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History, Flammkuchen, & Craft Beer

Strasbourg, France

Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg

Strasbourg, France is one of my favorite cities to visit with family & friends that visit Germany. It’s a beautiful & historically rich & relevant town in the Alsace region and luckily for me – only about a 2.5 hour drive from where our family lives in Baden-Wurtemberg. Needless to say, that’s exactly where I took my family when we visited Germany this summer!

Our first stop was Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg. If you decide to visit this amazing town, you must also visit the cathedral. Aside from it’s impressive age (it was started in 1224) it features an incredible historic timeline of art. You’ll notice Romanesque, Gothic, and even some Renaissance architectural influences.

If that’s not enough to pique your curiosity, maybe the stained glass windows will catch your fancy. The cathedral has one of the oldest stained glass windows you’ll find. And let me tell you, this picture does NOT do it justice. It’s insanely impressive and to quote my husband: “This looks like it’s straight out of a video game!”

I won’t bore you with a billion pics (although, I do have them) so this is my last part about the cathedral. It’s home to one of the largest (18 meters) most intricate, beautiful, and still accurate! astronomical clocks in the world. It’s said to be more of a “computer” than a clock because it’s accuracy requires advanced mathematical knowledge to work!

Le Tigre in Petite France

After spending a few hours touring and marveling in the cathedral, we started to look for a nice place to eat & have a drink. At 90 degrees outside we wanted something light & cool! We started walking and ended up in Petite France where we found Le Tigre – a craft brewery & restaurant. We tried a few craft brews but LOVED the Tigre Bock Extra Malt. A 5.8% amber bock with notes of rich malt & caramel.

My husband & youngest daughter love their burgers and it was no different here. They both couldn’t stop raving over the fries & the mustard/mayo dip – they were delicious! And according to both, the burger was on point too! Something I think my husband didn’t expect out of a French Craft Brewery.

I had the most iconic food Strasbourg has to offer: Flammkuchen or Tarte Flambée. It literally translates to “Pie baked in flames” and is one of my favorite fall dishes. I like a glass of rosé with mine because it’s light & a great balance to the food. It was created by the people of Baden to test the heat of their wood fire ovens 😉

Something so simple to make has an incredible taste. Sure, there’s char on the crust – after all it’s wood fired – but in my humble opinion, it’s what gives Flammkuchen it’s signature taste. Usually, you’ll find some creme as a base, onions, Gruyere, and bacon. There are variations with different cheeses, mushrooms, veggies, and flavors that also taste incredible. I’d highly recommend you at least try it once.

La Petite France

After our late lunch we continued our stroll through the city and admired the “Fachwerk Houses”, the cobblestone streets and the way history & modernism blends together in this marvelous city. Walking along the little river flowing through the town, we would have loved to take a boat tour but sadly didn’t have enough time. We did however, have time to stop at the market and browse all of their fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, breads, knick-knacks, flowers, & more! We definitely should have allotted more time to sight-see but we will be back for sure.

What Should You See & Do In Strasbourg?

  • The Cathedral
  • Boat Tour
  • Petite-France
  • Alsace Wine Road Bike Tour (If you stay a few days)
  • Eat Flammkuchen
  • Sit outside a cafe and enjoy the afternoon with pastries & coffee
  • Palais Rohan
  • Alsatian Museum

Best part? You can walk to all of them. Yep. Super easy – One of the things I love the most. If you don’t want to walk, you can always use the little trains that run through the city but you might wait longer and miss the cute atmosphere you’d experience if you explore on foot!

If you’ve ever been – What’s your favorite part of Strasbourg?
What would you like to learn more about?
What city should we visit next?

Featured

Home. Where My Love For Food Started.

The Kitchen Window. The picture above you see is my Mama’s kitchen window. The window I grew up with in Germany. It doesn’t always look that pretty and organized but it’s always had meaning to me. Just like the little town of Neckarburken pictures to the right – where I grew up my entire childhood. The kitchen is a place where family gathers, where we get together to eat breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee and cake, celebrate birthdays, get-together’s, and even meet to receive terrible news. It’s the central place of a family – at least that’s how I’ve grown up.
It’s where I found and discovered my love for cooking, baking, spices, herbs, different cuisines, heritage recipes, and yes, even crappy pre-packed food.

