Christmas At Breidenbacher Hof, A Capella Hotel

Waiting for Christmas – I love it! My day starts with a walk to my Advent calendar to open the next window with great excitement.  The anticipation for Christmas grows every day.  But if you ask me, the best part of the day is, when I walk through the lobby of the Breidenbacher Hof, A Capella Hotel.  Our great pianist Ulli plays the most beautiful Christmas songs, the hotel gleams in its ceremonial brightness everywhere you look.  A wonderful Christmas tree with a mountain of presents under it welcomes every guest, client, deliveryman and employee entering the hotel lobby.

Christmast at Breidenbacher Hof

One of my favorite elements this year is our Christmas wonderland display featuring giant Steiff stuffed animals.  Provided by our neighbors Kaufhof an der Kö, this wintery display delights not only children, but adults as well!

I love to watch as the people enter the hotel.  At first, they may seem overwhelmed by their day or the bustling of the city outside.  But, then there is this moment: they look up, and suddenly are enveloped by the season’s good cheer.  Next thing you know, a smile stretches across their faces.  It doesn’t matter how exhausting the journey has been or how many people are rushing through the city – in this moment the Christmas season has overtaken them.  You can’t imagine what kind of privilege it is to welcome a guest at Christmas time!

Will you be visiting Breidenbacher Hof this holiday season?  Christmas at Breidenbacher Hof truly is a special experience.  If you are in Dusseldorf do come by for a cup of hot cocoa and some holiday cheer—you won’t be disappointed!

Weihnachten Im Breidenbacher Hof, A Capella Hotel

Auf Weihnachten warten – ich liebe es! Mein Tag beginnt mit einem Gang zum Adventskalender,  um mit großer Spannung das nächste Türchen zu öffnen.  Und die Vorfreude auf Weihnachten wächst mit jedem Tag.  Aber wenn ihr mich fragt,  ist meine tägliche Runde durch die Lobby Lounge unseres Breidenbacher Hof, A Capella Hotel der beste Part.  Unser wunderbarer Pianist Ulli spielt die schönsten Weihnachtslieder, die Dekorationen im Haus erstrahlen in feierlichem Glanz und ein prachtvoller Weihnachtsbaum mit vielen bunten Geschenken erfreut unsere Gäste, Kunden, Lieferanten und Mitarbeiter in der Hotellobby.

Christmast at Breidenbacher Hof

Eines meiner Lieblingselemente dieses Jahr ist allerdings die Winterlandschaft mit Steiff Plüschtieren in unserer Lobby Lounge.  Unser Nachbar Kaufhof an der Kö, hat uns diese als Weihnachtsüberraschung für unsere kleinen – und großen – Gäste freundlicherweise zur Verfügung gestellt!

Das Beste ist, wenn man beobachtet, wie unsere Gäste das Haus betreten.  Im ersten Moment könnte man meinen, dass sie vom Trubel auf den Straßen gestresst sind.  Aber in dem Augenblick, in dem sie das Hotel betreten und aufschauen, scheint all dies Dank der weihnachtlichen Stimmung vergessen.  Innerhalb von Sekunden blitzt ein Lächeln in ihrem Gesicht auf, egal wie anstrengend die Anreise oder wie groß das Gedränge in der Stadt war.  Genau in diesem Moment steht nur noch der weihnachtliche Gedanke im Mittelpunkt.  Ihr könnt Euch gar nicht vorstellen, wie schön das Gefühl ist, unsere Gäste zu dieser Jahreszeit zu empfangen!

Werdet ihr auch während der Feiertage im Breidenbacher Hof sein?  Wenn ihr in Düsseldorf seid, dann kommt auf eine heiße Schokolade vorbei—ihr werdet es nicht bereuen!

Capella Singapore’s Foie Gras Terrine

December is probably my favourite month in the year, simply because the air is just full of festivities and good cheer.

