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When you get a chance to have an elegant dinner at Toronto’s historic Casa Loma, you immediately carpe diem that opportunity. Take, for example, this Johnnie Walker whisky pairing dinner on the eve of Robbie Burns Day, on Saturday evening, January 24th.

While the event came up quickly on the radar, tickets sold even quicker for this special occasion. And for me, it was great to meet and dine with 2 readers who heard about the event from Best of Toronto and bought tickets. It’s great when the online world connects with the real world.

Guests were treated to an exquisite reception with a variety of hors d’oeuvres and two cocktails featuring Johnnie Walker Red Label. It was great to enjoy with familiar faces including Gail McInnes and Natalie Deane. First Natalie insisted we go outside for a picture – and you can’t say no to Natalie!

On the Casa Loma sleigh with Natalie Deane

On the Casa Loma sleigh with Natalie Deane, “I just want to be Cinderella!”

Coming back in to warm up, we got treated to a bagpipe ceremony that led guests in to the exquisite dining room.

Bagpipe ceremony

Bagpipe ceremony

Then we were warmly welcomed by Mortlarch Whisky ambassador, Georgie Bell, who hails from Scotland.

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From there we dined on the first course: a lobster bisque topped with whisky foam. Paired with Johnnie Walker Black Label, we were off to a really appetizing start.

For the second course we had a plate of caraway crusted scallops, roasted beets, ryeberries, and dill cream. Paired with Johnnie Walker Platinum.

Then with that under our belts, it was time for the traditional presentation of the Haggis dinner complete with bagpipes and some readings of Robbie Burns poetry.

Sláinte!

Sláinte!

Then it was time to dig in to this take on the traditional Haggis dinner with neeps & tatties, whisky cream and braised red cabbage. Paired with the beautiful Johnnie Walker Blue Label.

The main course: Haggis dinner with tenderloin, neeps and tatties, whisky cream and braised red cabbage. Paired with Johnnie Walker Blue Label.

The main course: Haggis dinner with tenderloin, neeps and tatties, whisky cream and braised red cabbage. Paired with Johnnie Walker Blue Label.

Then for the fourth and final course, I was expecting dessert to be on the table but it turned out to be an elegant post-reception where we were greeted with a beautiful array of sweets and delicacies including a chef carving of rich, dark callebut chocolate, espresso chocolate pots de creme and orange chocolate truffles. Paired with beautiful Johnnie Walker Gold Label to end the night with a golden touch.

Johnnie Walker Gold Label

Johnnie Walker Gold Label

I appreciated the fact that the whiskies were all served neat (besides the whisky cocktails, of course). While I’ve grown to appreciate whisky lately, I definitely broadened my appreciation for it by being able to sample the Johnnie Walker portfolio. I definitely look forward to next year’s Robbie Burns Day!

Photos by Nick Lee

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