Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Picnic and A Play

The last weekend of August happened to be my birthday. My husband had planned an evening out for us the weekend before, for our anniversary, and we had the most wonderful time at a chef's tasting dinner at Hillebrand Winery in Niagara on the Lake. I'll be writing on that separately later because it was just too good of an evening not to share! Anyway, since it's two weekends in a row, I wasn't sure what he would have up his sleeve for the second. To my surprise, he planned a night at the theatre, once again in Niagara on the Lake.
I've never been to see a proper show, especially one in a historic theatre. We saw "One Touch of Venus" at the Shaw festival (a biannual theatrical festival the town hosts each Spring and Fall). It was fantastic! The music was great and the story was quite funny. It was about a Modern Art museum that brings in a statue of Venus by request of the very wealthy owner. She comes to life and falls in love with the already engaged barber who happened upon her while attempting to cut the owners hair. I really enjoyed it and recommend going to see it, or any other play for that matter! It makes for a very cultured and fun evening out. (You can't help but feel glamorous when you're going to the theatre in a historic town!)

The Shaw Cafe downtown.
The iconic Prince of Wales Hotel - it's so grand and would be a wonderful place to stay!

The theatre! Isn't is glamorous!

So, since we needed to have dinner, but had already done the fine dining the weekend before, I decided to pack a picnic to bring with us. We found a cozy spot right on the water along the Parkway. It was just down a hill so it was nice and private and the perfect spot to sit and enjoy each others company over a glass of wine as we watched the sun set.
Since it was a special occasion, I didn't want to pack just anything. We had taken home a lovely bottle of red wine from Hillebrand and were waiting for a nice evening to open it. This was the perfect occasion! I had heard of a quaint little cheese shop a town over called Chez Fromage and decided to check it out. It's funny because it's this idyllic little french cheese shoppe in this tiny little town in the middle of nowhere. Funny enough, she had a line up! Once it was my turn, I was greeted with a Bonjour! I told her the wine I was serving and that I was looking for a couple little bits of cheese to nibble with our picnic and that I wanted them to compliment the wine. Immediately she started grabbing wedges of various cheeses and shaving off samples for me to try. It was so great because she was getting so excited about each one and telling me the characteristics of them, where they come from and how they would suit the wine. I was very impressed by her knowledge and by how easy going she was about it all. Cheese, like wine, can be very intimidating to select and she made it so much fun!
These are the cheeses she selected for me and what each one was:
Niagara Gold ~ A buttery, creamier cheese with an earthy truffle taste.
Raspberry Bella Vitano ~ A fruity, cheddar~like cheese with Parmesan flavours, aged in raspberry ale.
Peau Rouge ~ A semi-soft cheese with hints of grilled hazelnuts and caramel.
Compte France ~ A unique cheese aged on spruce boards.
All of them were fantastic! They paired perfectly with the wine and were all good starter cheeses (nothing too crazy). It was about $15 for all four and though they seemed like smaller portions, they were perfect for nibbling!
Out bottle of wine for the evening; Hillebrand's Showcase Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 Clark Farm ~ complex aromas of sweet vanilla, spice, black licorice and black current.
$45 at winery.
(For a more budget friendly bottle, try the Artist Series Cab. Sauv. from Hillebrand at the LCBO. It's about $15 a bottle and it's also very good.
We enjoyed the wine and cheese with some fresh baguettes from the bakery as well as a selection of meats from the deli; prosciutto, salami and calabrese.

And the Grand Finale - dessert from Indulgence (downtown Fonthill). It's a little bakery downtown that specializes in cakes and desserts as well as breads. I usually go there for their killer pecan sticky buns but every once in a while I'll pick up a little dessert for us to share. This was my birthday cake though so I wanted something special. My selection? Turtle Cheesecake with pecans and caramel (top) and Chocolate Fudge Cake with lots of gooey chocolate ganache frosting (bottom). Can you tell I like chocolate?? They were both to-die-for!

Overall, it was another wonderful evening. It was so relaxing, just the two of us by the water. We couldn't stop ooing and ahing over how good the food was! The best part, it was so simple to throw together and it was a combination of these great foods that our local shops have to offer! It was fantastic and definitely something we're looking forward to doing again!

Thanks for another great night dear!


1 comment:

  1. Came across this post randomly while browsing Shaw articles -- what a lovely blog and beautiful outlook on life you have :)


Thanks for leaving your comments! I always love reading them. - Maria