Chantsy Eats: A Scotch tasting that Whiskey’d me away!

Ottawa Foodie Fashion Blog Cocktail Mixology Whiskey

I was invited to a private Whisky tasting at The Shore Club, the famous seafood restaurant located inside The Westin Ottawa. On a side note, have you ever noticed how all Westin’s smell amazing? Like a fresh lime scent? I need to know what is their secret!!

I got there early. At first, I was the only woman among a group of older men, and happily admitted that I knew nothing about Scotch/Whisky. But, I owed it because this year is full of “firsts” and “yeses” for me. And so far it hasn’t disappointed! Also, two more women joined us, which definitely helped.

Ottawa Foodie Fashion Blog Cocktail Mixology Whiskey The Westin

We started the lunch with a Glenmorangie whisky sour…yum! This cocktail had the tartness of the lemon and creamy egg whites that I love so much. The whisky is so smooth, and did not have a sharp aftertaste. Looking at the menu, I was excited to get the meal started.

Ottawa Foodie Fashion Blog Cocktail Mixology Whiskey The Shore Club

This fresh seafood chowder was excellent. The vegetables were crunchy and fresh, almost as if they were quickly steamed and added to the cream broth. This chowder definitely had more texture that I am used to. The seafood was abundant and delicious!

Ottawa Foodie Fashion Blog Cocktail Mixology Whiskey Steak Sandwich

This open-faced steak sandwich was a bit much for a lunch, but I had no problems polishing it off! I love that it was light on the bread too!

Ottawa Foodie Fashion Blog Cocktail Mixology Whiskey Hamish Torrie

Here is Hamish Torrie, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility of The Glenmorangie Company, who gave us a lovely guided tasting of Glenmorangie Original, Glenmorangie Milsean (new limited edition), Ardbeg 10 and Dark Cove (new limited edition).

As a person who knows nothing about Scotch, the conversation at this table left me taking more notes than my first biochemistry class! I’ll admit, I asked some pretty amateur questions, but in the end, I have brought back so many nuggets of information that I am so excited to share with you!

10 things you probably didn’t know about whisky…

  1. Whisky is around 1300 years old, and the taste has only really changed over the last 100 years. A whisky must be aged for at least 3 years before it is called whisky.
  2. A single malt is the purest (and best!) source of whisky, made from barley. It is responsible for providing the taste/flavour component in a blended whisky, when whisky is diluted with other alcohols. That’s why drinks like Jack Daniels makes you want to vomit. It’s the lowest form of “whisky product”.
  3. Single malts are a new way of preparing whiskey, it only started in 1960s/70s.
  4. Every whisky has a unique optimal aging range. This means that not all 35 year old whiskies are better than 10 year old ones, or that all whiskies need to be aged to 35 years.
  5. More and more women are choosing whisky as their beverage of choice. Apparently, women have a more complex pallet and can denote different flavours!
  6. Factors that affect the production of whiskey: the water source, the quality of the spirit, the height of the sill and the wood/barrel it’s matured in.
  7. In scotland, the names of the whisky describe the topography of the region and what you can expect from the drink. For example “Glen-morangie” means “Valley-Value of peacefulness” and “Ard-beg” means “Inside/top of hill- high/small”.
  8. Whisky is playing a huge role in mixology, and transforming the taste for whisky. It’s an excellent way to introduce the spirit to newbies (like me!)
  9. In 2005, Louis Vuitton-Moet-Hennessy aquired The Glenmorangie Company, as the first Whiskey brand to enter their Wines and Spirits suite of Houses. LVMH ensures the legacy of high quality products and helps small, successful family-run businesses thrive in their markets.
  10. There are different regions in Scotland that produce a different style of Whisky (much like wine). For example, Glenmorangie is from the Highlands region and Ardbeg is from an island. Because the preparation method and climate is different from the two regions, the whisky will taste very unique to its region.

