Celebrating New Year’s Eve Around The World

New Year’s Eve happens to be one of my favorite holidays.  It involves self-reflection, a moment of bliss, and a commitment to renewal all wrapped into one night.  There is something so miraculous about millions of people joining together to countdown the last ten seconds of the year with the anticipation of a brighter and enlightened new beginning.  No matter what part of the world New Year’s is celebrated, traditions are honored with equal enthusiasm.  Along with the glitz and the glam of how you spend your New Years Eve, I have come to realize the best way to celebrate is to surround yourself with the ones you love the most.

At Capella Washington, D.C., Georgetown, our Capella family hails from many different countries and nations, each with their own New Year’s traditions.  Here are some of the interesting ways New Year’s Eve around the world is celebrated, as told by my Capella Washington, D.C. colleagues:

Iran by Cameron Nezam: Pastry delicacies are a main focal point in celebrating the New Year.  Families  bake goodies and treat one another to desserts as a way of ensuring a “sweet” New Year.

Cameron Nezam - Director of Diplomatic and Group Sales

Switzerland by Kelly Schneider: Lake Zurich offers the perfect backdrop setting for a magical display of fireworks.  Over 200,000 people gather together to celebrate with live music and entertainment and a sense of community.

Kelly Schneider - Catering Sales Manager

Belgium by Marie Belaen: A thoughtful gesture of gifting your loved ones with small presents as a token of good luck for the upcoming year is often observed in Brussels.

Marie Belaen - Sales and Marketing Intern

Philippines by Michael Katigbak: Part of the fun of getting ready for New Year’s Eve is collecting twelve round fruits.  Each one signifies a month of the year with the round shape being a metaphor for the year coming full circle.  In the tropics the fruit can be a lychee, but with tropical fruits harder to come by in the U.S., grapes are a perfect stand-in.

Michael Katigbak - Director of Sales and Marketing

Cultures and traditions vary geographically but each one, at its root, is meant to bring happiness, prosperity and good luck in the New Year.  If you happen to be celebrating in Washington D.C. this year, Capella Washington, D.C., Georgetown is having a grand New Year’s Eve celebration.  The event starts with cocktails in The Rye Bar, leading into a special five-course champagne dinner hosted by our Executive Chef, Frank Ruta and Master Sommelier, Keith Goldston in The Grill Room, and finally dancing and musical entertainment into the New Year on our Rooftop Bar & Lounge.  I hope to see you there!

Rooftop Lounge

For more information about our Rooftop New Year’s Eve Party, please email our Personal Assistant team at pa.dc@capellahotels.com or call 202.617.2416.  Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday season!

The Atlantic Rally For Cruisers

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If you love beautiful sailboats and the thrill of being on the sea, you are going to love everything about the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers! With Capella Marigot Bay also being a Marina, we are all very excited about this amazing nautical event that concludes right here in Saint Lucia.

Started in 1986, the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers has taken place every November as a way for sailing enthusiasts to safely cross the Atlantic together.

World ARC fleet at Cocos Keeling (c) Sarah Barthelet

The Rally begins in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. During the first leg of the journey, the boats sail to Mindelo, Sao Vicente in Cape Verde. During the second leg they sail to Rodney Bay, St. Lucia! The boats typically arrive anytime between November 29th and December 3rd.

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Though the rally is not a race, some friendly competitive sportsmanship definitely plays a part. Handicaps are given based on factors such as the type of boat or the number of people in the crew. On December 9th, once all the boats have arrived in Rodney Bay, an awards ceremony is held and awards are given out in different categories such as “First two-manned boat to cross the finish line” or even fun titles such as “prettiest boat.”

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Over 200 boats and 1200 sailors participate in the yearly event which attracts everyone from casual sailing families with children to serious racers, from big boats to small boats and everything in between. Those who do not wish to calculate their results are not obligated to do so and can simply enjoy this fun, social and safe way to sail across the Atlantic! The ARC has created a supportive community based in friendship and a shared interest in sailing.

