Monthly Archives: August 2018

A birthday experience: cakes and more.

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For my birthday this year I wanted a new family experience around something we all love. And that is easy to choose. We are all into cakes and making a cake by learning from a French pâtissier in France sounded just right.

I chose Atelier de Yann in Colmar, Alsace. It is a multi concept store: boutique factory, tea time, ateliers de patisserie, opened in 2015 by Yann Navarro, maitre pâtissier, chocolatier. And it was a perfect choice. The first word which came to my mind to describe this place and the service is i m p e c a b l e from the registration to the class to the unboxing of the products of our hands at home. I am very happy to note how client-oriented are the owner and staff, something of a gem in France. I notice it when I encounter it. I am grateful that they adapted to the presence of my kid, in a workshop otherwise designed for adults. In fairness, she has better self-management and dexterity than many adults I know.

The class was conducted by Yann, the owner of the place. We navigated through the stages of the Succès Pistache & Framboises, under his patient and humble guidance. We all felt at ease with maneuvering, matching and spoiling, tasting and mixing, taste and quantity balancing, regardless of the age and level of baking skills. Now the pastry bag has no more secrets from me. I also loved that we could each manifest our own creativity at the decorating stage without being bound by French pastry rigors. And there are many.

We left with a sense of great satisfaction as all our questions were answered with the clarity of a great master and the generosity of the host manifested tiny yet significant details of the true hospitality.

It inspired us to share the experience with friends over a cup of coffee. No that we could not devour the three cakes at once.

We will no doubt come back for more and warmly recommend this temple of nurturing the love for French pastry, with our best wishes of success and prosperity to Yann and his team! If I would award Michelin stars, one would certainly go to Atelier de Yann.

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Meaningful souvenirs

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Meaningful souvenirs

Bringing staff from trips is tempting. Money is easier spent on vacation. A new item brings into the house the need for space and care. Only thinking about dusting off all those trinkets on shelfs makes me tired. And there is not so much space on the fridge for new magnets. If it is not integrated into your kitchen furniture.

In Amsterdam I discovered a new kind of souvenir – make your own mug. It is proposed by Heinen Delfts Blauw, the ceramics maker.

It brought a new experience of coloring it together with my kid: discussing the colors choices, dividing the work, waiting for the final result while it is in the oven, sharing the first sips of water, … And that is what I call souvenirs.

Thank you, Netherlands!

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on our first night in Amsterdam we had dinner at Rianna & friends in Czaar Peter neighbourhood. It was close to her closing hours, yet she fed us. The home-made meals were delicious: carrot soup with ginger, rice with chicken and pineapple and lasagna. We tasted the Texels beer from her home town. Rianna, the owner, shared her story and ho she became a cafe owner and cook after her career as a nurse and in healthcare management. She enlightened our evening with her sunny personality and shared tips about places to see and things to do in the neighbourhood and the city. Thank you, Rianna! We also came back for her coffee one morning – a flavour rich coffee – served with Rianna’s warm and sunny smile. Check out https://riannaenfriends.nl/

Amsterdam was a reminder to me. someone smart said “you do not get to choose your childhood, but you get to choose your second childhood”. I became a child in the land of wonders at Nemo science museum. Running mesmerised from one experiment to another up to the roof, keeping the pace with my kid, was wonderful! I warmly recommend it to families visiting Amsterdam.

Artis – the zoo – is another wonderful spot to explore during an afternoon and admire the plants and animals. Baby elephant and baby giraffe, butterflies and the aquarium were the highlights of our visit.

if you want to understand more about how this nation developed, then the Maritime Museum is a must. The virtual reality experience on the replica of a Dutch boat is awesome.

Amsterdam has many things to offer and “Believe it or not” is another thing to discover with your little curious ones. It is home to the world-famous Ripley’s collection of wonders from all over the world.

We also loved the Amsterdam Hermitage and its inner courtyard. It hosted the Three Graces expo. We also learned about Amsterdam’s influence on Peter the Great and his subsequent development plans for the Russian flotilla and the city he built – Sankt-Petersburg.

A canal cruise with a young and fun captain – blue eyes included – was another highlight to see the city from a local perspective.

What I loved most about the Royal Palace was the square in front of it: a place for all kind of street artists to display their art and perform their shows. The inside of the palace is worth a visit: it seemed the least opulent of the royal palaces we visited.

Tropen Museum was a wonderful experience. It is humbling to see how Dutch present their colonial past: with acknowledgement and respect for all who felt the taste of their swords and bullets. The museum had a special exposition to experience Morocco. All visitors got passports with Moroccan visas, got “on board” and “descended” in Casablanca to stroll on improvised Moroccan streets.

We also ventured on seaside to Enkhuizen – a lovely town with an open air museum to see and experience the life of its inhabitants as it was 200 years ago. We get to craft and to taste the sea – the smoked herring was delicious. We also put our feet into the Nord Sea – unusually well-behaved that day.

Amsterdam has a museum for almost anything from bags to cats, prostitution and marijuana, art and diamonds. It also has plenty of outdoor places to see. For a sunny day, we chose Oosterpark and fed the ducks and pigeons. The Botanical Garden is also a beautiful destination: you get to be in two different climates inside the tropical greenhouse and outside in the open by the canal. The coffee and lunch at the Botanical Garden is delicious. The only downsize is that only visitors can benefit.

Back to our museums track, we popped in the Diamonds Museum and discovered why Amsterdam is called the city of diamonds. I am convinced now, I do not need a crown. I had my doubts.

We skipped the Rijks Museum this time and spent some time in its gardens and playful fountain.

Roof top dinner is a must in all my trips, so we tried The Kitchen in de Bijenkorf on pur last day and it was very pleasant. We said good buy to this wonderful city of joy, tolerance and freedom. I know now where do French go for the “Liberte” in their trinity of beliefs 🙂