The Ciel en Fête hot air balloon festival in Quebec is floating its way through Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu next month, accompanied by a host of activities, including yoga, a Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ) picnic and an illuminated night show.
In the event of good weather, the hot air balloon festival will take place every weekend during the month of August.
The festival will host two free yoga sessions at dawn, where you can practice your downward-facing dog surrounded by breathtaking floating hot air balloons.
The SAQ'scinq à sept style Pique-nique découverte allows you to picnic beneath the balloon-dotted sky. Tickets include a basket with a selection of wines or bubbles from Quebec, paired with agrifood products from the region.
Night Glow on August 7 will create a hot air balloon spectacle under the stars, illuminated in the likeness of Chinese lanterns, which you can view through your car.
On several dates, two professional acrobatic divers will perform extreme dives from a hot air balloon in mid-flight — they'll be jumping 20 to 25 metres, equivalent to an 8-storey building, and diving into the water below.
Food trucks and beer will be available at the free Budweiser tailgate on August 14, where you'll be able to watch the Volaria aerial festival.
Reservations for each activity are required, but entrance is free for most events.
Ciel en Fête Festival
Price: Mostly free entry, but prices vary
When: Every weekend throughout the month of August — dates for each activity vary
For countless years, well-known spirits brand, Bombay Sapphire, has taken even the pickiest gin lovers on a delightful taste and sensory journey.
Recently, they set their sights on creating a diverse range of premium gins, the newest addition to which is Bombay Bramble — an eye-catching, crimson-coloured gin created with 100% natural fruit flavours.
Rather than using artificial flavours, colours and added sugar after distillation, Bombay Bramble is instead made with freshly harvested blackberries and raspberries for a rich fruit infusion and a bold new gin.
A versatile, ruby-hued gin with fruity summer flavours obviously sounds delicious, but does it live up to the hype? I decided to try Bombay Bramble for myself and share my thoughts.
First up, it's good to know that a 750 ml bottle of Bombay Bramble is widely available around Montreal. You can get it at the SAQ for $29.95, and it has an alcohol level of 43%.
I decided to try it by itself over ice first so that I could taste all of its subtle flavours. After my first sip, I noticed how dry Bombay Bramble is compared to the overly sweet (in my opinion) flavoured gins I'm used to. So on that front, I was pleasantly surprised.
As for its aroma, Bombay Bramble smells quite strongly of blackberries and raspberries, with subtle notes of juniper berry, coriander and a hint of lemon zest. The natural botanicals are expertly captured, giving this well-balanced gin a fresh, crisp taste.
The event name, Sudbest, perfectly captures the goal of the event. Organizers call it the Sud-Ouest's "largest commercial revival initiative," bringing forward as many of the borough's merchants, artists and artisans as possible.
"The Market is intended to be a tailor-made economic stimulus tool for artists and merchants in the Sud-Ouest by giving them a commercial opportunity to promote themselves as part of an event reflecting the neighborhood," said restauranteur Gaelle Cerf, one of the event leaders, in a statement.
At the market, you can expect to find a 100% Quebec wine and cider bar run by the owners of the new convenience store Le Cinq à Sept (Ville-Émard), a bloody caesars bar at Lord William Pub and a "post-pandemic" beer made specially for the event by 4 Origines Microbrewery.
You'll find food trucks, a Perles et Paddock oyster bar, jerk chicken grilled by Boom J, Food'elles and more.
At this month's event, DJ Kelly (Rap Mommies) will be spinning on Saturday from noon to 10 p.m. On Sunday, you'll find Jazz St-Henri, 99 Wolves, and ELMNT at the DJ booth.
Fifteen stands are expected at the first Le Sudbest weekend, according to communications coordinator Julie Poulin. But Poulin told MTL Blog there are already 35 kiosks confirmed for the next event on August 28 and 29.
The third and final (for now) Sudbest weekend is scheduled for September 25 and 26.
Entry is free and dogs are allowed on a leash.
Sudbest Neighbourhood Market
Price: Free entry! No cash is accepted on-site (so pay by card or by scanning a QR Code thanks to the CHK PLZ app)
When: From noon to 11 p.m July 31 to August 1, August 28-29 & September 25-26
Address: 40, rue des Seigneurs, Griffintown, Montreal, QC (Behind Arsenal, along the Lachine Canal)
Why You Need To Go: Check out the SudBEST merchants, artists and artisans that the Sud-Ouest has to offer!
Between enjoying yummy food, sitting outside in nature (after being stuck inside all winter) and spending time with loved ones, it's no surprise why picnics have become a summer staple in Montreal. This has been especially true during the pandemic.
The team started doing these picnics during the pandemic after years of visitors coming to the orchard and asking to explore the grounds.
They offer monthly menus based on what's in season on the farm and in the area, packed in a beautiful picnic basket that you can take anywhere on the property, whether it's on the tables and chairs scattered throughout the rows of apple trees or on your own picnic blanket.
We booked for five of us to go to celebrate lots of birthdays this month. I went for the first time last year in October, so it's no surprise the menu was different in July — lots of fresh veggies, cold dishes and light sauces, but there was one thing that was consistent: the UNBELIEVABLY fresh quality.
For July, the chicken was the only hot dish, so we decided to eat that first, and let me tell you, it was probably one of the best chicken dishes I've ever had IN MY LIFE. It was quite reminiscent of a Thanksgiving turkey in a light, yet creamy gravy and I could have easily had a whole basket of it.
We then moved onto a veggie sandwich. If you know me, you know I'm a mega-fan of sandwiches. I couldn't decide which was better: the fresh veggies or the fluffiest, doughiest bread that tasted like it was pulled out of the oven five minutes earlier. The rest of the menu was filled with lots of great dishes like salads, porchetta, cold soups, and some fish, too.
Of course, there's always a sweet treat to end off the meal. This month's menu included a fruit shortcake. I'm not much of a shortcake person, but this was honestly so light and delectable that I think I may be one now.
It was such a great day on the farm that we didn't want to go home. It's only 40 minutes outside of the city and felt like a much-needed escape from the hustle and bustle. At $80 per basket (a basket is made for two people), it was actually great value for money and I cannot wait to see what's on the menu next month!
La Cabane d'À Côté Picnic
Price: $80 for a basket for two
Address: 3595, Montée Robillard, St-Benoît de Mirabel, QC
Why You Need To Go: For one of the coolest and tastiest picnics you can have less than an hour from Montreal.