Turning off the lights for an hour on the last Saturday evening of March has become a tradition here in Montreal. I know I do it in my home, although I’m always disappointed when I look out my window and see the lights shining brightly in most of my neighbour’s homes. Maybe this year I’ll spend Earth Hour at one of the Montreal restaurants who will be turning of their lights for the event.
This week, the Tom Nacos Group (TNG) of restaurants announced that all of their Montreal-area restaurants will be offering candle-lit dinners on Saturday night. They will also be serving a low carbon footprint cocktail, created by UK mixologist, Richard Woods, with the proceeds of the sales of the drink going directly to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The cocktail ingredients are very ‘Quebec’ too, even though the drink was created in the U.K.; although I’m hoping they’ll be using Calijo de Rougemont apple brandy by Cidrerie Michel Jodoin instead of Calvados.
Here are the participating restaurants:
- Decca77, 1077 Drummond
- Newtown restaurant, 1476 Crescent
- Wienstein and Gavino’s, 1434 Crescent
- Guido & Angelina, 690 Ste-Catherine West
- Guido & Angelina, 2313 Ste Catherine West
Decca77 offers the biggest ‘celebration’ with a 4-course raw food menu created by chef Daren Bergeron and the kitchen team. ($35) They will also be offering an organic wine pairing.
As well, some hotels are also offering candlelit dinners:
- Fairmount Queen Elizabeth,900 Rene-Levesque West
- Restaurant Aroma, Delta Montreal, 475 President Kennedy
- Tour de Ville, Delta Centreville, 777 University
Events at the Fairmount Queen Elizabeth include special cocktails in all their restaurants and lounges (one made with fair trade espresso); a special quinoa-risotto with at their Beaver Club and Montrealais Bistrot restaurants; and a candlelit dinner featuring local cuisine or Oceanwise-certified fish at The Beaver Club.
Or, if you’d rather move your body instead of fill your tummy, head on out to the torchlight walk up Mount Royal being organized by the David O’Brien Centre for Sustainable Enterprise at Concordia University. And, with all the lights out, why not go stargazing in the city with the folks from the Royal Astronomic Society of Canada at Westmount Park?
Of course you could always stay in and celebrate with your own candle-lit dinner or cocktail party. Fondue made with Quebec cheese and paired with local ciders, or even ice cider, is a great choice. Here is a recipe for Gruyère and Apple fondue from Bon Appetit. Substitute local apple brandy for Calvados, and ask at your local cheese shop for a good local substitute for Gruyere, or try Cogruet, which is a duVillage 1860 cheese and widely available in supermarkets.
Earth Hour takes place between 8:30 and 9:30 pm on Saturday March 26th. An interactive map with a complete list of events can be found on the Earth Hour website. I find it a bit clunky to navigate though, so may also want to check out this article in the Montreal Gazette which also gives a pretty good round-up.
Do you participate in Earth Hour? What are your favourite activities?Photo credit: Tammy Ziegler.