Year: 2015

12 Days of Christmas from Santa Cruz

Twelve days of Christmas gifts and goodies from Santa Cruz, California. First day … A winter della frutta fruit cake. Second day … two jars of Jam, and a winter della frutta fruit cake. Third day … three organic apples, two jars of Jam, and a winter della frutta fruit cake. Fourth day … Four Snowflake cookies, three organic apples, two jars of Jam, and a winter della frutta fruit cake. Fifth day … Five sparkling ciders, four Snowflake cookies, three organic apples, two jars of Jam, and a winter della frutta fruit cake. Sixth day … Six Goose’s Toffee, five sparkling ciders, four Snowflake cookies, three organic apples, two jars of Jam, and a winter della frutta fruit cake. Seventh day … Seven Lula’s Caramels, six Goose’s Toffee, five sparkling ciders, four Snowflake cookies, three organic apples, two jars of Jam, and a winter della frutta fruit cake. Fruit cake: Gianna’s Baking Company of Castroville |  Jam: Buttercup Cakes and Farmhouse Frosting of Santa Cruz |  Apples: Billy Bob Orchards in Watsonville |  Snowflake cookies:  Gayle’s Bakery in Capitola | Sparkling Cider:  Martinelli’s  |  Toffee: Goose’s Goodies  |  Caramels from: …

The evolution of Gingerbread

In the United States we know gingerbread at Christmas made into a gingerbread man, a dark cookie sweetened with molasses.  But in Europe it takes all kinds of shapes.  It is thought to have originated in Basel Switzerland as Basler Lackerli, a spiced bread sweetened with honey and kirsch and with hazelnuts and spices added.  That sounds like a great addition to the Christmas tradition.  In France it is known as pain d’epices, or spice bread.

Baba in Paris

We first discovered the Kugelhopf in the Alsatian city of Strasbourg, a sort of coffee cake with fruits and nuts, baked in a special mold.  But when we got to Paris, we found the cakes were smaller and soaked in rum.  Outside the Sacre Coeur there was a food festival at Christmas where famous food providers from all over France were demonstrating cooking techniques.  There we discovered the Canele d’Armagnac and the Baba du Bougnat, which quickly became our new Christmas tradition.  It went perfectly with our Christmas village where the Sacre Coeur is the centerpiece.