And now for the tasting… (from left to right)

  • Glenmorangie Original (40%): 10 year old single malt whisky with a smooth, light, elegant and fragrant touch. It has notes of vanilla, orange and bourbon (from the wood). Although this is a great choice for beginners, it also has complex flavours that any connoisseur could enjoy. It’s smooth taste comes from the double distillation process and a very high sill, which helps to extract only the purest form of alcohol. This would be perfect as an aperitif.
  • Glenmorangie Milsean (new limited edition) (46%): Milsean meaning sweet things, embodies the candy shop look and taste. Although a bit darker, richer and higher in alcohol content, this limited edition would please any whisky aficionado. It’s a blend of Glenmorangie matured in different barrels. The dark colour comes from the toasting of the barrels, which are imported from Portugal. This would be the perfect whisky to pair with dessert. 
  • Ardbeg 10 (46%): 10 year old single malt, with a dark, smokey and sweet taste, leaving behind oily notes of smoked fish. This would be amazing in a spicy caesar or paired with seafood, like sushi or oysters. On the island, peat is used to fuel the heating process, and it generates a lot of smoke, which is captured in the whisky. The fishy notes are also from the peat, which provide a seaweed-like flavour.
  • Dark Cove (new limited edition) (46%): This very dark version of the Ardbeg is aged in Sherry barrels, which is why the colour is so dark. It also has a smokey flavour, but a little more meaty than fishy (think bacon vs smoked salmon). It would be paired perfectly with a charcuterie board!

My favourite was the Glenmorangie Original, as it was smooth and did not feel too high in alcohol content. It did not make me gag, which highly surprised me! I can definitely see myself sipping on this with my husband and feeling like I finally belong at the big boys (ahem, and girls!) table.

Are you a whisky lover? What’s your poison?

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Crushing the Urban Juice Press’ 2-day Kickstarter Cleanse

The truth is I didn’t. And I am so embarrassed of my story.

Urban Juice Press, Ottawa’s premier juicing company asked me to try out their beginner juice cleanse detox program called The 2-Day Kickstarter. I was like, “you bet, I’d love to try this, bring on the juice!”. I mean, the juices are delicious, fresh, organic, raw and sourced locally. You can’t get any healthier than that. I eat really well generally, and felt I could use a little boost to cleanse away my bad summer habits.

Urban juice press cleanse Ottawa Parkdale Food Blogurban juice press cleanse Ottawa Food Blog urban juice press cleanse Ottawa Food blogger

I started my cleanse on a hot Friday morning. I had the day off, I was going to take it easy. I had 9 juices to drink, and felt like it would be plenty. I started this whole thing with an eager, positive and open-minded spirit. I mean what can go wrong? The instructions said that I would be irritable and have a slight headache (not me! I’m strong).

These juices look so yummy! Can I just start already?!

Because I had 9 drinks a day, I wrote up a schedule to ration them off throughout the day. Drinking fluids is not the same as chewing on food. Personally, I feel like it’s more difficult to tell when you’re actually full or weather you have consumed too much fluids. I felt like the schedule would help me pace myself and make sure I have enough to consume all day. It’s really all just a mind game, and your weapon is will power.

urban juice press cleanse Ottawa Foodie Fashion Blog
Early morning start to the day with a Skin Tonic!

urban juice press cleanse Ottawa Foodie Fashion Blog detox
Refreshing morning snack!

urban juice press cleanse Ottawa Foodie Fashion Blog blogger
This is lunch! A thick, creamy and filling smoothy loaded with matcha green tea flavours! Tastes like green tea ice-cream to me!
All that to say, breakfast, lunch and my afternoon snacks were seamless. But at 4 pm and 7 out of 9 bottles in, I hit a wall.

Crash and burn. It’s dinner time, and I don’t want to make supper for the family. So, I sent my husband and son off to eat pizza, while I had a nap to ward off my migraine. I had lots of water all day, what is going on with me? Even after my nap, my head was killing me. I was nauseous and couldn’t stand the sight of putting any more fluids in me. That’s it, I’m cheating. I munched on half a head of raw cauliflower… still I felt sick. Then I called Michael “GET ME PIZZA, NOW!!!” Sure enough a few minutes after the pizza, I started feeling better. But then, I felt like a failure.

I can’t believe my body did not tolerate juicing. I have gone hours without eating on busy work days and have felt fine. Some are saying it’s caffeine withdrawal, but I chalk it up to hyponatremia: over hydration. The reason I know this, is because I rarely drink water. I know it’s a bad habit, but I have to force myself to have at least one glass a day. That Friday, I had 7 x 250 ml of juices plus another 3 x 250 ml of water, that’s a total of 2.5 litres! That’s a lot of liquids for someone who barely drinks water. I am no doctor (although I am a Biochemistry student with a Science degree!), but the symptoms of hyponatremia were enough to convince me. The reason I felt better after the pizza, could be because I was replenishing my electrolytes with the salty pizza.

The next day, I decided not to continue with the juice cleanse, and instead gave the drinks to my son and husband. They loved them! I had a fairly light caloric day, not very hungry overall, but man was I feeling light and flat!

How to do a juice cleanse, properly.

