You’re always reminded that summer in Canada is gearing up when you smell that first whiff of barbecue. You can nearly feel your muscles relax as the scent brings back fond memories of family, friends, food and lets not forget, beer. Recently, my parent’s group of friends have started a new tradition, in honour of their dear friend, that takes all that is summer in Canada and multiplies it by 10.
This event is called Marche Nocturne – literally defined: night market. It’s when friends, family and neighbours come together for an evening of food and laughter, in our town’s oldest neighbourhood. To paint a picture for you: 305 people of all ages, dressed in white, gathered around a massive 300ft clothed table. Two enormous, charcoal barbecues prepared 150 full chickens and more sausages then anyone could possibly count. A red cedar canoe filled with ice was home to buns and beer. A table of condiments held not just your typical ketchup and mustard, but homemade relish, pickled onions, spicy homemade ketchup, dijon mustard and homemade sauerkraut. There was even an espresso machine in the back of a refurbished car!
One of the houses had a silent auction set up on the front porch, auctioning off paintings by local artists. Another table was taking donations for Pancreatic Cancer Research, a cause that this group of friends holds close to their heart. The visionary of this event had passed away 2 years earlier from the disease. The evening has been held in her memory, with the group raising over $17,000 in one evening for the cause.
When the dinner bell rang, people sat down with their chicken and sausages and started to pass around their homemade salads and side dishes. Between myself and those next to me I managed to get hold of mango salad, an antipasto platter, goat cheese salad, shrimp, cheese crisps and a tomato basil dish. Drinking white wine (borrowed from a neighbour) out of plastic cups had never felt so luxurious.
Although it’s a cliche, it would be inaccurate to call this night anything but magical.