Bonne Maman Dinner at Le Neuf Cafe

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

I recently had the chance to experience a taste of Paris right here in Toronto by attending a dinner event with Bonne Maman and Le Neuf Cafe.

If you’re not familiar with Bonne Maman, it’s time to get acquainted.  Bonne Maman, which translates to ‘grandmother’ or ‘granny’, creates preserves and jellies that stem back from the same traditional recipe since the brand began. Their long-time customers have wonderful memories of family get-togethers when grandma was generous in sharing Bonne Maman’s luscious flavours. Today, Bonne Maman continues shaping the sweetest moments by producing their preserves in France using all natural ingredients with no artificial colorings, no additives or preservatives. That’s why Bonne Maman is a favourite in every generation and a delicious addition to life every day!

The Bonne Maman inspired dinner took place at a Parisian-style café called Le Neuf Cafe.  The café is nestled away on Clarence Square in Toronto and the atmosphere inside really gave me a nostalgic feeling of being back in Paris. The menu features some French classics, such as escargots, steak frites and galettes, as well as a variety of other authentic dishes. 

The host of the evening was Celebrity Chef Christine Tizzard who introduced us all to the lovely dinner and talked about how she incorporates Bonne Maman preserves into her everyday life. One recent experience she shared with us was when she made cupcakes with her family and instead of icing them with a traditional icing recipe she used the Bonne Maman Dulce de Leche spread instead. Christine believes in getting creative and said “it’s best to think outside of the box with Bonne Maman jams because they are so multi-purpose".  She even made a delicious puff pastry dessert using the Bonne Maman chestnut spread mixed with pumpkin puree and layers of sliced apples! The options are endless!

We started off the night sampling the preserves on some French bread to truly get an idea of what they tasted like on their own.  My first impression was that they were not overly sweet, which is usually the case when I buy jams. Instead, they were all very true to their natural flavour. We tried cherry, red currant, chestnut and dulce de leche.

Our first course of the night was Chicken Liver Mousse served on Dark Rye Bread, topped with a Mushroom Red Currant Jam Reduction and Hollandaise sauce.  The Bonne Maman Red Currant Jam really gave this dish a hint of sweetness and tartness that complimented the mousse quite nicely.

Next up was the Port & Rosemary marinated Duck Breast served with Pancake, Foie Gras and Cherry Jam Sauce. The Cherry Jam sauce was used on the duck, which gave it an impeccable flavour.  I don't eat duck too often, but paired with the jam, it was so delicious.

The third dish was a cheese board with 3 Canadian cheeses and Red Currant Jelly. The Red Currant Jelly with the Brie was a match made in foodie heaven! 

Lastly was dessert which was a Chocolate Tart with Dulce de Leche spread, Paris-Brest with Chestnut Spread and Vanilla Beignet with Dulce de Leche Custard.  I have a real sweet tooth and loved how the Bonne Maman Dulce de Leche spread was used consistently throughout the pastries. I would've ate the dulce right out of the jar if I could, but I suppose that wouldn’t have been too lady-like of me. (I'll do it at home though…)

I had an absolutely wonderful night chatting and eating with fellow foodies, the staff at Le Neuf and Chef Christine.  It was my first time trying the Bonne Maman jams and jellies and now I'm kind of hooked.  My favourite was definitely the chestnut spread; it is so versatile and full of semi-sweet nutty flavour.  I've been using it on toast, in my oatmeal and as a dip for roasted root vegetables. 

From now until April 2016, Bonne Maman will have 10 road shows where you can buy 3 Bonne Maman jams for only $10.99 in a nice Bonne Maman gift bag.  There are 6 flavors offered: strawberry, apricot, fig, orange, 4 fruits and red currant. If you shop at Costco, make sure to stop by and get your Bonne Maman trio for you and/or everyone you want to spoil. 

Nov 10-22: Burlington                                     Feb 16-28: Richmond Hill
Nov 24-Dec 6: Westminster                           Mar 1-13: South Mississauga
Dec 6-20: Oshawa                                          Mar 15-27: Barrie
Feb 2-14: Ancaster                                         Mar 29-Apr 10: Etobicoke
Dec 22-Jan 3: Newmarket                             April 12-24: North Mississauga 

Thank you to Le Neuf Cafe and Bonne Maman for hosting a fabulous dinner!

Photography by Jeffrey Chan courtesy of Bonne Maman

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