Saturday, October 27, 2007

Airoldie pour une sortie!

Si vous avez la chance de regarder Airoldie pour une sortie sur Canal Vie, mardi le 30 octobre à 11h30 et en rediffusion toute la semaine, vous aurez la chance de voir le SPA Gallant en pleine action! Et oui nous avons eu le plaisir de les recevoir cet été.

Nous avons fait des soins en couple avec les produits ISHI avec Julie et Guy Prescott. Sonia à expliqué les biens faits de la vino et chocothérapie et Linda Gallant a parlé de L’auberge. Bref une belle visibilité pour l’auberge.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Les Couleurs

Nous sommes vraiment choyé dans notre région. Situé sur le versant sud de la montagne de Rigaud nous procurons un microclimat qui fait que le summum des couleurs est toujours vers le 20 octobre ou deux semaines après l’Action de Grâce soit deux semaines plus tard que les autres régions du Québec. Nos jardins sont encore assez beaux et les promenades en forêt sont tellement agréable que je passe au moins une heure par jour ce temps ci à marcher avec Damas notre nouveau labrador de la fondation Mira.

Pour ceux qui ont connus Muffin, elle est décédée il y a trois ans. Quelques mois plus tard, j’ai contacter la fondation Mira pour voir s’ils avaient un chien mature qui aurait besoin d’une nouvelle famille. Il arrive parfois, qu’un chien a des défauts et qu’ils doivent le placer dans une famille, il y a aussi des chiens qui vont à leur retraite. Bref après 3 ans d’attente, nous avons eu un appel la veille de mon départ pour l’Italie. J’ai accepté avec plaisir. Ces chiens ne sont pas gratuits pour ceux qui voudraient faire comme moi, mais pour nous, il est très important que le chien soit bien dressé et calme.

Maintenant Damas fait partie de l’Auberge. Nous devrions peut être changer notre nom pour l’Auberge du chien Blond!!!

On the road again....

Last week I have spent more time on the road than in the office. Monday I left for Trois Rivière to stay at Auberge du Lac St-Pierre. Being President of Hotellerie Champêtre has some responsibilities like meeting every couple of months to let my board know what I am up to. The meeting on Tuesday was productive since we have finally decided to go ahead with on Line reservations for Hotellerie Champêtre. This is not easy when everybody knows a cousin who is a computer programmer… and everyone has a different reservation program that is not compatible… some like it in English while most need the French… I think you get the drift.

I try to put myself in the customer’s place when putting this project together. Keep it simple is my motto. I hope that you have a chance to try it out once it is up and running. The idea is to give you what you need and want immediately without long telephone calls or waits on the internet. You should be able to choose your room, package, activities, meals and much more. There will be specials and other information as well. If you want to try it out, you can do so on the Auberge des Gallant website.. What we want to do is have it very user friendly.

Our last two weddings of the year were on Saturday. The weather was record breaking! What a beautiful end. Brunch on Sunday was busy, busy. The horse drawn carriage rides and walking trails were much appreciated. Now we can concentrate on next year’s weddings!

Friday, October 5, 2007

My Chianti experience...

Ok, now that I have two minutes, I want to share my Chianti experience. This is my 4th trip to Italy and my 2nd with Rustico Cooking Tours.

We stayed at a villa just up the hill from the Castello di Meleto’, located in Gaiole, Chianti. Cooking classes were held at the castle everyday at 10:00 a.m. Then we would eat the food we made at noon, ‘al fresco’, under the Tuscan sun overlooking the the spectacular view. The afternoons were spent sightseeing in the picturesque towns in Chianti. We ate suppers at traditional Tuscany restaurants.

I managed to visit a vineyard called Terrabianca in Radda, Chianti. They make a very nice wine called Campaccio available in 750ml as well as 18 liter bottles. We serve many of their 18 liter bottles at our wedding receptions. I wanted to see if they could offer another of their wines in a 12 litre bottle so I can offer this one as well to my couples. Unfortunately no one was available to speak to me about this at the time although I had made an appointment with them. I think it may have been a Macho thing. I do not believe that they thought a woman visiting them could be an actual buyer and that I was just there to taste wines not to buy them. Too bad.

