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Air France presents the SAQ Wine and Dine Experience, 11th edition 

The MONTREAL HIGH LIGHTS Festival welcomes Portugal, New Orleans and the Eastern Townships

Tickets for Culinary Events on Sale

The 11th annual MONTREAL HIGH LIGHTS Festival's SAQ Wine and Dine Experience presented by Air France, Canada's largest culinary showcase, is set to take place from Thursday, February 18 to Sunday, February 28, 2010. 

As part of its culinary program each year, the festival celebrates the gastronomy of a different country, a city and a region of Quebec by inviting top chefs, vintners and producers to take part in the many wine and dine events hosted throughout the city. This year the festival honours Portugal as the featured country, New Orleans as the featured city, and the Eastern Townships as the featured Quebec region.

The SAQ Wine and Dine Experience presented by Air France is the only event in the world where a city's top chefs team with international chefs to design innovative menus and dining experiences. Since 2000, the festival has welcomed over 300 renowned chefs, wine producers and speakers from five continents to taken part in the Festival's Finest Tables. With up to 50 of Montreal's most popular restaurants taking part this year, the Festival's Finest Tables feature theme tasting experiences, gourmet menus and amazing wine and food pairings.

In addition to wine and dine events, the MONTREAL HIGH LIGHTS Festival stages a series of events including the Sun Life Financial Performing Arts, BMO Bank of Montreal Celebration of Light and Nuit Blanche in Montreal Presented by Hydro-Québec. Attracting over 750,000 particpants over 11 days, the festival has grown into one of Canada's largest winter city celebrations.

Welcome Portugal and the largest delegation ever to attend the Festival
The MONTREAL HIGH LIGHTS Festival is delighted to host a delegation of 39 Portuguese guest chefs and vintners, the largest group ever welcomed by the Festival, with Chef Fausto Airoldi as the Honorary President of the SAQ Wine and Dine Experience presented by Air France. Praised for his contemporary Portuguese cuisine and a major influence in Lisbon's culinary revival, Airoldi follows in the footsteps of previous festival honorees: Alain Passard (Paris, 2009), Susur Lee (Toronto, 2008), Daniel Boulud (New York, 2007), Émile Jung (Alsace, 2006), Gualtiero Marchesi (Northern Italy, 2005), Georges Blanc (Rhône-Alpes, 2004), Santi Santamaria (Catalonia, 2003), Serge Dansereau (Australia, 2002), Charlie Trotter (Chicago, 2001) and Paul Bocuse (France, 2000). Chef Airoldi heads to Montreal with a dynamic delegation of 20 chefs and 18 wine producers under the banner of Portugal's Finest Wines.

New Orleans, featured city
The Big Easy, Louisiana's capital with its jazz, bustling streets and French Quarter, will transport its festive spirit and culinary flavours to the city for the MONTREAL HIGH LIGHTS Festival with guest chefs Michael Farrell (Le Meritage), Brian Landry (Galatoire's), Donald Link (Cochon), Duke Locicero (Cafe' Giovanni), Ian Schnoebelen (Iris) and Thomas Wolfe (Wolfe's in the warehouse).

Eastern Townships, featured Quebec region
The Eastern Townships, the centre of Quebec's budding wine industry, is known for its exquisite food products and fine restaurants. At Jean Talon Market on February 20 and 21, food and wine producers from the area will showcase the region's local products with demonstrations, tastings and conferences. Chefs Geneviève Filion (Le Bouchon), Alain Labrie (La Table du Chef), Danny St-Pierre (Restaurant Auguste) and François Tourigny (La Table Tourigny) will also take part in the Festival's Finest Tables.

Special Events

Honorary President Fausto Airoldi's Dinners
Opening the Festival, Chef Fausto Airoldi of the chic Spot São Luiz, in Lisbon's Chiado area, will take over the kitchens for the much-anticipated Honorary President's Dinners. Chef Airoldi, whose contemporary style reflects the essence and flavours of Portuguese cuisine, welcomes the collaboration of Chef Marino Tavares to present an inspired six-course menu paired with Portugal's Finest Wines, including the highly rated Niepoort wines. Two evenings: Friday, February 19, and Saturday, February 20, starting at 6:30 pm. Reservations: 514-848-0988 (Ferreira Café).

