On Monday, July 9th, 2017, I attended the Music and Beyond Festival event ‘Music and Wine.’ For those of you who are unfamiliar with Music and Beyond, it is a classical music and arts festival that takes place annually each summer. The festival includes not only music, but visual art, dance, comedy, food and wine, to name a few. This festival has so many amazing events to offer! Having never attended one of their events, I perused their website, and was very impressed with the variety of events that they are hosting! After long consideration, I decided to select their Music and Wine event, hosted by Soif Wine Bar in Gatineau. Music and Beyond strives to reach out to people of all cultural backgrounds and all demographics. A major part of its mandate is building new audiences for music and the arts, with a special emphasis on young people.
This incredible evening of music and wine was truly a unique experience. Veronique Rivest, world renowned sommelier and owner of Soif, led the entire evening, sharing five exceptional wines, each paired with small hors d-oeuvres and one to two pieces of classical music. The music was provided by a harpist and a classical guitarist, who selected their own pieces of music to accompany the wines based on Rivest’s detailed descriptions. I loved that each of the musicians was allowed to interpret those descriptions in their own way and present an appropriate piece of music to fit the wine. Both musicians were incredibly talented, and the music really set the tone and mood for a relaxed evening atmosphere for wine tasting!
The wines and hors d-oeuvres were a treat unto themselves. The wines were from all parts of the world, and each had its own distinct taste. I’m by no means a wine expert, so trying to describe the fine details of a wine could just be insulting to someone with a more refined pallet. I’ve posted pictures here of the different wines that I was able to try. I have to say that the Chardonnay was my favourite, it just worked with everything and the nice bubbly dessert wine was a real treat and worked very well with the pairing of the pastry puff.
The hors d-oeuvres menu included a fresh radish with lobster butter and caviar, a piece of delicious, warm lamb rolled in a crispy coating, bison on a crisp baguette slice, a spoonful of a delightful salad topped with baby cucumber and fresh herbs, and a pastry puff filled with strawberry and crème and topped with a ripe red berry. The lamb in particular was unbelievably tasty. I cannot say enough about the taste and quality of the foods offered! This menu was truly gourmet!
The venue, Soif, was perfect for this event! I cannot imagine a better place to host an evening of wine and classical music than this quaint wine bar in Gatineau. The bar itself is intimate and quiet, with wine-inspired décor, setting the stage perfectly for tastings! I particularly loved the light fixtures that held wine glasses from the ceiling and the collection of wine bottles that lined the booth seating area. Seats were very comfortable, and the natural light streaming through the large windows lit up the seating area perfectly. Soif also has a large, beautiful patio area in the back, which I will take advantage of the next time I am there!
Music and Beyond has a number of events upcoming over the next week, with the festival running until July 18th! Each event sounds equally amazing, and I would HIGHLY recommend checking them out! From looking at the schedule, events that I would recommend are: ‘Music in the Time of the Great War’ or ‘Vienna Piano Trio’ on July 13th, ‘As You Like It, Mr. Shakespeare’ on July 14th, ‘Rising Stars’ on July 15th, and ‘Music and Medicine: A Musical Prescription’ on July 17th. These events make for a wonderful day or evening out, appreciating the arts and the arts community!