Growing up I spent time in my Mama’s kitchen, and my Oma’s. We were fortunate to grow up in a multi generational house so I had the best of both worlds. My Opa has green thumb and grew an incredible garden with lots of variety we planted, took care of, and harvested when it was ready.

Wondering what kind of fruits he grows? Well let me tell you..

  • Cherries
  • Strawberries *Big & Wild!
  • Red & Black Currants
  • Raspberries
  • Blackberries
  • Mirabelle
  • Plums
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Elderberry
  • Gooseberries

I have a hunch I forgot something but I miss it!

If you thought it was just fruit you’d be wrong.

  • Butter Lettuce
  • Iceberg Lettuce
  • Cucumbers
  • Zucchini
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes
  • Herbs
  • Kohlrabi

Continued…

  • Green Beans
  • Radishes
  • Sweet Peas
  • Tomatoes
  • Walnuts
  • Hazelnuts

I believe I covered our garden.. he also doesn’t use chemicals to keep the critters out – he uses natural methods he learned. Oh, he’s not a fan of snails & slugs lol. Also, fruit and veggies don’t *have to* look perfect. It’s the taste that is important!

Yep, my families kitchen and garden has fostered my love for food. I’ve learned not only professionally but also from 2 of the best cooks I know. Oma & Mama – I spent hours in the kitchen with them and they each are good at something different. Heck Opa is an incredible chef (but he’ll never admit it) Even my dad, the American, taught me how to make food from scratch – not the fresh garden kind – he was brought up with cornbread, milk, beans, biscuits and gravy (scratch-made – yeah, I make an amazing sausage gravy & biscuits..) He’s very much a meat and taters kinda guy and growing up I don’t remember him eating much fresh fruit or vegetables but it did change a bit over the years.
It’s been interesting to have the two types of upbringing and cultures (my dad is from the hills of Tennessee) and my mom’s family from Baden-Wurtemberg in Germany. I’ve always loved the fresh approach to food and didn’t realize the difference until I moved to the US and gained weight immediately. And lost it within months of returning to Germany. But I’ll save this topic for an entire blog *series?*

I remember noting the difference in upbringing – my mom and grandparents raised to grow their own, we canned, juiced, pickled, and baked fresh. See the picture of my kids, my sister and niece picking fresh strawberries to take home to make jam, cakes, and more! Germany is home to bakeries & butcheries in nearly every little town. We don’t buy 2 weeks worth of groceries. We really go every or every other day and buy what we need. The giant fridges were new to me when I moved. The concept of not having access to fresh butchered meats and cuts, or fresh crusty bread still bothers me. So I learned to bake. But I haven’t learned to butcher yet 😉

I know I like to ramble on and on but this part is important. Family, the meals we share like here with my kids, Oma & Opa, in the garden, grilling outside with meat from the butcher, salad from the garden, enjoying time together, creating memories. I don’t know if my love for food is because I just love food, or because it’s powerful. Food can make you sick or healthy. Food unites, brings together, creates memories, and fosters a sense of belonging. Food is wondrous and amazing in its ability to change flavor, texture, and experience, not just from recipe to recipe but culture to culture. Food is more than just something that keeps us full. It’s nature, it’s love, it’s a bonding agent in a busy world, it’s medicine, it’s comfort. It’s home.

LOCAL FEATURE: Cactus Coffee *Summer Edition*

If y’all know anything about me, you’ll know how much I LOVE coffee & teas. Naturally, I was super excited to hear that my favorite coffee stop & catering bestie in Wimberley took my old spot at Odie’s Food Court right down from my test kitchen!

Yes, my Salty German Trailer was in her spot – I couldn’t have asked for a better replacement – so I took the time to visit with Brooke, the fabulous owner of the Cactus Coffee Shop Trailer.

