The German Cream Cheese Phenomenon

Yes. Cheese. Specifically Cream Cheese. Just work with me here…

To me, cream cheese is typically in the All-American household. We obviously are known for loving bagels and we all know that bagels are just NO BUENO without a big old glob of cream cheese on it. Besides the bagel situation, I was always a big cream cheese and jelly fan (mom can attest to that!) Its good for cooking as well. Some use it in sauces to thicken it and make it creamy and of course we can’t forget my birthday cake, chocolate chip cheesecake!!!

I actually don’t even know why I’m talking about this when I’m doing this special diet that does NOT allow any kind of cream cheese.

In Germany, cream cheese, known as frischkäse, is used as a spread on sandwiches among a few other things. I used to LOVE picking out a new flavor at the grocery store. There is just this mass amount of options it was amazing! I noticed here in the States it’s lacking in options which is weird considering we are the cream cheese capital of the world! The differences of course are that here in the US the flavors are strawberry, honey, and other sweeter options.

In Germany, it was option after option of tasty cream cheeses! Yes, so much that it means I need to write a blog post about this. People, we need to come together and ask Kraft Philadelphia to give us the SAME cream cheese options and rights as the Germans! Our palettes deserve a bit more variety!!

Check out these amazing options…brace yourself…there are definitely way more than is offered here. But it definitely is interesting to see how they offer different options for the different demographics!


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From top left to right

1. Regular – Light (Low Fat)

2. Regular – Balance

3. Regular – Double Cream (Extra Creamy)

4. Regular –  Lactose Free

5. Regular – Yogurt

6. Herbs – Balance

7. Herbs – Double Cream (Extra Creamy)

8. Herbs – Light (Low Fat)

9. Chive

10. Horseradish

11. Feta and Cucumber

12. Spring Onion and pepper

13. Pepper Chili

14. Sweet Chili

15. Grilled pepper

16. Smoked Salmon with Dill

17.  Milka (chocolate in Germany like Hershey’s is for us.)

18. Milka with Hazelnut

19. Honey

 

So they are missing another one from this list that I always saw: ham…lol..ham flavored cream cheese. Awesome.

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As you can see there are only 3 sweet options. The Milka one I will say tastes EXACTLY like chocolate chip cheesecake. It’s a diet KILLER! Only had it once but it was the very best thing ever.

I tried to find a similar picture of the American versions but unsuccessful.  However, I compiled a quick list for comparison:

1. Strawberry

2. Blueberry

3. Garden Vegetable

4. Chive & Onion

5. Jalapeno

6. Chipotle

7. Brown sugar and Cinnamon

8. Milk Chocolate

9. Dark Chocolate

10. Honey Pecan

11. Smoked Salmon

12. Pineapple

 

There is a limited edition I know they have which is pumpkin and cinnamon too. I’m sure there are others. But Pineapple? Thats just gross. You can see there are 7 sweet options as opposed to the 3 that Germany has. America….work with me here. We need more options!!! Too much sugar goin round!

What do you think? Would you try all the options that are available in Germany? Which ones are strange to you? What would you like to see here in the US?

Until next time, Readers!!!! xoxoxoxoxo

 

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Happy Birthday, Pauli!

There is just something about Germans and their “fests” that they take very seriously. And when they party…they party well! Of course most of you know that from my Oktoberfest survival. I mean…I’m almost 30 (eek!) and I can barely hang with the rest of them because now I think about the pain I will feel the next day. However, this particular party I let loose and had a great time…and paid for it the next day.

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It was the 60th Birthday Party of my father-in-law, Paul. Before I go any further, let me remind you quickly how birthdays work here in Germany. When it’s your birthday you are the one responsible to provide cake or breakfast to your colleagues. As well as host your own “kaffee und kuchen” at your home for your family and friends. Personally, I think thats CRAP. With a capital C-R-A-P.

Us American folks know how to get down on our birthdays! We order people around and expect that the world showers us with gifts and pays for all our drinks when we drink away our past years. Afterall, the best gift is that we were born into this world..so people should clearly thank the heavens for this amazing gift. I still can’t believe that my first birthday here in Germany I actually baked myself a cake and invited people over, German style. NEVER. AGAIN. Just….NO.

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In Germany when someone turns 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, or 100…these are big years to celebrate. It was no different for my FIL (father-in-law). He planned a great birthday party in the party hall in his town. There was a lot of planning involved. From the invites, catering menu, decorations, table organization, and the events, he had planned it all perfectly. With a little help of course!

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His party was basically a concert. He’s big into music and belongs to three different bands. All three of them played a few songs each. All three bands were different from each other so it was a nice change up between each of them.

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Inbetween songs was of course dinner but also gifts were presented. Typically, at these parties a group of people say a funny poem, sing a song, or talk about the Birthday boy. At the end he is given a present that usually ties the whole skit together. Makes it a bit more fun!

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Approximately 130 people helped celebrate the 60th birthday of my beloved FIL. It was a great turnout and I think a really special time for him. Something he really deserved.

