Imagine for a second that it’s early morning. The blankets that you’re wrapped in are warm and you grip them snugly so no cool morning air can creep in. After waking you get out of bed quietly, hoping not to wake anyone else, and slowly make your way to the kitchen. There’s absolute quite and the only thing you hear is the droning hum of a heater that’s begun to warm up your home. You’re now wrapped in warm, comfortable clothing and feel like your body is on autopilot you continue to wake. As if by instinct you begin preparing your coffee and once the machine is ready you take your favorite mug and place it where it can collect that piping hot black gold. The scent of the coffee coming from the machine helps the wake-up process move a little faster as you begin to anticipate the first sip that will find its way into your soul and make you smile. With your cup in hand, you make your way to a window and watch the sun crest over the buildings, the light slowly growing as the city wakes and comes to life.
This cozy image I’ve just conjured up is my Nespresso moment (as coined by Nespresso themselves) and I try to live it as many mornings as I possibly can. I get up early and I start my day calmly, knowing that it won’t stay like that once I leave the house. I told this story at a dinner thrown by Nespresso this past week celebrating during their Nespresso Atelier and it got an envious response from the people with children. While their kids bring them other joys, they don’t have the luxury of a peaceful moment like this in the morning.
The Atelier was an excellent exhibit of some the fantastic and talented chefs that we’re lucky to have on hand for the evening. We kicked the event off with a champagne and coffee atelier comparing different vintages. The atelier was spearheaded by Elyse Lambert, Canada’s top sommelier (fifth best in the world!) and Nespresso’s very own coffee sommelier (since 2014). Her dedication to studying coffee as she would a fine wine was well on display as she broke down the different notes and subtleties of each of the coffees we slurped. Our next stop was a virtual reality lesson in cooking that had us standing in a kitchen in France watching a dessert come to life. This was my first every virtual reality experience and it was quite something.
With a glass of champagne in hand we mingled a little before heading to our table. The elaborate settles that companies pull together for dinners like this is truly astounding. We pulled into the table and soon were served the first of five courses that were prepared exclusively for the evening by the four chefs present. Each service incorporated a different intensity of coffee that are all available from Nespresso. Chef Joseph Viola from France prepared the appetizer and entrée. Our first service was gambas (king shrimp) and mushroom cream cappuccino with Dharkan Grand Cru mousse. The second service was a encrusted duck foie gras and veal sweetbread pate which was prepared with Arpeggio Grand Cru infused gel (wine pairing: Tenuta Friggiali 2014, Rosso di Montalcino, Italy).
Our third service (and main course) was prepared by our very own Chef Olivier Perret from The Sofitel Hotel’s Le Renoir. We were delightfully serviced farm-raised squab with spices and Arpeggio Decaffeinato Grand Cru and cep ravioli. It was delicious.
We capped our evening off with not one but two different but equally delectable desserts. First up from Chef Sebastien Bouillet was Le Noisetier (notes of roasted hazelnut combined with the richness and freshness of mandarin orange). The dessert was flavourful and paired well with the Rosabaya de Colombia Grand Cru from Nespresso. The second dessert came from none other than Roland Del Monte (Le Renoir) and he prepared Le Mayombe which consisted of a meringue shell that was filled with Meyer lemon compote and topped with Kazzar Grand Cru ganache and gelatine infused with Rosabaya de Columbia Grand Cru. It was served with Dulsao do Brasil Grand Cru.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that a dinner like this, put together by Nespresso, wouldn’t be anything less than perfect. It was a great way to rub elbows with four great chefs and learn a little bit about coffee and champagne from Elyse Lambert. You can experience this yourselves this weekend (until March 12th) as Montreal en lumiere comes to a close. Both Saturday and Sunday will feature ateliers by renowned chefs from around the city and the world. Learn more about the Nespresso Ateliers at Montreal en lumière.
For more on Nespresso, visit their website here.