Gong Fu Chinese Tea Tasting 2 part

Welcome to part 2 of the special Gongfu tea Chinese Tea Tasting 2 ceremony I hosted for a few friends.

It was the perfect way to enjoy the 5 tea samples I received from Teavivre. Make sure to check Gong Fu Chinese Tea Tasting 2 part 1 to learn more about all the teas we tried and about the Gong Fu tea way!

I thought I would start of this post with a silly shot…perhaps I will regret it lol. But this my readers is what happens when you drink too much good tea and introduce a Tibetan Singing Bowl to the mix. I recently took a Tibetan Singing Bowl workshop and basically ran out to buy one that following week. This is us being silly with the said bowl, left to right top, and then bottom: Sandra, Melanie, Evelyne, Michele and (discreet) Rebecca.


Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

Gong Fu Chinese Tea Tasting part 1

I had an incredible eye opening experience. And I have to admit I never thought I would say this following a Chinese Tea Tasting, but I was left in awe after trying 5 very high grade tea samples from Teavivre. A high quality tea is so much more refined, pure and crisp. An excellent tea is like enjoying a top vintage wine. I will never be able to look at the boxed stuff or tea chain stores the same way again.

Since this tea tasting was a rather unique opportunity, I decided to host my bastardized version of a Gongfu tea ceremony with the tools I had and a few friends. You can read more about the real traditional Gong Fu ceremony here but I will give you a quick resume here as well.

teavivre tea leaves

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

Taste buds, Molecules and Buona Notte

I have such a major backlog of food posts you will have to excuse me but I will do a combo here. I recently attended 2 absolutely wonderful foodie events here in Montreal. I feel so privileged to receive such invitations. I’ll go in chronological order!

A new program at Lasalle College: Wine and Bar Services Management

Taste buds & Molecules is one of the books that has made the sommelier François Chartier a world foodie phenomena. Chartier presents a revolutionary way of looking at food and wine, showing how to create perfect harmony between the two by pairing complementary and often surprising ingredients. He has collaborated with chef Ferran Adrià from the illustrious Catalan restaurant elBulli, with numerous dishes on the 2009-10 menu inspired by the work of the Canadian sommelier.

During a cocktail-tasting at the International School of Hotel Management and Tourism’s  restaurant, Le Fuchsia, LaSalle College’s administration announced that the great sommelier François Chartier has signed a 5 year collaborative agreement with LaSalle College regarding the use of his trademarks,  key terms and research projects as the College launches their all new program, “Wine and Bar Services Management”.

LaSalle College is the only establishment to offer such a unique training in wine and bar services management where courses in molecular sommellerie, flair bartending and food chemistry are offered. This training has been designed to respond to the needs of the industry where we see more and more connections between molecular gastronomy and molecular sommellerie. To learn more about the new program, get in touch with the College by dialing 514-939-2006 or by visiting www.collegelasalle.com.

This evening included a tasting led by Chartier himself and was followed up with a more intimate Q&A for us food bloggers. Here are some of the lovely bites we had. These were paired with a special green tea, a Porter beer and a wine.

Buona Notte’s 19th Anniversary Feast

This supper club has been a beacon phenomenon for 19 years amidst a sea of coming and going competitive neighbors. if you want to eat amazing Italian fare in a luxurious industrial posh setting then look no further. On a week night things are more quiet but on the weekend your fantastic meal is followed up by awesome cocktails, dance music and a dance floor. With its fabulous location, food and atmosphere Buona Notte is the place to possibly catch a glimpse of any stars working or vacationing in the city.

But I have a confession to make. This event was actually my very fist time there. I have passed the outside of this establishment a million times but I just never went. I also heard a few times it was over rated. Well after the feast I had there I can guaranty it is not over rated but fantastic. Let me say a quick thank you to Massimo, Lino, all the staff but most of all Anna who planned the whole event (and wrapped all the Panatones). Thank you all for an amazing night.

About 40 die-hard Montreal foodies were invited to tastes 9 services of the best of the fall-winter 2010  menu. Each service was accompanied by a specially chosen wine as well. Again, 1 cocktail, 8 wines, 9 services which turned into 10 services: 4 appetizers, 1 pasta dish, 1 risotto, 2 main course and 2 desserts. As services went along the portions were getting bigger. OMG, I am still full! The menu is long and all in Italian so please see the picture of it and of the meal. Keep in mind the restaurant is very dark.

Except for a little confusion of the set up for our table, the service throughout was exceptional. Every dish was presented by one of the owners, every wine was described by the sommelier, waiters were perfect and Anna was always nearby to make sure we were happy. Food wise I loved almost everything. The Polpette de Vitelo (meatloaf) I found bland and I have heard of al dente pasta but my Spaghetti was just not cooked. Exceptional were the Cotecchino (sausage), the Merlozzo (fish) and the Maialino de latte (suckling pig). And our surprise 10th service? Fresh baked Panatone and Zabaglione. It was simply orgasmic. I am not kidding we took a vote at the table if we had to choose between a man and the 10th service, WE ALL CHOSE the 10th service.

