Provence Family Favourite Tomato Tarte is the this week’s French Food Made Easy Kit

Every year I look forward to growing tomatoes in my garden and then making a tomato tarte and enjoying it with a salad and a nice glass of white BC wine (or a rose as described below).  You don’t have to wait for the tomatoes to ripen in your garden to enjoy this dish.  Provence Marinaside has assembled the ingredients and instructions on how to make this dish.  Below is the information from Provence Marinaside.  Enjoy.


(Vancouver, BC) – This week Provence Marinaside is pleased to present a Quaglia family favourite for the seventh French Food Made Easy Kit  – classic Fresh Tomato Tarte with mixed green salad dressed with Dijon balsamic vinaigrette
Tomato Tarte (photo by Hamid Attie)

Tomato Tarte (photo by Hamid Attie)

The kit is available for $40 and comes complete with everything you need to make this dish at home plus a half baguette:
  • Pastry dough
  • Flour
  • Fresh tomatoes
  • Red Onion
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Gruyere Cheese
  • Olives Olive Oil
  • Basil
  • Salad Greens
  • Balsamic Vinaigrette
Chef Alessandra Quaglia demonstrates how easy it is to reproduce this dish at home in your own kitchen in this short instructional video.
With each new kit, Wine Director Joshua Carlson suggests a featured BC wine pairing to complement the dish and this can also be ordered for an additional fee. This week’s wine pairing is Sea Star Vineyards Blanc de Noir Rosé. This wine is available for an additional $30.
There are now a total of seven French Food Made Easy kits (Prawns Provençal, Fennel-Crusted Lois Lake Steelhead, Oven-Roasted Half Chicken Provençal, Duck Confit, Albacore Tuna, Lamb Sirloin and Tomato Tarte) and two Cocktail Kits (Moscow Mule and Caesar). All are available through Provence Marinaside’s website along with Provence’s Takeout Menu of prepared dishes and Chef Sheldon’s Online Grocery Store for individual ingredient items such as meats, dairy, baking supplies and other miscellaneous items.
Provence also offers delivery service for those living in the downtown area (postal codes V6G, V6C, V6E, V6Z, V7Y, V7X, or V6B). The delivery service is available for an additional $10 charge with a minimum $50 order. Kit orders must be placed at least two hours prior to pick up or delivery by calling the restaurant at 604-681-4144 or ordering online. As with Takeout Menu items; French Cooking Made Easy Kits are available between 11:30 a.m. and 8 p.m. 
Bon Appetit!

Provence’s Second French Cooking Made Easy Kit Features Lois Lake Steelhead

Do you crave going to Provence Marinaside in Yaletown but are self-isolating.  How about trying Provence’s latest French Cooking Made Easy Kit?  The press release is below.  Bon appetit.


(Vancouver, BC) – The public have spoken. In a social media poll conducted this past week, the public voted 65 percent that Provence Marinaside’s next French Cooking Made Easy Kit should feature Lois Lake Steelhead. Runner up was Provençal Roasted Half Chicken. Both are signature dishes of the restaurant.
Priced at $40, Provence’s French Cooking Made Easy Kits consist of the recipe for the selected dish plus enough ingredients to make two servings.  The Fennel-crusted Lois Lake Steelhead kit will be available for take-out from the restaurant starting Monday, April 6. This kit includes:
  • 2 filets Lois Lake Steelhead
  • Fennel seeds
  • Oil for cooking
  • Virgin sauce ingredients (tomatoes, garlic, lemon, basil, olive oil)
  • Saffron potatoes
  • Snap peas

demo video featuring Chef Alessandra Quaglia in her Vancouver home kitchen shows you how easy it is to make this dish using the kit.
With each new kit, Wine Director Joshua Carlson suggests a featured BC wine pairing to complement the dish and this can also be ordered for an additional fee. “We believe in supporting our local wine producers to help them and help the BC economy,” says Carlson.  This week’s wine pairing is Laughing Stock Pinot Gris for an additional $25.
French Cooking Made Easy Kits were first introduced by Provence on March 26 as a way of helping people cook at home during social isolation. The first kit, Prawns Provençal, has proved so popular that it will remain available on an ongoing basis.
These kits are being offered in addition to Provence’s special Take-out Menu of prepared dishes.
Kit orders must be placed at least two hours prior to pick up by calling the restaurant at 604-681-4144. As with Take-out Menu items; French Cooking Made Easy Kits will be available for takeout only between 11:30 a.m. and 8 p.m. 
 Bon Appetit!

