitely weren’t
disappointed. The air was filled with excitement, positive energy and confidence (not to mention
the wonderful aromas). We witnessed a well-knit team with all members working together and
immediately sensed their respect for one another and, above all, a strong sense of camaraderie. Just
minutes before our master chefs arrived, Jérôme Ferrer popped down one last time to shake hands
and share a few hugs with his colleagues.

We followed his lead before heading back upstairs.

Enter the Maîtres Cuisiniers
The clock struck noon and our master chefs made their entrance, all visibly happy to be back home
with colleague Jérôme Ferrer. A few of them were even treated to a trip down to the kitchen… a
courtesy of professional protocol. Above ground, the atmosphere remains lively. Everyone is happy,
excited and ready to eat!

Hospitality and harmony
Restaurant Europea is best summed up in two words: simplicity and refinement. To that end, the
tables are as perfect as they can be with everything in its place—right down to the glasses and silver
plates adorned with the house emblem. At the centre of each table is a single Inukshuk, a symbol
of solidarity and mutual assistance in Inuit culture. These un-worked stones, often in the form of a
human being, are used a marker to point out food caches—making their tabletop presence all the
more relevant.

The art of Alsace on the Menu

An opening bite… to open one’s appetite
After enjoying a selection of cheese sticks and cheese lollipops, we’re treated to lobster cream
cappuccino with truffle shavings as appetizer. It’s simply divine and signals the first shot across
the bow. In fact, the room suddenly falls silent and one feels a sense of extreme concentration and
tremendous appreciation. To enhance our already heightened taste buds, we’re treated to several
house breads including poppy and black seaweed, and a choice of three butters. Mmmm. Exquisite.

Make way for culinary art
The meal turns out to be a whirlwind of excitement. No sooner have our plates been cleared than
we’re treated to a calamari entree served in wonderfully innovative hot stone dishes. The menu
describes it as tagliatelle-style calamari carbonara with poached quail egg and lemon caviar. A truly
remarkable creation. The calamari is cut in the shape of tagliatelle and the quail egg melts within.
Needless to say, it was thoroughly enjoyed by all. To accompany our entrée was a wonderful Riesling
Les Écaillers 2004, from the Leon Beyer house. A pairing that met with unwavering unanimity.

An irresistible pièce de résistance
We’re then treated to our main course: slowly braised veal cheeks Chef’s way, citrus flavoured sauce
— you’d be hard pressed to find anything quite as tender — accompanied by fondant potatoes and
parsnip purée with a Parmesan cheese emulsion, eaten with a spoon. Perfectly nuanced flavours that
have everyone thanking their lucky stars for being in attendance. And all beautifully paired with the
Pinot noir Léon Beyer 2007, a red Alsace wine with a delicate and pronounced taste.

Conclusion: well fed, very happy and gastronomically fulfilled!

Passport for culinary adventure
When you know the house, you know just how much attention goes into creating the delicacies.
Today’s meal was no exception and featured a mouth-watering parade of innovative amuse-
bouches—chocolate lollipops, chocolate spice cake, pistachio macaroons, warm mini-Madeleines and
cotton candy (to name a few)—the crowning jewels of a successful event.

And to complete our star-studded lunch: crémant d’Alsace Brut Wolfberger.

The crème de la crème of chefs, and the nectar of Alsace!
It’s quite rare to find so many great French chefs gathered around tables together as guests. Today’s
lunch welcomed more than fifty of them. Some are known for their restaurants, books or TV shows,
but all of them hail from celebrated restaurants where the crowds consistently flock. Names like
Michel Richard, of Washington’s famous Restaurant Michel Richard Citronelle; Olivier Dubreuil, based
in Las Vegas; and Jean-Louis Dumonet, Jean-Louis Gerin, Christian Têtedoie, Gérard Dupont and, of
course, Jean Soulard. The crème de la crème of Maîtres Cuisiniers…

A standing ovation for a gourmet sensation!
With everyone left satisfied and smiling, our team of cooks assembles in the dining rooms. And in
a spontaneous outpouring of appreciating, they’re treated to a standing ovation from our Maîtres
Cuisiniers. Without a doubt, Chef Jérôme Ferrer has pulled off a masterpiece… worthy of a master
chef!


Photos

Photos : www.emiliepelletier.ca


WINES SERVED

1. Riesling Les Écaillers, Léon Beyer 2004

2. Pinot noir Léon Beyer 2007

3. Crémant d’Alsace Wolfberger


DETAILED MENU

Lunch menu at Restaurant Europea

The appetizer
Lobster cream cappuccino with truffle shavings

The calamari
Tagliatelle of calamari carbonara with poached quail egg and lemon caviar

Riesling Les Écaillers, Léon Beyer 2004

The veal
Slowly braised veal cheeks Chef’s way, citrus flavoured sauce, fondant potatoes and parsnip purée
with a Parmesan cheese emulsion

Crémant d’Alsace Wolfberger

My passport to indulgence served to all tables

Cremant d’Alsace Wolfberger

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Alsace on the menu : Destination Macao with Giovanni Apollo

Montreal, 2011 May 13th


It was a year ago that Giovanni Apollo, equally superb and exuberant chef, kicked off the very first Alsace on the Menu dinner party in his namesake restaurant on Boulevard Saint-Laurent. So it’s only fitting that he join us for yet another foodie event!

Today, Giovanni is at the helm of his new restaurant (and its kitchens) on University Street for a pre-premiere. Many splendors await us! The crowd of guests, all of whom are dressed to the nines, arrives against a backdrop of immaculate decor. Even my taxi driver does a double take upon seeing the throngs of “beautiful people” outside. “What’s the occasion?” he shouts out. “Alsace white wines,” I reply. He nods his head and smiles.

Red carpet treatment for noble white wines
Clearly, tonight’s dinner party has brought out all epicureans from across the city: gourmet aficionados who like to eat and love to talk. Tonight will be the perfect time to do both. Montreal’s foodies have accepted their invitations with a resounding yes—within hours the place is packed to the rafters—and we’re treated to good times in the company of local celebrities such as Philippe Dubuc, Pierre-Luc Brillant, François Papineau, Nadia Fournier, Amélie B. Simard, Maripier Morin and Chantal Machabée.


Video


As if by magic—a restaurant appears!
Chef Apollo once again finds himself embarking on a great adventure. The space is majestic and takes up three floors of pure white décor. It’s the perfect complement for Alsace white wines. Tonight, Chef has planned a first-class journey for our taste buds!

In order to truly nurture his newborn venture, Giovanni has only kept one of his two Boulevard Saint-Laurent locations. Truth be told, it’s not even open yet—tonight’s event is more of a pre-pre-pre-opening—and painters were still putting on the final coat of white at 4 p.m.

It has taken something of a miracle to put together this event in what, up until a week ago, was nothing more than a construction zone. Speaking of miracles, tonight’s venue is a former rectory built in 1836. Chef Apollo probably did enough chanting and praying in the former Anglican church to convince the clergy that he was, and I quote, “a good boy.” From this night forward, the unique venue becomes a place to happily rejoice in food and drink. Hallelujah!

