Nürnberger Christkindlesmarkt, Germany

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In truth, this should be the first post in our Bavarian winter wonderland roadtrip, but I could not quite figure out how to say what I wanted to about our trip to Nuremburg’s Christkindelsmarkt and I still cannot. This has been one of those keep-you-up-at-night-writing-in-your-head posts. Initially what I wanted to talk about are the additional strains living in a foreign country can put on a relationship – from cycling in the rain to Read More »

Les Marchés de Noël, Toulouse, France

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My clearest memories of high school French class are not of writing verb conjugation after verb conjugation on the black board. Instead, they are of the annual Christmas carol day when we would take a break from memorizing the textbook and listen to French Christmas carols. Of these, the clearest in my memories is << La Légende de Saint Nicolas >> (“The Legend of Saint Nicholas.”) This was not the tale of Jolly Old Saint Nick, mind you, but a morbid story that started innocently enough with three young children in a field. Soon, darkness falls, and they seek shelter in the home of a butcher who, as these things always go, is evil and who chops them up and puts them into a tub to brine. Read More »

Bordeaux, France

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Sometimes I day dream about a big house (okay, let’s be honest, a château) in France, with a vineyard and a shaggy dog. On random Wednesday nights we host friends, eating al fresco on a wooden table. It is always a simple meal, nothing complicated or fancy, with fresh vegetables and perhaps a roast. There is always wine, from our own vines. I live in wellies, and the Frenchman begins to wear a hat and let his hair grow long. Read More »

Michelin

A true golden egg with a white truffle

This past year, after our experience with Prague’s gruel, we discovered the joys of fine dining with amazing meals at Drouant in Paris, Kapari in Santorini, Le Cheval Blanc in the Loire Valley, Les Brisants in Brétignolles-sur-mer, and Konoba Nikola in Croatia. Upon moving to the Netherlands in August we, thus, made it a point to only eat out if it was going to be on par with these restaurants, saving our money and our paletts. Read More »

Limoux, France

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Last year around this time we had just completed our second move in Europe, from Montpellier in the south of France to Toulouse, a city still in the south but more inland and a short drive from the Pyrenees.While it is undeniable that these moves have been exciting, they have also been some of the most stressful and anxiety-filled times of our lives. Read More »

Sachertorte

When a country dedicates a holiday to a chocolate cake, it must be delicious. But in a country that claims to be the coffeehouse and cake capital of the world,  such a cake must have divine inspiration.  Invented in 1832 for Prince Wenzel, the Sachertorte of Hotel Sacher has reached legendary status in the confectionary world and enjoys December 5 as its own gluttonous holiday.

After a failed attempt to secure post-opera seats in the hotel’s lauded Rote Bar Restaurant during our Vienna adventure, we “settled” for afternoon sweets in its outdoor cafe where we enjoyed a pre-opera snack instead of house coffees (with orange liquor) and sachertorte. The torte’s recipe is a carefully-guarded secret, but seems to consist of a chocolate sponge cake topped by a layer of apricot jam and a hardened chocolate icing.

Though the official rights to the name “The Original Sachertorte” belong to Hotel Sacher, Vienna’s other top confectionary, Demel, also claims co-ownership of the recipe. Of course, we had to try Demel as well, and we were split on the cake-off winner. (Though it must be noted that the waitstaff at Hotel Sacher was much superior to that of Demel where unfriendliness was extreme thereby giving Hotel Sacher the edge.)

If you cannot get away to Vienna, you can try to bake your own Sachertorte by following this recipe from the BBC. Make sure to serve the finished cake with a dollop of unsweetened, homemade whipped cream.

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