A Christmas Market Favorite: Roasted Almonds

Winter is my favorite time of the year, which is why I try to cherish each moment as much as I can. Christmas time brings back so many childhood memories, involving both friends and family in Dusseldorf and around the globe. My absolute favorite winter activity is a visit to the Christmas Markets.rsz_collage_blog_post_mandeln

Just in Dusseldorf, we have 12 Christmas markets spread throughout the entire city center  which are open from November 19th until December 23rd. I have visited various markets around Germany and I must admit that every single one is beautiful in its own way. Nevertheless, there is one attribute that differentiates a good market from an outstanding Christmas market: the quality of roasted almonds being sold in the festive booths.

Did you know that the production of roasted almonds has a tradition of over one hundred years? Even today, each almond roaster has his or her own recipe and production preferences, which varies only in minor details, but can seriously impact the final taste of the almonds.

In an old cookbook from 1870, I found a rather simple recipe, that makes quite irresistible roasted almonds.  The recipe calls for 500g of sugar disolved in water, to which 500g of almonds are added. The almonds get cooked and roasted, while cinnamon is sprinkled on top of the warm almonds. At the end, in order to achieve a shine, the almonds are toasted in a hot oven.

If you enjoy the delicious taste and typical smell of warm, freshly roasted almonds as much as I do, then join me at one of the Christmas markets in and around Dusseldorf during the next few weeks. Of course, our Personal Assistants at the Breidenbacher Hof, a Capella Hotel would be pleased to support you in finding your “perfect” Christmas market.

Furthermore, if you also love to enjoy roasted almonds outside of the Christmas season, I can recommend the Dusseldorf almond roasting shop to you. Here you can enjoy the taste of Christmas 365 days a year!

Mother’s Day At The United States Botanic Garden

“All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.”  I could not have said it better than our Nation’s 16th President, Abraham Lincoln.  I hope to shower my children with as much love, kindness, and laughter as she does for my siblings and me.

When planning what to surprise my mom this Mother’s Day, I knew I wanted something different and unique.  Fortunately there is so much to do in Washington, D.C.!   This year’s plan: taking my mother to the United States Botanic Garden where we’ll be able to design and plant her very own garden.

Established by the U.S. Congress in 1820, the U.S. Botanic Garden is one of the oldest botanic gardens in North America.  The three-acre National Garden draws its inspiration from the regional environments from the Mid-Atlantic.  Within the National Garden, the major features include the Butterfly Garden, the First Ladies Water Garden, and the Lawn Terrace.


You too can bring your mother to the USBG and help her choose from different plants to grow in her own vegetable garden!  From the ingredients you choose to be planted in your new garden, you can help her make two recipes and taste the fruits your garden will flourish into.  Get creative with your recipes and bond over family heritage traditions!  This program is designed for all ages; to learn more, visit here.

USBG Mother's Day Children's Program

Don’t forget to also take the opportunity to participate in the Mother’s Day Tour of the Rose Garden.  It is sure to be beautiful and a memorable experience for everyone!

USBG Rose Garden Tour

If you are staying at Capella Washington, D.C. Georgetown, your Personal Assistants are available to help plan your own Mother’s Day adventures either at theUnited States Botanic Garden or somewhere else. And if you are looking for a perfect brunch, join me at The Grill Room this Mother’s Day for a feast fit for a queen. It’s time to celebrate the most important women in our lives, our Moms!


Images via United States Botanic Garden

Cinco De Mayo con Margaritas de Mango

En México somos bien conocidos por nuestra naturaleza festiva y alegre, y sinceramente no podemos decir que no a ninguna excusa para celebrar la vida y a las personas cercanas a nosotros.  Como se aproxima el Cinco de Mayo, y hay muchas festividades planeadas principalmente con nuestros vecinos del norte, me gustaría tomar esta oportunidad para compartirles algunos de los planes que tenemos para celebrar esta fecha aquí en Capella Ixtapa.  Yo estoy principalmente emocionada con el cocktail creado específicamente para la ocasión por nuestro mixólogo Miguel, ¡Y no puedo esperar más para compartirlo con ustedes!

Hay mucho más que guacamole, nachos y tequila durante las celebraciones del Cinco de Mayo, que contrario a los que muchos creen no es el Día de la Independencia de México, el cual es en Septiembre 16.  En Mayo 5 se celebra a batalla de Puebla, la cual conmemora la victoria del ejército mexicano sobre el ejército francés.  En Mayo de 1862, un poderoso ejército francés avanzaba hacia la Ciudad de México.  Los franceses se encontraban bien armados, disciplinados y eficientemente habían destruido cualquier resistencia en su avanzar a la capital mexicana.  Sin embargo, al llegar a las afueras de Puebla, sucedió algo que nadie esperaba:  Soldados mexicanos, la mayoría de ellos sin ningún entrenamiento formal y con un armamento bastante deficiente, derrotaron a los franceses.