Mild weather, sparkling Crémant!
On this, the eleventh of May, 2011, spring has finally sprung. It’s the ideal evening to show off designer clutch bags and high heel sandals, and the perfect time to enjoy chilled Alsace whites that make us dream of summer.

Upon arriving, we’re immediately seduced by sumptuous surroundings, Crémant d’Alsace Wolfberger and, as always, Philippe Fehmiu’s irresistible smile. He’s our must-attend master of ceremonies for every dinner party. “Tonight we taste and we share our pleasures,” he exclaims. It already sounds promising!

A revelation of tastings
Philippe welcomes us and invites us upstairs to take our places at the table. Tonight, our appetite will build while we sip. But before we take the first bite (or bites), the always-divine Aurélia invites us to sample a Crémant d’Alsace Julien Meyer, Brut Zéro, 2005. She sings its praises as we discover this sparkling elixir she describes as having a personality as strong as champagne. A wine she discovered during her insightful meeting with prominent winemaker Patrick Meyer. She makes us taste it. One immediately notices the strength of the sparkle, yet the wine from crémant is lingering, full, present… divine.

Nick Hamilton, consistently charming and knowledgeable

While enjoying our appetizers: aloe vera and lychee pata negra (Iberian ham), sardine brandade tartines and crab dumplings, Nick Hamilton makes his entrance. Our renowned sommelier and Alsace dinner party enthusiast tells us that some Crémant d’Alsace varietals even beat out champagne in blind taste tests. One sip and we’re true believers!

He then presents us two Pinots blancs Réserve (the two available this evening prove to be quite different): The Willm 2009 is a must-have for pre-dinner drinks on a terrace, while the Winback 2008 is a more serious, rich, full and round varietal. Everyone enjoys their sophistication and appreciates their perfect pairing with the laquered Bacalao tortilla and lemon kefir whip. Mmmmm!

Without a doubt, tonight’s dinner party is a journey. As such, Nick Hamilton fittingly highlights the perfect blend between Alsace wines and the flavours of the world.

We now move on to our warm appetizer: filet of suckling pig with a hint of chorizo and fennel, General Tao crab fritters and Chawanmushi broth served with two Riesling. Although individual preferences vary, the successful pairing of Alsace wines and the delicious food meets with unanimous praise.

Macao and Giovanni: a visa to the unexpected!
After skillfully managing tonight’s smooth operation and barrage of dishes, Chef Apollo takes a few moments to share the story behind his ever-so-sophisticated dish. His enthusiasm for Macao goes back a few years. He admits that he was initially baffled by the food, but once over the surprise, he quickly became adept at the happy and mysterious blend of traditional Portuguese cuisine and Asian ingredients. His dishes are a masterful demonstration of the style; the Royal shiitake in veal, soy and vanilla juice is a surprise for the taste buds that quickly transforms into a delight for all senses. A real find!

A brief history of Macanese cuisine
Unique in the world, Macanese cuisine came about when Asian wives began creating meals for their Portuguese husbands using local ingredients (especially those of Chinese origin) and several ingredients from India, Mozambique and other neighbouring places. In this sense, the Macao cooking is widely regarded as one of the first fusion cuisines.

As Giovanni heads back up to the kitchen in the attic, an armada of servers parades out a rack of veal served with crispy mashed sesame chickpeas. To accompany them, we opt for two sublime Pinot Gris, a very popular vintage. Le Réserve, Lucien Albrecht 2008 is delightfully pleasing. It’s followed by an Ostertag 2008 (Barriques), a full, round wine that’s enjoying tremendous success. And although we’re full and fed, we can’t help but ask for a drop or two more…

Desserts & Gewurztraminer

Nick Hamilton explains that this wonderful wine translates into palpable enthusiasm. Indeed, conversations abound, good times are in the air and spontaneous laughter breaks out. Inspired, Sophie Durocher improvises:
“Gewurztraminer,
you’re never bitter.As for you, wine from Alsace,
you’re always welcome in my glass!”

And with that, Richard Martineau adds: “Sparkling Crémantsparkly good! ”

All raise their glasses (with an s) to Apollo, Alsace and Macau!

Nicely done… the Apollo way!
Pulling off such an incredibly sumptuous meal with only an improvised cooking staff and a kitchen that’s barely up to scratch is nothing short of remarkable and a clear indication of Chef Apollo’s affinity for Alsace wines. It’s also the kind of success story that hints at a restaurant soon to become a Montreal mainstay. In fact, bookings for opening night and for brunches, lunches and dinners in the coming weeks are through the roof. Which means we’ll soon be out on Apollo’s beautiful terrace with a glass of Alsace in hand. Cheers, Giovanni!

The icing on top
The moment our foodie stopover ends, everyone promises they’ll be back for the next Alsace on the Menu dinner party. And because we’re fans of happy endings, Aurélia informs everyone that she’ll be hosting a live virtual wine tasting of Alsace Wines at 8 p.m. on May 31 on www.facebook.com/AlsaceontheMenu. The wines being sampled will be announced on May 18, which means you can buy them ahead of time, gather with friends, taste them and then chat live with Aurélia. Be sure to circle the date in white on your calendar! In the meantime, stay tuned for our next dinner party. We’re keeping it a secret for now… but it promises to be just as memorable.

Hope to see you soon! Until then, you can quench your thirst for news by regularly visiting our Facebook page.


PHOTOS


WINES SERVED

1. Crémant d’Alsace Wolfberger
2. Aurélia Filion’s favourite pick Julien Meyer Crémant d’Alsace, Brut Zéro, 2005
3. Pinot blanc Willm Réserve 2009
4. Pinot blanc Weinbach Réserve 2008 (code SAQ : 10903668)
5. Riesling Léon Beyer Réserve 2009
6. Riesling Rosacker Grand Cru Hunawihr 2008
7. Pinot Gris Lucien Albrecht Réserve 2009
8. Pinot Gris « Barriques » Ostertag 2008
9. Gewurztraminer Arthur Metz 2009
10. Gewurztraminer Léon Beyer Vendanges Tardives 2000


DETAILED MENU

Dinner party menu at the new Apollo restaurant

Appetizers
Aloe vera and lychee pata negra*
*Iberian ham: the pork is raised exclusively in Portugal and feeds only on fallen acorns.
Sardine brandade tartines
Crab dumplings

Crémant d’Alsace Wolfberger

Aurélia Filion’s favourite pick
Julien Meyer, Crémant d’Alsace, Brut Zéro, 2005

Cold appetizer
Lacquered Bacalao tortilla (cod)
Lemon kefir whip

Pinot blanc Willm Réserve 2009
Pinot blanc Weinbach Réserve 2008

Warm appetizer
Filet of suckling pig cooked at low temperature with a touch of chorizo and fennel, General Tao crab fritters and slightly lemony Chawanmushi broth.

