40 and Famished: Double Take at A First Bite

Première Moisson. Photo Esther Szeben. Yule Log. Première Moisson. Photo Esther Szeben.

Once again, Première Moisson launched themselves into the holiday shopping season exactly one month before Christmas with their annual blogger soirée. After last year’s success, I begged was blessed to be invited back. If you recall, last years’ theme had the Montreal bakery/ confectionary pairing up with local mega-famous talent, Cirque du Soleil. This year, The Opera of Montreal is the beneficiary of a signature cake to celebrate all things artistic, melodic and help you cut out the fuss in the kitchen and concentrate on the entertaining.

Première Moisson. Photo Esther Szeben.

Gingerbread. Première Moisson. Photo Esther Szeben.

The evening was rolled out with invited Opera singer Magali Simard-Galdès singing an aria from Carmen and bloggers were invited to sing the refrain. Not the typical rigodon we Quebecers are used to. Bloggers participated in a focaccia making workshop, given a good two dozen ingredients to chose from, and essentially competed Top-Chef style. The winning focaccia had the honour of having their recipe replicated by the Marché de Maissoneuve store and sold through the month of December with proceeds going to the creators’ choice of charity. Though my sweet potato, parmesan, rosemary focaccia dotted with dollops of praline paste did not win, I have been inspired to repeat my handiwork. We sampled the seasonal focaccia: brie, cranberry and honey. Bite into it, and it is what you would expect from those flavours. No big surprises.

Several classic canapes circulated that evening. Many trusted traditional classics with small adjustments i.e the rich duck foie-gras on fig bread. The terrine on baguette had a twist of chocolate mixed in with the paté which is very subtle. Very, very subtle (I sampled two pieces to verify this). Keep in mind, preparing a tortière or other savory dish will probably cost you more in ingredients so leave the goose and wild-mushroom pie to the experts. They even make their own fruit ketchup to accompany it.

Première Moisson. Photo Esther Szeben.

Première Moisson. Photo Esther Szeben.

The Soprano is a spectacular marriage of the yule log and Opera Cake, but much sweeter and richer than its familial Opera. Coffee dacquoise with praline crisp and caramelized cocoa nibs overlaid with Caraïbe by Valrhona dark chocolate ganache, chocolate sponge cake and Opalys by Valrhona white chocolate mousse infused with vanilla and tonka beans is as much a mouthful as its description. More than half the guests did not finish their terrine glass (I was not one of them). $20 of each sweet creation will once again benefit sustainable food brokers, La Tablée des Chefs, a non-profit for whom Premier Moisson raised over $20,000 for in the past year.

Their gluten-free creation this season is the Strawberry Almond L’Alternative. Almond dacquoise, vanilla puff rice, almond mousse, strawberry marmalade covered with strawberry glaze. It’s worthy of centerpiece distinction. Serving 8-10 people at $35.50, its flavours are unique for this time of year; heavy on the strawberry and reminiscent of something you may have enjoyed back in July.

Gifts

They have these SPICY Gourmet Nuts that give an extraordinary crunch! Don’t finish the entire 135g serving in one seating. I did this a few nights ago while playing couch potato and suffered mild stomach cramping. There is a decent dose of capsaicin: Jamaican pimento and cinnamon mingle with organic sugar, cashews and almonds.

Première Moisson. Photo Esther Szeben.

Sapin Praline. Première Moisson. Photo Esther Szeben.

Many different chocolates to gift this year. A whimsical Christmas tree in your choice of dark, milk or white chocolate dotted with pistachio and dried cranberries. You can go refined by buying your hostess a box of dark truffles. For the younger, or young-at-heart you can have quality chocolate with the quirky painted chocolate shapes of santa’s, reindeer or snowmen in various shapes and sizes.

New this year- reservations for your catering can be made online at Premier Moisson. With this, a note of caution based on my experience last year.  I selected about 5 of the delightful chocolate-chip teddy bear shaped bread as teacher’s gifts after attending the event. I went to a Premier Moisson close to my house that had the catalogue and the instructions on how to make it, but did not make any for stock. Therefore, this had to be a) special ordered and  b) the baker was not accustomed to this request. For the sake of the recipients, I hope they tasted better than they looked. I had paid for them ahead of time and was committed to my purchase. They turned out deformed,  a tad “well-done” and would scare even the likes of the adorable little girl in Mosters Inc. If you go this route, buy what stock was baked the morning-of and looks as it should, or go to a succursale that you know regularly makes this distinctive bread.

This is just a small sampling of Première Moisson’s extensive menu. More items are in store so do not rely on the online catalogue alone to plan your epicurean celebrations.

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