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I stayed and closed up shop with the last of the folks around 5am. I then woke up around 8:30am and cleaned up the mess that was leftover from the night before. And this of course…is the aftermath of no sleep. This 29 year old can NOT hang anymore. 🙂
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Until next time, Readers!!! xoxoxoxo

An American Baby Shower For A German Baby

First Fall project completed and what a beautiful day it was!! This past weekend I threw an American style baby shower for a friend of mine. But first, a little background into how life happens when you have a German baby!
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So we all know that in the US when a a girlfriend is preggers, we throw her a fantastic party a couple months before the birth. All the women in her family come, along with all the friends she’s had to avoid because she can’t go out drinking with them anymore. The party is held at someone’s house or restaurant with food galore and presents stacked high. Games are played and everyone ooohs and ahhhs over all the sweet little baby decorations. The mom-to-be is treated like a princess and she gets EVERYTHING she could possibly need for her bundle of love on the way. Cribs, carriages, diapers, toys, clothes, breast feeding equipment, blankets, etc. The list goes on.

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And then there is Germany…..

Mom-to-be buys everything herself. Mom gives birth. All friends and family swarm over to the house with little gifts for the baby and visit as the new mom and baby are trying to get a hold of this new life they have together. The mom, exhausted and in desperate need of a nap makes coffee and cake for all the masses who visit.

So….let’s discuss. WHICH country does it better?…..it’s obvious. And there is no arguing about this. Even the German ladies here agreed that this is a tradition they have interest in starting! It’s really all about the one last fun hoorah for the new mom before her life changes with a new baby!

This was exactly what I wanted for my dear friend. I threw her a bash to remember! We invited family and friends for an intimate gathering. Each person brought a gift and brought along either a cake or snack food! It was perfect! I made the very popular “bowle” which is what we know as punch! The ladies love to mix champagne with it so I left it alcohol free and people could add what they wanted!
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And although the food was somewhat simple…of course, the Germans do know how to make a mean cake! So yums…just sooo soooo sooooo yums!
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And the snacks were great as well! I made little ricotta cheese filled tarts which were super easy thanks to this recipe I found on Pinterest.
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And another woman made these fun finger foods. I had printed out little signs that said “It’s a Girl” and pictures of a baby rattle on them, which I found a free printable for here.

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We played the ever popular, “Name That Baby Food.” Which were REALLY horrible by the way…ha! I just sectioned off 6 parts on a paper plate, everyone put a spoonful of baby food in the corresponding number place and went to town! The faces they made were hysterical..I mean REALLY funny.
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And of course we played the game, “How Big is Mommy’s Belly.” This was fun to see too! And of course the Grandma-to-be was SPOT on.
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Then after all the games, we did the PRESENTS!!!! My favorite! So, I should mention that in Germany there is a superstition about bringing a present to the mom-to-be BEFORE the baby is born. They believe that if you bring a gift before the baby is born, that the baby will be born with problems or something bad will happen. They were good sports about it and looked past this just for this “American” baby shower which was really very nice of them.

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And a little guest, Leonie, helped as best as she could. She LOVED opening all the presents! At the end of this wonderful afternoon we said goodbye and said that the baby can come now. All is done and now we are just waiting!

It really was a wonderful day and I’m so glad that I could share a piece of my home and culture with them. And mostly, that they were so open minded about it and accepting. What a gift!

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Any ideas what she is having?!?! 🙂

Until next time, Readers!!! xoxoxoxo

I Live In A Place That… (Part Three)

Ok, I thought maybe this would only be a two part thing….and now I’m on part three. And I hate to say it but I have enough for part four!!!! Is that possible?! Sorry! Well, wait, no I’m not sorry! It’s my blog…I do what I want, dammit! To read the others of this little mini series please click the links for Part One or Part Two.

I Live In A Place That…

….. 90% of Taxis and cargo trucks are Mercedes. Aren’t those supposed to be cars that only the wealthy can afford? trucks_.d2VsY29tZXNjcmVlbi5TaW5nbGU~-3581693980-FallbackImage

…..Shoes don’t come in half sizes. For those who know me, my passion in my life was clothes but shoes were always my thing. I couldn’t turn down a cute pair of stilettos. Its sad because I haven’t bought any shoes since I’ve lived here. Ladies, that’s over two years. My 7.5 size is something I’ll never find! But why don’t they have that?!?! Clearly Europeans have exact measurements! What the heck! I mean it can’t be possibe! Can it?! 800px-Defense.gov_News_Photo_020514-A-6418B-043

……Doesn’t offer dessert after dinner. Never have I ever been in a restaurant and dessert is offered or suggested. Unlike in the US where you’re always asked, “Did you save room for dessert?!” by an overly excited waitress. I think this is also a part of the European Diet. Don’t offer what isn’t necessary. Almond vanilla Pudding with white currants

…Sunday is absolutely a day of rest. I’ve been told several times that its not ok that I want to clean on a Sunday. This holy day is strictly for relaxing and doing nothing that even remotely resembles a chore. I haven’t really gotten into the swing of that yet! Guess I’m a sinner!!!day-of-rest-300x269

…..Every day from noon to one is quiet time. No lawn mowers, no machinery of any kind going. It’s lunch time and quiet time. It’s like a law…seriously. Some neighbors would feel inclined to call the police and have them deal with it! Say no to lunch time noise! deidesheim

Thats it for this one! Part four will be coming up shortly!!