Portuguese Convivial
A decade after his first appearance at the MONTREAL HIGH LIGHTS Festival, Portuguese chef Vítor Sobral returns with an imaginative menu featuring the diverse products of sea and land from his native country. Diners will discover rich, flavourful dishes and an evening of warm Portuguese hospitality. Saturday, February 20, Salle de bal in Marché Bonsecours. Tickets: 514-908‑9090 / 1-866 908-9090, ticketpro.ca.

Crossroads of Flavour
For five days, Complexe Desjardins will be transformed into a huge marketplace with themed venues including a bakery, the mobile dairy Lait à la bouche, a general store and a liquor store, the Cellier de chez nous, along with chefs leading culinary workshops presented by T-Fal. The public will also have the unique opportunity to meet over 30 regional producers and artisans offering tastings, activities and gourmet suggestions. Tuesday, February 23 to Saturday, February 27, Complexe Desjardins. Free access.

The Festival of Quebec Cheeses
Not to be missed, the 5th edition of the Festival of Quebec Cheeses invites the public to taste a wide variety of Quebec's fine cheeses and wine selections from Portugal's Finest Wines. Quebec cheese makers will be on hand to discuss the regional qualities and character of their superb cheeses. Presented by Quebec Cheeses. Wednesday, February 17 to Saturday, February 20, Complexe Desjardins. Free admission.

Festival Lunch Menus
Nine restaurants including Byblos Le Petit Café, Kashmir, La Khaïma, Salon Mogador, Prato Pizzeria et Café, Restaurant Douro, Rumi, Ông Câ Cân and Stromboli will offer tantalizing dishes showcasing Montreal's culinary diversity during the Festival Lunch Menus; three courses at prix fixe, $12.95. Monday, February 22 to Friday, February 26. Reservations: montrealhighlights.com.

New this year: Quebec Chefs and Cheeses
The MONTREAL HIGH LIGHTS Festival will stage the first-ever culinary competition of cheese. Four chef finalists will compete to create original dishes using local cheeses. Dinner guests will taste and judge all four courses paired with Portugal's Finest Wines and vote for their favourite chef who will be awarded the $5000 grand prize. Presented by Quebec Cheeses, Saturday, February 27, 6:30 pm, Grand Salon in Hyatt Regency Montreal. Tickets: ticketpro.ca.

About the MONTREAL HIGH LIGHTS Festival

Full details of the SAQ Wine and Dine Experience presented by Air France are available at montrealhighlights.com or by calling the HIGH LIGHTS Info Line (514-288-9955 or toll-free 1-888-477-9955).

The MONTREAL HIGH LIGHTS Festival unveils the Sun Life Financial Performing Arts program on November 30. Details of the BMO Bank of Montreal Celebration of Light and the Nuit Blanche à Montréal will be made public in early 2010. The 11th annual MONTREAL HIGH LIGHTS Festival will run from February 18 to February 28.

MONTREAL HIGH LIGHTS Accommodation Packages

Over 20 Montréal accommodations establishments are offering special package deals for the MONTREAL HIGH LIGHTS Festival (starting as low as $110), including the Festival Kit. Simply consult montrealhighlights.com for the full list of participating establishments.

Packages include:

  • accommodations for one night
  • wine & cheese tasting for two at the SAQ Bistro (on site at the Old Port)
  • two fleece scarves
  • one Canadian Maple Delights $10 gift certificate
  • a package of black tea leaves from Sri Lanka dipped in maple syrup
  • hard maple candies made from 100% pure maple syrup
  • and so much more

Packages valid from February 18 until February 28, 2010. Taxes and out-of-pocket costs not included. Prices are in Canadian dollars and based on double occupancy. For more information or to reserve: montrealhighlights.com.

Tickets are now on sale for the following events:

  • Honorary President Fausto Airoldi's Dinners – reservations: 514-848-0988 (Ferreira Café).
  • Portuguese Convivial – reservations: 514-908‑9090 / 1 866 908-9090; ticketpro.ca.
  • Presenting: Quebec Chefs and Cheeses with Portugal's Finest Wines – reservations: 514-908‑9090 / 1-866-908-9090; ticketpro.ca.
  • Restaurants are currently accepting reservations for the Festival's Finest Tables. For details: montrealenlumiere.com.

Give the Gift of Gastronomy!

The MONTREAL HIGH LIGHTS Festival offers the perfect gift suggestion for any food or wine lover. Redeemable between February 18 and February 28 at the Festival's Finest Tables or Festival Lunch Menus. Available at 514-288-1424, ext. 6358.

 

 

 

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