Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Eating up the Hill: Bill Morneau's jam bars

Following his delivery of the federal budget yesterday, Finance Minister Bill Morneau hosted a post-budget reception in the Sir John A. MacDonald building and, while his budget ran a deficit in order to make overdue investments in Canadian infrastructure and other programs, in a nod to austerity his reception featured a cash bar.

But with my $8 glass of wine in hand, I went on to sample the bounty of nibbling options that were on hand. There were the usual veggie cups and cheese and crackers, but a highlight for many was the pretzels and mustard. Much of the catering on the Hill gets repetitive, but I have not seen the pretzels before. Now, I didn't partake myself -- I don't really care for soft or hard pretzels, and I dislike mustard. When I buy a bag of snack mix I will pick the pretzels out and eat them separately, so as to not have their pretzliness ruin the taste of the doritos, sun chips and cheesees. Nevertheless, the pretzels were a hit with a majority, and continually had to be restocked from the kitchen.

I did enjoy the make your own bruschetta stations, with a variety of topping options to go on your perfectly toasted wedge of bread. I topped mine with the strong cheese, and it was delicious.

My highlight though was the dessert bar station, which is a rare feature at these events. As you can see, there were a variety of bars on offer, including brownies, blondies and lemon bars. Now, I like me a good lemon bar, but tonight I only had eyes for the jam bars. Made with raspberry jam with crumbly oats on the top, these were delicious. I had two and had no regrets.

I also ran into my friend from the Cattlemen, who told me they would be back on the hill with a beef bbq in the summer. I've missed their last two beer, beef and whiskey receptions, so it's nice to have something to look forward to as winter takes its last swipe at Ottawa.

All in all, I declare the pretzels and jam bars the real change this post-budget reception needed.

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