Everyone knows that the best Crème de Cassis comes from Dijon – and so when it was time to make Kir Royal for my partner’s birthday lunch – I naturally purchased some Crème de Cassis from Dijon. The result was lame.  The Crème de Cassis tasted more of sugar than blackcurrants and it was clearly an industrial product. So much for Dijon.

A few weeks later I was walking through a market (Marché du Vieux-Port)  in Quebec City when I came across the small booth of a Quebec producer of crème de cassis: Cassis Monna & Fils. This is real hand made crème de cassis from the blackcurrants grown on the l’Île d’Orleans near Quebec City.  This product is stunning. Bursting with fruit flavour and structured around refreshing acidity – it is not sweet or cloying in any way.

Cassis Monna is now made by Catherine and Anne Monna – the daughers of Bernard Monna – a fourth generation liquoriste from the South of France who moved to Quebec in the 1970s.

We went back to Kir Royal for my partner’s birthday dinner (yeah – her birthday lasted a week and travelled across most of southern Quebec). We  decided to use Veuve Cliquot this time instead of Cremant (and yes, I still think the best use of Veuve Cliquot is as a mixer). The difference was stunning.  I bought a few bottles of Cassis Monna to bring back to Vancouver – but I’m not sharing – so get your own.

– Mike