Over the past few years, I have come to appreciate the moments that I am lucky enough to share with you all more and more. I think that amid a busy schedule, writing blog posts, meetings and everything that goes into running the blog with Catherine, I sometimes got lost in the pace of it all. Since losing my Dad in 2016, and facing some health issues of my own, I am reminded how short life really can be and how it is important to cherish the beautiful moments because I never want to take anything (or anyone) for granted ever again. So when the team at Grand Marnier Canada recently invited me to celebrate #WeLiveGrand at Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Toronto, I knew it would be a magical night that I simply had to share with you. It also brought back beautiful memories of a brand that has been a part of my life for a very long time.
To give a bit of background, leading up to November 29th, I am going to get a bit more emotional. And that’s okay. Losing a parent is something that changes you as a person. Not that I will be sad like I have been, but I will be emotional. I chose to remember the parts of my father that helped to influence the man I am today. The silly Dad jokes, the fact that he loved me and my marriage fiercely (a first for a traditional French Canadian man who was sometimes stuck in his ways), and the traditions that I try to continue and will do so with my future family.
One of these is the fact that after a family meal or special occasion, my Dad would put on a pot of coffee (my love comes from my parents equally) and serve Grand Marnier as a digestif. It’s so French Canadian to do that, and for a long time I don’t think I appreciated what this meant to my Dad. Whether it was a bit more time with family visiting from Montreal, or just to continue a good discussion that we had started over dinner, it was something that brought us together. And therefore, Grand Marnier is something that I will always associate with good memories – both past, and yet to be made.
Flash forward to the recent event at the hotel, I was amazed to learn about the history of the brand. Sometimes in order to understand where we are headed, we need to remember where we came from.
“The Grand Marnier story began in 1827, when Jean Baptiste Lapostolle founded a distillery in Neauphle-Le-Chateau, a small city outside of Paris, that produced fruit liqueurs. It was in 1976, when his granddaughter married Louis-Alexandre Marnier, the son of a winemaking family from the Sancerre region, that the House of Marnier-Lapostolle was born.
… Grand Marnier was originally named Curacao Marnier, but when Louis-Alexandre Marnier-Lapostolle invited his friend, César Ritz, to taste his creation, César Ritz was so taken with it that he suggested a new name: Grand Marnier. “A grand name for a grand liqueur,” he is reputed to have said, ignoring a trend in turn-of-the-century Paris to call everything small, or “petite.””
So to say I was seduced with the history and familial ties to the brands would be an understatement. I believe that some of my best memories in life have been had over a delicious meal with someone I love, or with the perfect drink pairing. Throughout the evening at the Ritz, we enjoyed a seven-course meal (thank goodness for SPINCO) inspired by the very meal the two gentlemen above enjoyed that sparked a long standing relationship with two brands that are now iconically born of France and have spread throughout the world.
Of course I do not eat this decadently every night, but there are some moments as mentioned that are meant to be savoured. From Foie Gras to Rabbit Consommé, Escargot to Cornish Game Hen, I was left feeling truly transported to a time in Paris when life could have been magical just as the evening was. I also came to realize the versatility of the Grand Marnier products – from cocktails to sipping on Cuvée Quintessence with dessert (aka heaven on earth), this was an experience I won’t soon forget.
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Last night’s #WeLiveGrand dinner at @ritzcarltontoronto with @grandmarniercanada was absolutely magical. From a menu inspired by @ritzcarlton & @grandmarnierofficial in the early 1900s where it all started, to the amazing conversations with inspiring people, it was an evening we won’t soon forget ✨ We can’t wait to tell you about the history of these two brands on DoTheDaniel.com very soon ? #Sponsored – — – — #WednesdayWisdom #wednesday #NomNom #eeeeeats #RCmemories #Grand #GrandMarnier
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Toronto #weLiveGrand event . . . . . #grandmarnier #masterblender #patrickraguenaud #jarnac #charente #france #cognac #ritzcarltontoronto #welivegrand #grandmarnierdinner #toronto #torontofood #lux #event #toronto_insta #torontolife @grandmarniercanada @grandmarnierofficial @grandmarnierusa @grandmarnier_uk @ritzcarltontoronto @ritzcarlton #thesix #the6 #torontoevents #torontonightlife @francetoronto @francecanadaculture
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La Cuvée du Centenaire est un assemblage exceptionnel de fins cognacs XO (82 %) qui accompagnent merveilleusement les petits fruits rouges tels que les cerises et les framboises. Et puisqu’on y est, pourquoi ne pas ajouter une touche de chocolat noir et un brie? ? The Cuvée du Centenaire is an exceptional blend of refined 82% fine XO cognacs that pair well with red fruits like cherries and raspberries. And while you’re at it you might as well enjoy a touch of dark chocolate and brie. . . . . . #NousVoyonsGrand #WeLiveGrand #GrandMarnier #cognac #grandhour #makeitgrand #labanane #afterworkdrinks #France #cognaclife #cognaclove ##lux #luxlife #luxelife #cognacpairing
Enjoying Grand Marnier can happen over sumptuous dishes like these, or with your friends after a long day in a Grand Collins cocktail or a Grand Sidecar. The elegance of the brand is something that can meet the needs of Canadians from coast-to-coast in so many ways. While I will continue to sip it over ice at the holidays and cheers to my Dad, I also will try to make more cocktails and drinks for my friends and loved ones now that I have come to appreciate the memories it can help me create.
I encourage you to create memorable moments in your life by seeing how Grand Marnier, and it’s rich history, can add to your special and everyday occasions. Join in on the social media conversation by following @GrandMarnierCanada on Instagram. Use and follow the #WeLiveGrand hashtag and let us know what you create and how you are making life just a little more beautiful.
This post is not intended to be seen by persons under the legal alcohol drinking age or in countries with restrictions on advertising on alcoholic beverages. Please remember to enjoy responsibly and never drink and drive.
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Photos: All social media accounts listed above, Grand Marnier Canada & Daniel Reyes
Mobile photos were taken with my #HuaweiP20Pro on the Rogers network
*Please note that this is a sponsored post – our disclosure can be found at all times by clicking here.