The moral of this story is, I love Urban Juice Press, and my failure has nothing to do with their product. Trust me, otherwise I would not be writing this post. The goal of my post is to give you a few pointers on how you can survive a juice cleanse, and crush it every time.

  1. Try a pre-cleanse before you start your cleanse. This means drinking plenty of water (with lemon), eating whole organic fruits and vegetables that are uncooked.
  2. Cut processed foods, sugar, alcohol and coffee at least three days before.
  3. Get lots of sleep.
  4. Be in a restful state (be alone if you can, no children or partner to distract or irritate you).
  5. Have plenty of things to do to keep your hands and mind busy (run errands, get a massage, go window shopping).
  6. Keep your physical activity light (yoga, walking, stretching).
  7. Have a support system, a buddy who can guide you through it. Preferably, someone who has done a cleanse in the past.
  8. Do it when you’re ready and if you fail, try try again!
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Diner en Blanc Ottawa: All-White Menu inspired by Metro

As promised in my Diner en Blanc Ottawa post, I finally had a chance to do my groceries and prepare some of the dishes that were on my inspirational all-white menu. Typical me, I just can’t stick to any recipes, not even my own. So here is my disclaimer, front-and-centre: I went a bit off course! It turns out, my own menu ideas inspired me to think outside the box, and stay inside the season!

Since delicious food is at the centre of Diner en Blanc, this is what my original menu looked like:

White menu ideas for Diner en Blanc Ottawa Fashion Blog


Brie cheese with baguette, Deviled egg whites filled with garlic goat cheese, Crackers and white bean dip, Salted Popcorn, Cauliflower, mushroom, radish and white asparagus with tzatziki


Cold cream of leek soup, Chicken & Penne in Alfredo, Bocconcini & béchamel pizza, Roasted cauliflower and Parmesan crust, and Potato Salad


Vanilla cupcakes, White chocolate covered bananas, Powdered donuts, Sugar cookies, Vanilla Macarons, Lemon cheese cake sprinkled with coconut shavings

Do you remember a while back, when I attended the most amazing dinner hosted by Metro Ontario and Jessica Mulroney? Well, Metro really impressed me that night, and I knew I wanted to work with them. Metro is a main sponsor of Diner en Blanc this year, so creating this post using Metro ingredients couldn’t be a better fit.

I finally had the chance to pop into my local Metro (Elmvale), after they completed all the renovations (as promised at the event). WOW! What a difference. It’s an entirely new vibe. The layout hasn’t really changed, but it now has a fresh, much-needed facelift. Everything just looks more appetizing. The renos seem to have impacted the staff too, they just seemed more friendly, in a better mood and really helpful. Honestly, it was a great shopping experience. I picked up most of the ingredients (some of which were on sale) for my all-white menu, and was lucky to find fresh local veggies like cauliflower (perfect!). I also found my white roses on sale!

Baguette & Brie

Diner en blanc Ottawa Fashion Blog White dinner menu idea baguette and brie

This one is a Parisian classic and no-brainer. Baguette and brie is easy to pack, makes little to no mess and should be simple to polish off! I bought Metro’s Parisian style baguette and tried the St-Albert brie, because, well, you gotta keep it local folks!

Crudités blanc & Tzatziki

Diner en blanc Ottawa Fashion Blog White dinner menu idea crudite with tzatziki

This is where you can have fun and go off-road if you wish! I used endive, button mushrooms and cauliflower that I purchased at Metro. I also had loads of white zucchini in my garden, so I chopped some of those too. I couldn’t find white asparagus ( most likely not in season) or lobok radish. The light Summer Fresh Tzatziki was on sale! PS- it’s really good!

White Naan Pizza & Bocconcini

Diner en blanc Ottawa Fashion Blog White dinner menu idea naan pizza and mushroom 2 Diner en blanc Ottawa Fashion Blog White dinner menu idea naan pizza and mushroom Diner en blanc Ottawa Fashion Blog White dinner menu idea naan pizza and mushroom 3

I found these tiny naan breads and made a quick pizza using Tres Stelle bocconcini and white button mushrooms (both on sale!). I added some curry and fresh garden basil to mine, and  my son Victor ate the plain one for dinner tonight.

