A few weeks ago Tegan and I headed down to Charlevoix with a small group to meet up with the Nespresso team and learn all about their sustainability practices. As you hopefully know, wellness and sustainability are hugely important to us. We’ve actually taken a bit of a step back from blogging this last year to focus on Pink House, our natural beauty brand, but we’ve been itching to get blogging more consistently again and share about these things we’ve become more passionate about and have been learning. This trip was a great opportunity for us to learn and to be inspired and we were hugely impacted by how Nespreso has been making big moves to be a fully sustainable company.
Charlevoix is a national region located in Quebec, north of the Saint Lawrence River., about 1.5 hours from Quebec. It is a hot getaway spot for those who live in Montreal or Quebec City who are drawn to the dramatic hilly landscapes of rolling terrain, headlands and bays. We connected with Nespresso who we have been working with for the last year or so and highlighting their drive for sustainability within their company (click here for previous Nespresso post). We were asked to come on a wellness retreat at the Hôtel & Spa Le Germain Charlevoix in Baie-Saint-Paul at the end of August and Tegan and I jumped at the idea to go to Quebec - I had been to Montreal and Quebec City for some music touring before and I loved it! Tegan had yet to experience Quebec so we were very keen to spend a few days in the valley of Charlevoix.
Our first flight to Toronto was delayed, which had us miss our connecting flight - but luckily the Nespresso team saved the day and got all of us on a flight which arrived that evening in Quebec city. We arrived at the hotel in the evening and devoured some delicious pizza and slept like babies. We were blown away by the beautiful scenery around us in the morning. We had our morning Nespresso coffees and sat on our porch watching all the sheep, cattle and even alpacas in the back. The hotel is on a property that used to be a farm, and I love that they touch on the history that was once there with the animals, as well as a miniature 3D architectural farm scape of the property years ago.
The food at the hotel was incredible! I definitely ate the most cheese and the best cheese I have ever eaten in my life (my face is thanking me for that this week :S) but it was worth it, it was all SO yummy. We had brunch and did a coffee tasting and learned about the origins of coffee and all the different attributes that come from the different regions. We’ve both worked in coffee shops but are still surprised by how much there is to learn!
Tegan and I were so excited to spend a few days together off and away without the little girlies. Tegan announced that she is pregnant with her third!! (See IG post here) The last time Tegan was pregnant with Millie, we took a little trip to San Diego, it’s always so nice to get away, plan and reassess what our businesses will look like this next year before all the amazing life changes happen. ( I gotta say, I’m really liking this tradition).
Nespresso is such an amazing company, we were honoured to learn about the moves they are making as a huge company to be sustainable and close the loop full circle on recycling. Nespresso offers recycling solutions for their pods wherever you are in Canada. Based on your location, you are provided with bags to recycle the pods, some areas like BC, have teamed up with recycling depots, where it is a-ok to drop your Nespresso recycling bag straight into your recycling bin to be picked up at the depot by a member of the Nespresso team. How awesome is that? They are trying really hard as a company to make the recycling easy and accessible for everyone.
Nespresso pods are made from aluminum material, which is infinitely recyclable, which is why they have created important structure for recycling around their company. They recently teamed up with a Swedish brand called Vélosophy which are made with recycled aluminum! It makes sense why they teamed up with Nespresso to create this bike which demonstrates both brands commitment to a circular economy. There are approximately 300 pods in each Vélosophy bike along with other recycled aluminum material. What is even more amazing, is that for every bike bought, Vélosophy will donate one bike to a school girl in Ghana.
We had the privilege to be the first in Canada to ride these bikes! They are a limited edition and only 1000 were made, so we truly felt honored to get to ride them through the gorgeous countryside and fields of flowers and butterflies down to the river. We ended our bike ride with a stunning spread of local charcuterie and fresh salads, one of my favourite meals.
The spa! Oh, the Spa Nordique Le Germain was unreal. I can’t say enough how magical this place is. The spa has all the amenities you’d expect: thermal experience, massages, nordic shower, snow fountain (!!) beauty treatments, eucalyptus steam bath, sauna and the hot and cold pools. SO relaxing, especially when you get to look out to this beautiful landscape. The hotel grounds are covered in lavender patches, greenhouses, tall grass, and sunflowers everywhere! It is the most beautiful hotel I have ever been to.
We took a little trip on one of the evenings to a local artisan Cheese Factory run by the Dufour family - a jewel of the Charlevoix region. They make exceptional cheese that the whole region is proud of! They diversified and planted vines, now creating rose, red and white wine. Just recently they decided to make vodka and gin out of whey, something that’s never been done before! To produce 10kg of cheese, they use 100 litres of milk and produce 90 litres of whey - they wanted to find an innovative way to reuse this, so they chose to distill it, creating Vodka - they call it Volka!
Charlevoix is proud to become known for its innovation in agriculture, processing and the reuse of products!