Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The South - Snowed in

My first winter in Georgia was educational. I learned that even a prediction of precipitation means I should make a rush trip to the store to stock up on bread and beer, that I need to put the buckets out to collect water in case the electricity goes out (I was out in the middle of nowhere and not connected to a sewer line, so if I wanted to flush toilets…), and then during the actual event I should hunker down and never! leave the house. (I actually had grabbed my camera and gone sightseeing, that icy world was unlike anything I had ever seen before but for months afterward my neighbors thought I was either foolish or reckless for going outdoors in the ice and cold.) Ice storms are actually more common than snow in this area of the South, and during my three years in the Piedmont I only saw the white stuff stick a couple of times.

My first winter in Greenville brought a mega-ice storm, one serious enough that even my camera and I stayed indoors. The evening news report centered around the steep road leading to an office building’s parking lot; the first car had misjudged the slippery curve and ended up in the ditch, and the next twenty cars or so all thought they would fare better resulting in a two dozen car pile-up on a quarter-mile stretch of road. The winters since then have been rather mild; the occasional snow/ice that is hard to get excited about, and since the boys have lived in Greenville there has been nothing to build a snowball with. Until yesterday!

Although less than an inch of snow fell over the course of late afternoon/evening yesterday, schools were closed at noon and many employees sent home early. School has been cancelled for the day, and (both) salt/sand trucks are out in full force. Being from Chicago it is hard not to laugh at these precautions/reactions to the snow, but the worry could be warranted; a large majority of drivers are not equipped/experienced enough to handle the slippery conditions, and only a few blocks from our house we saw the first casualty – a large SUV that had taken a turn too fast and slid into the curb/sewer.

So what did we do? We spent an hour in the backyard catching snowflakes and watching the white stuff accumulate before heading indoors to warm up and wait for dad to get home. Then, it was off to Falls Park for some sledding. My boys have seen a good foot of snow while up north during the holidays, but none this year as we spent Christmas in SC and so they were perfectly happy with the paltry inch that didn’t even completely cover the grass in most places. Thanks to our wonderful neighbors we were sledding in style on a real sled, instead of the tupperware lids and cardboard boxes we had planned to improvise with. Of course Roberts brought the Frisbees too, which ended up being a major hit with all the high school kids that joined us on the hill.

To all those in the deep freeze up north, I wish you plenty of hot chocolate, curling up in blankets to read good books, and warm clothes to bundle up in for those venturing outside. But to all my friends down South, I wish you the ability to see the snow through the eyes of a child, the motivation to slide down a hill on a trash can lid and the time to wander about and see this new world through a white lens. (Just remember to drive carefully!)

Thursday, January 23, 2014

TOW Mikus gets his first haircut

They do grow up. Mikus recently received his first haircut and although I wasn't as bad as Lauris's cut after Mikus was born (or should I say shear?) I’m very sad that under those impish bangs was a little boy, and a troublemaker at that.

Before and after, I should have put it off a few more months... 
Last week we celebrated a birthday several times, with cake, kliņģeris and guests. My three boys clean up pretty nicely, or so I think.

The cold weather has kept us mostly indoors, nursing our colds with hot chocolate and lots of Lego time, but we’ve ventured out on the sunnier days to get fresh air and burn off some of that energy (and hot chocolate). On the first long(er) hike we’ve taken without Mikus in the backpack carrier, we successfully circled Lake Placid for a one mile hike in Paris Mountain State Park. The boys carried their own weight, even packing their own snacks and water in their backpacks.

We’re looking forward to some out-of-town guests and another big birthday, and before you know it February will be here. Here’s hoping for some warmer weather – or – if Jack Frost insists on sticking around maybe he can provide some precipitation?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Explosions and demolition in the Upstate

This past Sunday the skyline of Greenville was changed forever with the demolition of Scott Towers at 511 Augusta Street. In less than 20 seconds the 14-story building was reduced to a pile of concrete, and we were there to watch!

Scott Towers was built in 1970 under the federal housing program, and for 43 years provided subsidized housing for low-income seniors. The building was named in honor of Elmer E. Scott, a chairman of the Federal Housing Board for 35 years. The Greenville Housing Authority made the decision to implode the building after estimates on bringing the structure up to code exceeded demolition costs by a significant amount, and the structure has been vacant since March 2013.

