Snow Village adventures and Pommery Restaurant
This winter, I suggest that you put on your parkas and boots and come out and experience a village like no other ... Situated just outside Montreal, on St Helene island, is a winter wonderland snow village complete with an ice bar, a fully functioning ice chapel a three service restaurant and a multiple suite ice hotel !
At the Snow Village, guests are immediately welcomed by a festive atmosphere and smiling crowd. Whether you are exploring the outdoor site with its numerous winter activities such as dog sledding, skating or sliding, or just taking a tour of the various hotel suites, you can be sure that you will be emerged in a universe that is both magical and unique!
I visited the snow village last week with some guests and I am glad to say that the staff and my tour guide Andrea, were all very welcoming and tried to make our experience as pleasant and comfortable as possible.
Our first stop was the ice hotel. 25 million kg of snow went into making this structure which includes a lobby and ten standard and fifteen prestige rooms that make up the hotel. The theme this year was New York, thus the entrance hall featured a stunning ice bridge and ice mural carvings depicting the Chrysler building, the Empire state building and the statue of Liberty.
The prestige rooms all have beautiful ice carvings that follow the New York theme. Some of my favorite themed rooms include the Avengers, Broadway, King Kong and Frank Sinatra. All of the snow hotel’s rooms are equipped with large beds mounted on a base entirely made out of ice combined to a wooden frame on which rests a cozy mattress. Guests are provided upon arrival with a thermal sleeping bag that can resist temperatures as low as -30 degrees Celsius. Luckily the room temperature is maintained at 5 degrees Celsius at all times!
Our next stop was the The Jägermeister Ice Bar that offered a moment of relaxation and refreshments to visitors. On weekends, the bar also host events, parties and is also a great environment for people to gather for a 5 to 8. I found the shooter shots, served in ice glasses, to be quite visually interesting. The village also boasts a fully functioning, ice chapel, complete with a gorgeous alter and benches that occasionally hosts lavish weddings!
Dinner at the Pommery ice restaurant exceeded my expectations and was the highlight of our visit. Chef Matthiew Saunier, resident chef of the InterContinental Montreal Hotel, was mindful of food sensibilities and created a three course menu that is all at once healthy, hearty and perfect for a cold winter day.
The three course dinner menu, priced at $69 per person was as following:
Each guest received a ginger broth with various aromatic spices. It was a great way to open the palette and keep warm while waiting for the following dishes.
Jerusalem artichoke and cauliflower cream soup with stewed wild boar and fried artichoke ravioli -- The soup was essentially a good choice for those who wished to remain warm while enjoying a flavorful puree of vegetables with a couple raviolis.
Duet of fresh and maplewood smokehouse sea trout tartar with blinis, yuzu and tobiko mayo, chiogga beets---- My favorite of the two, I found the tartar to be fresh and the visual presentation was pleasing to the eye. A small pancake is served with this dish.
Stewed Cornish hen stuffed with mushrooms and morels, served with “coq au vin” sauce, croutons and pearl onions - Heavenly platter! The meat just melts off the fork and the aroma that steams out of the piping hot ceramic pot is enough to make you want more. According to the chef, this dish will continue to be served in the future at the Intercontinental Hotel even after the snow village ends.
Squash, sweet potato and lemon confit, southern style broth - This vegetarian option is served on a bed of quinoa. Warm and tasty, the sweet potatoes are a perfect fit for an ice restaurant.
EXTRA DISH: An Emmental cheese fondue with bread was served to all customers. Courtesy of the Intercontinental Hotel.
A caramelized cake with hot chocolate, candied pear, maple pecans and Amarula caramel sauce was a very sweet way of finishing up a tasty dinner.
Drinks: With our meal we ordered a glass of 2011, Portugese Albis white wine. It beautifully complemented the stewed Cornish hen dish by being intensely aromatic and offering a crisp, fruity taste without too much acidity.
For dessert, I tried an awesome hot chocolate chip Fragelico Skyy hot cocoa, just perfect to warm me up for the rest of the evening!
For those coming with their children, a kid’s menu consisting of cheese tortellini with tomato sauce or mac & cheese was on offer .
As with their sister ice restaurant Amarula in Laval. The restaurant's inside decoration was colorful and clean and reminiscent of a nordic tavern with multiple carvings of barrels on the snow walls. The seats were all lined with brown faux furs and at the center there was a large carving of a Pommery liquor bottle.
I would highly recommend wearing warm clothes for in-seating dining guests as the Pommery doesn’t offer heated fur covers.
After a long day of visiting the snow village, it was time for some winding down, rest and relaxation with the other guests and overnight visitors of the hotel. We all headed towards the heated dome where hot dogs and hot chocolate were served. We decided to participate in one of the ongoing site activities which included Karaoke with a very enthusiastic DJ! After belting out a few tunes and reminiscing about all the beautiful carvings and sights we have seen that day, it was time to call it a night and leave this magical village of winter bliss.
For more information , please visit : Snow Village Canada's site :
or check out Tomeka Weatherspoon's live coverage video of the snow Village :