For those of you who follow along with us on social media (@DoTheDaniel on Twitter & Instagram!) you would have seen that I was recently invited to an intimate dinner with Bonne Maman at La Société in Toronto. The theme of the soirée was an EVENING IN FRANCE to celebrate this iconic French Confiture that is a staple in homes around the world. Hosted by Celebrity Chef Christine Tizzard and curated by La Société’s Chef Romain Avril, the evening was one that I won’t soon forget. Come and see the delicious meal I enjoyed that incorporated some of the delicious Bonne Maman products available for you. I’m excited to try out these delicious jam-inspired recipes for myself and to get cooking with the full range of Bonne Maman products.
For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of being to La Société, it is the best restaurant in Toronto for classically inspired French Cuisine in a beautiful atmosphere. Their menu is one that leaves me drooling every time I read it and I can never pick just one item. #ToughLife, I know.
Bonne Maman has been around for over 25 years as a brand and is the #1 imported jam in the world. That should say something when choosing a product for you and your family. With no artificial additives, the jam itself has four main ingredients: fruit, lemon juice, pectin and sugar. That’s it. That’s all.
I found this commercial that captures the sense of family I personally associate with Bonne Maman:
“For decades, Bonne Maman has created special preserves following traditional, cherished recipes. Our 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 our 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 everyday!”
Once seated, I was able to re-introduce myself to the beautiful Chef Christine Tizzard. I was reminded by Julio that I actually had the pleasure of meeting her in 2013 (Julio & I look like babies in the photo above!) She spoke about why she loves Bonne Maman products and was proud to be an ambassador for them in Canada. “I remember being in Paris and being introduced to this jam with a croissant. There’s something about the fruit & vegetables in France. It’s unlike anything we’re exposed to here in Canada, and they’ve managed to capture that in each jar.” I couldn’t have said it any better!
She told us about the recipes she was able to create at home for her family. Most people might not think about using jam in their cooking, but having Christine tell me about smearing Apricot Bonne Maman jam on bacon, baking it and adding it to Mac & Cheese got me thinking… why not?! With fresh fruit and a milder sweetness that commercial jam products, it’s the perfect way to add flavour and depth to your recipes at home!
Pictured above, Christine enjoyed dinner with us after speaking about her very own childhood memories. I had such a wonderful time getting to know her personally with a brand she truly loves.
You’ll also notice the beautiful Gracie Carroll of GracieCarroll.com was at the #BonneMamanCA dinner. One of my dearest friends in Toronto, this fashionable blogger is my go-to when I want to be in the know for anything from Fashion to Food. See her personal #BonneMamanCA experience here & follow @GracieCarroll on Twitter and Instagram to see what I mean. We sat side-by-side all night, laughing and sharing in a beautiful meal. To me, this is yet another embodiment of the Bonne Maman products; creating beautiful moments and memories.
As a side bar, if you’ve ever sat down to dinner with a media personality like Gracie or myself, you’ll know that our phones never leave our side. To bring you along with us, it’s just a necessary part of the meal to get the shot and send that tweet. I LOVE the above photo of Gracie & I hard at work. It doesn’t look like it, but it’s a behind the scenes look into the fun we get to have attending beautiful events like this one. Thank you for being such a great part of my night Gracie! xo
Back to talking about food, the very handsome Chef Romain Avril came out to speak to us before dinner was served at La Société. Being French born, he has very tangible and beautiful memories of Bonne Maman being in the cupboard as he grew up. “This product is something that means a lot to me. The writing on the jar and the packaging is so natural feeling. It speaks to my childhood memories and special family moments. … It’s not like industrial jam that is overly sweetened. It’s very natural.”
It’s why when he was asked to create the menu below for Bonne Maman, it took him all of five minutes to incorporate their fresh flavours and natural sweetness into three of the four incredible dishes. His passion for his craft along with the elegance of Bonne Maman all spoke through in every bite and I cannot believe he was able to marry together such beautiful flavours in classic french style cuisine. I am still so inspired by the menu and can’t wait to get experimental in the kitchen with Bonne Maman products at home!
So… let’s talk about four incredible dishes!