Riesling Léon Beyer Réserve 2009
Riesling Rosacker Grand Cru Hunawihr 2008

Main course
Rack of crispy veal, mashed sesame chickpeas
Royal shiitake with veal, soy and vanilla juice

Pinot Gris Lucien Albrecht Réserve 2009
Pinot Gris “Barriques” Ostertag 2008

Dessert
Ramekin of Portuguese flan (rosewater and lychee essence)
Roasted anise brioche

Gewurztraminer Arthur Metz 2009

Gewurztraminer Léon Beyer Vendanges Tardives 2000

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Alsace On The Menu at Voodoo Grill… a star-studded evening of 5-star dining! Quebec City, February 24, 2011

Montreal, 2011 March 1

Alsace On The Menu’s very first stopover in Quebec City was a resounding and flamboyant success! Voodoo Grill, legendary restaurant and ‘supper club’ on Grande Allée, played host to a wonderful evening and many lucky guests in attendance. The venue was chic and inviting, and adorned with sparkling chandeliers.

Six o’clock. Anticipation reigns supreme and the kitchen is bubbling with excitement as we wait for the first guests to arrive. Philippe Fehmiu, customary master of ceremonies, tests his microphone while DJ Vibeus, who’s just settling in for an evening of eclectic mixing, plunges Voodoo Grill into an atmosphere of Asian-inspired electronica. We could already tell this was going to be a dinner party to remember!


Video

Full glasses for a journey full of class!
Six thirty. Guests arrive. Everyone’s dressed to the nines. The small talk is as effervescent as the sparkling Crémant d’Alsace Wolfberger being served—one sip is all it took to be transported somewhere special. For appetizers, we’re offered a chicken consommé with ginger, lacquered duck breasts, and sweetbread egg rolls with beetroot soy syrup. We’re all completely won over. And with taste buds conquered, it’s time to pore over the menu… eagerly feeding our hungry curiosity.

Asian-inspired cuisine and noble Alsace whites: perfect pairing, harmonious voyage
Guests take their seats as Philippe Fehmiu, official tour guide for tonight’s journey of flavours, sets the tone for the evening. He’ll accompany us right through to dessert with his customary energetic verve. Stylish as always, he’s wearing a gingham check shirt with mini black bow tie. Hope you’re taking notes, gentlemen!

Casual chic at its best
Many newcomers have shown up for tonight’s Quebec City first. And Philippe graciously explains the essence of Alsace On The Menu dinner parties—their distinctive 2.0 characteristic and real-time ‘streams’—encouraging us to keep our smart phones switched on to tweet and share feedback on AlsaceOnTheMenu.com!

The Menu dinner parties: an opportunity for guests to discover the flavours of Alsace Wines and to experience their versatility with great-tasting dishes from around the world. The ambiance surrounding each dinner party is sophisticated and friendly, he explains, just like Alsace noble white wines. Sounds inviting… just the way we like it!

And with that, Philippe introduces two prominent wine specialists ready to tempt our palates throughout the evening: renowned wine expert Nick Hamilton and ever-so-bubbly blogger Aurélia Fillion, whose spontaneity and liveliness never run dry. True to form, she’s quick to remark, “I love Alsace wines!”

The chef and his chef-d’œuvres
Chef Mathieu Villeneuve momentarily steps out of his kitchen to present his menu—the result of a lot of hard work. For three days, a small army of chefs has been working behind the scenes preparing a meal that now looks simply divine (and trust me, it was!).

Off to a great start…
Chef Villeneuve has decided to take us on a journey throughout Asia, travelling east to west. The first course consists of roasted scallop, a red lentil soup, and a crunchy vegetable rémoulade in Madras oil curry with gnocchi and coulis. And what better to accompany this mouthwatering course than two noble Alsace Pinot Blanc wines: Trimbach 2008 followed by Réserve Domaine Weinbach 2008.

Nick Hamilton describes them as light wines with delicate acidity—charming, sweet and round—and invites us to take a sip. He doesn’t have to ask us twice…

Second course, seventh heaven
Nirvana! We’re treated to lobster with rice leaf and, tip choy, shiitake, lemon oil, and miso shellfish bisque. It’s a mouthful of perfection beautifully accompanied by Alsace Riesling. Nick praises the varietal as dry and liqueur-like with an especially wide-ranging style that creates a rare quality.

Passionate about favourites
The first Riesling we sampled was Hugel 2009. It’s light, fresh, consistent, simple and refreshing, followed by Aurélia’s favourite, a dinner party tradition where she invites us to taste her favourite pick. This time, she’s chosen Riesling Herrenweg Turckheim Zind-Humbrecht 2006. A wine, she says, “that gives back plenty of love.” Her statement couldn’t be truer; one waft of its delicate bouquet is all it takes to awaken one’s senses. Hardly surprising for a Riesling that hails from a legendary winemaker and exemplifies what the Alsace experience is all about. “From the very first moment I tasted it, something happened between the wine, myself and the bar. Once swirled, it explodes with flavours and lingers. It’s full and rich and keeps coming on strong… the kind of wine that makes me such a wine lover.”

Then our master of ceremonies asks guests for their impressions. As one would expect, everyone has his or her own flavour interpretation, from whisky to many others. But according to Aurélia, there’s no such thing as a wrong answer. For her, wine exists to remind us of past experiences. So cheers, here’s to the democratization of wine!

Cue the belly dancers
Surprise and music are in the air as three belly dancers take to the floor. Everyone’s thrilled as the trio delights and wows in a fabulous atmosphere. One thing’s for sure: it’s an evening we won’t soon forget!

One main course, three tempting dishes
It’s time for the main course: braised lamb shank with sweet garlic hummus, Siberian ravioli (braised beef and small roux), bone marrow, five-spice, and nan bread. To complement such delicious cosmopolitan fare are two interpretations of Alsace Pinot Gris: Lucien Albrecht Réserve 2008, a very smooth wine with sweet-smelling pear and floral notes, and Léon Breyer 2008, a fresh, acidic, and appropriately spicy wine.

DJ Vibeus, who is still at the helm of his mixing station, continues to dish out Asian-inspired creations of his own. In fact, everything has come together so perfectly—the wine, the food, the music, and the belly dancing—that it’s been one of the most complete, fully immersed dinner parties so far.

Happy ending
To close out the evening in signature Alsace style and taste, we’re treated to three delicious desserts: sushi with pickled ginger, matcha tea crème brûlée (simply divine), and a fresh new take on the traditional pineapple fritter. They’re accompanied by the most energetic Alsace varietal, Gewürztraminer, for a delectable dessert pairing: Cuvée Bacchus Pfaffenheim 2009, a floral, spicy and tart wine, followed by a sublime Gewürztraminer Vendanges Tardives, Léon Beyer 2000, honourable mention winner. Talk about ending the evening on a high note!

Heavens, what a night!
Once again, Philippe bids us adieu and, once again, smiles are on everyone’s lips. All in attendance, from foodie to gourmet enthusiast, have been wined and dined to perfection and are clearly satisfied. And as usual, we all want to know the answer to the same burning question: when’s the next party? To be continued…!