Provence Marinaside Introduces French Cooking Made Easy Kit

If you have ever eaten at Provence Marinaside in Yaletown and crave to enjoy their food again during the COVID-19 crisis, why not let them help you cook their dishes?  Here is their latest announcement. Bon Appetit!


Provence Introduces French Cooking Made Easy Kit
(Vancouver, BC) – Since we are all at home self-isolating, why not take the time to hone your cooking skills? Starting this Thursday (March 26), you can cook some of Provence Marinaside’s iconic Provençal dishes from the comfort of your own kitchen.
Priced at $40, Provence’s French Cooking Made Easy Kit consists of the recipe for the selected dish of the week plus enough ingredients to make two servings. The kit also includes half a French baguette.  Each week Chef/Owner Jean-Francis Quaglia will post a demo video to Provence’s website of the selected dish and Wine Director Joshua Carlson will suggest a wine pairing to complement the dish which can be ordered to accompany the kit for an additional fee. Provence’s French Cooking Made Easy kits are being offered in addition to Provence’s special Takeout Menu of prepared dishes. Kit orders must be placed at least two hours prior to pick up by calling the restaurant at 604-681-4144. As with Takeout Menu items; French Cooking Made Easy Kits will be available for takeout only between 11:30 a.m. and 8 p.m.
This week’s dish is Prawns Provençal.  For an additional $35, you may wish to add a bottle of Upper Bench Chardonnay 2018 The Prawns Provençal kit will be available this Thursday through Sunday, March 29 with a new kit available on Monday, March 30. 
Bon Appetit!

Le Parisien Celebrates Second Anniversary with Food, Wine and Song

Have you had the chance to enjoy the French food at Le Parisien in the West End downtown?  If not, their 2nd anniversary is upcoming, and they will be offering a special dinner menu.  Details are below.  Enjoy!


Charcuterie Platter

Charcuterie Platter

Celebrate our second anniversary with us from Friday, April 11through May 15. For the past two years, we are proud to have been welcomed so warmly into the West End community and we are always excited to get to know new people. So whether you’re a regular customer, or you’ve just been meaning to check us out, join us this Friday and be the first to try our new dinner menu featuring all main courses for $20 or less.

We’re also excited to present our new Spring Wine and Dine Menu value-priced at only $69 for two. Enjoy three courses of French bistro favourites: Charcuterie, Roasted Free-run Cornish Hen with Frites and a Dessert of your choice. All complete with a bottle of house red or white from Calona Vineyards , $69. For the Wine and Dine Menu Executive Chef Alexander Carriere has carefully selected local seasonal ingredients to feature in classic dishes from his favourite bistros in Paris.

Cornish Hen & frites

Cornish Hen & frites

What else is new at Le Parisien?  We pleased to present Live Music every Thursday night. We’ll be showcasing new local artists with music styles ranging from jazz through folk and more Next week, on April 17, we’ll be featuring  Pepper Really, a French vocalist who will be performing some original songs plus covers of popular French tunes. There are two sets a night at 6:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.

So come join us through mid-May as we celebrate our second anniversary with great food, wonderful wine and entertaining music. It can’t get more French than that!

Bistro Pastis Presents Menus Featuring Cuisine of French Influence

Lemongrass (photo Wikipedia Commons courtesy Hakcipta Mohamed Yosri)

Lemongrass (photo Wikipedia Commons courtesy Hakcipta Mohamed Yosri)

For centuries, France has had a notable impact on global culinary culture. Bistro Pastis presents a series of tasting menus that take guests around the world in order to experience a variety of cuisines influenced by French cooking. Every two weeks, a 3-course menu featuring a different destination will be available for $49.

First stop: Vietnam. French food began to permeate Vietnamese lifestyle after the French established a colony in Vietnam in the 1800’s. Many ingredients are now so ingrained in society, they are considered part of their culture. April 23 through May 5, guests can experience the vibrant flavours of Vietnam married to French technique and ingredients.

Second Stop: Morocco. Starting May 7, Bistro Pastis will showcase the incredible diversity of Moroccan cuisine. Morocco has been heavily affected by imperialism and trade; this long history is reflected in its food. Cafes, pastries and wine are the hallmark of the French colonization, heavily influencing the culinary culture of Morocco.

