Feel like exploring the world of wine and spirits? Want to learn more about pairing aromas and flavours? The Ateliers SAQ par ITHQ offer a wide selection of courses and workshops that’ll introduce you to the wonderful world of gastronomy. So what can you expect from one of these workshops, and just how do you pick the one that’s right for you? Read on for the opinions of past participants.
From the very start, course attendees are welcomed into a laidback atmosphere, where fun and friendliness pervade. The instructor explains the course syllabus and participants get to sample drinks and master cocktail-making techniques, all the while soaking up a bit of theory.
Prior to enrolling, Anne-Claire Podvin-Nouail had never attempted to make a cocktail herself . . . and now she has the skills to create her own! “I didn’t have the gear I needed at home and I was just too afraid to try,” confesses Anne-Claire. “The workshop broke it down for me, made it so much simpler; it gave me the opportunity to work with actual bar equipment and familiarize myself with basic techniques.” In fact, she even learned how to make her very own pear syrup. “It really adds a touch of flavour to my cocktails. I’m already looking forward to inviting my friends over for theme cocktail parties!”
Anne-Claire learned so much during the class, including how important it is to be well equipped before trying your hand at cocktail creation: “You don’t necessarily need a lot of ingredients to make delicious cocktails. But you do need the right accoutrements: a shaker, strainer, muddler, bar spoon, etc. All these tools play a pivotal role in making cocktails that are as pretty as they are tasty.”
This introductory course gives you the chance to do a comparative tasting of wines hailing from different countries and regions, for a total of 18 wines (6 per class). You’ll learn how to apply the principles of food and wine tasting to make perfect pairings, how to read labels and how to properly store and serve wines.
David Bonneville, who admits he knew very little about wine prior to taking this course, thoroughly enjoyed every minute: “Because it’s an intro, the instructor was really open to comments and encouraged everyone to share their thoughts and impressions.” David confirms that he is now much better equipped for choosing wines that suit his personal taste profile. “I learned how to distinguish a wine’s flavours and aromas. This class really opened my eyes!”
(Workshop in French only)
For Isabel Chaumont, this workshop felt like a real treat: “The vibes were laidback and friendly, and everything was really well organized. Plus, we didn’t have to wash the dishes afterwards – heaven!” Isabel says she learned essential cooking techniques and really enjoyed how entertaining the workshop was: “I recommend this workshop to anyone looking to rediscover the joys of cooking, of creating new recipes and enjoying good wine.”
Isabel was also charmed by the workshop’s instructor, Chef Pasquale Vari: “I adored the appetizers that he prepared, as well as the wine pairings he proposed. Everything was simply delicious!” Her top pick was the tataki, which she definitely plans on recreating at home!
(Workshop in French only)
Throughout this workshop, attendees get to taste a selection of appetizers paired with six different scotches and whiskies. Participants also get to watch as a guest chef prepares a variety of recipes aligned with the workshop’s theme. Appetizers are then followed by a tasting of whiskies handpicked by an expert sommelier.
When Christian Felx enrolled in the workshop, he didn’t expect to have as much fun as he did. Not only did it meet his expectations, it surpassed them. “It was a really fun evening. I discovered new and interesting products, both for the kitchen and when it comes to spirits.” His number one takeaway? The myriad possibilities when it comes to pairing food with whisky. “I learned a lot about whisky pairing. The whole culture is fascinating!”
(Workshop in French only)
The first thing Francis Gauvin noticed when he arrived was how friendly and welcoming the hosts were. “We were greeted with an aperitif in a cozy lounge, then we were introduced to our lecturer and head chef.” Over drinks, everyone got to know one another and really got along: “We broke the ice and the exchanges between participants really added to the evening’s joviality.”
Francis says this experience taught him so much about the characteristics of Rhône cépages and made him want to put more thought into his wine and food pairings. “Understanding the interaction between wine and food makes you appreciate it more,” points out Francis. The highlight of the workshop for him? “I particularly enjoyed how seamless the service was. We really got the chance to savour every moment.”
Which workshop is right for you?
Not sure which workshop to choose? Here is a brief description of the types of workshops and courses offered by Ateliers SAQ par ITHQ. There’s something for everyone!
Let yourself be inspired by an exciting wine and food pairing experience! These 3-hour workshops let you look on as a chef prepares delicious hors d’oeuvres that tie in to a particular theme while he or she shares culinary techniques and secrets with you! You’ll get to taste the food and enjoy a selection of wines to go with it. An expert sommelier is on site to discuss the chosen theme. Intriguing, right?
Want to don a chef’s hat? Nothing beats enjoying a delectable wine and food pairing and learning how to make it yourself! In one of the ITHQ’s demo rooms, you’ll watch as a guest chef prepares recipes in line with a specific theme. Then, you’ll recreate these same recipes (with a little guidance from the chef!) and sample the fruits of your labour. And of course, every appetizer will be paired with a wine that has been thoughtfully chosen by a sommelier, who will be on site to offer advice and answer questions.
You can choose from several three-hour courses, which range between 1 and 3 classes each. The courses are a little more in-depth and educational than the workshops, but they’re just as much as fun! You’ll study theory, get on-hands practice, enjoy tastings and get to learn all about spirits and wine from a seasoned mixologist or sommelier.
Sign up for a course or workshop today!