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.
Love locks are appearing on bridges all over the world. We found these in Paris and Amsterdam. A romantic gesture made by couples who want their love to be locked together forever. Photos by Tony Fitzgerald Photography
One of the highlights of visiting Paris is lunch at Au Pied de Cochon – the perfect Parisian brasserie.
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.
We diligently tried all the best french macarons in Paris, but nothing compared to Laduree! Maybe it was the pastel colors, or the uber cute shop, or the matching ribbons and tissue paper with the Laduree insignia, but nobody does it like Laduree!
In France, the custom of charivari now often includes a drive through the town in a parade of decorated cars with horns blaring. The older custom was to make noise as the couple left the church or at the home of the newlyweds on their wedding night, but customs change over the years. This was the couples car for a wedding in Paris .
Tony and I at a photo shoot in the Gardens of the Royal Palace in Paris.