Reservations essential: 604-731-5020 /

Vietnamese Menu (April 23 – May 5)

Cured Salmon Salad Roll
Dungeness Crab, Jicama, Mint & Peanut Kafir, Lime Mayonnaise

– or –

Escargot Braised in Coconut Milk
Tamarind Oyster Mushroom & Tomato

– or –

Beef Carpaccio
Lime, Cilantro & Chili, Crispy Shallots, Fish Sauce


Pan Roasted Rockfish
Clams, Potatoes, Vermicelli Star Anise Lobster Broth

– or –

Lemon Grass Braised Beef Short Rib
Crispy Rice, Carrot & Radish Slaw

– or –

Prawn Stuffed Chicken Breast
Warm Brussels Sprout & Herb Salad, Creamy Peanut Sauce


Forbidden Black Rice Pudding
Fresh Mango Sabayon

– or –

Coconut Crusted Banana
Dark Chocolate, Condensed Milk & Coffee Ice Cream

$49 / Person

Moroccan Menu (May 7 – 19)

Roasted Tomato Salad
Eggplant, Mint and Feta Cheese

– or –

Creamy Mussel Soup
Saffron, Pumpkin & Coriander

– or –

Roasted Duck Kefta
Apricot, Pistachio, Pressed Yogurt


Le Couscous Royal
Grilled Lamb, Chicken, Merguez & Vegetables, Couscous & Harissa

– or –

Ras el Hanout Roasted Half Chicken
Sweet Potato Mash, Green Olive & Caramelized Onion Rȃgout, Preserved Lemon

– or –

Chermoula Mahi Mahi
Spiced Yellow Lentils Slow Braised Campari Tomatoes


Roasted Fresh Figues
Honeyed Pear, Fromage Frais

– or –

Orange Blossom Yogurt Mousse
Pistachio Shortbread

$49 / Person

Mission Hill Winemaker’s Dinner at Bistro Pastis

Bistro Pastis

Bistro Pastis

Oculus, Quatrain, Perpetua; all top quality wines from Mission Hill winery in the Okanagan, and all being poured and paired with fantastic French cuisine at Bistro Pastis.   Read the note below by Bistro Pastis about the dinner, then phone before it sells out.  It should be a fantastic dinner. I think the bottles themselves if you were to buy them would be at least $250.  So a very good deal.


Mission Hill Oculus

Mission Hill Oculus

The Okanagan Valley has gained an international reputation for the quality of its wines. Join us on Thursday March 28th for a very special dinner with Ingo Grady, Director of Wine Education for Mission Hill Winery, one of the region’s premier wineries. Executive Chef Tobias Grignon has designed an elegant menu to showcase these exceptional wines and will be demonstrating some of his techniques in making the dishes. Price for the evening is only $110 per person and includes: cocktail, five-course dinner, full wine pairing, taxes, gratuities along with presentations by Chef Tobias and Mr. Grady.

Book quickly at this event is sure to sell out, 604-731-5020.

Food and Wine Paired Menu

Cocktail: Sparkling Wine and Ice Wine

***** 1st Course *****

Salmon and Scallop Crudo
Apple, Chili, Thai Basil
Riesling Reserve Martins Lane 2011

***** 2nd Course *****

Prosciutto Wrapped Monkfish
Creamed Cabbage Grapefruit and Pistachio
Perpetua Chardonnay 2010

***** 3rd Course *****

Smoked Duck Breast, Crispy Duck Terrine
Red Beets, Sunchoke, Wild Mushrooms
Pinot Noir Reserve Martins Lane 2011

***** 4th Course *****

Slow Roasted Venison
Butternut Squash, Brussels Sprouts Smoked Barley Risotto, Mole Sauce
Quatrain 2009

***** Cheese Course *****

Idiazabal, Unpasteurized Sheep’s Milk Cheese, Two ways Custard and
Regular, Poached Dates, Brioche Tuile
Oculus 2009

$110.00, Cocktail, Food, Wine, Taxes and Service Included

Food Demonstration by Chef Tobias Grignon
Wine Presentation by the famous Ingo Grady Director of Wine Education

Le Parisien Continues in November with More Tete to Tail

Le Parisien LogoIf you enjoyed Le Parisien‘s Tete to Tail menu for November 1-14, the menu is now changed for November 15-30. Below is the announcement for the treats available to tantalize your bouche!  The popcorn chicken livers look very tempting to me, to enjoy with a glass of wine, or beer. Enjoy!