La verdad es, que el Cinco de Mayo es mayormente una fiesta regional celebrada en la ciudad y el Estado de Puebla, con un modesto reconocimiento a nivel nacional en México.  Sin embargo, aquí en Capella Ixtapa ¡no podemos decirle que no a ninguna celebración!  Nuestro mixólogo Miguel amablemente nos comparte su receta para uno de sus cocteles más populares, la Margarita de Mango:


Margarita de Mango


• 1.5 oz.  Tequila Maestro Tequilero reposado
• 1.5 oz.  Jugo de naranja
• 1 oz.   Cointreau
• Néctar de agave
• Jarabe o concentrado de mango
• Sal para escarchar


• Escarchar el vaso con sal y llenarlo de hielo.
• Añadir tequila, jugo, Cointreau, jarabe de agave y de mango en una coctelera shaker y agitar vigorosamente.
• Sirve el contenido sobre hielo (cubos o frappe).
• Decora con una fruta estrella o con una flor de bougainvillea.

Salud y feliz Cinco de Mayo!

St. Martin’s Day in Dusseldorf

I love when the weather shifts in Germany.  It is a sure sign that the holidays are upon us.  The first seasonal holiday is St. Martin’s Day.  The holiday is November 11th, but really festivities begin the night of the 10th.  This holiday is a wonderful reminder to be kind to those around us and is also lots of fun for children to participate in!


Do you know the story of St. Martin? His actual name was Martin de Tours and he was born in 316 in Hungary. His colleagues and friends appreciated him because of his big heart: St. Martin reached out to people who were ill, gave help to the needy and shared his belongings where he could.  One day, when it was very cold, St. Martin came across a beggar freezing in the streets.  A snow storm was about to erupt and the beggar, who had little clothing, was sure to freeze.  St. Martin, who was on horseback dismounted to check on the beggar.  Realizing that the man was near freezing, St. Martin removed his own cape and drew his sword, slicing the cape in two.  He then gave the beggar half of the cape, ensuring the man’s survival.  It is this event that we celebrate each year.  I still remember my first St. Martin’s celebration and continue to take part every year.

The ceremony starts early in the evening when the sun goes down. In Dusseldorf we meet in the Old Town and everyone brings colorful lanterns which create a romantic and picturesque atmosphere. You can’t imagine what kind of feeling it is to be part of this crowd, watching actors who reenact the life of St. Martin and sing songs about him.

When the ceremony is over, my favorite part of the celebration starts: All of the kids and their parents walk from house to house, sing songs with their lanterns and get candy in return.  Although I’ve become too old to collect candy myself, I still enjoy being part of the tradition, handing out treats to the children.

What do you think? Will you be part of the St. Martin’s Day this year? Come out and watch the performance in the Old Town with me!  We will get you a pretty lantern and I’d love to teach you the songs so we can experience this unforgettable evening together.  For more information, please contact your Breidenbacher Hof, A Capella Hotel  Personal Assistant at pa.bbh@capellahotels.com.


St. Martinsfest in Düsseldorf

Ich liebe es, wenn die Tage in Düsseldorf kürzer werden und die Temperatur langsam sinkt, denn dies ist ein sicheres Zeichen dafür, dass die Feiertage unmittelbar bevor stehen. Der erste Feiertag in Deutschland ist das St.Martinsfest, welches traditionell erst am 11. November stattfindet, jedoch schon am Abend des 10.Novembers gefeiert wird. Dieser Feiertag ist besonders für Kinder mit viel Spaß verbunden und ein wunderbares Beispiel dafür, dass man respektvoll mit seinen Mitmenschen umgehen sollte.  610fbea0791

Kennt ihr die Geschichte von St. Martin? Sein richtiger Name war Martin von Toulouse und er wurde 316 in Ungarn geboren. Seine Freunde und Bekannten schätzten ihn vor allem aufgrund seines großen Herzens und seiner Selbstlosigkeit: St. Martin unterstützte Kranke, half Bedürftigen und verteilte seine Habseligkeiten wann immer er konnte. An einem sehr kalten Tag, begegnete St.Martin am Stadttor von Amiens einem frierenden Bettler. Ein Schneesturm zog auf und der Bettler, welcher nur wenig Kleidung trug, drohte zu erfrieren. Ohne zu zögern teilte St.Martin seinen eigenen Mantel mit seinem Schwert und gab dem Bettler die Hälfte dieses Mantels, wodurch er sein Überleben sicherte. Dies ist genau die Szene, welche jedes Jahr im November nachgestellt und gefeiert wird. Ich erinnere mich immer noch an mein erstes St.Martinsfest und nehme seitdem jedes Jahr daran teil.

