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Just before Christmas I was lucky enough to go on a trip to the beautiful island of Curaçao, part of the Dutch Caribbean and located just North of Venezuela.

Already before my trip I learned about the typical dishes like Bolo di Cashupete (cashewnut pie), pastechi keshi, pastechi karni and pastechi galiña (meat, cheeze or chicken patties), Blue Curaçao liqueur and the lovely fresh fish and fruits. Off course I had to try them when travelling around the island and although it was sometimes hard to find local dishes in the tourist swamped areas I managed to get a feel for the local Caribbean Kitchen.

I was totally inspired! Where I used to love making indian curries, I think caribbean or creole food will be my next addiction. Give me some time dear reader, I will need to try some stuff out and flunk a few dishes here and there before I am ready to share some recipes with you. But I promise to share some lovely creole recipes with you in the future!

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The next weeks I will be posting some delicious Danish Christmas dishes. Having lived in Denmark I thought I should take the opportunity to introduce the Danish Christmas to the world.

Denmark is very known for its modern furniture, innovative farmaceutical technology and the world’s best restaurant Noma. This might lead to the conclusion that the Danes are just as renewing when it comes to Christmas and the Christmas table. But allthough the American tradition of roast duck or goose is becoming more common, the Danes have a very specific and typical traditions for the Christmas Days that has not changed for many years.

Christmas Lunch(es)

In the weeks before Christmas, there are several Christmas ‘warming ups’: The Christmas Parties, also called Christmas Lunches, but the latter I find a bit misleading since it sounds like there is no alcohol involved (there is).

When you are living in Denmark you will be invited to many Christmas Parties: your work, football club, school, friends, church and whichever social group or community you may be in. The whole month of December will be full of it, which is time consuming if you consider that every party is followed by a hangover day. The Christmas beer and schnaps that are meant to help digest the food actually do have some less enjoyable side effects.

At all parties you will go and eat more or less the same food as during Christmas Eve. So by the time it’s Christmas Eve you will feel like you cannot eat more of the same for another year or so. I guess that’s ok actually: you will only get served these dishes again during Christmas next year. :)

Christmas Eve

The typical Danish Christmas Eve is spent with family and friends. The menu is the same wherever you go: You’ll start with rye bread with fish filet or shrimps. Followed by roast pork, boiled potatoes and red cabbage.

For dessert, the classic dish is ris à l’amande; a cold rice pudding with whipped cream, almonds and hot cherry sauce. A peeled almond is hidden in the dessert bowl. The lucky finder of the almond gets an extra present!

Some families even add another course after that, and serve a selection of cheezes with nuts, honey and olives.

Christmas Dancing

In case you are planning to go to Denmark for Christmas: Don’t be surprised if people suddenly go up and dance around the Christmas tree singing songs. That’s normal… well it is in Denmark at least…

I have always felt a bit weird doing it. First of all I do not like singing in public: I feel completely embarrassed! And then the dance circling around the Christmas tree… I think it would be less awkward if the danes would not do the same at midsummer, when instead of a Christmas tree there is a bonfire with a witch in the middle of the dancing crowd…

Christmas Decorations

If you are considering to throw a Danish Christmas Party, you’ll need some decoration too. The typical Danish decoration or ‘pynt’ are Red-White Paper hearts or Christmas Stars:

Enjoy my upcoming posts!

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München Hauptbahnhof, the last time I was here I was stressing out massively. It was about 5 years ago and I was waiting for friends to show up so we could take the train to Passau for a phd party. They were late but we made it to the party… Eventually…

This time I decided to take a taxi downtown, not so much because I am a working girl now, but because the Deutsche Bahn decided to strike.
The taxi ride was a surprisingly long one which gave me some time to bring back memories. The phd party was a blast. We were promised a Bavarian party… And we got one. Wooden benches, big glasses of Bavarian beer, real German potato salad and on top of that an entire roasted pig! Head to tail! I have to be honest: I am not a big meat eater, so seeing the pig was a bit of an OMG moment. But then it was also kind of a trigger in some way because when it comes to food I do think that the more natural the better and the lDSC03608ess good food that goes to waste the better. So here was this pig, lying on the table in piece, literally from head to tail, and there were a bunch of hungry guests in the other room. And I could feel the urge to try every piece. The best part was the pig tummy, rolled up with herbs and spices inside, then roasted on the grill. Normally this would set off my cholesterol alert but my friend told me this was the very best part… And he was right. The pig must have had a good life cause his belly was soft and tasty hmm. My mouth still starts watering when I think about it. :)

I’m not sure my current trip can top that culinary experience. So I’m sticking to the pretzel serves at the coffee break today and lets see what the day brings.

