Riga Reunion

This past week was my program’s winter vacation.  Contrary to my last semester’s “Autumn Extravaganza” fall break, when I visited five cities in ten days, I decided to plan a more relaxing vacation.  I dedicated the whole week to visiting my best friend Bernadette in Riga, the capital city of Latvia, where she is interning.

In case you’re confused about where Riga and Latvia are. I don’t blame you.

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Dinner Party + Crème au Chocolat

My time in Paris is going well.  I am starting to get to know my way around the city and discovering areas other than the immediate vicinity of the Skidmore center (although there is a great pedestrian area nearby called Montorgueil, a street lined with restaurants and cafés, that is lovely to amble down and provides many delicious meal options).

On Saturday night last week, my host parents went out to a concert.  They let me know a few days in advance that they wouldn’t be home for dinner, and so I asked them if I could invite a few friends over and cook something.  They agreed, and my dinner party plan was born.

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Galette des Rois

This is a traditional French cake made during the time of the Epiphany at the end of the Christmas season.  Its name literally means “Kings’ Cake.”  Between the two layers of puff pastry, hidden in the filling, is a fève, or little trinket (think those animal figurines that used to come in the Red Rose tea boxes).  The person who happens to get the fève in their slice is named the king and is even sometimes presented with a crown that comes with the cake if you buy it in a bakery.  If you’re feeling artistic, you can lightly cut in a design on the top puff pastry, before brushing on the egg wash, to make it look all pretty!  Here is a recipe for a Galette des Rois filled with an almond cream, which I made with my host mom, Cécile, the other day.

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Gâteau à la Crème

Cheers to the first of my French recipes! This is a cake that my host dad, Paul-Marie, made the other day, and we’ve been eating it with breakfast.  In looks, at first it kind of reminded me of angel food cake, but in reality it’s much denser than that, with a solid crumb.  As it cooks, a delightful crunchy crust forms atop the cake.  My host parents say that they just eat the cake plain with tea or coffee.  I’ve been spreading blueberry jam on it, but I don’t exactly know that that’s the usual thing to do.  I also think it would be good with some fresh berries on the side.

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Another Semester, Another City

I’ve been in France for a little over a week now, though with all the events and orientation activities packing my days it seems like it’s been much longer than that.

I flew from Boston on Sunday the 11th, to catch my layover in JFK before heading with a group of Skidmore students to Paris.  Unfortunately, my travels were not exceedingly smooth.  My flight from Boston left an hour and a half late after a delay and spending almost an hour waiting on the plane for the flight crew from Chicago, who had inexplicably landed in Boston but not yet made their way to our plane, to arrive.  My layover in JFK was originally supposed to be only an hour and a half, so I spent the entirety of that sitting time and the flight worrying about whether or not I would make my second plane.

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