Die Feierlichkeiten starten am frühen Abend, wenn die Sonne gerade untergeht. In Düsseldorf treffen wir uns zu Beginn in der Altstadt und jeder bringt bunte Laternen mit, welche eine romantische und gemütliche Atmosphäre erzeugen. Ihr könnt Euch nicht vorstellen, was für ein einzigartiges Gefühl es ist, Teil dieser Menge zu sein, die Schauspieler bei ihrer Vorstellung zu beobachten und die Lieder mitzusingen.

Wenn die Feierlichkeit vorbei ist, dann beginnt mein Lieblingsmoment des Abends: Alle Kinder und ihre Eltern ziehen mit den bunten Laternen von Haus zu Haus und sammeln Süßigkeiten. Auch wenn ich leider schon zu alt dafür bin selber Süßigkeiten zu sammeln, freue ich mich immer wieder darauf, Teil des St.Martinsfestes zu sein. Nun darf ich Süßigkeiten verteilen während die Kinder singen.

Was denkt ihr? Möchtet ihr dieses Jahr auch Teil des St.Martinstages sein? Kommt vorbei und schaut Euch den Umzug mit mir gemeinsam in der Altstadt an. Keine Angst, denn ich versorge Euch gerne mit einer schönen Laterne und bringe Euch auch die traditionellen Lieder bei, sodass wir einen unvergesslichen Abend erleben können. Für weitere Informationen, kontaktiert bitte unsere Persönlichen Assistenten im Breidenbacher Hof, a Capella Hotel, welche Ihr unter pa.bbh@capellahotels.com erreicht.

A 4th Of July History Lesson From Capella DC

Just imagine what Washingtonians of years past would have thought of our upcoming July 4th rooftop experience at Capella Washington, D.C.!  Georgetown is after all, one of the most historic of American towns and it is especially rich in 4th of July history.  Did you know for instance that on July 4, 1828, President John Quincy Adams officiated the groundbreaking ceremonies at the C&O Canal with the musical accompaniment of the US Marine band?  And back in 1850, Washingtonian William Gordon wrote this about his fourth of July experience at Parrott’s Woods in Georgetown, in his book, “Recollections of a Boyhood in Georgetown.”

Fourth of July Capella DC

“On arriving at the woods the day was celebrated. Patriotic songs were sung, the Star Spangled Banner never being omitted, and addresses made by young college graduates. Later in the day speeches were made by the elders. Townsmen of all classes participated, and barrels of lemonade and abundance of eatables of every kind were provided; everything was free and all were welcomed. After a somewhat strenuous day parents and children returned home tired out but patriotically happy.”

There is no better place to celebrate America’s independence than our nation’s capital.  The Fourth of July Parade is one of my favorites!

More interesting July 4th facts:

1801 – The first public Fourth of July reception at the White House occurs.

1848 – In Washington, D.C., the laying of the cornerstone of the Washington Monument takes place with the President James Madison, First Lady Dolly Madison and other VIPs in attendance.

1947 – In Washington, D.C., the July Fourth ceremony at the monument grounds is televised for the first time.

1964 – A recorded reading of the Declaration of Independence by slain President John F. Kennedy is broadcast over radio airwaves. In Prescott, AZ., Senator Barry Goldwater rides a horse in the annual Frontier Days Rodeo parade.

1966 – President Lyndon Johnson signs the Freedom of Information Act into law.

Source: James R. Heintze. Librarian, American University, Washington, D.C. 

4th of July Capella DC

All I can say is that we’re aligning the stars and stripes once again for a most patriotic 4th of July weekend.  Our exclusive rooftop bar & lounge is the perfect location to view fireworks and enjoy a variety of handcrafted cocktails.

Our overnight package includes:

  • Overnight stay in one of our luxurious accommodations of your choice with views of the C&O Canal and historic Georgetown
  • VIP access to our private rooftop bar, lounge and infinity pool
  • Viewing of the National Firework Celebration
  • Live musical entertainment
  • Capella’s Culinary Team will have delicious barbecue action stations from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm, for $49 per person and $29 for children. (All food and beverage orders are charged separately from the Fourth of July package)
  • Breakfast the next morning in The Grill Room.

To reserve this incredible experience at Capella Washington, D.C., please contact your Personal Assistant at 202-617-2400 or e-mail res.dc@capellahotels.com.

To book today, please click here.