Interactive Monday at Casel Marche

After doing the Food Blogger Bake Sale last weekend,  I received a message via Twitter to be invited to Interactive Monday at Casel Marche.  It’s funny because I was briefly told about Interactive Monday while doing the bake sale and kinda hoped I could be invited (or I could put my name in the contest box and hope  my name to be drawn).  Then all of a sudden on Twitter I got message from Casel Marche asking me if I wanted come to Interactive Monday.  It was a surreal moment because I never get invited to anything, and nothing as cool as this.

What’s Interactive Monday about you ask?

Interactive Monday is an informative dinner hosted by the folks behind Casel Marche,  the condo building located on 17th Avenue S.W. and 24th Street.   Our host for the evening was Joel one of the masterminds behind Casel Marche and Interactive Monday.   He explains how Interactive Monday is meant  to understand and meet the people behind the food you eat and having a sense of community and a more personal relationship with them. Casel Marche is one of those places where you can see an example of that happening with the residents that live there and their vendors.  Casel Marche houses Cassis Bistro where the Interactive Monday takes place (they’re closed on Mondays, so really, we had the whole place to ourselves),  Market 17 where one can find fruits, veggies and meats that are local and organic (as local and organic as it could be of course 🙂 ) and J.Webb Wine Merchant, where we were treated to a wine tasting prior to the dinner where I wished I took pictures and notes on the wines, but I didn’t; the girls hosting the wine tasting were so nice and easy going so you don’t feel insecure when you’re tasting their wines.  I’ll be honest, I am the last person to tell you what wine to drink and how to drink it and these girls were so friendly that they made the whole experience really fun.   I also noticed  that if you’re not a wine drinker, they have a fridge with unique beers that you can mix and match to create your own 6 pack.

I was lucky enough to invite another friend, fellow blogger Miss.Foodie to join me for this mysterious evening.  It turned out we had a surprise guest chefs for the evening, one classically trained French chef and a French pastry chef….. can you hear my stomach grumble with excitement?

As we sit in anticipation who our mystery chefs were, it turns out to be a husband and wife duo extraordinaire, Chef Theirry Meret and his wife Pastry Chef Marnie Fudge.  They were ones behind La Petite Table in Okotoks before it became Bistro Provence and Theirry Meret was (or still is?) a culinary instructor at SAIT.  Today, this awesome duo run their own culinary tour company known as Cuisine and Chateau, which everyone should check out because I would love to go on a culinary tour one day and this one looks like a fun one to do.

So after knowing who was serving us, everyone was excited to see what was in-store for the evening.

We had a plate of amuse-bouche to start.

Salmon Rillette wrapped with Smoked Salmon and Roasted Squash Puree on Toast (?)

This was actually a surprise amuse-bouche that the chefs have created for us.  What a treat it was!  I think all of us at the table were super excited when this came out.  I couldn’t really hear over the excitement from everyone at the table when this came out, so I’m gonna do my best from my memory to remember what this was;  I believe it was a Salmon Rillette wrapped with Smoked Salmon and Roasted Squash Puree with slices of Cooked Squash on Toast.  Regardless, this was a great starter to the evening.  Everyone loved it,  all I remember was hearing everyone at the table “MmmmMmmmMMMMmMM” the whole time.

Ash covered St. Raymond Goat Cheese, Herb Salad, Yellow Sweet Tomato and Roasted Walnuts.

The salad was great,  it had a walnut vinaigrette that tasted quite delicate.  The surprising part of this was the cheese, the Ash covered St. Raymond Goat Cheese hails from Quebec and it did not taste like ash (in case you’re wondering, not that I’ve tasted ash but you know what I mean).  Goat cheese for me, usually has a very strong gamey taste to it; the St. Raymond cheese was very mild and subtle to taste and did complimented the salad quite nicely.

Sunworks Farm Certified Organic Chicken with Parmeasan Gnocchi, Moroccan Sausage and Market Vegetables

This was a pretty awesome main course.  Really, it tasted delicious no doubt.   The organic chicken comes from Sunworks Farm located in Armena, Alberta.  Joel was explaining to us that Sunworks takes great pride on setting the standard for organic chicken in the market and it really does taste quite good.  The chicken itself was moist and had great flavour.  I must admit,  setting the standard for organic chickens comes at a price and these chickens are not cheap.  They’re good for a reason and the price tag proves it.  But you won’t be disappointed-  just don’t over cook your Sunworks chicken and you’ll be happy.  The Moroccan Sauasage also tasted great, it does have a bit of a kick to it with the spices, but nothing that even a child can’t handle.

Poached Pear "en robe de chambre" with Vanilla Anglaise and Chocolate Caramel

Last and not least, the dessert!  If every pear was like this, I would eat pears everyday.  Pastry wrapped pear dusted with some icing sugar on a plate of vanilla anglaise and chocolate caramel sauce.  I think I finished this pear in less than a minute and probably could have licked the plate clean, but due to society’s view on proper conduct in public settings, I did not lick the plate clean (I very much would if I was at home…).   This was fabulous and it was a fantastic end to a wonderful meal.

During the meal we also had wines provided by J.Webb, a 2010 Samur Blanc ($18.95)  and 2009 Subilaux Bordeaux ($14.95).   The Bordeaux was great and all I remember was Joel saying that this was a “pizza wine” because it was so affordable.  You can order your take-out pizza and enjoy a great tasting bordeaux without worrying about breaking the bank,  and really for $14.95 you can get two bottles and make it into a really fun night.

What’s really great about this meal was that all the food was provided by Market 17, so we can easily find all the ingredients to this meal from the market.  We also got to meet Alan who co-owns Market 17 and is the “local grocer”, a rarity in today’s world.  What’s really great is that Alan can answer any questions regarding the products you buy at the market or if you have something in mind that you’re looking for you can probably ask him and he’ll do his best to help.  In a way, it’s really nice to know who your local grocer is.  OH! and he also stayed back for us (after hours) who wanted to shop at the market afterwardsl AND gave us a discount if were to buy some of our groceries that night. How awesome was that?

Overall, this was a real treat and I’m very honoured to be invited and be in the presence of not just great food but great company.  The whole experience is something to remember and if you ever want to get a chance at going to Interactive Monday, just follow @CaselMarche on Twitter or you can put your name in the clear contest box and see if you’ll be drawn, it’s  just by the main entrance across from Market 17.

Again, thanks to everyone at J.Webb Wines, Market 17, Chef Theirry and Marnie, and Joel for a wonderful evening.  Won’t forget it!  🙂

From left to right (standing): Joel, Chef Theirry Meret, and Pastry Chef Marnie Fudge.

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