One of the things that I always look forward to is the scrumptious, mouthwatering Christmas meals.  Capella Singapore’s Executive Chef David Senia, was kind enough to share with me a recipe for a very festive appetizer which The Knolls will be serving this festive season – a Foie Gras Terrine with Apple Chutney and Brioche.

I love the simple preparation that impresses with its beautiful flavours.

Foie Gras Terrine

Terrine of Goose Liver, Vanilla Apple Chutney and Brioche Toast

Foie Gras Terrine

1kg  Foie Gras

10g  Salt

3g  Pepper

4g  Sugar

  • Marinate the Foie Gras with salt pepper and sugar and place it in a terrine
  • Put the terrine in a hot water bath and cook it at 55 degrees Celsius for an hour
  • Allow it to cool and set for one day
  • Remove the foie gras from the terrine and slice it evenly

Apple Chutney

500g  Sugar

1.5kg  Granny Smith apple (peeled and cored)

5pcs  Cardamom

5  Vanilla Pods

  • Dice the Granny Smith apple into fine pieces.
  • Combine all the ingredients, including the diced apples into a large saucepan and cook
  • Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally
  • Reduce the heat and continue allowing the mixture to simmer while stirring occasionally until most of the liquid has evaporated.
  • Remove from heat and allow it to cool.

Assembling the dish:

  • Place the sliced foie gras terrine in between two slices of toasted brioche and smear a generous helping of apple chutney across the plate.
  • To garnish, chop some nuts (hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, pistachios) and gooseberries in a bowl toss it with vanilla olive oil

Additional festive garnishing tips from Chef David: you can add some micro herbs, such as coriander leaves, which not only add a decorative touch to the dish but also enhance the taste.

Bon Appétit!

Twelve Grapes and Other Mexican New Year’s Superstitions

Farewell to the old year brings many Mexican superstitions, which give us hope for the better year to come.  Some of my favorite superstitions are eating twelve grapes after the clock marks midnight of the New Year’s Eve; taking your suitcase for a walk, and wearing yellow or red underwear, to bring prosperity or love.  I spoke about these superstitions with Capella Ixtapa’s Personal Assistant Saris Rosas, and she told me about some new ones I haven’t heard before.  If you’d like to bring some Mexican traditions into your New Year celebrations, here are just some of the things we like to do with the hope of an excellent new year:

Mexican Superstitions for New Year

1.  The twelve grapes of luck.  The tradition consists of eating a grape with each bell strike at midnight of December 31.  According to the tradition, that leads to a year of prosperity.

2.  Wear red or yellow underwear.  Red underwear is supposed to bring you lots of love in the new year, and yellow underwear lots of money.

3.  Make a wish list.  Before your New Year’s Eve dinner, write on a piece of paper three wishes for the New Year and fold the paper.  Make sure the paper touches your skin throughout the dinner, then when the New Year arrives burn the paper.  Your wishes will come true!

4.  Candles.  The candle colors attract different fortune: a blue candle is supposed to bring calmness in the new year, the yellow ones abundance, the red passion, and the green candles health.  Burn your selected color during your New Year’s Eve festivities.

5.  Take your suitcase for a walk.  If you want the New Year to be filled with travel then you must pack your suitcase and take it for a walk around your home.  When you return make sure you enter with your right foot for good luck.

These are just some of the superstitions and traditions with which we give a welcome to the New Year in Mexico.  The Capella Ixtapa December holiday program embraces several of the fun Mexican traditions – both for Christmas and New Year’s.  What are your New Year’s traditions?  I’d love to read about them in the comments below. 

Las Doce Uvas Y Otras Supersticiones Mexicanas Para Año Nuevo

Despedir el Año Viejo en México trae muchas supersticiones, las cuales nos dan esperanza de un año nuevo mejor.  Algunas de mis supersticiones favoritas son comer las doce uvas cuando el reloj marca la media noche del 31 de Diciembre; salir con tus maletas y dar la vuelta a la manzana, y utilizar ropa interior amarilla o roja, para atraer la prosperidad o el amor.  Hablé de estas supersticiones con Saris Rosas Asistente Personal de Capella Ixtapa, y ella me contó sobre algunas otras que nunca antes había escuchado.  Si estas buscando incorporar algunas tradiciones mexicanas a tu celebración de año nuevo, aquí están algunas de las cosas que nos gusta hacer para esperar un excelente año nuevo:

Mexican Superstitions for New Year

1.  Las 12 uvas de la suerte.  La tradición consiste en comer cada uva con cada campanada al dar las 12 de la noche de Diciembre 31.  Esto, de acuerdo a la tradición, nos garantizará un año de prosperidad.

