Omar B. / Genevieve PM Roy
The Nutcracker Market at Palais des CongrèsGrand entrance to the Nutcracker Market on the ground floor of Palais des Congrès of Montreal
From Thursday November 29th to Sunday December 9th 2012, shoppers and gift hunters alike can have the pleasure of discovering and appreciating numerous gourmet pleasures, home decorations, beauty products, toys, fine chocolates and a myriad of other specialty gifts at this year’s edition of the Nutcracker Market, proudly presented by TD and Les Grands Ballets canadiens.
This non-profit Christmas market is a wonderful place to find unique gifts for family and friends as well as helping out towards a good cause; 10% of the merchant’s pre-tax sales and all revenues earned by Les Grands Ballets during the market will go to The Nutcracker Fund for Children.
This fund allows children from underprivileged neighborhoods to attend educational workshops as well as attend a performance of the classic Tchaikovsky ballet, as well as to help towards production costs of The Nutcracker. This Free event is currently taking place on the ground floor of the Palais des Congrès of Montreal and provides a unique venue for individuals and families alike to browse and shop in a friendly environment.
This year’s edition of the Nutcracker Market is its largest yet and promises to attract over 20,000 visitors to this gift hunter’s paradise! There are numerous costumed actors with smiling faces that act as guides and the whole market is brightly decorated with costumes from this year’s Nutcracker production.
For those looking to find “that unique gift”, here is a selection of my personal favorite Holiday Season discoveries:
- Sweet scented Lavender and Marjoram essences:
- This collection of environmentally friendly fragrances made from essential oils, are sure to make a favorable impression on your guests as they enter your home over the holidays. I especially love their classic lavender essence, as it helps me to relax and has a calming effect. Each 30 ml essence jar, paired with a proper diffuser, will leave your room smelling fresh up to 5-6 months! Available at Aromas Naturales stall # 73 or online at: www.aromas.ca
- Specialty Macarons from La Maison du Macaron:
- Exceptional taste! These delectable and colorful morsels of pure, sugary delight are perfect for the Holiday season. The wide variety of flavors on offer is most impressive with Green Apple, Lemon, Peppered Mango, Chocolate Orange and Coffee being my favorites! The middle section is moist and flavorful and easily melts in the mouth! At 2$ a piece or a box of 12 for 17 $ these macarons are sure to put a smile on anyone’s face. Available at: La Maison du Macaron stall #77 or online at : lamaisondumacaron.com
- Fleur d’Osmanthus Roger & Gallet for women:
- This delicate new line of perfume and body care products is ideal for that special lady in your life. The collection was inspired and based on scents from the Chinese osmanthus flower accompanied by mandarin and luminous grapefruit: a combination that is warm, cozy and mildly smoky. The products are elegantly packaged in bright green and orange boxes and the fresh fragrant water spray comes in a convenient 100 ml format. The embellishing oil has a velvety finish and left my skin feeling soft and silky. Prices range from 25 to 75 $ and is available at the Roger and Gallet stall #13 or online at : www.roger-gallet.com
- Blackcurrant jelly and vinaigrette:
- This dark and delicious jelly marvellously accompanies yogurts, crackers and cheese. The vinaigrette presents slight hints of Dijon mustard and a fresh zest of lemon that will easily enhance your next house salad. Available at La Petite Paysanne stall # 14 or online at www.lapetitepaysanne.ca
- L’Anse aux Herbes aromatic Lobster oil:
- Boasting a kingdom of wild scents and flavors, the Madeleine Islands make L'anse aux Herbes’ products uniquely organic and original! This artisanal lobster oil will perfectly enhance your seafood pasta dishes. Pair it with Béchamel sauce in your next seafood lasagna to astound even your most discerning guests! Available at l’Anse aux Herbes stall # 59 or online at: www.anseauxherbes.ca
- Nyxe goddess of the night mask cream from Zorah biocosmetics:
- Their product line of cosmetics and body care products have gained a solid reputation as being most effective while remaining organic, environmentally-friendly and fair trade. I enjoyed the light, floral scent of their Nyxe mask which quickly penetrated my skin, leaving it softer and slightly radiant. To spice up your holiday season, ask about their strictly adult line Biolala products! Available at Zorah biocosmetics stall # 24 or online at www.zorah.ca
- Dry Cranberries from Nutra Fruit:
- The Company has been producing quality, sweetened dried cranberries that are exceptionally tender and juicier than their typically sliced counterparts. The company also offers a wide selection of various cranberry derivatives such as spread, jellies, condiments, dressing and syrups. My personal favorite is their dark chocolate covered cranberries that come in 120g boxes, ideal for a quick, healthy snack! Available at Nutra-Fruit stall # 33 or online at: www.nutra-fruit.com
- Omerto Sec tomato wine:
- A world’s first! This company has gained positive recognition as being the exclusive producers of a unique, aperitif tomato wine. With a full and unparalleled flavor, their spirits are made from organic, heirloom tomatoes. Their wine is to be served chilled as an aperitif. I love to pair Omerto Sec with smoked salmon and goat cheese. Omerto Moelleux delicious accompanies seafood and chocolate desserts. Available at the central Omerto stall or online at www.domainevb.ca
- Delicious Duck Foie Gras:
- This collection of impressive duck products are sure to make a favorable impression on your guests over your holiday dinner. I especially loved their duck foie gras with port wine and their royal duck rillettes with foie gras. The perfect smoothness and creaminess of their products was noticeably enhanced by the wonderful scent of Porto.The products come in 120 and130 g formats and must be refrigerated! Available at Les Canardises stall # 49 or online at: www.lescanardises.com
- Caramel Fleur de Sel from Delices Erabeille:
- Delicious, smooth and creamy, their honey based specialty products are perfect to enhance your holiday meals . I loved their caramelized salt spread as well as their salted herbs and apple cider vinaigrette. Great for salads, fish and sandwiches. Available at Les Delices Erabeille stall # 42 or online at: www.erabeille.com
- Maple Syrup alcoholic beverage :
- For sweet tooth lovers, you are in for a treat with Domaine La Branche's products ! I absolutely loved their pure maple beverage that has hints of caramelized nuts. It goes perfectly with foie gras creamy cheeses and desserts! The domaine also produces light still ciders that go well with cheese fondues. Available at Domaine La Branche stall # 61 or online at: www.labranche.ca
With the holiday season in full swing, it becomes primordial for shoppers to find that “perfect gift” for their friends and family. With such a dazzling array of dinner parties, banquets, and suppers, one can find that keeping trim, fit and healthy may become a challenge and many a shopper look for healthier food and gift alternatives. Here is my day two selection of awesome home decorations, beauty products, toys, fine perfumes and a myriad of other specialty gifts that are on offer at this year’s edition of the Nutcracker Market:
- Box of Mixed nuts from Noix Dorees:
Noix Dorees’s brightly packaged mixed nuts are an excellent healthy alternative snack food consisting of any mixture of manually combined peanuts, almonds, walnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, filberts, hazelnuts, and pecans. Shoppers are presented with a variety of nuts that may be salted, roasted, cooked, or blanched. In addition to being eaten directly, mixed nuts can be used in cooking or arranged as a trail mix consisting of nuts mixed with raisins and other dry ingredients. Beautiful gift baskets and arrangements are also on offer. Available at: Noix Dorees Stall # 38. In-store 1279 Blvd des Seigneurs, Terrebonne, QC J6W 4P7, Tel: 450-471-3888
- Alep soap, Laurolive cream and silver thread linen décor from ADECO
Their amazing soap collection is made from essential olive and laurel oil. Following ancient tradition, the soap is hand made in Syria in the town of Alepo and then dried for 9 months in the open air. The final products are stamped, Ecocert certified and environmentally friendly. I also love their classic Laurolive daily cream as it absorbs gently into the skin and can be used on any part of the body. Also available are gorgeous, hand weaved Aghabani white, silver or gold thread linen. This tablecloth is known worldwide for its quality and suppleness. Place it over your dinner table this holiday season to make a favorable impression on your guests! Available at ADECO stall # 38 or online at: www.adecoimport.com
- Placoteux and Sacrebleu specialty cheeses from Fromagerie Chaput:
La Fromagerie Chaput is a family run business located in the Châteauguay area and specializes in the production of raw milk cheeses. They have been producing and refining cheese from cow and goat's milk for almost 15 years. I love their Sacrebleu blue cheese that has a very smooth and balanced flavor. It goes well with pasta dishes or mixed into a buttery sauce. Another favorite of mine is their classic round and smooth Placoteux. Pair it with a nice crusty bread, nuts and fruits. Perfect for your next "wine and cheese" tasting with your friends! Price range – Around 5:99$ a piece. Available at: The central round entry stall or online at: http://www.fromageschaput.com/