Follow us and enjoy!


Photos


Wines served

  1. Wolfberger Crémant d’Alsace Sparkling Wine
  2. 2008 Domaine Weinbach Pinot Blanc Reserve
  3. 2008 Trimbach Pinot Blanc
  4. 2009 Riesling Hugel
  5. 2006 Zind-Humbrecht Riesling Herrenweg de Turckheim
  6. 2009 Lucien Albrecht Reserve Pinot Gris Romanus
  7. 2008 Léon Beyer Pinot Gris
  8. 2009 Gewürztraminer Cuvée Bacchus, Pfaffenheim
  9. 2000 Gewürztraminer Vendanges Tardives, Léon Beyer

Dinner party menu at Voodoo Grill restaurant

Appetizer
Wolfberger Crémant d’Alsace Sparkling Wine

Entrée
Chicken consommé with heightened with ginger and lemongrass

Sweetbread egg rolls with beetroot soy syrup

Lacquered duck breasts

First course
Roasted scallop, red lentil soup, and crunchy vegetable rémoulade in Madras oil curry

2008 Domaine Weinbach Pinot Blanc Reserve
2008 Trimbach Pinot Blanc

Second course
Lobster with rice leaf, tip choy and miso shellfish bisque

2009 Riesling Hugel

Aurélia’s favourite wine
2006 Zind-Humbrecht Riesling Herrenweg de Turckheim

Main course
Braised lamb shank with sweet garlic hummus, Siberian ravioli, bone marrow, and five-spice

2009 Lucien Albrecht Reserve Pinot Gris
2008 Léon Beyer Pinot Gris

Dessert
Sushi and ginger confit, matcha tea crème brulée, and pineapple fritter

2009 Gewürztraminer Cuvée Bacchus, Pfaffenheim
2000 Gewürztraminer Vendanges Tardives, Léon Beyer

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Alsace On The Menu dinner party: a Mediterranean stopover at Beaver Hall in Montreal.

Montreal, 2010 November 26

The new place to be!

After only four breathtaking evenings, Alsace On The Menu dinner parties are the new place to be—and be seen! A place where foodies and Epicureans can come together to enjoy the pleasures of food. Foodies enjoy a worldly menu of culinary delights in first-class style, heightened by the great flavours of Alsace wines. The final dinner party of the season introduced our taste buds to the many flavours of the Mediterranean.


Video

Welcome to the Mediterranean
The moment we set foot inside Beaver Hall, the cold November weather becomes a thing of the past. The music and Crémant d’Alsace Pierre Sparr Brut Réserve instantly transport us to the land of sun and exotic conversations. The atmosphere is bubbling with anticipating and dinner guests are clearly ready for adventure. A festive mood all around! The consensus is that tonight’s dinner party—a blend of Mediterranean delights and noble Alsace wines—is destined to be great. Indeed, from entrée to dessert, and from pinots to gewürztraminers, it is an affair to remember!

A grand, grand entrance
As always, Philippe Fehmiu, our wonderful master of ceremonies, welcomes us. Only this time, he’s dressed in ultrachic tweed! He invites us to quickly take our seats, and all in attendance are more than willing to oblige. A quick scan of the room finds Richard Martineau, Sophie Durocher, Bianca Gervais, Sébastien Diaz and the incorrigible Patrick Lagacé, while a show of hands reveals that many regulars are back for more. After all, you cannot stop at just one Alsace On The Menu dinner party!

Jérôme Ferrer—chef extraordinaire
Philippe Fehmiu introduces us to chef Jérôme Ferrer of Europa, whose reputation is beyond compare. Tonight, Jérôme will play master of Mediterranean ceremonies… and flavours. It is a perfect fit seeing as Jérôme grew up in from the Mediterranean region. He’s a charming man who does his best to introduce himself in a hoarse voice, before joking about yelling too much in the kitchen. He promises an evening of “bistronomie” and passionately guides us through the menu with a smile on his lips. Philippe concludes the formalities with a quick anecdote. It appears that Jérôme has a fondness for Brazil where he spends quite a lot of his time. Who knows, we might soon discover Brazilian influences on our plates. We hope so! The pairing of Alsace wines with Jérôme’s international flavours will be all the more pleasing. And thrilling. He wishes us bon appétit and disappears into the kitchen. We are already won over.

One entrée, two divine wines
Nick Hamilton, renowned wine steward and dinner party favourite, takes to the microphone to profess his fondness for the first two wines accompanying our Cod Charlotte in sweet balsamic vinegar and beaded olive oil. The first, a Pinot blanc Réserve, Willm 2009, delights with its light, round character and apple-pear aroma. The second, a Sylvaner Bouquet Printanier, Ruhlmann 2008, has a strong, intense character. Nick points out how these two connoisseur favourites are absolute delights to discover. And we couldn’t agree more—one sip is all it took to fall in love. Before wrapping things up, Nick shares a little secret: oysters and a Sylvaner = quasi-orgasmic pairing. Thanks Nick, something to remember for later on!

Aurélia’s coup de cœur
Aurélia Filion is as bubbly as ever and recommends a Pinot gris “Barriques”, Domaine Ostertag 2008. For those not yet familiar with Aurélia, be sure to check out her blog, Bu sur le web. She explains, quite eloquently, how everyone has a sensorial memory and that we can all identify the true essence of a wine. Tonight, she recommends something quite atypical and influenced by the wood tones commonly associated with burgundy winemaking: grey, rich and ultra-spicy with an aroma of licorice and anise. Definitely seductive. She tastes and offers the following observation: “It comes on strong, almost horizontally, before it explodes, full of life!” Then applause all around. Patrick Lagacé is left speechless. And that’s saying a lot!

A warm welcome for a hot starter
It’s time for our appetizer: Sea bass filet on mashed vegetable root. A hot starter paired to perfection with two Rieslings. According to Nick Hamilton, Riesling is the crowning glory of Alsace wines. We begin with a Riesling Bonheur Convivial, Rieflé 2009, which, by the way, wears its name quite marvelously, followed by a Trimbach 2007. Sheer delight!

Mediterranean climax
Our main entrée arrives with all the warmth and splendor of the Mediterranean sun! Foodies sharpen their knives to sample Chef’s sage and prosciutto grain-fed chicken breast with risotto-style orgeotto. Catherine Fourron, who recently graced the front cover of Elle Quebec, melts with pleasure, while bloggers tweet to their taste bud’s content. A wonderful climax to a remarkable evening. And what better than three flavourful pinots to accompany our main dish: Pinot gris, Pfaffenheim 2009; Pinot noir, Domaine Paul Blanck 2005 and Pinot gris Grand Cru Hengst, Domaine Albert Mann 2008. Perfection!

