The annual Montreal En Lumiere festival is the perfect anecdote to the February blues, especially for foodies. While food and wine are the primary focus, Montreal En Lumiere also celebrates the arts in every sense of the word, with free concerts and children's events happening all over town.
This festival presents a great excuse to get out of the house and celebrate gourmet fare prepared by top chefs – both local and from afar – with friends and family.
With over 270 activities offered over 11 days, it's one of the largest gourmet festivals in North America, and it's even designed to suit all budgets. In 2015, the Montreal En Lumiere festival runs from Thursday, Feb. 19, to Sunday, March 1.
The Montreal En Lumiere festival — Photo courtesy of Kristina Servant
A highlight of the festival is the chef pairings, whereby a visiting chef is paired with a local one. This year's celebrity chef hails from Switzerland, one of this year's gastronomic spotlight regions. Switzerland's diverse landscapes and cultures have produced a rich gastronomic tradition.
Fifteen chefs of this inventive cuisine will be here to unveil their unique dishes. Visiting top Swiss chefs include Pierre-Andre Ayer, president of Les Grandes Tables de Suisse and owner of the Michelin-starred restaurant Le Perollesin Fribourg. He will also serve as the honorary president of this 16th event and host the festival’s Honorary President's Dinners at Europa restaurant.
Closer to home, the rich culinary scene of Washington, D.C., will be explored through six of her innovative chefs, including Kyle Bailey and Bertrand Chemal. Close to Montreal, the Lanaudiere region of Quebec is the local highlight
Located just steps from Montreal, the Lanaudière region blends nature, culture and gastronomy, and it sends some of its finest culinary ambassadors eager to serve up their latest flavors.
The guest chefs from this region include Nancy Hinton of Les Jardins Sauvages hosted by Les 400 coups in Montreal, Marie-Eve Dubeau from Bistro L’Ange Cornu Benoit Hogue from Le Dialogue and Yan Waters of Domaine des Trois Gourmands cooking at Le Quartier général.
To learn more about the region’s specialty producers and their local goodies, join the crowd on the mezzanine of the Jean Talon Market on Saturday, Feb. 21, and Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, from 9:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. Here, you can taste the wares of 10 Lanaudière food producers and attend workshops hosted by Chef Jean-Paul Grappe, along with 10 guest chefs from the region.
Every year, the En Lumiere festival closes with Nuit Blanche, an all-night party where locals and tourists can take in 200 mostly free events, all of them linked by a free shuttle service. Whether onstage or onscreen, indoors or out, music, installations, exhibitions and dance keep Montreal hopping and the cold and dark far away.