Saisons Mtl Event-May 09, 2016
Held at: Le Tulipier Fleuriste
438 St-Pierre, Old Montreal, Québec
Chef: Marc Alexander Mercier Chef-Hotel Herman
Cost: $ 105.00 plus tax
At the beginning of this year as I was reading the Life section the Montreal Gazette on a Saturday morning and came across an article written by Susan Semenak about a new dinner series that had begun last fall, organized by food blogger Mayssam Samaha –Will Travel for Food. She started planning local seasonal food events in Montreal, showcasing some of this city’s young and upcoming local chefs; who were cooking their speciality dishes in a private setting in different venues throughout the city.
For those who know of the blog, you are familiar with Mayssam and her writings, for those who are not familiar, let me just mention that her body of work is exceptional. Having won many awards, she is a seasoned professional and perfectionist and so are her events. Never an easy task to organize any type of event, hers are a breath of fresh air every time and totally educational. All die hard foodies must apply and experience one of these events at least once or over and over again in their foodie lifetime.
I had the privilege this May to experience the spring dinner after coming out of my winter hibernation. Having signed up immediately after seeing the article I grabbed the last ticket. The fall season event is next Monday Sept 26, but has been sold out months in advance, so you must sign up for her newsletter at http://www.saisonsmtl.com and get first digs within 24 hrs of posting.
What we know about the event firsthand is the name of the chef who will be cooking privately for you that evening. The venue is a surprise and is usually announced in the coming weeks before the event. Don’t fret the venues are well thought out and traditional of the season.
On this particular evening I headed out to Old Montreal to discover the venue was being held in a florist shop appropriately called Le Tulipier. How best to honour the spring season with none other than tulips. In the center of the shop sat a long table seating about a dozen people. The table setting was gorgeous with white tablecloths, white tulips and hydrangeas all the appropriate table accouterments.
Beforehand we were asked to purchase and bring wine to the event, we were given hints to what was required, and the rest was at our discretion. The menu was a secret to the guests and we had to explain why and what we had chosen in terms of wine. It’s all very casual and a real learning curve.
Upon entering you are greeted by the hostesses, Janice & Mayssam. You are urged to find your place setting at the table. A brief introduction and conversations ensued with my dining partners, and I discovered that we were all likeminded foodies who had a real passion for food. To my surprise I met some old neighbourhood friends there by chance and felt content in my discovery that over the years they had developed a taste for fine cuisine like me and appreciated gourmet food events.
It truly is a small world as I also had the pleasure of meeting Susan Semenak.
Her knowledge on food is extensive, offering insight on foraging garlic in Quebec and Vermont. I felt like I was getting a lesson from Mother Nature herself. The evening was so uplifting and refreshing and when the food started to arrive I was totally flabbergasted at the masterpieces presented to us. Local food products so melded in different textures that I could never have imagined and I cannot ever replicate. Cooking from two burners Marc Alexander Mercier blew us totally out of the water by spinning magic. Voted Young gun by Eater in 2015 he is a total perfectionist but yet ever so humble and now I understand why.
Our first serving and introduction to this marvellous meal was an amuse bouche of Crème fraîche, smoked pickerel eggs -bottarga-style and paired with Veuve Clicquot & Prosecco.
1st course: Nordic shrimp, shrimp crackers, fermented shrimp paste, shrimp powder, horseradish, wild mustard leaves .Pairing: Masi Masianco & Château de Maligny
2nd course: Lobster, lobster coral, lobster consommé, raw and cooked Jerusalem artichokes .Pairing: Viognier 2014.
3rd course: Chicken liver mousse, crispy chicken skin, marinated ramps, ramp mousse .Pairing: Atlantis 2015.
4th course: Lamb confit, sheep yogurt, chamomile, crispy buttermilk, herbs
Pairing: Côte du Rhône Les Cranilles 2014.
Dessert: Gelified goat milk yogurt, goat milk skin crackers, lavender emulsion, and pistachios .Pairing: Muscat de Rivesaltes.
I will not go into elaborate details about every dish. I just want to mention that each dish out did the other. Each awed and inspired, each perfectly executed and paired. Everything was to everyone’s liking; ambiance, décor, food and venue choices. Amazement and questions ensued after every dish and when it all ended Marc Alexander came to talk to us to get our feedback and we got a little insight at what makes him so dedicated.
Kudos! To a great evening and to Marc Alexander Mercier, Mayssam, Janice and the guests for your successful event and a good interesting evening shared by all.
This is one to add to your agendas and not to be missed.