At 7am a 600-foot safety perimeter was set up, and evacuations of homes and businesses in the zone begun. Streets around the towers were closed, and at 9am the final security sweep was completed. We parked and made our way to Greenville HS, where we joined hundreds of other curious onlookers armed with cameras and mugs of hot coffee. Soon came a blast from a fire engine’s horn, warning of 5 minutes to go, and finally three blasts signaling the demolition was set to begin. At 9:30am an initial series of explosions activated the system, followed by another series of explosions that were the actual charges going off. The center of the building collapsed first, rippling outwards with the corners crumpling neatly inwards, and less than 20 seconds later all that remained visible was a great cloud of dust. This is the largest building to ever be demolished in the Upstate.

Greenville is making the most of the demolition, with training for first responders occurring before and after the implosion. Local EMS, law enforcement, rescue resources and medical personnel have the opportunity to practice high-rise operations and simulated scenarios in a realistic situation that otherwise might not be available. I wish them all safe but effective training in the coming weeks.

Spectators were spread out over several blocks
Greenville Housing Authority is utilizing the St. Louis-based development company of McCormick Barron to redevelop the site, with plans for 197 multifamily units and 142 senior garden apartments in a mixed-use, mixed-income community. Being located so close to downtown, Greenville HS and Fluor Field, I expect the resulting development will be a welcome modernization in the West End Historic District. Meanwhile, we just have to deal with two kids that want to watch the video over and over and over and over…

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Riga: European Capital of Culture 2014

Every year since 1985 the European Union designates two cities as European Capitals of Culture, an honor that this year has been bestowed on Rīga, Latvia and Umeå, Sweden. During the year Rīga will host a number of cultural events, kicking off this weekend with all sorts of festivities.

The idea to designate an annual Capital of Culture was that of former actress Melina Mercouri, then Greece’s Minister of Culture, and her French counterpart Jack Lang. By highlighting the richness and diversity of European cultures and raising awareness of their common history and values the designation serves to invigorate the chosen cities, bringing socio-economic benefits as well. For a  complete list of the more than 40 cities designated thus far, click here, and for a general article on the events occurring in Latvia this year, click here.

source here
The main event Saturday featured a human chain to transfer books from the old National Library of Latvia to the newly constructed Gaismas Pils (Palace of Light) National Library Building. The event was officially identified as Gaismas ceļš – Grāmatu draugu ķēde (the path of light – the chain of friends of books). In preparation for the move, the books were cleaned of dust and placed into plastic protective coverings, each individually labeled and classified.

source here
Over 14,000 volunteers signed up for 15-30 minute time slots, and between the noon start time and 4:32pm when the last book reached the library, over 2,000 books traveled to their new home. The first book to make the journey through Vērmaņa dārzs, down Brīvības iela and past the Freedom Monument, through Vecrīga and across the bridge to the new library was an 1825 edition of the Bible. Awaiting the books’ arrival were President Andris Bērziņš and a host of other important Latvian and European persons.

source here
This symbolic human chain brought to mind the Baltic Way (Baltijas ceļš), the peaceful political demonstration that occurred on August 23, 1989. Approximately two million people joined hands to form a chain spanning over 370 miles across the three Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. These peaceful demonstrations were part of the road that led to renewed independence in 1991, and though the circumstances were different, I have no doubt that the participants of Saturday’s event hold just as much pride in their nation and culture. I can only imagine the titles that passed through Rīga’s streets on Saturday, the history and literary tradition that each participating member held in their hands if only for a brief moment. Although not able to participate in Saturday’s historic event, I wish to thank all those who helped transfer our national treasure to its new home, and eagerly await the chance to visit Gaismas pils for myself.

To view an album commemorating the occasion, click here.
For the LTV coverage of the inaugural festivities, click here.

Friday, January 17, 2014

The Greenville County Museum of Art

For such a small town, Greenville has a lot of big city attractions. In addition to the culinary scene, places like Greenville Zoo and the Children’s Museum, our town is also a diverse and vibrant cultural scene. One of the constants through the never-ending parade of operas, theatre presentations, modern music acts, etc. is the Greenville County Museum of Art. In addition to being nationally recognized for the world’s largest public collection of watercolors by artist Andrew Wyeth, the GCMA’s acclaimed Southern Collection traverses American art history through works with ties to the South, including a collection of paintings and prints by contemporary artist Jasper Johns. Admission – free, though please note that photography is not allowed in the museum.