End on a high note!
Just when we thought it could not get any better, we are thrilled with the arrival of a sophisticated crème Catalan, served with a Gewurztraminer Vendanges Tardives, Trimbach 1999. An astonishing dessert bursting with the aromas of litchi and rose, and a unique way to celebrate the Canadiens’ 4-1 victory. Philippe calls it a night, and Jérôme, who pulled off a highly successful dinner party, bids us farewell. We’re already dreaming of the next Alsace On The Menu dinner party.

So here’s to good health. We’ll see you in 2011.


Photos


Wines served

  1. Crémant d’Alsace, Pierre Sparr Brut Réserve
  2. Pinot blanc Réserve, Willm 2009
  3. Sylvaner Bouquet Printanier, Ruhlmann 2008
  4. Aurélia Filion’s coup de coeur
    Pinot gris “Barriques”, Domaine Ostertag 2008
  5. Riesling Bonheur Convivial, Rieflé 2009
  6. 6. Riesling, Trimbach 2007
  7. Pinot gris Grand Cru Hengst, Domaine Albert Mann 2008 (from the latest issue of Cellier)
  8. Pinot gris, Pfaffenheim 2009
  9. Pinot noir, Domaine Paul Blanck 2005
  10. Gewurztraminer Vendanges Tardives, Trimbach 2000

Detailed menu

Appetizer
Crémant d’Alsace, Pierre Sparr Brut Réserve

Cold starter
Gourmet voyage on the Mediterranean Sea
Cod Charlotte with sweet balsamic vinegar and beaded olive oil
Pinot blanc Réserve, Willm 2009
Sylvaner “Bouquet Printanier”, Ruhlmann 2008

Aurélia Filion’s coup de coeur
Pinot gris “Barriques”, Domaine Ostertag 2008

Hot starter
Mediterranean flair for fine palates
Sea bass filet on mashed vegetable root
White butter citrus
Riesling “Bonheur Convivial”, Rieflé 2009
Riesling, Trimbach 2007

Presentation by Nick Hamilton, Cellier magazine
Pinot gris Grand Cru Hengst, Domaine Albert Mann 2008 (latest edition of Cellier)

Main dish
Mouth-watering moments on the coast
Sage and prosciutto grain-fed chicken breast
Risotto-style Orgeotto
Pinot gris, Pfaffenheim 2009
Pinot noir, Domaine Paul Blanck 2005

Dessert
Sweet escape under the sun
Crème catalane
Gewurztraminer Vendanges Tardives, Trimbach 2000

Prosciutto wrapped chicken stuffed with sage (serves 4)
• 4 grain-fed chicken breasts with skin
• 1 bunch fresh sage
• 4 slices prosciutto
• Salt and pepper

Insert a sage leaf between the skin and flesh of the chicken breasts. Salt and pepper to taste. Then wrap a prosciutto slice around each chicken breast and tighten to shape. Sauté the chicken breasts in olive oil in a skillet over high heat long enough to brown the prosciutto on all sides. Finish cooking in the oven at 350˚F (177˚C) for about 10 minutes (or until the internal temperature reaches 167˚F or 75°C). Let stand for 2 minutes before serving.


Recipe

Sage sauce (500 mL or 2 cups)
• 1 Spanish onion, coarsely chopped
• 1 carrot, coarsely cut
• 2 stalks celery, coarsely cut
• 3 cloves garlic, crushed
• 150 mL port
• 250 mL red wine
• 15 mL red wine vinegar
• 750 mL veal stock or 500 mL demi-glace (not powder)
• 1 bay leaf
• 3 sprigs thyme
• 1 sprig rosemary
• 2 cloves
• 6 black peppercorns
• 3 crushed juniper berries
• The remainder of the pack of sage

Sauté vegetables in one tablespoon each of oil and butter until they are lightly coloured. Deglaze with port and reduce by half. Add vinegar and reduce until almost dry. Add red wine and reduce by two thirds. Stir in veal stock and reduce by one third (just bring to a boil with the demi-glace). Then add the spices and herbs and bring to a boil. Turn off heat, cover and set aside 15 minutes, strain through a fine colander and serve.

Pearl barley risotto (serves 4)
• 200 g pearl barley
• 100 g butter
• 150 g Parmesan
• 1 Spanish onion, chopped
• 100 mL white wine
• The remaining thyme and rosemary

Bring salted water to a boil, add the remaining thyme and rosemary and pour the 200 grams of barley into water. Cook the pearl barley three quarters of the way (so it is still a bit crunchy) and cool quickly. Keep the rest of the cooking water when removing the herbs. Sauté diced Spanish onion (as big as the grains of barley) in a tablespoon of butter over low heat (without browning) until cooked. Deglaze with white wine and reduce by three quarters. Add the pearl barley and stir well. Slowly pour in the cooking liquid, stirring constantly. Salt and pepper to taste. Reduce liquid until almost dry, turn off heat without leaving the pan on the burner. Add remaining butter and Parmesan, stirring constantly until the two are well incorporated with the barley. Serve immediately.

Click here to attend our upcoming evenings .

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Alsace On The Menu at Picapica—an epic journey spiced with discovery!

Montreal, 2010 October 13

The latest Alsace On The Menu dinner party transported guests to the sunnier climes of South America and the Caribbean for a wonderful sampling of festive and unexpected gourmet flavours. Once again, the red carpet was rolled out to greet a lineup of local celebrities and foodies in search of the perfect pairing between Alsace wines and mouth-watering flavours. Among some of the familiar faces in attendance were Abeille Gélinas and Francisco Randez, to name just a few, who brought along their foodie curiosity and were quickly rewarded with an evening fully deserving of five stars—Alsace white wines and South America were the perfect pairing—from appetizer to dessert. An unforgettable fiesta-filled ambiance!


Video


Alsace white wines and a little zing!

While awaiting our main dish, we were treated to a divine Crémant Wolfberger that helped loosen tongues and get conversations going. It’s now easy to spot the regulars; the moment they arrive they’re keen to express their interest in attending the next dinner party.

7 p.m.

Philippe Fehmiu, our fabulous emcee, greeted everyone and started things off with some questions. Several Alsace On The Menu regulars listened alongside recently seduced newcomers and, whether South American by birth or at heart, all were eager to enjoy the pairing of Alsace white wines with various flavours. And it wasn’t long before our “hot climate” enthusiasts were hooked. Philippe concluded his opening with his customary smile: good wine, good food, and a Latin ambiance. An exciting evening awaited us!

A highly palatable bouquet!
Once again, Nick Hamilton, our favourite wine expert, took to the microphone to profess his love for Alsace wines. In a few words (and a few sips), he explained that Alsace white wines are extremely palatable and easy to enjoy. Most are varietal wines, but also include some blended wines. So one always knows what to expect. He also explained how Alsace wines are ideal for any occasion; some are quite noble, while others can be enjoyed every day. One thing’s for sure: he loves them and recommends them for their versatility. The variety of Alsace wines offers a wealth of pairing opportunities… something we experienced firsthand throughout the evening.

