July 23rd, 2024

Luxury sweet treat from Quebec included in gift bags for Oscar nominees

By Thomas MacDonald, The Canadian Press on March 10, 2024.

Some of Hollywood's top actors and directors are getting a treat made exclusively in Quebec to sweeten their Oscar night victories — or make bitter losses a little easier to swallow. Sagar, a fine, puffy sugar derived from maple sap produced in the province is shown in an undated handout photo. The product is one the dozens of luxury goodies top acting and directing nominees are set to receive from Los Angeles marketing agency Distinctive Assets. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Distinctive Assets, *MANDATORY CREDIT*

MONTREAL – Some of Hollywood’s top actors and directors are getting a treat made exclusively in Quebec to sweeten their Oscar night victories – or make bitter losses a little easier to swallow.

Sagar, a fine, fluffy sugar derived from maple sap produced in the province, is one of the dozens of luxury goodies top acting and directing nominees are set to receive from Los Angeles marketing agency Distinctive Assets.

Though not affiliated with the awards ceremony, the company’s opulent “Everyone Wins” gift bags have become a curiosity of the annual Oscars fanfare, successfully stirring media buzz and inspiring countless tabloid appraisals. In a February news release, Distinctive Assets teases a U.S. dollar value for the bags numbering in the six figures.

Agency founder Lash Fary serves as arbiter of gifts. He boasts on social media about his power to choose both the contents and recipients of the coveted packages.

This year, the Sagar Experience from Quebec maple producer Érablière F. Carrier won his favour. Now, the likes of Danielle Brooks, America Ferrera and Mark Ruffalo are set to get a sample of the product worth around C$1,300, says Samuel Busque of Orion Suppliers, the company behind the Sagar Experience marketing campaign.

He said the concept for the sugar was to create a luxury item with international appeal rooted in Quebec history and tradition.

“We still find that in Quebec we don’t use enough of our exoticism and our products to explain and to show to the rest of the world how exclusive we are and what kind of luxury stuff that we can have,” Busque said in an interview.

The Sagar Experience isn’t the kind of sugar Carey Mulligan or Ryan Gosling can simply dump in their morning coffee. Busque described it as a dish in and of itself with a cotton-like texture and faint note of maple. It is, indeed, a “whole experience,” he promised.

In addition to the Oscars gift bags, the product is the focus of chef-led workshops for guests at Quebec City’s Fairmont Château Frontenac hotel this month. An online boutique for the Sagar Experience is also in production, Busque said, and will feature items similar in price to the celebrity samples as well as even more expensive packages with accessories like hand-painted wooden boxes.

For now, however, Érablière F. Carrier owner Francis Carrier is just proud his product from Quebec’s rural Beauce region has made it to Hollywood.

“It’s wonderful,” he said in a phone interview Saturday. “It’s the most beautiful beginning we can have for our marketing for our product, which is really out of the ordinary compared to all the other maple products out there. We’re very proud to be at the Oscars precisely for that reason.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 10, 2024.

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