Archive for November, 2008

domaine-pinnacle-ice-ciderIce cider is a relatively new speciality from Québec. It’s quite a sweet drink with a slight fresh apple taste – definitely worth trying and something that will be becoming more popular.

It can be drunk as an aperatif, as a dessert wine, possibly after a meal – but I’m a bit less convinced about that.

The production of Ice Cider is concentrated in the Eastern Townships of Québec. The apples are left on the tree until they are frozen, they are then picked and fermented resulting in a strong drink that is Ice Cider.

One of the largest producers is Domaine Pinnacle, and very nice it is too. If you’re interested in learning more, here’s a nice article from the Globe and Mail.

Ice cider is of course available from the SAQ, the Société des Alcools de Québec and from other speciality stores around the world.


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Father Christmas' Parade - Montréal - Défilé du Père NoëlEvery year in Montréal there is a parade welcoming Father Christmas (or Santa Claus) to the city. Parents and children line Montréal’s main shopping thoroughfare, la rue Saint Catherine as different floats and performances move along the road. Despite the sub zero temperatures (it was -5oc) everyone was in a good mood and enjoying the atmosphere.

The best prepared Canadians were there about 30mins before the official start of 11am with their folding chairs coffee and Timbits.

Here are some photographs from this year’s parade:

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Winter is definitely on its way to Montréal. I popped out of the car this afternoon to fill it up with petrol in just a tee-shirt and jumper and my gosh, at the end I jumped back in the car again – it was so cold!!

Actually it was around -5 degrees celsius which is not that cold considering that it can go down to -35. It did feel cold though. 

However, with the coat on, there’s no problem at all. I’m as snug as a bug in a rug. It’s really warm that coat and walking outside in the crisp frozen air is actually a pleasure. The legs in jeans start to get a bit cold at this point, so need to get a base layer to keep them warm!


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claire-savardIf you’re looking to buy or sell a house on the South-Shore of Montréal, especially in the La Prairie, Brossard or Candiac areas it’s worth getting in touch with Claire Savard. She really helped us out and was highly professional: she listened carefully to what we needed, learnt what we liked and disliked as we visited houses and areas and we found her to be always honest.

One word of caution though if you’re interested in La Prairie. Claire does sell a lot of houses in La Prairie – it’s normal she has a very good reputation – so if you aren’t comfortable with your Realtor acting for the other party you may want to raise this up front with Claire.

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Montréal cupcake
Cupcakes are a North American tradition and are very similar to Fairy cakes in the UK, or if I’m not being charitable “buns” as they’re sometimes called.

But my, it’s amazing what you can do with buns. Carrotte cake, squash flavour, lemon merangue flavour

… if that’s enough to tempt you then try out Petits Gateaux at 783 ave Mont-Royal E. You can take your cupcakes away or eat them there and then. Why not buy some and take them down to Park La fontaine and eat them there?

Price: $2.95+tax for one, $15.00 for six.


If you’re interested in knowing more about Montréal’s cupcakes, then this is a great blog posting from Under the High Chair

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The holiday season is fast approaching and soon it will be time to decorate our houses with lots of Christmas decorations. If you’d like to go somewhere really special to select your favourite baubles, why not drive over the border to Burlington in Vermont? It’s just under two hours drive from Montréal.

Burlington itself is a nice small university town with one street of shops, a small mall and a few restaurants. It makes a nice day trip out from Montréal if you fancy a bit of shopping in the USA. Why not combine a trip to Burlington with a visit to the Chrismas Loft?

Located in Shelburne just south of Burlington, the Chrismas Loftis a large building just full of Christmas decorations and what’s more, they have a Christmas village in the centre of the store. The choice of baubles and decorations is amazing and the prices are correct. It’s a chic store, not bargin basement at all, without being extorsionately expensive.

Hint: if you’re driving to Burlington from Montréal, ignore your sat nav and take the autoroute 15-S towards New York State. Once over the border, leave the highway at exit 43 direction Champlain and then follow road signs towards Burlington. It takes about 5 minutes longer, but it’s a much more senic drive.

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What can I say but wow! If you’ve never seen Hallowe’en in North America you’re in for a pleasant surprise! It’s really taken seriously here.

La Prairie in suburban Montréal organises a Hallowe’en party in it’s 340 year old historical centre. Amongst the old buildings a haunted graveyard was set up, one of the municipal buildings became an asylum for demented demons, locals stood on their porches giving out candies, sweets drinks to the children. There was even a live band playing music.

Adults and kids were all dressed up in Hallowe’en and other costumes. The atmosphere was great, everyone was enjoying the fun. Children were collecting their treats and examining the costumes of others.

Contrary to Europe, there was no alcohol served which really gave the place a nice family friendly atmosphere that really surprised me too.

Congratulations and thanks to everyone at La Prairie for organising such a super evening. We’ll definitely be back next year.

In the residential streets in Montréal, many houses are extensively decorated with Hallowe’en‘s key characters. Front lawns become graveyards, giant spiders spin their webs, and hords of children roam the streets ready to trick you if you don’t give them a treat! Actually I can’t imagine any of the very polite kids I gave sweets to wanting to play a trick.

Enjoy Hallowe’en North American style!

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