Food & Drink: La Suite Gourmande

If you are anything like me, your grocery shopping has become such a routine endeavour that you can probably do it with your eyes closed. I know exactly where all of my staple food items are and I am usually in such a rush to be somewhere else (*anywhere* else, actually!) that I rarely even look up while racing through the aisles. So, any new products or foods that are available are invisible to me. And even if I did look up now and then, I’m usually in an annoyed rush to be out of the store that taking the time to read all of the ingredients to make sure that this new product is healthy for me to serve to my family is out of the question!

So, when I receive an invite to go to something like La Suite Gourmande, an event designed to showcase the food industries new products, I am so down! The “Show Me What You Got In 30 Seconds or Less” format speaks to me on a deeper level than I am probably willing to admit!

But if right now you are nodding your head in that knowing way, you are in for a treat. Here is the lowdown (in very short note form) on the next “look up for a second and grab this” new products that are available or will be available very shortly at a store near you!

IT’S OYSTER TIME:

One of the best things about oysters, when eaten in restaurants, is the inventive mignonettes that accompany the oysters. But what about when you want to host your own oyster night at home? For mignonettes, you either had to make your own or settle for the simple classic one in a jar. But no more! Thanks to Malimousse and Oceania, trusted makers of fantastic dips and mousses, you can now grab fun flavors such as the spicy Bloody Mary and the delightfully well-balanced Balsamic and Basil (as well as the classic, for those who prefer to stick to the traditional!). Available during oyster season only!

SAY CHEESE:

I love cheese. That might be the one station at the grocery store that I actually look up in an attempt to try new ones now and then. So, I was thrilled to get the chance to taste two Agropur cheeses that I had never tried before. Each of them are 2019 winners of the coveted Sélection Caseus contest, a contest which aims to recognize the expertise of Quebec cheese makers and the excellence of their products. Agropur’s Champfleury cheese won for the best soft cow’s milk cheese with washed, mixed or natural rind. And the company’s 5-year cheddar won as the best Quebec cheddar cheese. As a big fan of old cheddars, I can definitely attest that this one was a well-deserved winner!

VIVA SCANDINAVIA:

Have someone on your holiday gift list that loves tea? The tea sets and accessories designed by Viva Scandinavia are simply exquisite. With their sleek, Scandinavian design and their artisanal hand-made products, a Viva teapot set will become the showpiece of any tea service. Plus, I adore their slogan: Inspiring the world to relax and slow down with the perfect tea experience, every single time.

PACK IT UP:

This concept really impressed me. In an effort to reduce our screen time, Pack It Up proposes that we rediscover the joy of: baking, cooking, gardening, cocktails, making pasta, fishing, etc…They have designed beautifully boxed kits for everything you would need to get your hands dirty in any of those categories. These are the perfect gift for just about anyone on your list! Who doesn’t want to get started on the lost art of pasta making?!?!

GELATIN-FREE YOGURT :

I hate how long it takes me to go through the ingredients on yogurt to find the gelatin-free ones. So, I really appreciate it when it is written in big, bold font right on the front. Thank you for that, Ïogo! With their new fruit-at-the-bottom flavors of blueberry, blueberry-blackberry, pineapple-mango, and orange-mandarin, I like that they are announcing that their yogurts have no preservatives, no gelatin, no artificial coloring and flavors, and no gluten (although, does yogurt ever have gluten?).

I also got to try the new organic yogurt by Olympic, a yogurt made 100% using milk from Canadian cows that are entirely herb-fed and bred in free-range pastures. They had arranged a few different tastings of the yogurt with different combinations: granola, jams, berries. It was a nice way to inspire me to change up my breakfast routine of just plain, old, yogurt!

IT’S 5 O’CLOCK SOMEWHERE:

I’m not exactly a connoisseur of vodkas and whiskies. But I do have some knowledge of the classic spirits. So, it was quite surprising to learn that Japan is the 3rd top producer of whisky, after Scotland and the US. And I know that I promised a quick, overview of each product but I can’t resist sharing the unique love story that started Japan’s history in whisky, of all things!

In 1923, Masaraka Taketsuru founded the first whisky distillery which is now NIKKA. Prior to founding the distillery, M. Taketsuru had travelled to Scotland and fell in love with a beautiful Scottish woman. They married, but without the approval of her parents (which always sounds so romantic to me!). He had also fallen in love with the art of whisky making while in Scotland and went on to study chemistry in Glasgow and was then trained in the top distilleries in the country. He then moved back to Japan with his lovely wife and introduced whisky to the Japanese people. I simply love this story of passion and art and whimsy! Sorry, had to share!

In tasting these different whiskeys, one can definitely see how the passion for the art of whisky making has transcended the generations! Great job, Nikka!

LA SUITE GOURMANDE:

I enjoyed the idea behind La Suite Gourmande. Grouping several different products into one event is easy and convenient. I don’t believe in promoting products just because I was invited to a media event to try them out. But I also believe that moms and dads and busy people in general can appreciate a little insight into the new things that are out there! So voilà!

- Sarah Birtwistle

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