Let’s start with a sublime ceviche… à la Fehmiu
Philippe is just as gifted in the kitchen as he is behind the microphone. Just listening to him describe the ceviche made us want to sink our teeth right into it… right then. It truly was to die for (South America here we come!). Even Abeille Gélinas, a known vegetarian, asked for seconds. Now that’s saying a lot! Philippe’s ultra refined scallop ceviche was cheerfully served with a 2009 Willm Riesling and 2008 Leon Beyer, both of which were just sublime—their acidity helps offset the heat of the dish to perfection. Obviously, we did everything we could to get our hands on his recipe. He’s promised to share it with us soon.

We then moved on to the main course in style where chef Manolo of Restaurant Picapica described the dish of marinated roast pork that we were about to enjoy. It’s a Caribbean recipe that blends beautifully with a 2008 Leon Beyer Pinot Gris creating an instant classic pairing. Chef Manolo confirmed that the meal was lightly spiced for the occasion. An absolute “must” when visiting Picapica… we can’t recommend it enough for your next visit!

Bu sur le web… a get-together of flavour
Aurélia Filion, a dinner party regular whose charm and spontaneity are contagious, invited us to sample a 2008 Marcel Deiss, a blended wine. Then she went through the motions just like she does on her website: she opened the bottle, reacted excitedly (with good reason) and offered her comments. She asked guests what they thought and everyone joined in the fun—sampling, searching, savoring, and then deciding on … honey, or nectar … well, whatever the flavours, we all loved it! Nick Hamilton went a step further, stating, “This particular winemaker works the soil and mixes grapes as if to say ‘see what the ground tastes like.’” Decisively fascinating. Then we all took a sip and were instantly transported…

After a quick break, Philippe introduced everyone to a renowned blogger, Don Quixote, who was wearing an ultra trendy poncho. When she raised her glass, Philippe just couldn’t resist. “Ponchos outside,” he said. Speaking of bloggers, Marie-Annick Boisvert, an Alsace On The Menu regular, couldn’t resist either and wasted no time filling us in on the latest Habs score. Whatever the topic, the mood inside Picapica is always festive!

Three ways to spice up a meal!
We were recommended the combo platter, which was sheer delight. Following chef’s advice, we began with the caramelized cod before moving on to chicken in sauce and finishing up with the lobster. Three flavours that go magnificently with a 2009 Arthur Metz Pinot Blanc.

Between our combo platter and the sumptuous dessert that followed it, Maria Sanz had our mouths watering with a recipe book about the terroirs of Venezuela. She talked about her Cuban discoveries… restaurants off the beaten path in areas where Christopher Columbus first set foot on the island. In short, she invited us on a magnificent journey where Alsace wines are always a must-have.

All’s well that ends well…
The evening ended on a high note with a delectable dessert, Dulce de leche con alfajores, that’s as pleasing to savour as it is to pronounce. With compliments that kept coming up to the very last bite. It was accompanied by an equally sophisticated 2009 Arthur Metz Gewurztraminer.

11 p.m.

We were all feeling well fed and well taken care of. And the “tweets” kept on coming. A wonderful evening and a sold-out crowd—places filled up weeks ago. However, you might be lucky enough to join us for our next dinner party. But you’ll have to sign-up soon. The next Alsace On The Menu is already being touted as “not-to-be-missed”!


Photos


Wines served

Crémant d’Alsace, Wolfberger

2009 Willm, Riesling

2008 Léon Beyer, Riesling

2008 Léon Beyer, Pinot gris

2009 Arthur Metz, Pinot blanc

2009 Arthur Metz, Gewurztraminer

2008 Marcel Deiss, Cépages d’Alsace


Detailed menu

Aperitif
Wolfberger, Crémant d’Alsace

Cold entree
A colourful “à la Peruvian” feast
Ceviche tradicional
Fresh scallops supreme

2009 Willm, Riesling,
2008 Léon Beyer, Riesling

Hot entree
Gourmet Caribbean stopover
Pernil al Caribe
Caribbean-style shredded pork shoulder roast

2008 Léon Beyer, Pinot gris

Main course
Latin flavours for discerning taste buds
Plato Latinoamérica
Sofrito chicken and mole sauce, fillet of cod with caramelized sugar cane on papaya salsa, chipotle and lobster arroz

2009 Arthur Metz, Pinot blanc

Aurélia Filion’s favourite
2008 Marcel Deiss, Cépages d’Alsace

Dessert
Tierra del Fuego sweet destination
Dulce de leche con alfajores

2009 Arthur Metz, Gewurztraminer

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A stopover in India

Montreal, 2010 September 15

The red carpet was out for Alsace white wines at Le Taj in Montreal. Our second Alsace On The Menu dinner party transported us to India… in remarkable style. Wine and flavours came together to create a world of pleasure—a journey for the senses and an escape to countless exotic aromas.

This latest journey was highly anticipated and our venue quickly reached capacity. News of our Indian-themed dinner party travelled far and wide, and before you could say “Alsace On The Menu,” every seat in the Taj was taken. In fact, many guests had attended our first dinner party and looked forward to experiencing the Alsace VIP treatment once again.


Video

6:30 p.m.

Kickoff time with some of Montreal’s well-known epicureans in attendance: Sugar Sammy, Maria Sanz, as well as many eager foodies, bloggers and gourmet aficionados. Wolfberger Cremant d’Alsace set the tone for the evening and added sparkle to conversations. Service was impeccable, saris were glittering, and all things Bollywood filled the air! A bounty of culinary delights and a magnificently gourmet evening.

7:15 p.m.

The excitement continued as guests enjoyed their first glimpse at a truly mouth-watering menu, whetting their appetites and thirsting for something new. And they weren’t to be disappointed. Right on cue, and with just enough fanfare, Philippe Fehmiu invited everyone to sit. Our gracious host created a discerning menu set to the rhythm of hip Hindi music—from first sip to last bite!

Time to sample flavours—and to welcome Nick Hamilton, our favourite wine educator.

It is often said in vino veritas… And it must be true because Nick began his presentation with one of his favourite quotes: “The truth is in the glass.” So what matters most, then, is the tasting experience. Which was especially enjoyable considering our meal featured no less than eight delightful Alsace wines paired to perfection with Indian culinary delights.

Nick was friendly and talkative and proceeded to guide us along our evening, sharing his love for the Alsace region, its wines and its vineyards. He explained how Alsace wines are experiencing a meteoric rise in popularity in Quebec and that they will continue to gain ground in our daily lives—perfect complements to spicy and tangy flavours. Then Nick invited us to sample two Rieslings, the star of Alsace wines. Once you’ve enjoyed the aroma and taste of a 2009 Riesling Willm and a 2007 Riesling Grand Cru Rosacker, you’ll fully grasp the richness of the experience!

Where Alsace wines are always welcome
With his warm and welcoming smile, Kabir Kapul, maestro of the menu, wished us an enjoyable evening. Then we sampled the flavours of salmon tikka, okra and dhal lentils, washed down with a delightful sip or two of Riesling.