1. Foie Gras Terrine, Roasted Gig, Bonne Maman Fig Chutney, Mache, Fig Mouilette with Balsamic Reduction:
Foie gras is traditionally a very decadent dish which means that you need something acidic or sweet to play off of this, otherwise it would be like eating a piece of butter. By adding the Bonne Maman Fig Chutney and Balsamic, this dish became a balance of light and heavy flavours. Not to mention that it was Foie Gras two ways… I was left fighting the urge to lick the plate. When cooking with fattier items, it’s always important to understand that you need flavours to contrast just as much as you do to compliment. Balance is key and moderation is important to wow your guests without overwhelming them.
2. La Société Oven Roasted Salmon, Broccoli Puree, Charred Broccoli Florets, Horseradish and Sour Cream Espuma, Celery Salad, Celeriac Chips & Pickled Broccoli Stems:
This new item is actually recently added onto the La Société Summer Menu and though it doesn’t incorporate Bonne Maman, that doesn’t mean that when cooking fish as home you can’t. I would recommend Bonne Maman Orange Marmalade being added to a marinade of soy & rice wine vinegar overnight to give an asian inspired flavour to your fish. By pan searing it after marinating, you will caramelize the sugars in the marmalade and help to create a sweet and salty crust. Alternatively, if you bake it, I would add a pinch of sea salt before putting your fish into the oven which will highlight the flavours of sweet and salty in a completely different way.
The above dish, when you aren’t at home cooking with Bonne Maman, is a MUST. Crispy skin, earthy flavours in the broccoli and a delicate espuma with hints of horseradish make for delicious meal. I actually am craving it right now as I write this post and may have to head to La Société with Julio to indulge!
3. Pan Seared Duck Breast, Bonne Maman Blackcurrant Gel, Radicchio, Green Beans and Shallots Salad, Sautéed Hen of The Wood, Edamame, and Bonne Maman Wild Blueberry Jus:
Duck is very classic and is paired with either citrus flavours in Asian Cuisine or berries in French Cuisine. The natural pairing of Bonne Maman Blackcurrant is a match made in heaven. Gamier than other fowls, the intensity of duck meat needs to be tamed with something sweet or tart… or better yet, both! This dish took the strong flavours of duck meat and grounded them into a tart sauce and savoury salad. As opposed to delicate fish, when cooking stronger flavoured proteins, it’s all about power player ingredients. When looking to add sweet in a natural way, as opposed to just adding sugar, Bonne Maman is a great option to enhance the flavours of your dish.
Always… ALWAYS pair a protein with a dark green. It’s the simplest of pairings but the earthiness of a dark green veggie even just tossed in butter can offer a marriage of hearty and healthy, not to mention delicious. Also, Hen of the wood mushrooms are officially my favourite mushrooms now. Thank you for the introduction Chef Romain!
4. La Société / Bonne Maman Shortbread Millionaire, Shortbread Soil, Bonne Maman Dulce de Leche Ice Cream, Small pieces of Shortbread Millionaire and Chocolate Chards:
Ahhhh dessert. French cuisine is famous for them and French Canadians famously love to eat them. So basically I am destined to be a dessert person for the rest of my life. Again, #ToughLife. The Bonne Maman Dulce de Leche is already quite sweet on it’s own (ps. eat it on salted crackers. trust me.) so adding it to a dessert sounded risky. Thankfully, I was in the very capable hands of Chef Romain who created a shortbread millionaire and ice cream that infused the decadence of its flavours without enhancing them too much. This is a dessert to top all desserts. When combining sweet with sweet it is SO important to do so in moderation. Add a savoury addition like shortbread to create texture and flavour for your guests at home, and remember that experimenting in the kitchen is half the fun!
By now you should be hungry and ready to cook. Make sure to check out the Bonne Maman website for a list of all the beautiful products you can purchase for your own recipes. To join in on the social media conversation, use the #BonneMamanCA hashtag and share your meals with us all! And of course, when you aren’t cooking and are in Toronto, head to La Société and tag @La_Societe on social media.
For more behind the scenes of this and other amazing brands we are working with, make sure to follow along with the #DoTheDaniel Instagram account!
Photos: Jeffrey Chan
** I have partnered with the brand for this sponsored feature. The above content is my own and expresses our personal experience of the product. The opinions expressed are fully endorsed by DoTheDaniel.com and it’s staff.