Trying to decide where to eat and which culinary event to attend at Montréal en lumière is always a dilemma. There are enough options spanning the duration of the festival to keep one busy all day, everyday. This year, I decided to attend a few different things…
The Festival of our cheeses at Complexe Desjardins: The Festival of Quebec Cheeses is held every year during Montréal en lumière. This year was the 7th edition of the festival and it brought together several Quebec producers with a selection of over 60 cheeses! Being a big cheese lover, I couldn’t miss the opportunity to meet some of the best cheese artisans in the province and taste some of their award-winning products. It was also a great opportunity to make new discoveries and to stock up on quite a big heap of cheeses.
Dinner at La Fabrique: La Fabrique didn’t have a guest chef this year. Instead, resident chef Jean-Baptiste Marchand created a 4-course “gaucho” menu inspired by the Argentinian theme of Montréal en lumière and highlighting the local flavours of this year’s guest city of Buenos Aires. I enjoyed every dish that night but the traditional Andean potato and corn locro soup with chorizo and porc was one of the happiest discoveries I made and one I look forward to tasting again in the future.
Lunch at La Khaïma: “Khaïma” means tent in Arabic and entering this small North African restaurant feels like entering a Bedouin tent. This Fairmount street spot was one of the 6 restaurants taking part in the “Lunching around the world” portion of Montréal en lumière. It was fun to let the spicy Mauritanian lentil soup and preserved lemon and chicken tajine transport me to the warmth of the Western Sahara desert on a slushy and cold Thursday in Montreal.
Convivial dinner at Marché Bonsecours: There’s no better way to discover a country’s culinary culture than through its popular cuisine. This event was the perfect opportunity to do just that with chef Dario Gualtieri and his 3-course menu of traditional dishes. The dinner was accompanied by a few dancing couples sashaying up and down the aisles of the huge room to the rhythm of tango music.
Hot chocolate at Montreal Museum of Fine Arts: How could I miss out on the opportunity to close the festival on such a deliciously artful note? Wandering the halls of a world-class museum in the middle of the night is absolutely wonderful. Even more wonderful is stopping by the Cacao Barry lounge to enjoy a rich cup of hot chocolate cooked up by Marius & Fanny and made with Single Plantation Chocolate Alto el Sol from Peru, in keeping with the Peruvian theme of the night. One of the most fun events for me this year was definitely taking part of this Nuit Blanche event at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and meeting some great culinary, pastry, visual arts and musical artists.