We teamed up to create some unique summer drinks that hopefully span the taste buds of her crowd! We’ve made refreshing, slushy, frozen, and even a dessert drink! But I get ahead of myself.

PS: She really did outdo me by a mile on the decor outside. She has a fantastic eye for design, color, & comfort to keep you comfy during your coffee dates.

Before we dive into all the delicious drinks we’ve experimented with today, I want to take some time to introduce Brooke. One of the main reasons I am featuring local businesses, farms, and vendors is because I believe in the power of local good & community love. Humanizing the places we patronize & share their passion for what they do and why. So why Brooke?

Not only is Brooke my catering bestie *yes, you can book me and her in a package and we deliver some amazing experiences!* but she is one of the most hard working single moms in this area. She juggles being a mom to 3 littles, a business owner & entrepreneur, her ill dad, and still takes the time to help & connect local business owners, supports other businesses, and has pushed through every obstacle in her way. Her fierce determination, love for color, and positive outlook on life & her love for her community is inspiring & uplifting. She’s pursuing her passion – bringing deliciously healthy drink options to Wimberley and some not so healthy but shhh, we don’t have to harp on the delicious calorie count of our favorite coffee drink.. it’s a treat after all 😉

Why is this so important to me?

Because this is her life. Her income. Her way to support herself & her family so every single coffee, tea, or sparkler you buy directly supports local businesses and families like her.

How so? Well, her coffee is exclusively from Wimberley’s D’s Roastary (Darrell has a custom blend just for her!)

The Vanilla Syrup – Paste – and Sugar, Lemon & Lime Extracts are sourced from Wimberley’s own Maggie’s Micros, and the rest she sources as local as possible like honey!

If you shop with her you’ve already at MINIMUM supported 4 local families:

Introducing The Summer Quartet!

Starting Monday 4/8/2019 you can get a delicious taste of summer with these handcrafted, delicious, and unique drinks exclusively at Cactus Coffee! *If you tell her you read about them here or on my Facebook you’ll get 10% off!)

Not trying to brag or anything but you’d be silly if you pass up on these. I know, I know, you’re curious what they are.. let me feature them individually!

The Neapolitan Frappuccino!

What’s that you ask? DELICIOUS! Okay, okay.

White Chocolate Espresso Base
Strawberry & Cream Dollops Throughout
Topped With A Crown Of Creamy Fresh Whipped Cream
Chocolate Shavings
Local Fresh Strawberry

It’s cold, creamy, with the caffeine you want, the taste you need, and just sweet enough to make your day. Treat yourself. You deserve it.

Frozen Watermelon & Lemonade Slush

Not in the mood for something caffeinated or creamy but want something thick and cold that’s without the calories of a smoothie? No problem! The FWL Slush is what you want.

Blended ice & watermelon, sweetened with a touch of honey (or agave if you’d like it vegan!) topped with our house made Lemonade slush (yes, we use real lemon pulp from organic lemons!) mixed with some refreshing sparkling water & topped with a mint leaf.
It’s refreshingly cool – extra cool if you chew the mint while you drink it!

The Mojito Boba Sparkler

One of my favorites! I can’t even talk this up enough. When we tested this drink our first taste reaction was “Oh, that might need a touch more honey” but we took another sip and it’s perfect. It’s not sweet – it’s refreshing with a hint of sweet. I don’t even like boba but the pearls give it that layer of slightly sweet you’ll love! It’s the perfect summer drink!

This features Boba Pearls
Sparkling Water & Ice
Fresh Crushed Peppermint
Lemon & Lime Juice
And A Touch Of Honey

PS: You can always sweeten it if you like it sweeter but I promise the taste is fantastic the way it is 😉

The Sweet German

Yes, I saved the best for last! A traditional German Summer Drink – it’s amazing. Whether you want it for dessert or as a treat it’ll both cool you down, caffeinate you, and satisfy your sweet tooth. So what is it?

