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…

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….

Love locks in Paris

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

Au Pied de Cochon in Paris

One of the highlights of visiting Paris is lunch at Au Pied de Cochon – the perfect Parisian brasserie.

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…

Laduree in Paris

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!

Paris wedding charivari (Shivaree)

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…