The next day we visited the La Sala Winery in San Casciano, a female run company (8 women!) Now, here they gave us the grand tour and a wine tasting. I was able to speak to one of the owners about importing their wine here. When I returned from my trip, I called my wine broker and gave him the info on this wonderful vineyard and the Super Tuscan wine that I so enjoyed. My broker should be visiting La Sala Winery in the next two weeks.

Did you know that a 45$ bottle of wine at the liquor store costs about 8 Euros??? I was in shock when I found this out. Imagine the taxes and transport cost 5 times the cost of the wine! So when the restaurant buys it, we pay extra taxes and then store it for months and even years. We mark up the wine 50% to pay for the inventory that is sleeping in our wine cellar as well as the crystal glasses and decanters that cost a fortune and are broken everyday, the sommelier's salary, as well as all the other expenses incurred. I think it is important for people to realise that there is no profit to be made on the food side of our business unless dealing in fast food which is all about quantity.
So if you want to visit your favorite restaurant again next year, order a bottle of wine this year and enjoy knowing your money is being invested in more wine and good service with competent staff. At least that is how it works here at Auberge des Gallant.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

I am back...and in need of another vacation!

I am amazed at how rested I was when I returned from Italy and how soon Life as an innkeeper took over and exhausted me! Let me describe the last week:

Monday: I caught up on all me emails and phone messages, My mother dropped by with our new family member Damas, a 5 year old Labrador. The Mira foundation had called me just as I was leaving for the airport, to tell me they had a wonderful dog that needed to be retired and was in need of a new home. In the past I had Muffin who was part of the auberge for 10 years. After her passing many customers still ask about her. These dogs are so well trained and used to the public, so the perfect choice for us.

Tuesday: Meet with all the departments to catch up and plan the next week. Met with Julie the wedding planner to go over the 9 weddings that went on while I was away.

Wednesday: hired a new chef to handle the purchasing, schedules and maintenance of the kitchen. Neil our son will concentrate on the menu creation side. Get a call at 2h00 am for a wake up call. There goes my good night’s sleep!

Thursday: spent the day with Sylvie at Hotellerie Champetre. I am president of this hotel chain that represents 25 wonderful hotels. Signed a lease for our new offices on University street in Montréal and went over our projects for the next year. In the middle of the meeting, Neil calls to tell me that our new dog Damas has eaten some rat poison, I rush off to meet him and the dog at the vet. Woken up at 1h00 and 2h00 am for late check inns. Once again no sleep.

Friday: At 5h00 this morning I must get up and let the hairdresser and beautician in to prepare for a wedding at noon. I am doing the audit for the next three days since Dominique is on vacation. Returned to the vet’s for an update on Damas. No problem we purged the poison from the Dog so he is saved! Return to the inn to meet with two new couples to book their wedding and supervise the two weddings going on. I drop into bed by 8h00pm exhausted.

Saturday: I am at the desk by 7h00 am doing the audit and start seeing couples about 2008 weddings by 9h00 am. We have three weddings going on today and I have to finalise the bills for the two weddings yesterday. After meeting with 8 or 9 new couples for 2008, I am once again In bed by 8h30 and drop like a fly!

Sunday: Up by 7h00 for the audit and prepare for the brunch which is a full house at 10h00 and 1h00. Gerry’s family (my husband) are celebrating one of their own and spend the afternoon with us. By 6h00 o'clock, the place is empty and we order a Pizza, yup a pizza for a quick bite to eat with a salad and then once again I drop and sleep non stop for 12 hours! I think I need a vacation!

Note: when staying in an Inn please note that they are not full 24 hour service hotels. Most Inns give you information about wake up calls, Internet access and other important facts on arrival. Basically most will tell you their front desk hours. Example from 7h00 am to 11 p.m. Please do not call at 2h00am and ask for a wake up call (that you can do yourself on the phone or with the clock beside your bed) or ask what time it is… or ask for an Internet access code. You will usually wake up the Innkeeper who is on call for an emergency after hours, when you could have asked for these services before 11h00pm. After 3 nights of very little sleep, I was in no mood to answer the customer who woke me up at 5h00 to cancel his wake up call at 5h15 because he was already awake. I mean Think about it, why do I need to cancel a wake up call??? Just let it ring. Does he think that there is someone at the desk waiting to call him???