In the tradition of the great Parisian bistros like Pied au Cochon, Le Parisien continues its Tête (head) to Tail specials. From November 15 through 30, you really can experience the whole hog from Petit Plat Fromage de Tête to Slow Braised Pigs Tail as an Hors d’Oeuvre. Go ahead – give them a try – they’re ‘offally good.’  To see the regular menu, click here
Petit plats/$3.50
POPCORN CHICKEN LIVERS, curried apple chutney
FROMAGE DE TÉTE, cornichons, crostini
Hors d’oeuvre
PAN FRIED CALVES BRAIN, cauliflower purée, parsley, caper butter, $9
SLOW BRAISED PIGS TAILS, balsamic, oregano, grilled baguette, $9
Plats principaux
PAN SEARED VEAL KIDNEYS, Pappardelle pasta, grainy  mustard sauce, $17
PORK HEART RAGOUT EN CROUTE, wild mushrooms, celeriac, winter salad, $17
Le Parisien
751 Denman St. Vancouver, BC V6G 2L6 | Tel: (604) 687.1418

A Tale of Two Moules

Moules cooked with Belgium beer

What’s a moule? Moule is the French word for mussel.  And mussels with French fries is a very popular dish (moules et frites) in France and Belgium.  My short blog is about two different styles of moules I enjoyed; one in Belgium and the other in France.

Moules in Belgium

As I mentioned in earlier blog articles, Belgium is well known for their beers.  So one of my lunch meals was moules cooked with a blonde Belgium beer, and paired with a Grimbergen bruin beer. The moules arrived steaming in a pot.  Opening the pot, the moules were cooked with onions, celery and of course beer.  The beer flavour was not evident.  The moules though were very rich and flavourful and went very nicely with the still slightly crunchy celery.  The beer cleansed your palate for the next mouthful of moules.  A large pot of moules with fries cost EURO 21 in Brugge, Belgium.

Moules in France

Moules au camembert

I enjoyed the moules in France in the coastal city of Courseulles-sur-Mer.  The restaraunt was offering the moules with a few different seasonings.  I chose the “moules au Camembert“, as Camembert cheese is the specialty of the Normandy region.  Why not go with the best? I had never tried moules with a cheese or a creamy sauce before and was looking forward to this culinary adventure.  The moules arrived in a steaming pot.  The melted cheese and cream  sauce were very rich but not too rich that you could not taste the moules.  The flavour of the moules is a bit toned down by the sauce, so would be good for someone that gets overpowered by the natural flavour of the moules. To this doubly rich meal, I enjoyed a glass of Pelforth Blonde ale. The beer again helped to cleanse my palate for the next rich moule morsel. Being a small town/city, the moules plus the glass of beer cost only EURO 9.90. An excellent deal for an excellent meal.

Which did I prefer?  I’d say both were great.  Completely different flavour profiles and textures.  The next time you are ordering moules and frites (there are places in Vancouver, BTW), try to see what different seasonings your restaurant offers.  Enjoy!

Pairing a Loire Valley Red with a Petit Camembert in France

You know that you are having a great day when you have a chance to wander through French shops, looking for wine and cheese to pair together. My trek lead me to select a Pierre Chanau Saumur Champigny 2009 with a Petit Camembert au Lait Cru from E. Graindorge.

Getting to my room, the smell of the camembert filled the room, like freshly baked bread, but this time with a more earthy aroma.  Hunting in the kitchenette for a corkscrew, I feel like a child waiting to open his Christmas presents… And with the corkscrew being found, on to my review.

The Pierre Chanau Saumur Champigny 2009 is produced in the Loire Valley.  This wine is produced from the Cabernet Franc grape. Nice medium reddish purple in the glass.  Some leather, sour cherry, raspberry and oak aromas.  Medium body, dry with oft tannins.  Sour cherry and raspberry flavours up front, with cedar notes showing up mid palate and cherry on the finish.  Medium acidity to make the wine lively.  After letting the wine breathe in my glass, violet aroma and flavours opened up with this wine.  A nice wine to sip.  Not super complex, but not all wines need to be.

The Petit Camembert au Lait Cru by E. Graindorge came in a 150 gram round. Unwrapping the camembert there was a nice white rind.  Cutting into the cheese there were small holes in the cheese. It had a light creamy yellow interior. Quite aromati with an earthy aroma.  Taking a bite it was smooth, with earthy, mushroom, cooked corn, and nutty flavours.  Many different flavours happening at the same time.

The cheese went well with the wine.  Neither overpowered the other. The wine toned down the earthy, mushroom flavours, leaving the nuttiness and creaminess on the palate.

Here is the link if you would like to read more about E. Graindorge and their cheeses. Cheers.

A Burgundy Tasting with Burghound!