Powdered Donuts & Popcorn

Diner en blanc Ottawa Fashion Blog White dinner menu idea donuts and cheese popcorn Diner en blanc Ottawa Fashion Blog White dinner menu idea donuts and cheese popcorn 2

I love how these photos turned out, so gourmand and delish! I usually don’t like powdered donuts, but these particular ones were so fresh and moist. They were also on sale! The popcorn is White Cheddar Skinny Pop which was… you guessed it, on sale! Seriously, I was lucky. I sprinkled some extra confectionary sugar on the donuts, and some got on the cheesy popcorn… OMG! I think I just invented the a new Chicago style popcorn. I’ll call this one Ontario Style 😉

At the end of the day, when you’re packing your meals for Diner en Blanc Ottawa , make sure you bring enough to keep you full, and something that packs easily. You can use containers like mason jars that can double as serving ware. They can also dress a table and will do a great job at holding liquids. By adding a little something to your table, like flowers and a killer outfit, you can make an ordinary moment, truly extraordinary!

Although the food doesn’t have to be white, sometimes it’s nice to go all-out and stick to a specific theme. You know, placing limitations and constraints on ourselves makes us more creative! But seriously, don’t look at this as extra work. It’s your chance to be part of a spectacular event in Ottawa and your opportunity to bring it to the next level with creative décor, gourmet food and beautiful clothes, while celebrating with close friends (and making new ones!) all in an incredible secret setting. This is what Diner en Blanc is truly about – an experience you will never forget.

Regardless, Metro is here to help us all re-create the magic of Diner en Blanc, even if we chose to stay at home. (BUT REALLY, PLEASE DON’T!)

I hope my all-white menu ideas inspire your meal for Diner en Blanc, and if they do, I can’t wait to hear all about it!

A big thank you to Metro Ontario who supported this blog post.

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White & Whimsy: XLusive ‘Diner en Blanc’ Ottawa survival guide

Brace yourselves, Ottawa! I have an announcement to make that collides food with fashion and I need your undivided attention please.

Thank you.

Diner en Blanc is coming to Ottawa on August 11, 2016 and you need to be there! The problem is, it’s a secret. As in, I have no details about the venue. Also, I can’t promise that you can come. And, there’s no food to eat or tables and chairs to sit on. You’re going to have to trek it all yourself too. Do I have your attention now?

It sounds crazy, but Diner en Blanc is an old Parisian tradition that happens all over the world and brings together thousands of people to share a meal in the most elegant and unlikely way. Think of it as an all-white “flash mob picnic & dance party”.

I may not know much about the details of this event, but here is what I do know… and what you should too:

  1. Sign up here to register you and a guest on the list. There is a long coveted waiting list and it will be impossible to attend if your name is not on it. First come, first serve. So sign up! (Go now, and come back… I’ll wait for you…)
  2. Now that you’re signed up… Think all white, everything. Your clothes, your shoes, your table cloth, your menu, your cloth-napkins. No ifs, ands or buts! Violators wearing ivory, bone or off-white will be denied entry. Yes, it’s that strict. But it’s gonna look so nice!!! Diner en Blanc Ottawa 2016 Fashion Blog
  3. Yes, I said table and chairs. That includes, the right size bistro table and chairs, white table cloth, white cloth napkins (used to whip in the air signalling the inauguration of the party!) white cutlery, china, stemwear and your gourmet meal packed in your cutest picnic basket (white preferably!). “The table must be square, foldable, and easy to carry. The size must be between 28 and 32 inches (71 and 81 cm). The table does not have to be white as it will be covered with a white tablecloth.” Please read all the F.A.Q.s carefully for more precise details. There is no way I can get it all in this post! PS- I found some great table options at IKEA!Diner en Blanc Ottawa 2016 Fashion Food Blog
  4. Plan your menu. Something that will pack nicely and is easy to eat outdoors. For serious guests who are looking for inspiration, I have planned an all-white menu courtesy of Metro Ontario, one of Diner en Blanc Ottawa Sponsors. Don’t forget to bring a garbage bag to clean up after yourself!White menu ideas for Diner en Blanc Ottawa Fashion Blog
  5. White wine and bubbles are the drink of choice, but all alcoholic beverages must be purchased in advanced. “You can also order your meal in advance. Catered meals and beverages are made available for pre-purchase on the e-store at the time of registration, up until approximately 10 days prior to the event. See your e-store for specific details and closing dates.”
  6. Plan your outfit and go all out, all white (white out! haha) This is a posh event, so bring your A game. Hats, umbrellas (duh! rain or shine event), fascinators, anything goes as long as it’s white! Wear comfortable shoes too, because there will be dancing and you never know where the event will take place.Diner en Blanc Ottawa 2016 Fashion Blogger
  7. Patiently wait your turn to receive your invitation and R.S.V.P. without hesitation to secure your spot! (Eeek- I just got my email!!)
  8. Tell all your friends to read this post and do the same.


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