Wow! What an amazing weekend!
It was a fantastic weekend and one I will definitely never forget!
Today is usually my Meatless Monday post, but instead I’m going to share this lovely weekend and hopefully you can experience a bit of the magic that is Christmas In November!
Just to give you a little low down on the event, Christmas In November is a food & drink, and design lovers paradise. There are chef’s and designers from the Food Network and HGTV, cooking classes, wine tastings, craft making, design classes, delicious meals, an evening Gala with dancing, prizes, and an incredible amount of fun – all set in the picturesque rocky mountains of Jasper, Alberta, Canada.
The event began with a welcome reception. Food trucks from around the world inspired the food that was provided! It was so hard to decide what to have with all the amazing options, and I wanted to stay on top of my portion control, which can be very hard at a buffet!
I enjoyed some salmon tartare and seared locally produced beef from the “coast to coast” stand, a delicious calamari salad from the Jamaican stand, some cheese from the Canadian cheese stand, and a few more random goodies…and treats (in moderation of course)!
That evening I also got the opportunity to meet Chef Michael Smith! He was the host for the whole event and he did a wonderful job! It was so great to meet him as I remember watching Chef At Home and Chef Abroad almost religiously on TV! I was seriously close to blurting out “I LOVE YOU!” when I shook his hand, but I was luckily able to maintain my composure!!
Later in the evening I also met another wonderful presenter – Julie Van Rosendaal! She is the face behind the wonderful Dinner With Julie blog – she is also a food author, writer, stylist and journalist! It was so great to chat with her about the blogging world and get some of her insight! She was so much fun to mingle with over the weekend and an inspiration to me!
The next day was packed with classes and learning! My first stop was at Chef Anna & Michael Olson’s cooking class! I was incredibly excited to see Anna Olson as I loved to watch her show – Fresh on the Food Network!
Together they hosted a fantastic class and showed us some great recipes! At the end I was able to chat with Michael a bit about substituting some of the ingredients for some healthier options! I will be making an adapted version of Michaels Flatbread Recipe!
Stay tuned for that post later this week!
My next stop was at Chef Michael Smith’s cooking class! It was so much fun, he is very entertaining and educational. The thing I have always loved about Michael is his passion for fresh, healthy, natural foods. He puts a big emphasis on the importance of eating wholesome food and staying away from the processed junk for our children and ourselves! At the end of the class I was able to get him to sign his new cookbook for me, and chatted with him briefly about the importance keeping food healthy and wholesome!
How many of you let a factory cook for your family?” – Chef Michael Smith
After two great classes we had a delicious lunch – The Jasper Park Lodge is very adiment about sourcing their food out from local organic producers – The menu consisted of Gull Valley Farm Red Pepper & Lentil Soup, Maple Soy Marinated Salmon, and a Blood Orange Mousse in a Chocolate Cup!
The next class was the cheese and wine tasting. We learnt about the combinations of certain wines with different artisan cheeses and the importance of knowing where your cheese comes from and what it is made of! Also, how cheese can be healthy when it is high quality and enjoyed in moderation!
Later that evening was the Gala! The girls and I totally lucked out and got put at a table with 4 other amazing ladies! We had such a fun time and made great new friends!
The dinner was wondeful – Locally sourced Carmen Creek Bison Carpaccio, Twin Meadows Farm Inspired Carrot Soup, Spring Creek Ranch Beef Tenderloin, finished with Rooftop Honey Roasted Pears with Pear Almond Cake – The Jasper Park Lodge makes their own honey with bee hives that are built on the main lodge roof!
Then we danced the night away and burnt off some of the calories!!
On the dance floor I met up with Anna Olson! It was so great that all of the presenters were so approachable – they mingled with all the guests and didn’t hide away or stay in a green room the whole time.
The following morning we were up bright and early and went to another class where we made avian inspired centerpieces for our dining tables. It was a lot of fun and I’m very impressed that I actually made something so pretty!
The weekend ended with a beautiful brunch – there was homemade yogurt with muesli, crab and asparagus salad, apple smoked chicken sausage, and a plethora of other delicious foods!
I recommend CIN to anyone who ever has the opportunity to go! It was an unforgettable experience filled with good food, great company, and a lot of learning! I hope to be back next year for the 25th anniversary of Christmas In November!
Stay tuned for the delicious Flatbread recipe this week!