During my parents’ visit to Greenville I dragged them to the museum for “Family Art Adventure,” the monthly activity that features an exploration of one of the exhibits in the museum followed by a hands-on art activity. The January edition highlighted the prints by Jasper Johns, and afterwards we trooped downstairs to try our hand at monoprint printmaking.

Although the activity is recommended for ages 8 and over, it is valuable for younger children as well. Lauris ran a little short on patience during the exploration of the exhibit and needed some extra assistance with the printmaking, but learned a new art form and brought home some quality work to show for it. The endeavor is led by an arts educator, and extra hands are on deck to help with any questions or to offer assistance.

photo credit goes to my dad
After the activity we headed back upstairs to view the remainder of the exhibits, including David Drake: Potter and Poet of Edgefield District. This exhibit runs just through the 19th, so if you have the chance to visit in the next couple of days you’ll find it worth the trip. An enslaved African-American who worked as a “turner” in several pottery manufacturing facilities in South Carolina’s Edgefield District, David Drake learned to read and write, inscribing original poems on many of the pots he created.

Source: here
Museum-touring energy levels ran out, and we were soon on our way back home. The next “art adventure” is on February 16th, and we’ll be keeping an eye out to see what GCMA has in store for us next.

The fountain across the street from the museum feeling the effects of recent temperatures

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Independent Public Alehouse

It’s restaurant week here in South Carolina, meaning dozens of restaurants are offering special “tasting menus.” A great opportunity to sample what the restaurants here in Greenville have to offer, many participating businesses are offering a three-course meal for significantly less than what the same meal would usually cost. Restaurant week runs through Sunday, so you still have almost a full week to try out a new restaurant or revisit an old favorite. For a full list of participating restaurants, visit the Restaurant Week SC webpage here.
Although we’ve tried just one of the restaurant week menus, it feels like we’ve eaten out a ton more, likely because of all the visitors we had during the holidays. After three days of Christmas cooking it was a relief to sit down at a nice restaurant downtown, and another evening we took the grandparents out to a local favorite. When my parents came in we returned to Kannika’s Thai Restaurant, which has settled into its new location and is dishing up the same delicious menu, but a highlight was the night they watched the boys and gave my husband and me the chance to try out a new local spot (neither of which are part of restaurant week, but maybe should be!).

I wouldn’t have noticed that the Poinsett Bar & Grill had changed ownership if not for an article in the January issue of Town. My mother pointed out the interview with Chef Daniel Dobbs, which was most memorable for the picture of the chef (formerly of The Cliffs Keowee Vineyards) with beard, apron, chef’s knife and “DoBBieQ Pig is our Gig” T-shirt. “DoBBieQ is a food concept that involves good local goods and good locals. It’s a line of smoked brisket, chicken, catfish and appetizers that incorporates a chef’s touch and some classical French methods.” Independent Public Alehouse (IPA) is the newest addition to the Greenville BBQ scene, and has the added bonus of live music.

Chef Daniel Dobbs, source: Town magazine
The smell emanating from the smokehouse was mouthwatering, and no sooner had we settled into a comfy booth than our server was there with menus and beer recommendations. Having settled that (there is a great local beer selection), we delved into the menu. The “smoking section” provides a choice of pulled pork, beef brisket, chicken, catfish or gulf shrimp served in a variety of ways: over grits, in a melt, on a salad, in a “Which”, or on a plate. Roberts went with the chef’s recommendation: the brisket over grits, garnished with bacon, pepper-jack cheese and green onion. I opted for a plate of the shrimp, because I was in the mood to try out several of the sides, including the featured mac & cheese. This dish changes every few days, and includes combos such as “PBR Mac,” “Quest Pumpkin Mac and Chevre” and garlic parm mac, the dish being served up on our visit.

Delicious food, great value!
I have this to say about dinner - this is good food, and these are great prices. On your first visit take the chef’s advice and try the grits… although the shrimp and sides were delectable, the brisket and grits was incredible. We stuck around for dessert even though we were both pretty much stuffed (because we could! Someone was watching the kids!!) and have nothing but good things to say about the fried pie. (Note to our server however, if someone asks you what fried pie is, don’t start off your description with the words “McDonalds apple pie”!)