Ps: although the pigs belly was soft and tasty, his nose was not… When the PhD party progressed into the early morning hours and crates of empty beer bottles started piling up we started making a bet for everyone daring enough to kiss the pigs hairy nose… Ew!!!

 

 

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Sometimes a job is just a job. You go to the office in the morning, do your thing, and then you go home around 5 or 6 PM and that is that. But then there are other times where you feel damn lucky to be having the job you have. Last week I got reminded again about how awesome a job I have.

As I wrote in a previous post, I had the opportunity to go to Paris for a customer event in the Four Seasons Hotel George V. We organised a visit to ‘La Cave‘ and then had dinner in the two-Michelen-star restaurant Le Cinq. Now I don’t know about you but I don’t go to a Michelin every day, so I was super excited to get this opportunity.

First off, when I entered the Salon Napoleon, where our dinner took place, I was astonished with the beautiful decorations on the table. The floral arrangement was very elegant and the quality of the flowers was high. Not one flower pedal had event the smallest mark on it.

I chose the 3-course group menu myself and I can assure you that all the options looked good, but they sounded rather familiar and not particularly exclusive. For example: the meat main course options included teriyaki duck, Black Angus steak and roast chicken breast. Sounds like things you can find in your small town restaurant right? But I was confident that Le Cinq had a reputation and a couple of Michellin stars to defend, so in the end I went for:

As a starter: Duck foie gras confit with pepper, apricot & rosemary « calisson »

The main course: Filet of lamb with broad beans, Niçoise courgette with a lamb moussaka, Corn biscuit

The dessert: Strawberry melba, on a strawberry and basil jelly, tomato and basil sorbet

The dinner was absolutely lovely, the food sublime. Even though in writing, on the menu, it seems like you could cook these dishes at home, I am sure that if I try to make any of these dishes they will not approach the quality of the dishes of the Le Cinq. I will probably not even try…
The wines were of the same quality and in the end of the evening our staff, the guests and myself were happy and satisfied. (Also in part because the bill was not ours to pay haha)

Many thanks to Le Cinq – George V Paris – we had a great evening.

La Cave

How often do you get offered a visit to wine heaven? It happened to me last week. Really.

I was lucky enough to be invited to join our French team for their executive dinner, which took place in the Four Seasons George V in Paris. A marvellous hotel with an exclusive feel and excellent service. Actually, I was the one organising the whole thing, and even though I hoped I could be there, that was not sure untill a few weeks ago. You can imagine I called my dad, who is a chef, straight away!

To give our guests an extra incentive – besides the dinner – we arranged an exclusive visit to the George V wine cellars that are 18 meters below ground in an old quarry. The stone that was dug out here has been used to build the Arc de Triomphe. ‘ La Cave’ – the cave – holds a collection of around 45,000 bottles of wine. And not just your average 3,50 EUR supermarket wine.

They had one bottle of wine dating back over 200 years: produced in 1795, the wine has been on oak most of the time until it was bottled 40 years ago. We heard many fun anecdotes, but my favourite one is hardly any fun if you have not been there yourself to see the massive amount of open bottles, nicely placed on shelves alongside the the walls of ‘The Cave’. ‘Why keep open bottles?’ I hear you think. Well these bottles were all opened for one customer on one single occasion. So basically it is the record number of bottles consumed by one single party. I can assure you the host of the party had many friends and a big wallet; to drink that many bottles must have cost a fortune.

It truely was a great experience to visit such an exclusive and special location, en see such a large collection of exclusive wines. Unfortunately we were not able to taste all of them, but we had a few during our dinner at the ‘Le Cinq’ restaurant later that evening.