Browsing Tag

food pairing


The Bombay Sapphire Collins Event for the Media was a Treat

bombay sapphire collins 2009 evening at Le Local in Montreal

I was one of the few epicurean bloggers and journalists in Montreal invited to experience the Bombay Sapphire Collins event last Tuesday at the upstairs meeting room of Le Local. It was a fun, intimate evening developed around cocktail, food and entertaining. The night seems tailored for At Home with Kim Vallee.

As a bonus, my husband Jerome is my official photographer at events. Jerome was delighted to help me out since he is always on the lookout to expand his bartender skills. On top of that, Bombay Sapphire is his favorite gin.

bombay sapphire presentation with UK mixologist merlin griffiths and Quebec chef louis-francois marcotte

We got the chance to meet and chat with Merlin Griffiths, the renowned mixologist who is the global brand ambassador of Bombay Sapphire. He came from the United Kingdom for a Canadian tour. During the evening, Merlin demonstrated how to prepare 4 easy drinks; each one is perfect for when you have guests over. The cocktail recipes contain 4 ingredients each. And the best of all is the fact that these recipes take almost no time to make. Merlin is knowledgeable and passionate about what he does. He is funny and a great entertainer. Later when we chatted with him, Merlin gave my husband cool tricks. He helped him refine his green tea martini recipe.

In each city, Bombay Sapphire teamed up with a local Chef to pair appetizers with their drink recipes. You may have noticed that cocktails and food pairing for an entire meal is in vogue. We had the chance to learn how to make and taste 3 appetizers prepared by the popular young Chef Louis-François Marcotte of Le Local. I will publish the recipes of the cocktails with the harmonizing appetizers next Wednesday on my Gastronomic column.

bombay sapphire bottle made with Swarovski Crystals

Jerome took beautiful pictures. I had a hard time limiting the number of pictures when I produced my photo montages. The glittered Bombay Sapphire bottle, used for displays and photos, is made with Swarovski Crystals. It is gorgeously crafted.

bombay sapphire swag bag :: essential bar tools

We received a swag bag with everything except the shaker and the Tonic water to prepare a Sapphire Tom Collins at home. After we prepared our Sapphire Collins with the gears in front of us, everyone was thrilled to know that a cool lemon squeezer will be given to us. It is perfect for making drinks since you can put it on top of your glass and no pits will fall on the glass. Inside a luxurious pocket file, we found all the recipes discussed during the evening. Like I said, I will publish the recipes with photos next Wednesday.

bombay sapphire collins 2009 evening room as we arrived :: at Le local in Montreal

We sat next to Carrie, Jennie and Eric of, Jenny Harrisson of Culinary Escapade. Amongst the attendees I met that night, I have a nice chat with the 2 guys behind Eat Well Montreal.

On a final note, I wish to compliment the organizing team. I am giving you my seal of approval when it comes to the set up, the activities, the swag bag and the overall party program. Putting an attention to details pays off. To be fair, I want to mention that it is not the first year that Bombay Sapphire with their agencies in Canada organizes this event. I am looking forward to next year’s event.

Update: See more photos of the evening on the dedicated album on my Fan page in Facebook.

+ Bombay Sapphire
+ Le Localget directions p (514) 397-7737
740 William Street, Montreal, QC, Canada, H3C 1P1
+ Simple et chic – a cookbook by Jean-Francois Marcotte $39.95 CAD at Amazon


Be in a Better Mood with NEWTREE’s Alpha Chocolate


I love dark chocolate. So I am looking for good reasons to eat a few bites. I discovered the NEWTREE large chocolate bars at a local fruit and vegetable shop.

The NEWTREE Alpha collection is available in 3 tempting flavors: pure, chili pepper and the exquisite thyme. It is made with 65% dark Belgium chocolate that is less sweet. It is delicious!


The ALPHA series contains golden roasted flax seeds and crisped rice. The good news is that half a large ALPHA bar supplies the daily recommend intake of Omega-3. Knowing this fact, there is no more reason to feel bad about indulging in a chocolate snack.

omega3 claims on the back of the ALPHA chocolate bar

March 8th, 2009 Update: To make it clear to all readers, chocolate in general, including most of NEWTREE chocolate does not contain OMEGA-3. Only the ALPHA contains added OMEGA-3 from what we can read on the back of the package.

Chocolate Pairing Lounge

NEWTREE started in Europe. It was founded in 2001 by Benoit de Bruyn, a biochemist with a passion for chocolate. NEWTREE is available in the United States since 2003. They produced milk and dark chocolate bar.

You can find on their pairing room unique combinations to impress your guests when you are interesting. 

  • Give a twist to your olive oil tasting party with dark chocolate. Serving them together is supposed to enhance the both flavors. Sip the olive oil, it will cleanse your palate, then nibble a piece of PLEASURE, pure 73% dark chocolate.
  • Top a toasted slice of baguette with a little bit of olive oil, a slice of brie cheese and a sliver of RENEW, dark chocolate with blackcurrant.
  • Find out which wine or beer to serve with each one of their chocolate bars.

+ NEWTREE Alpha Chocolate


Elevating the Soda to a Taste of Refinement

 dry soda gourmet flavors and tasting room

As an hostess, I am always on the lookout for non alcoholic drinks to serve to the pregnant women, teens and any guests who do not drink alcohol. Could DRY soda be it?

Seattle-based Dry Soda Company has more than a refined bottle design. The brand keeps a modern tasting room in their headquarter located in Seattle’s historic Pioneer Square neighborhood. They create their lounge version of the winery tasting room.

The gourmet flavors of their all-natural, lightly sweet sodas are unique. DRY produces lavender soda (sweet taste), lemongrass soda (dry taste), rhubarb soda (bold taste) and kumquat soda (fruity taste). In January, they are introducing two new flavors: Vanilla Bean and Juniper Berry Dry.

I googled DRY soda to find reviews from people who drank it. Viv of Seattle Bon Vivant first experienced the soda in a Champagne flute. She was impressed. I am craving for some since I read her tempting description. Her readers all seem to agree with her review.

Soda and Food Pairing

dry soda cocktail recipes and food pairing

You will find on the Web site of DRY Soda several recipes for appetizers, main courses and desserts paired with a soda suggested by real Chefs. You get a Dungeness Crab Salad with Garlic, Roasted Shallots and Pomegranate Vinaigrette paired with Rhubarb DRY Soda. Chef Dustin Clark pairs his Mini Muscovy Duck Burgers with Sharp Cheddar, Caramelized Onions and Huckleberry Ketchup with Lavender DRY Soda

DRY soda can be used to concoct tasty cocktail drinks. You will find recipes from each of the 6 flavors.

Dry Soda drinks are sold across the United States and in a few Canadian stores. Sadly, there are no retailers or restaurants in Montreal that carry DRY as far as I know. There are several restaurants or bars in Los Angeles on the list. So I will add it to me list of things to do when I go to LA.

By the way, I am waiting for answers to places where to eat breakfast or lunch in Los Angeles. Do not be shy to share your opinions.

+ Dry Soda Company
+ Drink This!: Dry Soda by Seattle Bon Vivant
+ Via Lovely Package