Spotlight on Aurélia’s favourite Alsace
Aurélia is the soul of Bu sur le web. Spontaneous and charming, sparkling and ravishing, she stands for the “democratization” of wine, espousing that wine is to be enjoyed by everyone and that we all have a sensorial memory. For our Indian dinner party, she chose a 2007 Riesling Alsace by Barmès Buecher, explaining how Riesling is a rich and complex varietal. She also told us about a swanky New York wine bar that served Rieslings exclusively all summer long… enough said!

She then invited us to take in its delicate aroma while Philippe Fehmiu collected feedback from guests—a festive ambiance filled with discovery!

The ever-fascinating Geneviève Borne!

Genevieve has just returned from India. For those who are interested, you can catch her travel adventure on Canal Évasion. Simply put, India thoroughly fascinated her. So it was only fitting that she be present to share her memories and impressions of the place. Her experiences captivated all of us. Of India, she says: “It is a complex and fascinating country, difficult to translate… Indeed, you can find girls listening to American rap music on their MP3s, but the fact remains that India invites introspection. Religions and rituals sweat through its walls, and you return a changed person. We’re in a world that is constantly spinning. The best gift is to travel deep inside yourself.”

On a side not, since returning from her trip abroad, Geneviève Borne only eats Indian food. By the time our evening was over, her passion for India had once again been fulfilled!

Palate pleasures… worthy of the greatest Indian palaces

Our delicious meal continued with butter chicken and sublime pinots, lamb with pepper, Gewurztraminer, 2005 Leyon Beyer, Pinot Noir, a 2008 René Muré (yes, a red!), and a unique dessert that exquisitely complemented our Gewurztraminer Arthur Metz.

To all our foodies—from the curious to the slightly envious—rest assured that there will soon be a third Alsace On The Menu dinner party.

So be sure to sign up and follow us for details.

Memories of our fantastic voyage

An elegant and refined crowd, delightful spices and dishes, and wines for all tastes culminated in a dream Indian getaway for discriminating foodies!

Here are some tweets toasting the evening’s success: “I don’t know which wine to settle on.” “Nick Hamilton tweeted that: when the colour is transparent… it’s so much easier to appreciate.” “A wonderful evening surrounded by great people. I just love discovering new wines…” “Magnificent evening.” “Super crowd.”

Dinner guests finally departed the land of Maharajas with smiles on their faces… already dreaming of the next Alsace On The Menu dinner party. As for the blogosphere, it continues to bubble with excitement!

Until next time!


Photos


Wines served

  1. Crémant d’Alsace, Wolfberger
  2. Riesling, Willm 2009
  3. Riesling Grand Cru Rosacker
  4. Les Viticulteurs Réunis de Hunawihr 2007
  5. Riesling Grand Cru Herrenweg, Barmès Buecher 2007
  6. Pinot blanc, Arthur Metz 2009
  7. Pinot gris, Lucien Albrecht 2007
  8. Gewurztraminer, Léon Beyer 2005
  9. Pinot noir, René Muré 2008
  10. Gewurztraminer, Arthur Metz 2009

Menu for the evening at Le Taj

Hors-d’œuvres
DEPART FOR THE SPICE ROUTE

Vegetable samosas,
chicken malai kebab and Indian shrimps

Crémant d’Alsace, Wolfberger

Individual entrées

ENTER THE TAJ MAHAL

Salmon tikka, okra and dhal lentils

Riesling, Willm 2009

Riesling Grand Cru Rosacker
Les Viticulteurs Réunis de Hunawihr 2007

Shared plates, two servings
1- Feast worthy of the greatest Indian palaces

Butter chicken
Vegetable jalfrezi

Pinot Blanc, Arthur Metz 2009
Pinot Gris, Lucien Albrecht 2007

2- Lamb with pepper
Saag paneer

Gewurztraminer, Léon Beyer 2005
Pinot noir, René Muré 2008

Dessert

SWEETS to THRILL a Maharaja

Gulab jamun
Gewurztraminer, Arthur Metz 2009


Le Taj Butter Chicken

3 to 4 servings

2 Chicken breasts, boned, skinned and cubed 600 g
3 tbsp Unsalted butter, clarified 40 g
1 Finely chopped onions 200 g
1/4 tsp Cinnamon powder 1 g
2 tsp Fresh ginger, grated 9 g
1 gousse Crushed garlic
3 Cardamom pods 1 g
1 tsp Turmeric 3 g
1/2 Red chili peppers, dried and chopped 0.4 g
1 tbsp Tomato paste 15 mL
1/4 cup Slivered almonds, finely chopped 18 g
1/2 cup Canned tomatoes (diced or chopped) 130 g
1/2 cup Plain yogurt, 2% 130 g
1/4 cup Cream, 15% 65 mL

Before you start

This recipe calls for ghee, clarified butter, which, can reach higher temperatures than regular butter, and can bring out the flavour of the spices. It must be prepared in advance.

Method

  1. Cut chicken breasts into cubes and set aside.
  2. Heat ghee (clarified butter) in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté finely chopped onion and cinnamon for 3-4 min. Add the grated ginger, crushed garlic, cardamom pods, turmeric and chopped red chilli peppers. Cook 1 min. while stirring. Add chicken cubes and sauté until they are no longer pink. Add tomato paste, ground almonds and diced tomatoes. Stir well, cover, reduce heat and simmer about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine yogurt and cream. Add this mixture to the pan at the very end of cooking. Heat another 1-2 minutes without boiling. Add salt and pepper to taste and remove the cardamom pods. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve.


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Alsace On The Menu at Restaurant Apollo – a dazzling success!

Montreal, 2010 june 16

Totally dedicated to epicures eager for new taste sensations, this premiere delighted all the guests with its flavour-and-wine harmonies. From the music to the proposed pairings, the entire experience was a gastronomic odyssey. For the space of a gourmet evening, the food and wine, supported by the music, swept us away. A truly memorable experience!


Video

A dazzling success… from the arrival of the very first guests

At 6:30 p.m., the 75 guests began to arrive on Restaurant Apollo’s red carpet. Most of them recognized each other with evident delight. A feverish atmosphere prevailed. The glamorous crowd included well-known foodies, bloggers, trend setters and gourmets, including Geneviève Borne, Richard Martineau, Josélito Michaud, Sophie Durocher and Philippe Fehmiu. All accepted the invitation without hesitation. There was a constant stream of conversation and laughter. A Crémant d’Alsace Calixte rosé aperitif contributed to the effervescent mood. And that was only the beginning.

Richard, a shared passion.

Very recently arrived in Montreal, Richard Kannemacher, Director of Marketing  for Les Vins d’Alsace, shared his passion for the Great White Wines and his knowledge throughout the evening. His comments for this premiere were eclectic and enlightening! He explained the origin of this special and diverse terroir, which has allowed so many varieties of vines (thirteen, including seven that are especially renowned). He added: “These wines are made on the vine more than in the cellars. They are not woody, but aromatic and fruity. They arouse emotion. Their aromas allow them to harmonize naturally with a wide variety of flavours.” The evening would be proof of this. He concluded by wishing us a fun evening. Believe me – it certainly was!


