by Jacquline Segal
Snow-banks and wind-chills are constantly reminding us that, regardless of our “Hollywood North” status, Toronto sure isn’t L.A.  This, however, should not stop us from donning fabulous frocks, gathering with our own versions of ‘Hollywood’s elite,’ and celebrating the Oscars at home.   And why not celebrate with some old Hollywood glamour and our favorite cinema staples:  Champagne and popcorn.   

An unlikely pairing, but, hey, it’s only once a year.   

Spicy Popcorn:

Like Smartfood with a kick, only homemade and chemical free. 

  • 8-10 cups of popped popcorn
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan (or asiago or grana pedano)
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, or black pepper/cayenne pepper mixture


While your popcorn is popping, melt ¼ cup unsalted butter.  In a separate dish, mix together parmesan (or asiago or grana pedano), and pepper.  Once your popcorn has finished popping, toss it lightly in the melted butter, sprinkle on the peppery cheese mixture and mix to coat.   Little to no salt is needed, as the cheese fulfills your salt cravings.  

Sweet Pecan Popcorn:

A healthier alternative to store-bought caramel stuff. 

  • 8-10 cups of popped popcorn
  • 2 tbsp. of low fat margarine or butter
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar or raw sugar
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup ground or crushed pecans


In a food processor, or with a mortar and pestle, crush the cinnamon, pecans, sugar to your liking.  The longer you process them, the more evenly the flavours will distribute.  If you grind them too finely however, you’ll lose the crunchy bits.  Add this mixture to the margarine/butter, in your popcorn bowl, blending it thoroughly.   Add the hot popcorn to the bowl, toss to coat, and devour.  

Traditional champagne cocktail

For each cocktail you’ll need:

  • 1 white sugar cube
  • 1-2 drops Angostura bitters
  • dash of cognac (or if you have a sweeter tooth, cassis syrup)
  • champagne

The ingredients are listed in the order they should be added to the champagne flute.  A Hollywood classic, with little hassle. 

A good rule of thumb for choosing a champagne for cocktails is to pick one that you’d readily drink on its own, without breaking the bank.  An Australian white sparkling, or a Spanish Cava are less expensive options.  If you enjoy a sweeter cocktail go with an Italian Asti, and for a drier cocktail, I’d stick with the French.   

So there you go.  An easy Oscar party, without much expense.  (Besides, designer gown critique seems so much more elegant when you’re holding a champagne flute.)

I hope you like it….really, really like it.