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Montréal en Lumière: A Taste of Buenos Aires

by Michelle Little

Montreal has plenty of festivals to go around, but one that really gets our taste buds going is the annual Montréal en Lumiére festival that runs from February 21st to March 3rd, 2013.  The array of events is dizzying, and the opportunities for dining, drinking, and creating are endless.

A typical Argentinian meal from featured festival restaurant L’Atelier d’Argentine (Photo Courtesy of NATIONAL Public Relations)

When we heard that Buenos Aires was chosen as the grand featured city we couldn’t have been happier.  We love Argentinian wines and are excited to explore Argentina’s cuisine beyond their famous beef. Eighteen invited chefs from Buenos Aires will be cooking at some of our city’s finest restaurants and creating menus especially for the occasion.  In addition, Philadelphia has been chosen as the American select city with Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean as the Québecois region to discover.

Philadelphia has been chosen as this year’s American select city (Photo Courtesy of LÉquipe Spectra)

With so many events going on, where to start?  The Buenos Aires Convivial Meal looks like a great pick with Dario Gualtieri, head chef of restaurant Casa Umare, cooking up the classic comfort food of his childhood.  It’s also an ideal way to kick off Nuit Blanche on a full stomach.  For all you cheese fans, the Quebec Chefs and Cheese – Toqués des fromages d’ici competition final night will be right up your alley.  The four chef finalists of the competition will prepare 12 culinary creations using Quebec cheese that will in turn be presented in three courses paired with wine.  Our stomachs are already rumbling!  And for those of you more comfortable in the kitchen than at the table, the Gourmet Rally offers 45-minute workshops, participants move from one kitchen to the next creating typically Argentinean appetizers and snacks.

Other major events include the free Festival of Quebec Cheese  held at Complexe Desjardins where you can taste Quebec cheese, meet the producers, and enjoy excellent wine and beer. The Jean-Talon Market will also be host to 12 vendors from Saguenay and Lac-Saint-Jean, as well as culinary workshops  taught by five renowned guest chefs from the region.

Phew!  And that’s just the beginning!  Check out the schedule and plan your events early as many sell out.  There really are options for everyone and every budget with workshops, brunches, lunches, tastings and fine dining.  Tickets are available online from the festival website.

As the featured festival restaurant L’Atelier d’Argentine  will be hosting a dinner on Tuesday, February 26th.  The evening will include live music, dancers and artists all chosen to reflect life on the streets of Buenos Aires.  Guests will travel throughout the restaurant to different food and drink stations in order to experience Argentinian cuisine at it’s best.  As a preview to the Montréal en Lumiére festival, L’Atelier d’Argentine has shared with us their recipe for chimichurri, which is a typical Argentinian sauce used on grilled meats.  We can’t wait to try it out!

A delectable recipe for chimichurri from L’Atelier d’Argentine (photo courtesy of Atelier Argentine)

Chimichurri

Ingredients

Red onion, finely chopped

Red pepper, finely chopped

1 cup parsley, finely chopped

1 tsp sea salt

3 tsps dry oregano

2 tsp finely chopped garlic

1 cup corn oil

½ cup cider vinegar

Mix well and serve with your choice of meat.