We love the President

When I lived in Paris, one of my favourite guilty pleasures used to be going to Marks and Spencer’s food hall and buying myself dinner (oh and possibly a treat or two). I was devastated moving to Canada to hear that M+S no longer existed here. What was I to do?

Neil told me not to worry because there was President’s Choice, the Loblaw’s supermarket private label. It became apparent to me that many of our friends LOVED “the president” too. It seemed everyone had their favourite products. Over the past 10 years (since I have been in Canada), the brand range has expanded into all areas of the supermarket to the point where if you need it, the President probably makes it. It’s also very affordable. Gotta love that.

A few years ago, Neil and I had the brilliant idea of a “PC party” whereby we would invite people to celebrate the Winter Solstice (because God forbid that we should be so conventional as to have a Christmas Party…) and everyone would bring their favourite PC product. We would supply mulled wine. Win-win for everyone – we all eat what we like and I don’t have to cook!

I don’t have pictures of the first year but the second year, the aftermath looked something like this:

Last year, it looked like this (sorry for crappy iPhone photo):

This year…

Let’s backtrack a little, shall we? Earlier in the day, I started the big pot of mulled wine. I had seen some great recipes over the past week, including Megan’s and Jamie Oliver’s. I based our mulled wine on these.

We used three 1.5L bottles of this.

We added some Mandarine Napoleon and some brandy to this.

We used plastic cups even though I am aware it’s not environmentally friendly.

We don’t have a dishwasher and we certainly don’t have enough glasses for 50 people. To make sure we used as few as possible, we did this:

There was also some of Neil’s newly brewed beer, from Fermentations:

This was “Leffe-like” and it was actually not bad.

I sipped from both throughout the afternoon.

We had drinks for the kids too:

Right then. Onto the food. As I was pretty much standing by the stove for the whole afternoon, my shots are of each product people bought but not necessarily of the plated items. Sometimes the plates didn’t even make it out of the kitchen (yes, the stuff is THAT good!)…

In no particular order…

and the aftermath of the fondue:

Yes, yes, there is a cheese “imposter” but since it’s called “President” we thought we would allow it!

(these were sooooo good they never left MY side!)

These meatballs came already warmed in a crock pot so no package pic…

I know there are probably some items I did not photograph. It got a little.. ummm.. hectic in the kitchen at the peak of the party as I juggled one oven and about four trays of food at a time at varying temperatures and for verying amounts of time. I am impressed I got so many photos as it was. Thanks to my kitchen elves, Edite and Yvonne for all your help!

And I KNOW you must be thinking “OMG – all that FOOD!” but to be truthful, I hardly ate or drank anything. A bit of this here, a bite of that there, a sip of mulled wine and some beer maybe but Neil and I were starving when everyone left. How ironic! People left groaning that they were “stuffed” ! Which, in my book is always the sign of a great party! And guess what… there are leftovers (not a lot but still…) so that’s excit
ing for a grey Sunday.

Just a word here – President’s Choice did not sponsor this event (though we would love it if they would!) – as I said we’ve been running it for a number of years. We were hoping Foodbuzz would name this weekend the December 24,24,24 date but no luck there either. Although actually, this time next week, I will be blogging about our December 24,24,24 experience from Paris!

I hope your holidays are filled with good food and drinks, great company and much laughter. Because that’s what it’s all about!

21 thoughts on “We love the President”

  1. Wow, now that's a party. Although everything was prepared its a huge amount of work to get things hot, plated and to the guests. Sometimes the best part is putting your feet up afterward, pouring a nice glass of wine and nibbling on the leftovers.

  2. I LOVE President's Choice! Those cheesecakes look delicious. I introduced Jeff (my American husband) to Loblaws and PC and we've been bringing stuff back for his folks…especially the "Memories of…" selection of dressings. Have a wonderful time in Paris! We'll actually be in Toronto next week to blog about for our 24, 24, 24 party!

  3. I always look forward to this party Mardi. It's always a fun time and it's great to be able to sample so many different dishes. Thanks for hosting again this year!

  4. what a fun party! we used to be able to get pc products here until the local grocery store was bought by another chain and they stopped carrying their products. so sad. our spring trip may involve filling some coolers to bring back home . . . do they have loblaw's in london? 😉

  5. I loved President's Choice when I was in Canada – if only Home Brand or You'll Love Coles etc could be so good.Mulled wine is almost making me pine for cold weather. Almost.

  6. See – everyone really DOES love the President. Thanks everyone for your kind comments – there truly was not one dish that was not delectable! PC – take note! Australia and the US are pining for you!!!

  7. And Best Family – you can buy the PC products at the supermarket near Martha's house in London. Perhaps we will do a mini PC party..

  8. I must say, it is a bit fun to have a party where everything is "prepared foods", for a few reasons.First, while Mardi's at the oven and I'm dealing with drinks and coats and serving most of the time — it IS a lot easier than preparing from scratch. I mean, we'd be cooking for DAYS to get this same selection of goodies.Second, it really shows you were food preparation technology has come in the last 20 years, since PC was first launched. That Butter Chicken is gorgeous, with nice (light) spice and complex flavours. The brie and fig treats are always a big hit, as are the Mini Beef Wellingtons introduced last year. There are others worth mention of course – but I'd end up writing another blog.I should just add that as for the sweets, they nail it. Even the adults at the party were fighting the kids for them. :-)Thanks for all the helpers as well!

  9. Alright! So happy to see the wine had another go of it up North. Looks fabulous…and this party looks awesome. How much fun! I love that Neil comments on your posts 🙂 And check out all those photos…looking mighty fine. (And thanks for nice comment today. As always, makes me smile). Hope you're feeling better!

  10. Megan – we all LOVED the mulled wine :-)Duo – you're too funny ;-)Taste traveller – Yeah, I guess you can't get PC in Germany, right?

  11. Did we actually consume that much food…I heart the president but I miss M & S big time! Fantastic party – thanks for putting it on 🙂


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