A big ball of Vanilla Ice Cream
Filled up with Brooke’s amazing Cold Brew
Topped high with fresh Creamy Whipped Cream
Finished with Chocolate Shavings

You want this. You do. You can even have it kid friendly with icy hot chocolate 😉 Try it. You won’t regret it. I promise. You’re welcome.

Brooke is located at Odie’s Place in Wimberley and open from 7.30am – 4pm Monday – Friday. The weekends are most often reserved for catering & events. She has an amazing coffee cart she brings to events and weddings. Our last wedding we catered together she served up the full shop menu to over 100 obviously happy guests!

Her menu features many of the standard and delicious coffee drinks – hot, over ice, and frappuccino! My favorite is the Breve!
She also has a variety of tea drinks, refreshing fruity drinks, and of course her famous boba teas! If you’re looking for a pop of healthy color in your life, Cactus Coffee is the spot to go.

Oh, and one last thing. If you’re environmentally conscious, vegetarian or vegan, you’ll love her. She makes it a point to stock healthy options for everyone (drink or snack wise) and believe it or not – she gives you a discount if you bring your OWN refillable cup! How awesome is that??

My Soul In Writing

soul, writing, author, writer, quote, books,

I write every day. I write for work, I write for my kids, I write status updates, blog posts, postcards (yes, sure do), notes, emails, shopping lists and so much more. But I need to write from my soul. Life is busy and hectic and often I talk myself out of blogging because other things are more “important” in that moment.

I write a lot each day, so by 10pm it’s easy for me to find an excuse as to why I’ve written enough, why I don’t have anything to say or why it’s too late. What I often forget is that yes, I do write all day long but not from my soul, my sweet spot, my deep, colorful well of thoughts that just want to come out and make a splash on a page. When I write from my soul I feel so happy, so free, so full of emotion, of self discovery. When I write and create, I am me. I am my INFJ self in all its glory.

When I wrote my last long post yesterday “Home is where you are loved the most and act the worst” I started to feel insecure because it had been a while since I wrote from my heart online. I shared it with a dear friend pre-publishing and asked for honest feedback. I was fully expecting her to comment on the fact that I have a tendency to ramble, that the intro was too boring, that it was all over the place. But she did neither. She came back with nothing but praise and happiness. She talked about how it was beautiful, honest and raw from the soul. An emotional journey she could take with me, feel with me and wanted to share. She talked about parenting magazines and about how it should go viral. Talk about feedback!

Whether or not she meant every single word or not really doesn’t matter. What mattered is that she could feel it. I could take her on the journey as I saw it play out in my mind, how it felt in my heart. What mattered is the fact that I need this, that she reminded me that it’s okay to be insecure but as long as I stay true to myself, to my thoughts and emotions, as long as my words help only one person in the world get through a rough time.. well, then I did my job.

All it takes for me to consider anything a win is for one person to find happiness, encouragement, faith, hope or love in the words that leave my soul. Because that one person matters just as much as the thousands who’d read it if it were viral.

All it takes is one.

My souls secrets may never fully be disclosed to the world as I know it but if my words have an impact and touch anothers soul then we’ve connected on an intimate level not many people share.

Near or Far – My Family is Always in My Heart

family, family quote, distance, love,As many of you know, most of my family lives in Germany. My parents, sisters, grandparents and other extended family in addition to the select few whom I have been lucky to call life-long friends. Time often flies by without talking to one another but in my heart, I carry them with me. I carry their love and friendship close to my heart and no matter how much time goes by before we are able to speak again, I’ll know that we will pick up right where we left off.

In the day and age of “nuclear” families, basic units away from the greater family hub, we leave behind more than just people. We leave behind close connections, a comforting hug, a shoulder to cry on, a big table with everyone gathered for dinner. We leave behind quick visits, coffee dates and free “babysitters”.

But we don’t have to leave love behind. The connection and bond we have forged throughout the years.

No, we keep the love, the memories, the smells and sounds tucked safely in our hearts and souls. In a treasured chest, protected from the harsh distance we face. A place we can access when we need it the most.

Because love knows no distance.