Two weeks ago, my friend and fellow food blogger, Anna of Anna’s Appetite had scored two seats to the Interactive Monday event at Casel Marché and she invited me to join her. I had heard of Casel Marché before but had never been until two days earlier when I went to drop off baking for the Food Blogger Bake Sale. While I was there, I took a quick tour of the place. Located on the main floor of the Casel condo building at the corner of 17th Avenue and 24th Street SW, Casel Marché is a marketplace that is currently home to Vie Café, Cassis Bistro, J. Webb Wine Merchant, In Bloom Florists, and Market 17.
When I arrived for the Interactive Monday event, Joel Goralski of the Niklas Group came out to greet us and was our host for the evening. He and his wife are the masterminds behind this great market and the Casel condo development. Joel explained that the purpose of the Interactive Monday events was to give his customers an opportunity to learn about the market and get to know the merchants better. He told us we were in for a real treat that evening as the Interactive Monday dinners are usually prepared by local foodies or Joel and his wife. But for that evening, we were lucky to have the dinner prepared by two guest chefs, a husband and wife team with the husband being a classically-trained French chef and the wife, a French pastry chef.
The event started off with a wine tasting at J Webb Wine Merchant. I thoroughly enjoyed the company of the friendly and knowledgeable staff at J Webb as they walked us through the tasting. As an added bonus, I even got the opportunity to catch up with a former classmate from a wine course that I took at SAIT through the International Sommelier Guild. She is now a certified sommelier and works at this J Webb location. For the tasting, we got to try several wines including the Rolet Rosé brut ($21.95) from France, the Mitolo Jester Vermentino ($18.95) from McLaren Vale, Australia, the Parrina Vermentino ($18.95) from Italy, the Parrina Rosso (Sangiovese) ($15.95) from Italy, the Protos Roble (Tempranillo) ($16.95) from the Ribera del Duero region of Spain, and the Heartland Pinot Grigio ($18.95) from Australia. Though I’m normally not a fan of rosés, I really enjoyed the Rolet as it was dry, fruity, and refreshing. I’m also glad I got to taste both versions of vermentino as it was a varietal that I’d never tried before. The Australian version was very different from the Italian version though both wines were made from the same varietal but just grown in different countries with different terroir. Personally, I preferred the Italian one as it was more complex and full-bodied. Of all the wines I tasted, the most memorable was the Marietta Angeli Cuvee ($37.95) from the Alexander Valley region of California. It was a blend of zinfandel, petite sirah, and carignane. This wine was bold, rich, and jammy but had a velvety finish.
After the wine tasting, Joel took us on a tour of Market 17, which is a European-style market stocked with fresh produce, local and organic products from various local growers and producers including the popular Blush Lane Organic Market and Sunworks Farm. They even stock freshly baked goods from Aviv Fried’s Sidewalk Citizen Bakery.
We then settled down for dinner at Cassis Bistro. Since Cassis Bistro was closed on Mondays, we had the whole place to ourselves for the Interactive Monday dinner. Joel introduced the guest chefs for the evening, who turned out to be Chef Thierry Meret and Pastry chef Marnie Fudge, both of Cuisine et Chateau. Chef Thierry was once the executive chef at La Chaumiere and then later went on to open La P’tite Table in Okotoks, which later became Bistro Provence after he sold it. He then went on to be a culinary instructor for the cooking program at SAIT. He is currently the owner and chef de cuisine of Cuisine et Chateau and now organizes culinary tours to France and teaches cooking classes. I’d been wanting to try Chef Thierry’s food for some time now as I never did manage to make it out to La P’tite Table before he sold it. Hence, I was super excited to try the food once I found out he would be cooking for us.
Our dinner started off with a surprise amuse bouche. The first was a Roulade of Smoked Salmon that was filled with salmon rillete. The second was a Butternut Squash Crostini that was topped with roasted squash puree and slices of cooked squash. Both were tasty and a perfect way to start off the meal.
Our first course featured Ash covered St Raymond Goat Cheese. It was served with a herb salad topped with sweet yellow tomatoes, roasted walnuts and dressed in a walnut vinaigrette. The Ash covered Goat Cheese (also known as Le Cendrillon) from St Raymond, Quebec was definitely the star of the show and complemented the salad perfectly. I’m really glad I had the opportunity to try this cheese served alongside the salad as I otherwise wouldn’t know what to pair this cheese with, especially given its ash covered rind. Since Chef Thierry even provided us the recipe for the walnut vinaigrette, I’d definitely will be buying this cheese in the future and making this salad on my own. The goat cheese along with the salad paired nicely with the 2010 Saumur Blanc ($18.95), which is basically a chenin blanc from the Loire Valley region of France.
Our main course featured Sunworks Farm Certified Organic Chicken. The chicken was paired with parmesan gnocchi, Moroccan sausage, and market vegetables. The chicken was perfectly cooked and very tender. This was probably some of the best chicken I’ve had in a long time and I could definitely taste the difference in flavour. The Chicken Moroccan sausage, also from Sunworks Farm and sold at Market 17, was flavourful and provided a nice contrast to the chicken and handmade gnocchi. The 2009 Suilaux Bordeaux ($14.95), which Joel had deemed a “pizza bordeaux” because of its affordability and ease of drinking, paired beautifully with the chicken and Moroccan sausage.
For dessert, Chef Marnie Fudge prepared a Poached Pear “enrobe de chambre”, which was served with a vanilla anglaise and chocolate caramel. The poached pear was “enrobed” in delicate puff pastry that just melted in my mouth. Both the vanilla anglaise and chocolate caramel were so rich and decadent. This dessert was certainly memorable and was the perfect way to finish off such a great meal.
This Interactive Monday dinner was definitely a real treat and a memorable experience. What the made this dinner even more special was that we got to experience Chef Thierry and Pasty chef Marnie’s creations. The food was executed flawlessly and the flavours were spot on. I feel really lucky to have had the opportunity to partake in this event. The whole evening was a collaborative effort amongst many of the merchants at Casel Marché. While Cassis Bistro provided the space for the dinner and Chef Thierry and Pastry Chef Marnie their time in preparing this meal, Market 17 provided all the food and J Webb Wine Merchant provided the wine. All the ingredients used to prepare this meal is available for purchase at Market 17 and the wine pairings at J Webb Wines. This was the perfect way to showcase the delicious food that Market 17 sells and how the food can be paired with the great selection of wines at J Webb.
The Interactive Monday events are by invitation only. If you are interested in attending a future Interactive Monday event, you can follow @CaselMarche on Twitter or you can put your name in the contest box located by the main entrance of Casel Marché just across from Market 17.
2505 17 Ave SW