Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Sunny Sunday Afternoon

As I sit here on a quiet Sunday with the sun shinning and the breezes blowing, I am relegated to sneaking a pack of my son's mini oreos while sipping on a diet coke. What has my life come to? I can't help but think I would much rather be in Paris relaxing in a cafe.

I would not mind strolling the narrow streets to find luscious pastries in the windows; pinks and greens reminding me of a Marie Antoinette's silk gown. I mean, look at this beautiful Parisian macaroon cake! Filled with whipped cream it looks as if it could dance out of the store itself to the tune of the Viennese waltz.

I would love to find a quaint candy shop where I could get lost in the displays of shape and color. What about these precious marzipan petals and the marshmallow squares echoing a vibrant Spring flower. They taste as good as they look; the marzipan tender and sweet, and the marshmallows soft and gooy. Ahhhh Paris. I wonder if my husband has any frequent flyer miles!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

For The Love Of Marzipan

When I was a little girl I lived with my family in Holland. We traveled around Europe quite a bit, becoming well versed in the confections and pastries of the continent.

My father was an avid fan of marzipan, the soft mixture of ground almonds and sugar. He would take it in most any form; cakes, cookies, pastries, or even strait up. I, myself, was a lover of the rum ball....but that is another story.

My mother had a love for marzipan as well, only her obsession was purely from an artistic stance. We would often look in confectionery stores to eye the cute little marzipan shaped fruits, vegetables, and even animals. When she would get home, my mother would try to recreate the little pieces of edible art. My father would admire them for a moment and then pop them into his mouth. My lasting memory is seeing a pink marzipan pig in my mother's china cabinet; petrified beyond being edible, but still beautiful in an artistic sort of way. I'm not sure why that one got past my dad.

When I was in London and Paris this year, I too admired the marzipan in the shop windows, and I brought my father plenty to nibble or gobble on. It was a throw back memory as he yummed them down.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Hummingbird Bakery

While I was in London this Spring I stayed in the Kensington District. It is a quaint little neighborhood not too far from the Victoria & Albert Museum and the ever so famous Harrods. If anything, it is the quintessential Victorian neighborhood.

While staying there I would walk everyday past a cute little bakery called The Hummingbird Bakery. With it's white facade and hanging cupcakes dangling in the windows, I found myself whispering, "ahhhh, the Hummingbird Bakery". Longing to go in, I never did because I was always scurrying somewhere with my husband.

At times....especially "tea time", which is 3-5 in London, there would be lines pouring out the doors and down the sidewalk. Their specialty was indeed the luscious cupcakes that I saw in the window displays.

On our last day my husband said, "Everyday you say, "ahhhh the Hummingbird Cafe. Why don't you go in and get us some!" So, when my husband was at a British football (soccer for you Americans) match, I went shopping. On my way home I stopped to spend some of my last pounds on the popular little cakes.

I was SO excited! Finally! The two little cupcakes sat in their brown and pink box it seem for hours until my husband returned back to our b&b (The Aster House). It was nearly seven when he got back, and we both had not eaten dinner, so we went out to a cute little French bistro down the street, leaving the little cupcakes for our return.

When we got back I could hardly wait for the unveiling of the prize British take on an American classic. My husband took the red velvet and I the chocolate with pink icing. We sank our teeth into the fluffy frosting and then down into the "sponge" (as the British call it). We both looked at each other with mouths full of the cake. And then it hit. It was the most horrible cupcake I had ever had in my life! We both swallowed hard and then pitch the pretty little things in the trash. How disappointing! I still can't figure out why on earth there would ever be a line out the door and down the street! So much for British food.