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Archive for the ‘Beverage’ Category

When I went to Cornucopia in Whistler, I had the pleasure to attend a few seminars to zero-in on certain aspects of food and wine. One of my favourite sessions was Ohh La La, where we sipped and learned about 10 French wines that cost CAD$37 or less. Besides BC wines, I have always been a big fan of French wines. I love me some bold Bordeaux blend, and French Viognier was one of the first wines I fell in love with. I was really excited about attending this seminar, facilitated by wine experts Christine Campbell and Dr. Damien Wilson, who have both lived in France before.

Here are the 10 wines we tried, ranging from sparkling to rose, to white to red. I will highlight the ones I enjoyed the most.

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Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival is back! Given the global COVID-19 pandemic and Public Health Order restrictions in BC, most participating vendors not only offer dine-in hot chocolates, but also to-go options and DIY kits. On the top of my list to try was Mon Paris Patisserie because both flavours on the menu sound so good!

On an almost snow day this weekend, we went to Mon Paris for a taste. I was hoping to sit inside the patisserie actually, but both tables were occupied so we could only take them to-go and enjoy them in our car ride.

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Durian – yay or nay?

This tropical fruit has a hard, spiky exterior. Inside, you would find pieces of soft, creamy fruit meat embedded in several segments. Growing up in HK, I watched market vendors went to the extent to use a screwdriver to ply it open. And fresh durian smell is more pungent than frozen ones. We could only find frozen durians here in Vancouver and the smell is nothing compared to what fresh, ripen durians smell at those markets in HK.

Durian is definitely an acquired taste. Those who love it would find the fruit sweet and fragrant. Those who hate it would say the fruit stinks like rotten egg. In fact, the opinions are a split in our household. Mama Lam wants nothing to do with it, yet Papa Lam enjoys it once in awhile.

Right now, for a limited time only, participating Chatime locations are selling Durian Milk Tea and Durian Roasted Milk Tea. I was provided complimentary drinks to taste test it.

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Another hot chocolate stop I’ve made was Chez Christophe in Burnaby. I remember meeting Christophe at a work conference years ago when he was doing cooking demonstration. That was before he opened his shop in Burnaby. Since then, I’ve been there a few times for pastries, but this was my first time trying their hot chocolate fest creations.

Both of Chez Christophe’s creations are inspired by popular fantasy stories. First, the Ruby Slippers was true to its name, donning a pretty hue of pink thanks to the use of ruby chocolate. I could taste the fruity, acidic note in ruby, combined with the fragrant, floral note of rose water. The two notes actually complemented each other very well. The ruby covered macadamia nuts were a nice combo of sweet and salty.

The Golden Genie was a tumeric white hot chocolate with turmeric, served with a macaron with caramel cardamom ganache.

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While Dine Out Vancouver is happening, did you know there’s also Hot Chocolate Festival? In fact, this is the 10th annual Hot Chocolate Festival. 44 different locations offering more than 110 flavours over a 4-week period, up until Valentine’s Day. Of course, I take this opportunity every year to discover local chocolatiers and find whimsical, creative hot chocolates.

First stop this year is the new 1931 Gallery Bistro at the Vancouver Art Gallery. They have recently renovated the bistro space upstairs from the art gallery and renamed it. They are also part of Dine Out Vancouver but I thought its $45 menu wasn’t quite worth it and they didn’t make it on my list.

Anyway, onto the hot chocolates. I was very intrigued because all their creations were inspired by art. Unfortunately, they were having technical difficulty so at the time of my visit they could only offer 2 of the 4 creations listed on the official website. As per my usual, I ordered one of each.

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