Saturday morning was really special for me and other wine media here in Vancouver, BC. Allen Meadows, aka Burghound, was at the Marquis Wine Cellars to talk about Burgundy, and taste some Burgundian wines with us. Allen is an encyclopaedia of knowledge about Burgundy, as he has been travelling there, meeting with winemakers, and tasting their wines for 30+ years. He has also published a book called the “Pearl of the Cote“, which you can buy. I’d like one for Christmas or my birthday! (Allen’s the one on the left btw)

Allen, like most of us interested in French wine started tasting and purchasing Bordeaux. He was fortunate to meet a person working at a wine shop that introduced him to the wines of Burgundy. And when he tasted a 1967 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti (Pinot Noir) he understood why people were so passionate about Burgundy. And the rest is history.

Today we tasted three white and three red Burgundies. The three whites are:
– Domaine Leflaive Macon-Verze 2007 ($59.90)
– Domaine Drouhin Beaune Blanc “Clos des Mouches” 2006 ($274.80, 1.5l)
– Domaine Comte-Senard Corton-Charlemagne 2006 ($119.90)

Allen noted that Domaine Leflaive‘s wines are the Gold Standard in Burgundy. This particular wine was produced in the Maconnais, south of Burgundy. This is because the land parcels within Burgundy for premium wine rarely goes on sale, and when it does, it is exceptionally expensive. So many Domaine’s are purchasing in the Maconnais. This wine was pale lemon with a green tint. Lemon, lanolin , light vanilla, and some lees on the nose. Good acidity, light body, lemony flavours. Dry with medium length. This was a solid wine, but better wines were to come.

The Domaine Drouhin Beaune Blanc “Clos des Mouches” 2006 is the flagship wine for Domaine Drouhin. It is a Premier Cru wine. It was light to medium lemon in colour. Quite oaky / sulfury nose, with vanilla and ripe apple. Quite round in the mouth, with lemon, apple, and a bit of spice. Medium acidity and medium length. Allen pointed out that the winemaker had applied sulfur as a “reduction” to the wine to prevent oxidation. Drinking straight from bottle to glass did not allow the sulfur time to dissipate. Allen recommended for this wine, and for many white Burgundies, to pour into a decanter and let them breath for at least 15 minutes.

The last white wine was my personal favorite, the Domaine Comte-Senard Corton-Charlemagne 2006. Burghound pointed out that there are only FOUR producers of Corton Blanc in Burgundy and that makes the wine we are tasting very rare. This was was medium to deep lemon in the glass. Lemon vanilla, wood, and butterscotch on the nose. Medium body, with lemon, woody, earthy, and nutmeg aromas. Quite complex. Medium acidity which nicely balanced the fruit in this wine. Wonderful.

I am a Pinot Noir lover, so was eagerly anticipating the upcoming three reds:
– Domaine Tollot-Beaut Bourgogne Rouge 2007 ($35.90)
– Dominique Laurent Chambolle-Musigny “Les Charmes” 1er Cru 2006 ($94.40)
– Domaine d’Eugenie Clos de Vougeot 2007 ($279.90)

The Domaine Tollot-Beaut Bourgogne Rouge 2007 would be viewed as being on the high end of an entry level Burgundy. This one was very light cherry coloured. Wet animal, vegetal, and red cherry on the nose. Light body with red cherry, vegetal, cassis and light oak flavours. Dry with a short length.

My person favorite for the reds was the Dominique Laurent Chambolle-Musigny “Les Charmes” 1er Cru. I was told that Dominique Laurent is a bit of a controversial producer in Burgundy in that he buys wine and “elevates” it through the use of oak aging before bottling. His wines have his stamp or “signature” on them. Some enjoy having a wine with a certain style, while others do not. I did enjoy this wine. It was deep garnet in colour. Complex nose with dark cherry, liquor, slight smoke and vanilla aromas. Drying tannins but very fine grained. Medium body. Cherry flavour with slight spice on the finish.

Our final wine for our tasting was the Domaine d’Eugenie Clos de Vougeot 2007. This I was told is a relatively new Domaine and is run by the Domaine Latour from Bordeaux. While the Dominique Laurent had a definite signature to it, this wine was more austere. It was light garnet coloured in the glass. Light spice with cherry, cassis, vanilla and a bit of smoke on the nose. On the palate there was smokiness, red cherry and light cassis flavours. Medium length. Dry finish.

One thing of interest to me was that none of the three Pinot Noir wines had any violet, raspberry or strawberry aromas or flavours. Although when I did note cassis, it could also be interpreted as raspberry.

After reviewing the wines together, Allen talked about the 2004 to 2007 Burgundy vintages. I’ll hold that discussion to my next blog. I hope you enjoyed learning a bit about Burgundy today. Cheers.