Photos


Wines served

  1. Crémant d’Alsace, Calixte rosé
  2. Pinot blanc, Arthur Metz 2008
  3. Gentil (Pinot gris, Riesling, Muscat et Sylvaner), Hugel 2008
  4. Riesling « Les Écaillers », Léon Beyer 2004
  5. Pinot blanc, Trimbach 2007
  6. Pinot gris, Vignerons de Pfaffenheim 2008
  7. Crémant d’Alsace, Pinot blanc, Wolfberger
  8. Gewurztraminer, Hugel 2008
  9. Andante (Gewurztraminer et Muscat), Cave de Ribeauvillé 2008
  10. Gewurztraminer, Arthur Metz 2008

Aurélia’s favourite

Once the entrées were served, the sparkling and spontaneous Aurelia de busurleweb enthusiastically shared her penchant for the Great White Wines, and especially for Pinot d’Alsace Métiss Domaine Bott Geyl 2006. Everyone breathed, commented and tasted it in unison. She promised to talk about it soon on busurleweb. Stay tuned…
This accessible pinot has spirit and is charmingly rebellious. Like her.


A closer look at the menu

Oriental Grand Premiere for Alsace On The Menu

Aperitif

Crémant d’Alsace, Calixte rosé

Canapés – First Port of Call in China

Tofu marinated in ginger, langoustine tartare in lemon balm
Pinot blanc, Arthur Metz 2008

Dim sum steamed in bamboo, customary dip
Gentil (Pinot gris, Riesling, Muscat and Sylvaner), Hugel 2008

Musical tasting

ARTISTS: Jiang Xiao-Qing (and Fei Jianrong)

PIECE: Vacances d’amour

Like Les cépages d’Alsace, fresh ginger and the scents of bamboo, this singer seeks to stimulate the imagination… Creating emotions with Vacances d’amour no doubt is the best justification for her presence on the air for this first port of call in China.

All the musical moments presented were selected by Maria Sanz and Philippe Fehmiu.

Entrées – A Short Cruise to Japan

Tuna and mirin sushi, matcha tea, whipped wasabi and yuzu
Riesling “Les Écaillers”, Léon Beyer 2004

Miso-shiitake soup, roasted scallop
Pinot blanc, Trimbach 2007

Lacquered pork in ginger and saké,  Wok of udon noodles, pear, sesame and daïkon radish
Pinot gris, Vignerons de Pfaffenheim 2008

Musical tasting

ARTIST: Marisa Kosugi
PIECE: Dreams of Happiness

The story of this piece comes from an encounter…A popular music producer wanted to mix Western roots with ancestral traditions. This evening’s gastronomic journey is in a similar vein. We marry Alsatian wines with dishes from the Land of the Rising Sun and savour the pairings!

Main dishes- Expedition to Thailand

Shrimp sautéed in curry and lemon grass, Stir fry of Thai vegetables, kefir, soya and lemon
Crémant d’Alsace, Pinot blanc, Wolfberger
Stuffed chicken with Thai curry, pressed jasmine rice, satay sauce
Gewurztraminer, Hugel 2008

Loin of veal in coconut milk and cardamom, citrus salad
Andante (Gewurztraminer et Muscat), Cave de Ribeauvillé 2008

Musical tasting

ARTIST: Viparat Piengsuwan
PIECE: Rak Tong Ror (Love Passion)

Crémant and Gewurztraminer. These elixirs, the dishes and the intoxicating music transport us elsewhere. Our chef’s itinerary and baggage, Love Passion by Viparat Piengsuwan and Alsatian wines are united to bring you to this fabulous state of “pure pleasure”.

Desserts – One Last Tour of Asia

Coconut cake, green lemon and pepper ice
Roasted pineapple cubes in vanilla and Chinese tea
Gewurztraminer, Arthur Metz 2008

Litchi beignet and lotus with honey
Mandarin cream
Gewurztraminer Vendanges Tardives, Léon Beyer 2000
Oriental Grand Premiere for Alsace on the Menu

Musical tasting

ARTIST: Yoshida Brothers
PIECE: Fukaki Umi No Kanata

Savour these musical and gustatory sweets. For our last tour of Asia, here are two Japanese brothers who have brought a traditional Chinese instrument, the shamisen, into the 21st century… A pure and sonorous vintage that wonderfully combines the charms of East and West, this evening’s perfect union of aromas and flavours.


Apollo’s Chef’s Recipe
Miso soup with scallops

Serves 6
3 cups of vegetable broth
1 tablespoon of dried bonito flakes (Asian grocery stores)
2 tablespoons of miso soup
5 shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 cup of baby spinach
1 carrot, finely grated
1 seaweed paper (wakame), finely cut
Small block of firm tofu, cubed
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
1 cup of small scallops
A few drops of soy sauce and lime juice

Combine the miso and vegetable broth. 


Add remaining ingredients. 


Simmer over medium heat for 6 minutes, serve immediately


Behind the scenes in the kitchen

An armada of cooks were busy in the kitchen. No fewer than 27 nations were represented, all working in harmony and in French.

Giovanni seduces us

Colourful and passionate, Chef Giovanni Apollo spoke to us about the creation of his menu. After confidently declaring that Italy would win the World Cup (?!), he reminisced about his travels and inspirations, and made a few digressions into his exotic private life, to the great delight of the guests, who were hanging on every word. He revealed that he had lived in Japan and that, in his day, he was THE official chef of the King of Thailand! We would have listened to him the entire evening, but he was needed in the kitchen, and left us to the sound of applause. By the way, if he ever chooses to try a new career, he would be a perfect late night talk show host.
On this note, we drank another glass!


The music: a grand tour of Asia

Maria Sanz had concocted a high-calibre musical menu, which blended completely and enjoyably with the evening’s dishes and influences. The guest D.J. was all set. Throughout the meal, the rhythms highlighted the encounters, the journey and the delightful combinations. This was a new Asia, completely revisited, with an deftly executed mix of traditional and electro music.

To open the concert: JIANG Xiao-Qing with a piece promisingly named Vacances d’amour. A remix of traditional instruments. Then came Marisa Kosugi, a Californian of Japanese origin who revisits Japanese airs, instilling them with raging dynamism, and Viparat Piengsuwan, Sixties pop served with Thai sauce, with a sound that you absolutely have to hear. In conclusion: The Yoshida Brothers, who soon will be touring North America.


Stay tuned…

Philippe Fehmiu announced that three other Alsace on the Menu evenings will be developed. The suspense is palpable. What flavours will he visit next? He would reveal nothing, but we know that the next one will be held around the end of August… And that all the guests who attended won’t miss these future evening events at any price.

Vins d’Alsace, we love you!

Click here to attend our upcoming evenings .

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Alsace on the Menu dinner party Stopover in South America

Montreal, 2010 October 13

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