Here is your chance to add a little more local to your grocery cart. Metro Ontario will now offer its customers more local products in store as part of their mandate for responsible sourcing. Ottawa is one of the first cities to take advantage of this initiative, as Metro slowly rolls out this program to other stores across the province. In the following post, I get up-close and personal with some of the business owners behind a few local brands and get to taste test a few of the products too. Keep reading to find out what local products in Ottawa Metro grocery stores made the cut!
Wow, last night was a thrilling magical dream! So many unknowns, so many secrets, so many nerves… for a person who is always in control, this is very difficult!
I have to say that we were extremely lucky and honoured to sit at Metro Ontario’s table at Ottawa’s first Diner en Blanc . We were the fortunate ones that did not have to prepare our meal or set up our tables!
We got dressed up, all in white, and I securely mounted my DIY flower hat (yep! I am pretty good with a glue gun! haha). We had a car pick us up at home and drop us off at Metro in Westboro. From there we got onto our bus and we were off to our secret destination… City Hall!
When we got there, I was a bit disappointed, hoping for a more remote location, but as the night was moving along, it truly was the perfect location. The 360-degree views, signature Ottawa sunset, and warm summer weather was hard to beat.
We had a gourmet picnic dinner, all provided and prepared by Metro. I caught up with some friends, including Jessica Mulroney, whom I met at the Metro dinner a few months back. She was lovely as ever and seemed impressed with the entire event. We snapped a few pics and caught up with some friends.
At 7:00 p.m. we waved our white napkins in the air to signal the start of the evening. At 9:00 p.m. we lit up the skies with sparklers and soak in the magical moment. We danced the night away until 11:00 and went home to our cozy and cool beds.
Here are some pics of the entire night. Maybe these are good enough to encourage you to sign up next year if you were one of the sceptics watching the evening through social media at home!
See you next year!
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:
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
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
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
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
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.
Brace yourselves, Ottawa! I have an announcement to make that collides food with fashion and I need your undivided attention please.
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:
- 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…)
- 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!!!
- 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!
- 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 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.”
- 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.
- 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!!)
- Tell all your friends to read this post and do the same.