An appropriately timed music-culinary event happened at the very funky S.A.T. (Societe des Arts Technologiques) this past Friday night in Montreal. Taking advantage of the fact that it was right around Valentine's Day – a holiday that is second only to Easter for chocolate consumption – Nujaz Festival and I.D. Productions put on a night of visual arts, electronic music and, interestingly enough, chocolate tasting. When I first arrived around 10 p.m. (the doors had opened at 9 p.m.) the large open space, which is on St. Laurent below Ste. Catherine, was already about half full. The crowd was a sampling of young, fashion conscious, trendy Montrealers who seemed ready for an evening of fun as they were milling about waiting for the next act to hit the stage. Besides all the beautiful people (and not in the Marilyn Manson sense), everywhere you looked there was something interesting. The large space had 3 large video screens which were filled with images supplied by various visual artists, namely Les Technocrates, Andrew Gene, Vanessa Vaughan, O, Picard, and Size-0. These fast moving visually stimulating videos were interesting and mesmerizing. They even had towers of several smaller television screens piled on top of each other in different locations around the floor.
What interested me most about the evening was the lure of the chocolate tasting. I had thought it was just a gimmick and by 10 p.m. all the chocolate would be gone. Boy, was I wrong! Continuously all night long (and I left around 2 a.m.) young men and women walked amongst the crowd with large silver trays full of a huge variety of delicious chocolate. There was milk chocolate, white chocolate, dark chocolate, and truffles. There was so much, that by the wee hours of the morning, the friend I had brought along with me who is a chocoholic was even saying that she had had enough! Amazing! The chocolate was supplied by three different Quebec chocolate makers including, Juliette et Chocolat (1615 St-Denis/www.julietteetchocolat.com), La Cabosse D'Or (Otterburn Park/www.lacabossedor.com – you can even order their chocolates online), and Barry Callebault (the biggest producers of chocolate worldwide and based in Switzerland, but with many branches worldwide including one in St. Hyacinth/www.barry-callebault.com). I do not know which chocolate were whose, but they were all very tasty (I especially enjoyed a white chocolate/coconut truffle! Yummy!!)! I have to say that this event reinforced my belief that chocolate goes with everything – even beer! Speaking of beer, the evening's liquid was supplied by Boreale and a local (St. Polycarpe) beer producer Schoune (www.schoune.com). Now those of you who are real beer connoisseurs might have heard of this beer (they were featured at the Montreal Beer Festival and won a Prix du Public in 1998), but I had not and I was pleasantly surprised. On Friday the Blonde, La Blanche du Quebec and Ambree were featured and I tried the Blanche, which was quite good.
Throughout the evening there was an array of live performances and DJ sets for the dancing pleasure of those in attendance. Before I arrived DJ Phuz had performed. Around 10:30 DJ duo Motus 3F hit the stage and got the crowd moving. The two young men were wearing white coveralls and shades and proceeded to use their turntables and voice distortion devices to entertain the crowd with their high-energy set. The highlight of their set was when a female vocalist who had an interesting voice that really complimented their music joined them onstage. They were followed by the trio Gloomy; who are live performers that included a bassist and two keyboardists. They were joined onstage by a trombonist for a few numbers and really got the crowd up close to the stage dancing. The final act I saw of the evening was DJ Pheek. This solo DJ has played around the world, including Europe and Latin America and has a very smooth style and sound. All in all, it was a very enjoyable event and for the $15 ticket price it was well worth it as I am sure I ate more than that in chocolate! I say bring on Taste 3!!