Two weeks ago I snuck away for a mini-holiday with my partner to Quebec City.
We went for the Quebec Winter Carnival or the Carnaval de Québec a festival held in Quebec City every winter beginning end of January and ending mid-February. I have always wanted to go. Not only is it a quintessential Canadian festival where one can get experience the unique French-Canadian culture in a stunning city. But because over 30 years ago, my mom and dad, in their early twenties met for the first time at Carnival on a college field trip.
Carnaval de Québec first began in 1894, however it was not until 1955 that Carnaval was held uninterruptedly. That year Bonhomme, the mascot of the festival, made his first appearance. Up to one million people attended the Carnaval de Québec in 2006 making it one of the largest winter festivals in the world
The most famous attractions of this winter festival are the night-time and daytime parades led by mascot Bonhomme Carnaval. The parades wind through the upper city, decorated for the occasion with lights and ice sculptures.
Numerous public and private parties, shows and balls are held across the city, some of them outside in the bitter cold, testimony to the Québécois’ fabled joie de vivre. For me I was most excited to try dog sledding, eat lots of maple and poutine, and see the magnificent ice sculptures.
Overall we had an amazing time. Even though it was freezing if you dress warm you’re in for a great weekend you won’t forget. The city is unbelievably romantic. It’s certainly delivers on those essential elements of Europe that we love – charming shops, historic architecture, beautiful language, delicious gastronomy and vibrant night-life- without crossing the ocean. I definitely plan to return in the summer where I heard its even more parisien with artists lining the streets painting and the patios of cafes and bistros are full of people and music fills the streets! Sounds so enchanting….
Right now American’s everywhere are planning their copious menus and setting their tables with festive décor for Thanksgiving. Ohh, and they have a shorter work week for the long weekend festivities. Now I know I have no right to really complain, north of the border up here in Canada, we celebrate Thanksgiving in early October. I love it as I have always viewed it as the official kick off of autumn.
As Canadians prepare for thanksgiving we start to see the leaves changing from green to hues of gold, copper and crimson. The weather, in my opinion, is prefect. There is a definite crispness in the air, but we welcome it as it allows us to don our leather jackets, flannel button-downs and wrap ourselves in hand knit scarves. While we know the bone chilling cold is closing in on us, summer has healed the wounds of winter past, and we can blissfully enjoy this season for what it is. Rich. Cozy. Bountiful. Rustic.
I guess I am really just reminiscing of this past thanksgiving as it was so splendid. I thought I would share the décor and menu I went with to serve as inspiration in case you are still looking for some inspiration.
I honestly don’t know if I was more excited to set the table or to cook the food. I think I would go with excited to set the table (décor comes easy for me) and anxious to cook the food (cooking elaborate meals without my mom or grandma’s help scares the s@*! out of me). There really is nothing worse than spending your time and money on something only for it to turn out bad.
Overall I’d say everything turned out pretty perfectly. I opted to roast a chicken instead of a turkey because it was only two of us and there would have been way too leftovers. It turned out moist and succulent. My first pumpkin pie was also a success. I also made these delish, super fancy looking twice baked sweet potatoes with roasted marshmallows on top. And to start I make awesome little raspberry, brie and puff pastry appetizers.
All in all, we were stuffed. But isn’t that the one of the best parts of the holidays?!
Right now William Sonoma has such amazing thanksgiving dinner plate sets that would add festive flare to any holiday table.