I was one of the lucky people to attend Holiday Hosting 101 Event and Workshop by President’s Choice in downtown Vancouver today.
We learned everything from tree decorating to the importance of tall but thin floral arrangements. We also got to taste products from the Holiday Insider’s Report and Collection of course!
Our hosts were Chef Andrea Buckett and Kelly Deck of Kelly Deck Designs. Chef Andrea told us all about the food and Kelly shared many decorating and table setting secrets.
Including decorating the tree from the inside out, starting with the lights. Who knew?
To save on floral arrangements, get a tall thin vase, some stones and berries or eucalyptus because they will last throughout the holidays. Make sure the arrangement is tall to add height but also thin so you can see each other across the table.
There were some really stunning President’s Choice products for the kitchen and decorating throughout the space.
There were two table arrangements, one more traditional and the other one gold, white and sage.
Note the lovely menu held upright with a little gift hiding on the other side of it.
On top of the gift is a little note with name cards so people knew where to sit.
Kelly advised the best place to invest is in good plate ware and then add little less expensive touches to bring everything together.
I love that we all had little gifts to bring home with us!
The first appetizer at the event was the PC Speculoos Cookie Butter Crushed Cookie Spread served on PC Provençal flatbread with almonds and strawberries. It was more subtle than I was expecting and it was just a bite. Quite lovely but I need to have more to really decide how much I liked it.
For the cocktail we had Prosecco & Peach Bellini with PC Black Currant Maple Syrup. Yes, you read that right. This drink had lots of pep and depth to it. I have never had anything quite like it. Delicious and robust.
I was absolutely amazed by their charcuterie and cheese board.
It started off with traditional cheese and meats…
OK, meats that were shaped into flowers! Click here to see what is in a typical PC charcuterie and cheese board.
Then the tapenades and spreads came out.
Chef Andrea discussed the importance of mingle food and how to make your life simple by investing in these types of products for a show stopper and foodie conversation starter:
It really was impressive and absolutely delicious. This is what I selected:
Various crisps with spreads, some of the meats and give me some of those cheeses!!!
From there we moved on to brunch and began with Black Forest Stuffed French Toast made with PC The Decadent Chocolate Cherry Loaf and PC Black Label Ontario Montmeroncy Sour Cherry Spread. It was absolutely delicious and I loved all that cherry flavour! The chocolate loaf in particular was surprisingly delicious. Everything worked perfectly together.
I was most impressed though with the Mixed Mushroom Comte Strata and the Hasselback Potatoes. I was hoping they were ready-made products but nope, you do have to make them yourself. The strata in particular was absolutely delicious and perfect for a Christmas day brunch. I am seriously considering making it for the holidays this year, I liked it that much.
I have had no luck with my own version of hasselback potatoes but will considering following Chef Andrea’s advice and pick up some PC Strawberry Blonde Potatoes and try making them again. She also recommended basting the potatoes which I did not do! These were very delicious and such a treat.
An unusual side dish was the PC Greek Yogurt – Coconut with Chocolate Chips and Mint. It was actually quite refreshing after the heaviness of the eggs and potatoes but the crunchy chocolate chips threw me off. I think I would have preferred shaved chocolate but it was quite an interesting choice.
I was not expecting dessert after such a large brunch but we were there to be spoiled!
Enter PC Vanilla Bean Mascarpone Cheesecake. What a big slice of cheesecake complete with whipped cream quenelle and Black Label Raspberry Syrup. I appreciated the cheesecake had a vanilla cookie crumb base but it was a little grainy and I found the cheesecake to be quite dense. I loved the beautiful flecks of vanilla seeds throughout and the use of mascarpone but this was a little heavy for me.
After all that amazing food Kelly wrapped up the decorating ideas by reminding us to always add a personal touch to our decorating like that natural rope with wooden beads she made herself and added to the Christmas tree.
Chef Andrea reminded us to focus on what dish we do best and make it from scratch and then take advantage of products that you can just put out for people to snack on or heat up and dish out.
The turnout was fantastic and we were really treated like royalty today. We even left with a gift basket:
I can tell you getting this all way home was the toughest part of the day. Alison-Elle and I both took many stops and rests along the way back. Me to the Skytrain station and her back to her office. OMG!!! So ouch but yay, lots of product reviews to come.
For those who are curious as to what treat I came home with, here is the beautiful tree decoration that was included in my special gift at the table. Thank you for everything President’s Choice! What a special and delicious day.
Suzie the Foodie says
Thank you so much Dara!