Until next time, Readers!!!! xoxoxoxoxoxo

Weekly Photo Challenge: Culture

Just this past week I was in a “music store” of sorts here in Germany and came upon this new section called, “black music.” In the U.S., I would say some would consider that almost racist or politically incorrect but in the German culture, to them this describes better the Rap/ Hip Hop genre.

Don’t believe me? See for yourself!!

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What is your take? Would you find this offensive?!

Until next time, Readers!!! Xoxoxoxoxo

The Annual Hike In The Alps

Fresh off the boat from China…..ok, it’s more like off the plane from America but same difference,…I put on my hot pink socks, laced up my fancy hiking boots, and grabbed my walking sticks for an adventure! It’s that time of year again when the Music Club of Toblerone’s hometown takes an overnight hiking trip to the Alps. Last year, we went on a similar trip just in a different area, which you can see here.

Day 1 – View From our hotel

Once in Austria, the plan was to hike up for a good 4 or 5 hours, get to camp (which is more like a hostel with dinner and drinks!)  and spend the night. Next morning climb back down for another 4 hours or so. All together, I believe it was around 10 miles of a hike but it’s not your average 10 miles…we’re going straight up and then straight down. Literally. So it was grueling and at some points dangerous but really beautiful as usual…and as always…I loved going down MUCH better than up!

Day 2 – Loved these funky trees all over the place!

We stopped along the way to have lunch at a little restaurant and witnessed a wedding high up in the Alps. How darling! Then we trekked on towards our final destination for the night. But somehow, once we relaxed for a few hours, people convinced me to go even further to the top of the mountain where a large cross is. (As in the one Jesus carried or whatever) I Went the extra mile (or 3 more really)  and went to summit but was glad to get back and not move for the rest of the night!

Day 2 – Group shot descending

Throughout the Alps there were small clearings and houses made of logs where farmers would stay only during the summer time. Their cows and other animals would be brought up to this area to feed on the fresh grass and would be fully equipped with bells. Each bell has a certain note so the farmer can constantly hear where his animals are. Intelligent, ay? In order for the farmer to get food, it’s delivered once a week. He then can collect it from the stream/river that they send it on for him or by hiking down to the town. Here’s an example of one of the houses:

Day 2 – Favorite shot – waterfall across the way

Check out the Slideshow for more of our trip!!

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And of course the only way to get completely down is with none other than by Alpine Rollercoaster! I don’t have pictures of this (was too afraid I’d lose my phone!) But here is a video to give you an idea of what it looked like. SO fun!! (This isn’t the exact one but very similar to this)

Until next time, Readers!!!! xoxoxoxoxoxo

It’s Be-A-Crazy-German Day During Fasnet!

Well…I’m alive…and that is all that matters right?

It all started last weekend with a 3 day festival celebrating the culture and the traditions of each town.  There is a great website that I found that explains what each town’s costume means and the story behind the founding of this however it is in German and a bit spotty once translated to English.  The website is here and if you feel up to it, translate and see what it’s all about but more so, check out the costumes for each town. There are only a few towns on this page but these are all within the same area/region that we live in.

I was part of Toblerone’s hometown which is called Renquishausen. For them, the traditional garb is the suit of a Rooster and there are also women costumes which are of old maids that carry baskets full of eggs (or shots of liquor!). I was a Rooster this year but opted out of the terrifying mask – see below! I’m not quite sure why all of the masks from each town is so frightening! Some are really scary!!!

The story behind the Rooster costume goes back to the 1800’s where the men of this town would breed their roosters and be able to supply easily to Nobels and others.  Somewhere along the line there was a famine and their stock was wiped out clean. This becoming the crescent for their town and the story behind the costumes!

The 3 day party was crazy fun but mostly, I LOVED the parade. There were more than 40 towns (over 4,000 people) that joined in this parade and then went to party hardy in a giant tent afterwards. Check out some of the pictures in my slideshow below and let me know what you think!! They have some crazy imaginations! For each town there is the band, the dancers (which are dressed like cowgirls), the town crescent costume, and the old maid/witch costume.

This weekend is continuing with mamy celebrations but in everyone’s individual town. This is the time when people will come around dressed up in costumes (any costumes of their choice) and never show their faces and talk in weird voices. They will push you out of the way and go inside your house and drink your alcohol! This happened to us last year when a swarm of bees and beekeepers came into the house and forced us to drink honey liquor! (ok ok…the real truth…I wasn’t forced!)  Actually, see a picture for yourself from last year. I had been in the house for maybe 5 days so the place was a wreck and boxes were everywhere as I had just arrived!

Also this weekend each town has a giant fire and this symbolizes the old tradition of burning a witch and leaving behind winter. The welcoming of Spring!

Enjoy the Freak Show!!! :-))) (Note: I was drunk-ish and standing facing directly into the sun because it was -20 below so the pics are a little light, sorry!)

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