2.  Utilizar ropa interior amarilla o roja.  La ropa interior roja supuestamente atraerá mucho amor en el año nuevo, y la amarilla abundancia económica

3.  Hacer una lista de deseos.  Antes de la cena de año nuevo, escribe en un papel 3 deseos para el año nuevo y dobla el papel.  Asegúrate que el papel toque tu piel durante la cena, cuando llegue el año nuevo, quema la hoja.  Tus deseos se harán realidad!

4.  Velas.  Dependiendo de su color, las velas atraen diferente fortuna: azul te traerá calma en el nuevo año, amarillas abundancia, el rojo pasión, y las verdes salud.  Utiliza el color de lo que desees para el Año Nuevo durante las fiestas de Noche Vieja.

5.  Lleva tus maletas a caminar.  Si quieres que tu nuevo año esté lleno de viajes entonces debes hacer las maletas y salir a darle la vuelta a la manzana.  Cuando regreses asegúrate de entrar a tu casa con el pie derecho para tener buena suerte en tus viajes.

Estas son tan solo algunas de las múltiples tradiciones y supersticiones con las cuales damos la bienvenida al año nuevo en México.  El programa de fiestas decembrinas de Capella Ixtapa festeja varias de las divertidas tradiciones – tanto para Navidad como para Año Nuevo.  Cuáles son tus tradiciones de Año Nuevo?  Me encantaría leer sobre ellas en los comentarios a este post.

 

Deepavali: A Festival Of Lights

Just recently, Singapore celebrated Deepavali, or Diwali as it is also known, one of the biggest and most important celebrations in the Hindu calendar.  Deepavali literally translated, means a row of lamps and it is observed by families traditionally lighting oil lamps to signify the triumph of good over evil.

Deepavali

For Hindus, Deepavali is typically celebrated over five days, with each day bearing a special significance. The festivities start with Dhanteras which also represents the beginning of the financial year for many Indian business communities. The second day of the festival is known as the Naraka Chaturdasi marking the vanquishing of the demon Naraka, a celebration of the triumph of good over evil.

Amavasya, which is the third day of Diwali, symbolizes the worship of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. Amavasya also tells the story of the Hindu Lord Vishnu, who vanquished the tyrant Bali, and banished him to hell. Bali was allowed to return to earth once a year, to light millions of lamps to dispel the darkness and ignorance, and spread the radiance of love and wisdom. The fourth day of Deepavali is known as Kartika Shudda Padyami is when Bali returns to earth to light the lamps. The fifth day is referred to as Yama Dvitiya, and on this day sisters invite their brothers to their homes for reunion.

In Singapore, Deepavali is a public holiday and the festivities are observed primarily by the Indian community, more specifically, the Tamils. It is typically marked by a vibrant lighting display along the streets of Little India in Serangoon Road which is the heart of the Indian community.

Apart from the light-up, Little India is all abuzz with a kaleidoscope of activities such as bazaars, exhibitions, parades and concerts. Here you can find a vast collection of traditional Indian artifacts, floral garlands and colourful Saris – the traditional Indian costumes which feature intricate brocade patterns and glittering gems. Traditional arts and crafts will also be on sale at the bazaars.

Like many Asian traditions and celebrations, the date for Deepavali is dependent on the phase of the moon. As such it is typically celebrated between the end of October and early November. If you are in Singapore during this period, you must remember to ask your Capella Singapore Personal Assistant for more information on the activities lined up for the Deepavali celebrations.