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The social aspects of the ARC are witnessed by all who visit Rodney Bay during this time period. The achievement of sailing across the Atlantic Ocean in a small sailboat is celebrated and regardless when each boat arrives, the crew is greeted with refreshments and rum punch. As the ARC says “No matter what time of day or night, the welcome party will be waiting for you!”

The popularity of the Rally has attracted the attention of so many sailors and sailing enthusiasts that a second category called the ARC+ was opened and these boats come to our very own Marigot Bay! The entire event is an exciting part of St. Lucian island life that provides a fascinating look into the world of sailing. You can even view the sailing progress of each of the boats online by clicking here. I certainly hope you will join us for the excitement either in person or at very least on social media!

Please let me know if you will be partaking in this year’s ARC so that I can follow along on Social Media.  I would love to share your photos on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  Good luck to all of the participants!

Baked Apple Soufflé – A Twist On A Classic

There are certain things that I enjoy most when it’s cold outside. Like waffles with cinnamon, mulled wine, romantic movies and baked apples.  I still remember when I had my first baked apple. My grandmother made one for me with flaked almonds, jelly and a super creamy vanilla sauce on top. Since then, it has become a personal tradition to enjoy baked apples as soon as the temperatures begin to dip.

And while traditions are great, it is always fun to give them a new spin. In this case, that I caught up with Capella Breidenbacher Hof’s Executive Chef Philipp Ferber and asked for his take on the classic baked apple.  His interpretation? A Baked Apple Soufflé!

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Baked Apple Soufflé
Recipe for 4-6 people

Ingredients:

  • 10-12 small apples
  • 125g marzipan (room temperature)
  • 60g rum raisins
  • 50g roasted flaked almonds
  • cinnamon
  • 1 whipped egg white
  • 50ml clarified butter
  • powdered sugar

Preparation:

Preheat oven at 180° Celsius.

Begin by removing and reserving the top of each apple. Then discard the core using an apple corer.

Combine marzipan, raisins and flaked almond.  Add cinnamon to taste.  Whip the egg white until stiff peaks are formed.  Then add eggs to the marzipan mixture. This will be the filling for the apples.

Fill the hollowed out apples with the mixture capping each apple with its reserved top.

Place apples into a casserole dish and grease each with the clarified butter.

They are now ready to go into the oven for 15 minutes.

Before serving, dust the apples with the powder sugar.  I suggest serving them along with vanilla ice cream or sauce.

Now it is time to enjoy!

If you make this dessert at home, please be sure to share a photo with me Instagram or Twitter!

Fall Cocktails: Capella D.C.’s Jack Rose Cocktail

It’s finally time to breathe in the crisp autumn air! Goodbye sun-kissed tans, sipping rosé on rooftops, spending weekends at the beach, and hello pumpkin spice lattes, scarves, boots, and spending cozy nights by the fireplace. Fall is especially gorgeous in D.C. and wonderful time to visit the city.  I look forward to seeing the beauty and natural surroundings of the C&O canal from Capella Washington, D.C., Georgetown.

With the seasons changing, , it’s time to switch out my cocktail list and introduce some cool weather concoctions featuring the flavors of the season.  Rye Bar Bartender Cecilio knew exactly how to indulge my love for fall when he made me a Jack Rose Cocktail. The combination of citrus and pomegranate were so full of sugar and spice, that I knew I had to share the recipe with you.  Luckily, Cecilio gave me an easy, “do-it-yourself” version that you can make at home for your friends and family.

Jack Rose Cocktail

Jack Rose Set Up

Ingredients:

  • Laird Apple Jack Liquor -2 oz.
  • Lime Juice – ¾ oz.
  • Grenadine – ¾ oz.

Directions:

Step One: Combine all ingredients in a shaker

Cecilio step 1

Step Two: Shake the shaker for approx. 30 seconds, or until the shaker is frosted and cold

Cecilio stirred

Step Three: Strain the mixture into a martini glass

Jack Rose Cocktail

Finito! Now you are all set to fall into fall!  If you’re able to visit Capella Washington, D.C., Georgetown, Cecilio and the team will be sure to have one of these delicious cocktails ready for you in the Rye Bar. I would love to see you share your version of the Jack Rose Cocktail on social media!  Or tell me about some of your favorite fall cocktails.  Just be sure to tag @CapellaDC so I can share your photos with the rest of my followers!