It’s my understanding that IPA took over the lease of the former restaurant, and because of this must wait until the lease ends to put their name up on the building. Until then, you will recognize the spot for the appetizing smell of smoked beef and the live music, which continues even past 3am Monday through Friday. I wish the owners Michele and Alan success at this location; with local food, beer and music they have a winning combination.

Independent Public Alehouse on Urbanspoon

Friday, January 10, 2014

French croissants in The South

When we moved from Greenville to France in 2010 we left a fast-changing town. I was especially peeved that as we left the country Southwest Airlines decided to come to GSP with their direct flights to Chicago. In addition, Trader Joe’s had waited until we were moving away to open a store here in Greenville; I had grown to love them and their two buck chuck while living in Northville, MI. Upon our return Trader Joe’s was still here, and a slew of other chains had opened/are opening including a Cabella’s, but there is one completely unexpected business that brought me extreme happiness to know had opened in our town.

It shouldn’t surprise me that there are a few French establishments here in Greenville, as the French company Michelin has its North American headquarters in our town and with it come expatriates and French nationals. There are a growing amount of Americans returning from life in France on expatriate assignments as well, ones that can discern a proper baguette from the Publix supermarket counterpart. In addition to Passerelle Bistro, the French restaurant on the Falls, Rick’s Deli and Market has also been doing business in Greenville for over a year now. The addition to the French scene that has me saying merci beaucoup! is LeGrand Bakery, the closest thing to Le Pistore, Boulangerie & Pâtisserie (the bakery downstairs from our apartment in France) you’ll find here in the Upstate.

We stopped in while the grandparents were in town, knowing my mother would appreciate a respectable pain au chocolat from her trip to visit us in France. In addition to the usual baguettes, croissants (plain, with chocolate and with almonds), brioches and meringues, they also have seasonal favorites such as the galette des rois and buche de Noel. We bought one of each… well, not quite, but it felt like it!

Everything we brought home smelled and tasted just like I remember from France. Fresh-baked that morning (as I’m sure was everything else), the croissants especially disappeared quickly. I would like to request that they make a croissant with almonds and chocolate, but otherwise have only praise for their wonderfully authentic French breads and pastries.

Legrand Bakery on Urbanspoon
I hope to try LeGrand for lunch one day, as there was beautiful display of quiches and a salad Nicoise and croque-monsieurs on the menu, but that might have to wait for a day I’m traveling sans children in tow. On second thought, I could probably take them with; a baguette each would probably keep them quiet long enough for me to polish off a sandwich Parisien

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Saying goodbye

There are things that being an expatriate prepared me quite well for, such as: trying new foods, being flexible in situations where I don’t feel completely comfortable, and making do with what is on hand. However, considering the amount of times we had to say goodbye (to friends and family in the US before moving to France, to new found friends who were moving on to other expat assignments/back home, to friends and family who came to visit us while in France, to those same dear people at the end of return trips to the US, to all of our new friends upon our move from Clermont-Ferrand back to Greenville), I assumed saying goodbye now would be easier.

photo credit: Gunārs L.
The holidays have brought a whole round of goodbyes, each harder than the last. First, the house emptied of my husband’s family who had come to celebrate Christmas with us, and although I found some consolation in the fact that the next round of guests would soon be here, the boys had a much harder time understanding where all their cousins went. From a full house of storytellers, laps to sit in, buddies to chase, friends to hug, all of the sudden they had only me – overwhelmed with daily household chores that had been put on the back burner during “the holidays.”

"the tackle" photo credit: Gunārs L.
When we returned to Greenville after several years absence, a few friends went out of their way to make us feel comfortable and at home, welcoming us into playgroups and introducing us to other like-minded parents with children of similar ages. Our second goodbye came with the departure of one of those friends with her family for New Zealand, for the start of a new adventure. As they prepared to leave, packed and consolidated, we said goodbye; first there was the mom’s night out goodbye, the garage sale goodbye, then the Christmas brunch goodbye, the playdate goodbye… It is so very difficult to get closure but not extend goodbyes, and I found myself remembering our last weeks in Clermont with unease – saying goodbye was turning out to be harder on me than on my friend. It’s a selfish grief, stemming from that helpless and abandoned feeling from friends leaving you, with some jealousy mixed in, that it isn’t us headed to the storybook country. How to put aside all this selfishness and help our friends during the transition as they helped us? I’m afraid I failed miserably and barely managed to say goodbye without losing it completely… Sue, thanks for everything (including the bike which Lauris is getting tons of use out of!), and I wish you nothing but happiness and adventure on your journey.

