saisons dinners montreal © Will Travel for Food

The gorgeous SAISONS spring table with center pieces created by Le Tulipier {photo © Jean-François Frenette}

A few months ago, I was announcing my new project SAISONS on this very blog. Since then, my partner Janice and I have had our first fall edition at the Jean Talon Market back in October inside the Birri Brothers’ stall as well as a winter edition in February inside a church!

The spring SAISONS took place on May 9th, 2016 with chef Marc-Alexandre Mercier of Hôtel Herman, one of the best restaurants in Montreal and a personal favourite of mine. And what better way to celebrate spring than to set up shop inside a flower boutique? Le Tulipier–a typical Old Montreal store–is intimate and comes complete with brick walls, large windows, warm lighting, wood ceilings and, of course, tons of flowers! We decorated the long table with beautiful white and green flower arrangements created by Le Tulipier and tons of candles creating an intimate and warm ambiance.

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1st course by chef Marc-Alexandre Mercier: Nordic shrimp, shrimp crackers, fermented shrimp paste, shrimp powder, horseradish, wild mustard leaves {photo © Jean-François Frenette}

Chef Marc-Alexandre Mercier created a 6-course menu for the evening using local and seasonal products, even though spring produce is very late this year. Here’s what the guests enjoyed that night:

Crème fraîche, bottarga-style smoked pickerel eggs

1st course
Nordic shrimp, shrimp crackers, fermented shrimp paste, shrimp powder, horseradish, wild mustard leaves

2nd course
Lobster, lobster coral, lobster consommé, raw and cooked Jerusalem artichokes

3rd course
Chicken liver mousse, crispy chicken skin, marinated ramps, ramp mousse

4th course
Lamb confit, sheep yogurt, chamomile, crispy buttermilk, herbs

Goat milk yogurt panna cotta, goat milk skin crackers, lavender emulsion

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4th course by chef Marc-Alexandre Mercier: Lamb confit, sheep yogurt, chamomile, crispy buttermilk, herbs {photo © Jean-François Frenette}

Just in case you are not familiar with the SAISONS concept yet, here’s how it works:

Each season, a chef is invited to explore his favourite ingredients through his cooking. Each event’s multi-course menu will highlight what’s in season in and around Québec at that time of year and feature foraged ingredients, along with unique products from local producers and growers who share the SAISONS philosophy.

You bring the wine, and we’ll take care of the rest!

The concept is simple. You purchase your ticket in advance, which reserves your seat(s) at the SAISONS dinner table. A couple of weeks before the event, we will email you a flavour profile for one of the dishes on the menu so that you can shop for a fabulous wine to pair with that dish. The day of the dinner, bring your bottle of wine to share with the other guests, and when your dish is being served, you will be asked to describe and present your wine to the other guests attending so that they can understand the pairing. We don’t expect you to be a professional sommelier so don’t worry too much about your wine presentation. You can ask an SAQ vendor for recommendations. This is supposed to be fun! Our aim is to surprise, teach and inspire our guests with great food and a few surprises.

What makes SAISONS so different, you ask? Our focus is to highlight chefs and purveyors who work relentlessly to shine a spotlight on our unique made-in-Quebec products and ingredients. In addition, the SAISONS events will always be intimate gatherings set in unusual locations.

My personal favourite part of the SAISONS dinners is watching the guests chat and exchange contact info at the end of the evening and being privy to the forging of new friendships. It’s one of the reasons that make our SAISONS evenings magical and why we’ve now had regulars at all three of our dinners.

seasonal dinners montreal © Will Travel for Food

The lobster consommé being poured tableside {photo © Jean-François Frenette}

May 9th, 2016
Chef: Marc-Alexandre Mercier, Hotel Herman
Partners: Café Larue et fils
Venue: Le Tulipier

There are more outstanding photos of this event by the very talented Jean-François Frenette on our Facebook page.

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SAISONS guests enjoying dinner {photo © Jean-François Frenette}

Useful information:

Read more about the SAISONS events on the website.

Seating is limited to 14 guests per dinner and the location is only revealed a few days before the event.

The summer SAISONS event with chef Colin Perry of Dinette Triple Crown is taking place sometime in the month of August. We don’t have an exact date yet but if you’d like to be notified of ticket sales, please sign up to our newsletter. We hope to see you at a SAISONS event soon!

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