And we even had a celebrity citing. OK unless you are a bit older and French Canadian you will have no clue who she is but Soeur Angèle was there and came to chat with us, I even have a picture with her. Who is Soeur Angèle? Born in Veneto, Italy, she immigrated to Quebec in 1955 and became a nun 2 years later. She became a chef and later teached, was on the radio, on TV and published cookbooks. And this young 72 ball of Italian energy partied it up till midnight that night!

Granted we may have gotten a bit more of the royal treatment then someone off the street but I would recommend this special treat in a heart beat. We all left as well with a few partying gifts: a bottle of imported extra ripe tomatoes and a fresh baked Panatone.

The best Panatone EVER! But they are huge and I live alone so after 7 days of working on the top part I decided I better incorporate the rest in a recipe: Panatone Bread Pudding….oh yes that will do just fine!

Panatone Bread Pudding

About 6 cups of Panatone
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp cocoa
3 cups of milk
3 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
optional: add 1/3 cup of Baileys, Brandy, Cointreau or what you like if your name is Claudia

Into a greased casserole dish break up enough bread to fill it 2/3 full. Mix sugar and cocoa together, pour the sugar over the bread and toss lightly to coat.  Beat eggs and add to the milk and the vanilla. Pour over the bread, make sure all the bread pieces are covered. Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes. Let it cool 2 hours before serving.


Absinthe Evening

How do you start off a week in style and non-sobriety?

Well for me this past Monday I accomplished that with an Absinthe dinner!

It all started with our last All Sugar Event where we ended up at the Lab cocktail, a bar that specializes in Absinthe. My friend Johanne has had a bottle for a while at home and knowing she did not have a proper Absinthe spoon at home I had purchased one for her at Christmas. This earned me an invitation to her place for an Absinthe tasting which I very gladly accepted. Now the plan was to researching light recipes that would make a good pairing. I expected a glass or two and a bit of food.

Instead I was greeted at her door with the following exclamation: I have 4 cocktail recipes we have to try!

Food consisted of goat cheese on french bread nicely warmed in the oven and a shrimp and fennel salad. Both truly a perfect match. For dessert it was Nanaimo bars (not for pairing, just happened to have some).

And below are the recipes for the cocktails. Sorry the pics are bad but better bad pics then no pics! All recipes (adapted) were taken from the website of the absinthe used: Absente, an excellent Absinthe indeed!


Traditional Absinthe

Absinthe can be served two ways:  mixed with water, or the traditional mixture of sugar and water using an Absinthe spoon and glass.

The traditional method of preparing this drink is to slowly pour water over sugar cubes placed on a slotted Absinthe spoon and balancing the spoon on a glass containing 1/2 Absinthe and 1/2 Water.

Depending upon your individual taste, Absinthe can also be served mixed with up to five parts of water to one part Absinthe .

The Absinthe will change color, from a bright, clear green to a pearly and opalescent green, ready to drink.




2 oz Absinthe
Fresh Mint Leaves
Fresh Lime
Simple Syrup (for every drink, boil
and stir 4 tsp sugar / 4 tsp water
until sugar dissolves)
Soda water or seltzer

Muddle 2 lime wedges and fresh chopped mint
Add ice
Add 2 oz Absinthe
Add splash of simple syrup
Top off with soda water or seltzer
Add a few more mint leaves for garnish
Mix and enjoy



1 oz Absinthe
1/2 oz Grenadine
2 oz Water
Dash of Cinzano Orange

Combine in a shaker filled with ice. Shake until well chilled.

Strain into martini glasses rimmed with a spiced sugar mixture (i.e. Nantucket Off-Shore Seasonings Drink Rimmer).

Add a black licorice ball candy for the finishing touch, optional





Fill a brandy glass with:
½ oz Absinthe
½ oz Drambuie Cream Liqueur
1/3 oz 12-year-old single malt Scotch Whiskey

Stir and serve chilled.


Yes we were drunk by the end ! But it was SO worth it.

Pairing Beer and Food

I would like to assume most foodies are capable of pairing basic wines with certain foods. But we do not think of trying to pair other alcohols with food. Trying other spirits or beers can be revealing and fun.

This coming Monday I am actually going to do that with a friend. We plan on having a light snacking dinner with a bottle of Absinthe she has had for a while. I gave her a slotted Absinthe spoon for Christmas so it earned me an invite for a tasting he he. Our research suggested seafood, fish, goat cheese and anise based recipes as a good pairing.

And here is another great example. I came across this beer blog that had a post matching a dessert recipe with a beer: Chocolate Pudding with Custard & Wheat Beer. I used to make a similar pudding adn just loved it. It really is so easy and quick to prepare. Check it out. Think of it a bit as a giant lava cake. And really as the other suggest a well chosen beer could make it a really intersting snacking event.  Here he suggests a wheat beer. I know nothing of beers but I did google wheat beer and it mostly suggested what we call here a white beer which is a very light beer that leaves a silky feel in the mouth.

Chocolate and silk….hmmmm!