- Beauty and health oils from Terre d’Hysope :
Terre d’ Hyssop is a company specializing in the development of health and beauty care products for the body and mind. Their product range is free of any synthetic products and the majority of the plants used are locally grown in the region of St Charles de Bellechasse. Consulting services and individualized therapies (aromatherapy, herbalism and nutrition) to find balance and overall wellness in our living system are also offered. I loved that their product line are based on the principle of the five elements and that the overall effectiveness of the products are immediately noticeable: Their “Winter Air: essential body oil is perfect to relieve muscle tension and chest congestion. I also appreciated their AQUA orange and rosemary vaporizer water sprays that helped me instantly relax while leaving my face slightly moisturized and refreshed. Price range – 15 to 45 $. Available at: stall # 39 or online at: http://www.terredhysope.com/
- Feu Sacrée apple cider and various apple derivative products from Verger LaCroix:
Verger LaCroix’s products are all apple based and very delicious! For a healthy snack alternative try their Croc o Pom dried apples as well as their salsa. Their award winning Sacred Fire cider combines both heat and fire intensity in the palette with subtle hints of caramel and vanilla. The liquid is a beautiful amber color and one can smell the delectable scent of apples and various fruits merged with a slight aroma of jasmine. Try it, it’s simply divine! Pair it with chocolate desserts or alone as an aperitif. Price range – Around 23.25$ at SAQ. Available at: stand # 41 or online at: http://www.vergerlacroix.ca/informations/le_verger.htm
- Darker Grain Pasta from Aliments Gusto :
As a fervent pasta lover, I found their selection of attractively packaged Tagliatella, Penne and Spaghetti to be very delicious and visually interesting. Aliments Gusto directly imports their products from the Basana de la Grappa region. I cooked a creamy mushroom sauce with their Tagliatella. When cooked, the pasta was soft and thick and the grain was darker than most commercial brands. The porous surface absorbed the creamy sauce well. I can vouch that any Italian gourmets would appreciate the slightly different texture and flavor. The Company also offers home and commercial delivery services. Price range 5 to 20 $. Available at: stall # 47 or call 514 476 9555
- Seasonings from Saveurs & Assaisonnements :
This holiday season, for a healthier alternative, try serving more fish /sushi and salads / vegetable based dishes. To creatively enhance their flavor, try one of the various seasonings on offer by Saveurs assaisonnements. Personal favorites include their Thai Lemon - lime that is nice and tangy , Balsamic & Japanese sauce and Chipotle Peppers that has a mild and smoky taste! Available at: stall #5 or online at: www.saveursetassaisonnements.com
- Emu oil and cream from Sedna International
A Quebec manufacturer of high-quality cosmetics, their moisturizing soaps, hand creams and oils are made from all natural and very potent emu oil. Their regenerating hand cream absorbs well into the skin and has an almost immediate, visible result ! Emu oil is very efficient for those suffering from eczema and arthritis. Sedna's product line is offered in many prestigious locations including Quebec city's Chateau Laurier and hotel Le Baluchon. Available at Sedna International stall # 79 or online at: www.sednainternational.ca
- Trio of Edible flowers by Mano Verde :
For a healthy and unique alternative, offer a trio of edible plants! Conveniently packaged in an biodegradable pot with useful instructions and recipes this is sure to be a gift not to be forgotten. Beautifully packaged ecospiced teas with bird and plant designs by Tamara Serrao are also available! Price range 5$ to 25 $. Available at: stall # 50, Reno Bray or online: manoverde.ca
- Monday to Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Thursday and Friday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Mall of the Palais des Congrès de Montréal (ground floor)
- 1001 Place Jean-Paul-Riopelle Montréal (QC) H2Z 1H2 Phone: 514 871-8122 Fax: 514 871-9389 www.congresmtl.com
- By Car Viger indoor car park houses located at 1025 Chéneville Quartier International de Montréal indoor car park located at 249 Saint-Antoine West.
- Adapted services All Palais entrances are wheelchair accessible thanks to automatic doors, plus access ramps in some areas.