Fall Recipes: French Onion Soup

It is official: summer is over and autumn is here.  Colorful leaves decorate the streets of Dusseldorf and there is a crispness in the air.  All this signals that the time to prepare hot soups is once again upon us!  There are so many different kinds and I am always testing new recipes to warm my body and spirit.  Luckily, I work with a chef who seems to have a never ending list of recommendations.  The latest recommendation from Breidenbacher Hof’s Executive Chef Philipp?  The classic, French Onion Soup.

While I was of course familiar with the soup, I had never ventured to make it.  Fortunately, Chef Philipp’s recipe was easy to follow.  And the results?  Absolutely the perfect fall kick-off!  Why don’t  you try it for yourself?  rsz_1zwiebelsuppe_

French Onion Soup (4 servings)

Ingredients:

  • 500 g large onion
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 100 ml Brandy
  • 100 ml Noilly Prat
  • 100 ml dry white wine
  • 1 l broth
  • 4 small slices of baguette
  • 100 g Gruyère (Swiss cheese)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper

Preparation:

Begin by peeling the onions (trust me, the tears are worth it!). The half the onion and cut it down into thin slices. Then, add the butter and onions to a pot (must be large enough for the soup as a whole) and cook over medium heat until the onions begin to caramelize.

Now, deglaze the onions with the brandy, Noilly Prat and white wine.  Follow with the broth and the bay leaf, bringing the liquid to a boil and then simmering for about 20 minutes.

Heat the oven to 200°C and toast the baguette slices. (After toasting, leave the oven on for the final step!)

Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste and transfer to individual oven safe bowls.

Add cheese to each of the toasted baguette slices and place one in each bowl.  Place each bowl in the heated oven allowing the soup and toast to heat until the cheese is melted and golden.

“C’est ҫa!”  Have fun trying the recipe and enjoy this take on French Onion Soup!

 

Discover the Capella Washington, D.C. Farmers Market In Georgetown

I am beyond thrilled to share with all of you Capella Washington, D.C., Georgetown’s newest experience – our very own Farmers Market!  Being an advocate of local farmers and promoting farm-fresh, locally sourced, and seasonal produce, I am extremely proud that we are able to launch this True Capella experience for everyone in D.C.!

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With The Grill Room’s renowned Executive Chef, Frank Ruta has partnered with Northern Neck Farms of Northern Virginia to create this Farmers Market in Georgetown.  Our mission is to educate the local community about fresh food, environmental issues, and provide opportunities for local farmers. The hope is to build a platform that will help promote a healthy lifestyle for all, while also providing tantalizing products.

David Blair, owner of Northern Neck Farms, shares, “We enjoy experiencing the fresh produce that we bring to all our restaurants we serve, especially The Grill Room. Being part of the Farmers Market at Capella is beyond anything we expected and we look forward to engaging with everyone in the heart of Georgetown.”

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The Farmers Market at Capella will run from 9am – 1pm on the2nd and 4th Saturday of each month through the end of October.  Guests and locals can expect to see fresh blackberries, eggplant, cucumbers, seasonal tomatoes, and so much more!  You will find the Farmers Market next to the hotel, along the historic C&O Canal.  Come spend your Saturday morning with Capella Washington, D.C., Georgetown and enjoy the local food movement.

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SAVE THE DATE:

 The Farmers Market at Capella D.C. will continue to be held on the following Saturdays:

  • September 19, 2015
  • October 3, 2015
  • October 17, 2015
  • October 31, 2015

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If you haven’t had a chance to visit, e sure to mark your calendar for the remaining dates of the season.  I am looking forward to the community coming together to share their photos and recipes with everyone.  Don’t forget to tag @CapellaDC so that I can share your Farmers Market fun with the rest of the community!