All posts filed under: France

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.

French haute Couture designer Cleone

While in Strasbourg, Tony and I stopped to admire the exquisite wedding dresses at the boutique shop of haute couture designer Cleone, and actually met the designer herself. The dresses are incredibly imaginative.  I would love to be invited to a runway show for the next collection – I can’t wait to see what she will design next. [Strasbourg, France – October 2, 2013]