MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE: A Winter Festival with Gastronomic Genius

©Victor Diaz-Lamich - Montréal en Lumière (Chez L'Épicier)

©Victor Diaz-Lamich – Montréal en Lumière (Chez L’Épicier)

It seems like no matter when you travel to Montréal, there’s some sort of foodie festival in full swing, and one of the city’s finest — MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE — is just a few weeks off.

In case you haven’t heard, MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE IS one of the largest winter festivals in the world, attracting over 1 million visitors. This event may be named for its lights (and, indeed, has been selected by UNESCO as of its International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies), but it would be a mistake to forget the gastronomy.

11 days, 10 nights, 272 opportunities to Sip and Sample

As happens each year, organizers have selected three places to feature, and the 2015 program highlights Switzerland, Washington D.C., and Lanaudière, a Quebec region located just outside Montréal. Look for top chefs and ambassadors from these regions at their own showcases, and in pairings with local talent, a concept unique to MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE.

Dôme RBC (photo: Ulysse Lemerise Bouchard) 27-02-2013

Dôme RBC (photo: Ulysse Lemerise Bouchard)

At Planète Montréal, public figures from diverse industries will participate in food-related activities. This is the place to find sommeliers, boxers, singers, and journalists celebrating world cuisine.

Wine and Cheese

There will be plenty of opportunities for tastings, including at the 5 à 7 + (Happy Hour +) events that expertly pair wine or cocktails with appetizer plates. If you’d like to add beer to the menu, the À boire ! (Time for drinks!) events are on offer. Both Vignoble Le Mernois and Carone wines have a presence at the Jean-Talon Market. For the serious oenophiles, join world-class Swiss sommelier Paolo Basso for a wine tasting.

©Victor Diaz-Lamich - Montréal en Lumière (Fromages d'ici)1

©Victor Diaz-Lamich – Montréal en Lumière (Fromages d’ici)1

This year’s MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE has plenty to entice the cheese-lover. The Festival of Our Cheeses is a free event bringing together diverse Quebec cheese-makers with the public, or you can focus on one family’s efforts—the Livernoche’s—at La Fromagerie Champêtre. For something more interactive, put local artisans to the test at Presenting: Quebec Chefs and Cheeses, a contest between four chefs judged by the hungry public. Dip into the regional cheese of showcase country Switzerland by joining an all-inclusive Swiss Fondue Convivial Outing.

Tastes and Texts

From condiments to sides to specialty foods, there’s even more to this festival. The Jean-Talon Market is the place to find purveyors of cakes and cookies, saffron, wild plants and mushrooms, olive oils, specialty meats, and real maple syrup.

Finally, what goes better with good food and wine than books? Salon du Livre Gourmand is a fair showcasing writing about food and gastronomy.

Helena Loureiro António Nobre - Portus Calle (photo: Frédérique Ménard-Aubin)

Helena Loureiro António Nobre – Portus Calle (photo: Frédérique Ménard-Aubin)

The gastronomy program has offerings in 9 series’ with options for all budgets, including free activities, a children’s activity, and all-inclusive packages. Build up an appetite, and then build your itinerary.

MONTRÉAL EN LUMIÈRE runs February 19 through March 1st, 2015, at locations across the city.

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