Thursday, April 05, 2007

So Sweet.Tres chic.That's Olive & Gourmando

Espresso Brownie from Olive & Gourmando

Just when it was starting to look like spring had sprung, along came old man winter and pulled a fast one on us. My poor bulbs are now having it out with the blanket of heavy, wet snow that completely covered the ground last night. I’ve been had, that’s for sure! I had even gotten the BBQ out of the shed and managed to christen it with some steaks and asparagus before getting snowed in, perhaps I was a bit hasty to do so.
It’s hard not to feel gloomy when your back yard looks like a giant chocolate cream pie that someone sat in-only it’s mud and snow.
Fortunately there are ways to cheer up, like hitting your favorite cafe.

It’s no secret that mine is Olive & Gourmando in Old Montreal, which I’ve been frequenting ever since it opened seven years ago. At the time, my aunt lived in the same charming area and I remember her telling me about this fabulous bakery that just opened behind her condo. It was shortly after that when we popped in to the small, modest place to check it out. There was just two tables, four chairs and a counter with a cash register, but is sure smelled like heaven and the apple-cinnamon brioche I sampled was a like none in any other Montreal bakery.
Over the years Olive & Gourmando has evolved into the hippest café in the city. It has stayed small, tripled it’s charm, and everything about it is chic, chic, chic. Fortunately the baking is just as good as it was in the beginning and they’ve added some pretty fantastic sandwiches and salads, too. Throw in an espresso bar featuring my favorite, Illy coffee, and there’s no reason to go anywhere else.

A cute local girl who enjoys her Illy cafe mocha too

Just the description of these sandwiches is enough to get my stomach rumbling. For example, Danny's favorite, Le Cubain: Ham, braised pork, homemade chipotle-lime mayonnaise, and gruyere cheese. Or my personal preference: grain-fed chicken breast with guacamole, cajun spices and fresh mango. Is it lunch time yet?

Montrealer's take their tea very seriously. O&G have a selection to rival any of our cities many tea salons and know how to present it properly as well.

As for their baked goods, it would take too long to give the credit that is due to them! I will just say that the Vahlrona Chocolate and Illy Espresso Brownies are an experience in themselves and by far the best cure-all to any winter or false spring blues.
Dyan Solomon prepared these brownies on a Quebec TV show and I was very happy to get the recipe. Here it is, translated from French.

Espresso Brownies

Chocolate Chips

30 ml (2 tablespoons) 35% cream
30 ml (2 tablespoons) ground espresso coffee
200 g (7 oz) chocolate 70 % cacao, coarsely chopped (Olive & Gourmando use Valrhona)


175 ml (3/4 cup) soft butter, cut into cubes
100 g (3 oz) chocolate, 70 % cacao, coarsely chopped
150 g (5 oz) Belgian dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 large eggs, room temperature
5 ml (1 teaspoon) pure vanilla
175 ml (3/4 cup) sugar

125 ml (1/2 cup) all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt

Chocolate chips
Bring the cream and the coffee grounds to a boil. Let infuse a few minutes and pass through a fine sieve. Dissolve the chocolate in the bain-marie and to add the cream to it. Pour on a plate covered with parchment paper and let cool in the refrigerator approximately 2 hours or until the chocolate is completely hard. Break apart with your hands.

Dissolve butter and the two chocolates over the bain-marie and mix well.Preheat the oven to 180 °C (350 °F).Beat eggs, vanilla and sugar until pale in color and light in consistency. With the rubber spatula, gently incorporate the flour and salt. Add the melted chocolate and mix delicately until batter is combined. Add the chocolate chips and mix well.Pour the batter in a buttered 9 inch square pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool overnight in the refrigerator.

1 comment:

Tammy said...

I love cafes! We are most definitely going to have to hit this place up for an Illy and sandwich when we come.


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