Since october I have embarked on a project to study breadmaking at the Center Calixa-Lavallée.  Besides wine, my other big passion include cooking. Wine and food go together and you cannot have one with out the other.

The study of bread has been a subject that always fascinated me. It is so similar to wine, since it is a product of terroir. At its heart, bread is made with simple down to earth ingredients: flour, water and yeast. If you are a purist, the flour can come from a specific mill, the water from a special stream and well..the fermenting agent  could levain or yeast. This  is the same strain as the responsible for the fermentation of wine: Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Unless, you are talking about Levain or sourdough which is another ball game.

A part of my program consist of learning to make viennoiseries. The word “viennoiserie” – is French for “things from Vienna” – spans a whole category of pastry that includes croissants, pain au raisins and brioche. These products, symbolized  with France, tend to close the gap between the arts of boulangerie and  patisserie in culinary school philosophy.


Viennoiseries are made either from:  a pâte viennoise (a leavened, sweetened dough named because of its origin in Vienna) or  a pâte feuilletée (puff pastry dough, which is not leavened but puffs during cooking like and accordeon because of its many layers of dough and the air that rests between them).

To eat a chocolatine straight from the oven is a priviliged experience that is quite intimate. For me, it brought a fond memory of when I arrived in Montreal and walked in for the first time in La Gascogne in Laurier Street.  Mastering the art of laminated dough to make a croissant is quite a challenge. Under the supervision of my professor Michelle, slowly, I am learning the robes The trick is to incorporate the well the butter in all the dough.  This is called tourage in French. Kneading the dough too thin can kill the feuilletage when you bake the croissants.

Chocolatines are great as a petit dejeuner with a cafe au lait to start off any day of your week. However, they are also very popular in weekend brunches and certainly can be enjoyed with wine. The challenge is to find something not too sweet and refreshing at the same time to handle the buttery richness and chocolate sweetness of the chocolatine. The answer lies in sweet wines. Sparkling cider works best but certain dessert wines from the Loire Valley, South Africa, Italy or the Rhone Valley can do the job as well.

I encourage you to try the following reccomendations next time you have a warm chocolatine. If you cant make one, buy one from a top boulangerie and reheat to kind of live the experience.


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Cidrerie du Minot La Croisée Quebec, Canada ( SAQ # 12962063, $9.60)

On the nose caramel with granny smith apple. Fresh and slighty sweet with a frizzante bubble alike. A reasonable priced sparkling cider to have for brunch, specially now during the holidays period.

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Cidre de glace Vergers Petit & Fils 2014 Quebec, Canada ( SAQ # 10320972, $23.85)

Enticing aromas of apple turnover, spices with slight balsamic notes. Very fresh and creamy with a good persistance in the mouth. A finale that brings to mind a touch of honey and earl grey.

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Klein Constantia Vin de Constance 2012, Western Cape, South Africa ( SAQ # 10999655, $75.25)

Citric aromas such a ripe tangerines, dry white fruits and nuance of musk. Sweet with a good acidity and poetic. A dessert by itself, this sweet wine  is just borderline  in an accord with a  chocolatine.