Perfect sized mug for a cup of joe on a cold winter's day!
Then came saying goodbye to 2013, which honestly wasn’t that hard as it brought closure to an exciting year in addition to new visitors – my parents, all the way from Chicago. But they brought the final and hardest goodbye, as they got out of Dodge yesterday and headed back up north after taking an extra day or two to let the snow plows and tow trucks do their job. The house is empty and cold (literally and figuratively as South Carolina has been hit with the same cold front), and I’m having difficulties remaining optimistic not knowing when the boys/I will next see the grandparents/uncles/aunts/etc.

So, we jump into the mundane (the laundry, the grocery shopping, the chores of the New Year) and the not-so-mundane (the birthdays coming up require some attention…). We check in with the brother and sisters we didn’t see this holiday season, we wait to hear that the grandparents have made it home safe. And best of all, we plan. We dream about trips we might take, people we might see, places we would like to visit. We pencil in weekends on the calendar to travel and see family, and this is what eases the goodbyes; the house still feels empty and the boys are still a bit lost, but every time I pass my new bulletin board planning station I get excited about all the bonjours I’ll be saying in the coming year.


First wheels!

(Such a depressing post on a happy day! Today we’re celebrating my husband’s birthday, and I would like to wish a big blog bon anniversaire to mon amour! May the next year bring you much happiness!)

Monday, January 6, 2014

Galette des rois - king cake!

Priecīgu zvaigznes dienu! We celebrated with a galette des rois, or “king cake” yesterday, as our guests are departing today for the cold and snowy north. Traditionally made to celebrate the Feast of Epiphany, the cake is popular in France during the holidays and was added to the list of family traditions during our time overseas. Some might associate galette des rois with New Orleans, where it was introduced by French and Spanish colonists and is enjoyed during Carnival, however in France it is served only several days before and after Epiphany.

As I explained in a previous post on this yummy dessert, there is a small figurine or trinket (the fève) baked into the cake – traditionally this item was a bean. The lucky person who gets the slice containing the fève is named king or queen for the day. Or, in our case, the fève remains in the uneaten portion and we get to try again the following day!

To prevent favoritism, the youngest member of the family sits under the table and calls out which person gets each slice, so that the person serving the cake cannot pass the slice with the fève knowingly to a certain person.

In Provence the King Cake is gâteau des Rois, made of brioche and candied fruits, whereas the rest of the country traditionally celebrates with the puff pastry and frangipane that we enjoyed. The recipe calls for almond meal to make the frangipane, but I have used almond flour (not as finely ground and available in many health food stores including Trader Joe's) and also almond butter (Whole Foods has a grind-your-own peanut butter section, that grinds roasted almonds without any additives).

I highly recommend taking the leftover puff pastry dough (the result of trimming the corners to make circles) and making little pīrāgi with Nutella inside. I put mine on the same pan as the king cake, and although a few burst open while baking, they were delicious.

To celebrate Epiphany with your very own king cake, you can either head to your local French bakery or follow this easy recipe, a variation on a recipe given to me by a friend in France that utilizes pre-made puff pastry that you can find in the frozen desserts section at your local grocery store. David Lebovitz just posted a delicious galette des rois recipe on his blog, but if you are looking for something simpler without the orange flower water and zest, try this. Don’t forget to remind your guests there is a fève hidden in the cake!

La galette des rois (king cake)

1 package puff pastry, thawed
½ cup ground almond meal
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 egg
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 fève or fava bean (optional)
1 egg, beaten

1. Preheat oven to 425˚ F

2. Combine the almond meal, sugar, 1 egg, butter, vanilla extract and flour to form a smooth paste.

3. Roll out the puff pastry and cut out two large circles. Place one on a non-stick pan, and on it spread the frangipane mixture in an even layer, leaving a one inch border around the edge of the dough.

4. Hide the fève in the almond filling, and then place the second pastry circle on top, smoothing the air out from under. Press down firmly along the outer border to seal the two layers. Make a small hole in the middle of the galette so that the cake does not swell too much when cooking, and using the tip of a knife cut small slits into the top layer around the edge of the cake. Traditional galette des rois have a design etched into the top…

5. Beat the remaining egg, and brush over the top of the cake. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.

6. Allow the cake to cool for 20 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a cooling rack.

Serve with coffee and a crown!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Melding traditions on New Years

How things change! No longer is New Year’s Eve the thing of my youth, huge parties with friends from all over the US and Canada, live bands, glam dresses and fancy drinks. No, NYE is something completely different these days, much more sedate and calm. 2014 did not come with a bang for us, it was more of a slight draft that let me know the door had opened. At what point did I lose the will to party like it’s 1999, was it after Lauris was born, or even before then, once Roberts and I had gotten engaged? Because isn’t that what New Year’s Eve is all about, catching the eye of “that guy” and being the first to wish them a happy new year with a kiss?

Our celebration this year was more a mélange of traditions than it was a party, but I think that is what the close of 2013 called for. Finally recovered from the Christmas guests, we spent the day awaiting the arrival of my parents from Chicago. In the morning I put the grey peas in to soak, one of the main Latvian New Year’s traditions we keep. These particular peas are harder to find in the US, we usually get ours straight from Latvia by mail or traveling relative. They should be rinsed then soaked in cold water for 6-8 hours. Boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 1-2 hours, at which point they should be seasoned with salt and pepper and served with bacon and onions, or even leftover Christmas ham… Tradition has it, that the grey peas on one’s plate must be finished before the arrival of the New Year, because they symbolize the tears of that coming year. If all the “tears” have been eaten, there won’t be any left to cry…

On my trip to buy fruits and veggies in the morning, I noticed everyone in line ahead of me was sporting a big bundle of collards. It is southern tradition that on the first day of the New Year collard greens are eaten for “cash money” and black-eyed peas for change. One source thought this association of wealth in the coming year with collards is due to the resemblance of the leaves to folded money, but although there will surely be “greens” on the menu this January 1st to bring us financial luck in the coming year, we’ll put off starting any new traditions for now – collards and grits are the two southern dishes I just can’t get into.
A global tradition that has made its way into our annual celebration is some sort of pyrotechnics. Although it is popular for Americans to light off all sorts of fireworks from little roman candles to giant NYE displays, my favorite since I was a little girl are the sparklers. We started off watching the neighbor boys light some more exciting stuff, but afterwards we had some fun with the small, yet magical light show more suited for their age.

Another Latvian superstition that might be more widespread than I know, is that the state of affairs during the transition to the New Year portends how things will be that coming year. For example if the house is clean, you’ll be able to keep a tidy home all next year. Be especially weary of having the laundry done, dishes washed and kitchen spotless. And if you sleep through the arrival of the New Year, why then you’ll sleep all year (you hear that Mikus?)! Putting things in order was slightly easier with my parents on the way (motivation to clean), but that was pretty much it for the Latvian customs. You can read about a few more of those in my post Happy 2012, like laimes liešana, the telling of the future by pouring molten lead into a bucket of cold water. We skipped the liquefied metals this year in favor of the iPhone app “laimes liešana” – not quite the same thing, but will do in a pinch.
I’ve always wanted to ring in the New Year in Times Square, but the one year I was in NYC December 31st we welcomed the New Year at a burlesque show in Brooklyn. That, my friends is a story for another time, but this wish might explain why I love to watch the ball drop on TV. It serves a second purpose as well, as official timekeeper, otherwise you might miss the actual stroke of midnight (like during our celebration in France). Then, as is global custom, we raised a glass of bubbly upon the arrival of my parents and the New Year, which occurred in that particular order.

To start off 2014 right, we dined on a breakfast of plānās pankūkas. In the next few days some Rīgas šprotes (Rigas sprats) found their way onto our table, as well as Laimas chocolates “Vāverīte,” glazed wafer cake with crumbled hazelnuts. Let's hope 2014 continues in this vein...
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