Currently Coveting: Nike x Liberty Holiday '15 Collection

December 18, 2015

Nike x Liberty Holiday 2015 Cortez sneaker promo

I'm the first to admit I'm not a floral-loving girly-girl, but there's something about Liberty's prints juxtaposed with an urban staple like sneakers that appeals to my softer side. Much like my Nike x Liberty Dunk Sky Hi that I was totally obsessed with a few years back, yesterday's launch of this new Holiday Collection has me swooning.

Offered in the Classic Cortez, Air Max Thea, Rosche One, and Air Force 1 High, these are all pretty fantastic. Perhaps it's the recent resurgence this classic shoe is having or just my preference for more retro sneakers, but it's the Cortez that really caught my eye. Which one do you like?

Not surprisingly, my size looks like it was never even made, so it would be up to Santa to perform a Christmas miracle to make these happen for me. I suggest those of you with normal shoe sizes get a jump on this lovely limited edition collaboration, as I'm sure they won't be around for too long!

Nike x Liberty Holiday 2015 Cortez sneaker photo by 43einhalb Nike x Liberty Holiday 2015 sneaker collection photo by 43einhalb

Top image: Liberty
Bottom imgages: 43einhalb

Holiday Gift Guide: Made in Berlin

December 10, 2015

Holiday Gift Guide: Made in Berlin

Ahh, Berlin. It is a glorious place. So full of creative, entrepreneurial energy, which makes it an ideal city to seek out locally-made and designed products for the gift-giving season. Some of these great items I've picked up myself, some have been past gifts and some I pine for on my own wish list, but they are indeed some of the best that Berlin has to offer. Here are my picks (plus, a little background on each):

01. Antikapratika ceramic bowls | This Italian couple and tattoo-artist team started creating art off the skin with this gorgeous line of tattoo-inspired ceramic bowls. While the blue-based tattoo designs are their focus, I must admit I love the black designs that they have produced of late. You can see more at Un Autre Voodoo in Neukölln, and they seem happy to work with customers who want more of a specific design. This one's on my list please, Santa!

02. Maisoap | I first stumbled across this soap at a Christmas shopping market last year and have since noticed it popping up at various weekend markets across the city. Kreuzberg-based, this family business has been in operation since 2006, focusing on quality fats and oils for its soap production. Scents range from subtle basics like olive oil or lavender to the more complex coconut-lemongrass, avocado-mint and the cosmic-looking Berlin Bubble. While they offer essential oils and bath bombs as well, the bars of soap are really the stars.

03. Fluenk leather bags | While I was first intrigued by designer Anna's simple, soft tote bags at the Mauerpark Flohmarkt, complete with straps long enough for my lengthy limbs and an interior closer (thank goodness!), I have since become smitten with the rest of her unique yet timeless designs. Working with cow leather that would otherwise be a waste product of the food industry, the leather is tanned in Italy and made into not only bags, but wallets and other small goods as well. Though Fluenk is relatively new, the quality and craftsmanship speaks to a lasting Berlin business.

04. Atheist shoes | Ironically, I first found out about this company from the Instagram of a US-based graphic designer. Drawn in by the cheeky atheism messages stamped on the soles (and emblazoned on tote bags), I was won over by this concept of handmade, quality shoes. Technically, they're constructed in Portugal, but designed here in Berlin. With leather that is unprocessed, vegetable-dyed and gently tumbled for softness, customers swear they're 'like walking on hugs from baby kittens'.

05. Apfelsina bags | It doesn't get more Berlin than a bag made from photographs of this city's iconic landmarks and street art. Founded over a decade ago, creator Ina Kerkhoff began with a small, colourful collection of bags, and quickly expanded to varying materials and concepts as the inspiration struck. Designed and handmade in Berlin, her Stone Bone and Tempelhofer Freiheit collections are quite literally a pictorial representation of this great city.

06. Belyzium chocolate | A fan from day one, I've been frequenting this Berlin chocolatier for some time. At first, it was for the chocolate bars, now, I'm a regular for its spicy, rich Maya hot chocolate. With the addition of ice cream, hazelnut chocolate spread and even chocolate-infused rum, it has become the ultimate chocolate destination in Berlin. The owners will happily wax poetic about their chocolate, which only makes you fall more in love with the place. Finding out they had US-based partners in the California city I called home for a good part of my twenties felt even more like I was meant to be there. I often stop in when I need a small gift for someone, but have a hard time leaving without something for myself as well!

07. Format clothing | A bit like Atheist shoes, this Berlin-based clothing company creates well-designed, quality pieces from quality materials. Made in both Berlin-Neukölln and Szczecin, Poland, the designs are described as minimalistic, but with some truly beautiful tucking and pleating used in unexpected ways. With such attention to detail and certified organic materials, these are investment pieces meant to last a lifetime. My favorite is this cozy hooded sweater that is the epitome of Berlin winter wear.

08. Kaiserhonig | Anyone who knows me, knows I adore this honey. In two variations: thick honey with various fruit or spice or herb additions, or a creamier 'milk cream' honey with flavors like whiskey creme and salted caramel, they are a delicious treat on breakfast toast. You can also pick up an assortment of three small jars - perfect for gift-giving - at its regular stand at the Mauerpark Flohmarkt. Side note: a jar of the Zimt honey is a regular on my mom's Christmas list!

09. Berliner Winter | Cloudy, organic apple juice, spices and vodka. Drink it warm to stave off that Berlin winter chill. Buy it in bulk to give as gifts or horde for your own warming purposes. 'Keeps you warm, makes you tipsy and tastes so delicious.' What could be better - or more Berlin? Talk about a perfect stocking stuffer.

10. Elicamente jewelry | Hailing from Rome, Berlin-based artist Gabriele di Stefano makes gorgeous jewelery pieces that combine ceramics with wood and brass, drawing on the connection between humans and nature. The simple stud earrings and MRMR collection of necklaces are definite stand-outs. It also looks like he's branching out into other areas, with lovely little concrete planters available for pre-order to ship in February.

*photo of Antikapratika bowls by talented Berlin food photographer Claudia Gödke

Holiday Gift Guide: The Guy

December 9, 2015

Holiday Gift Guide: The Guy

Guys. They are notoriously hard to shop for. Never as transparent as women, never gushing 'ooo, I just adore this bag,' sometimes it's hard to know what to get them. Like women, guys are just as multifaceted and unique in their wants, but you've got to start somewhere. Oftentimes, the best way to go isn't with something they necessarily need (not that socks or tools aren't great and all...). This guide touches on cocktails to gadgets to attire, all in a stylish way most men would have a hard time finding fault with. There's a super cool coffee table book, a pullover so soft it will up his huggable factor exponentially and even special batch whiskies made from beer. And don't forget the shoes!

01. Drake General Store Maple Syrup Sampler | 02. Flight001 Guy Stuff Pouch  
03. Food52 Carry On Cocktail Kit (three variations) | 04. Ace & Tate Murray sunglasses | 05. ohw? Gatland shoes 
06. J.Crew grizzly fleece pullover jacket | 07. Boston Harbor Distillery x Samuel Adams Spirit of Boston Whiskies 
08. Corkcicle whiskey wedge | 09. Anatomy in Black by Emily Evans | 10. Native Union Dock Lightning

Holiday Gift Guide: The Homebody

December 8, 2015

Holiday Gift Guide: The Homebody

I believe everyone truly has a bit of homebody in them. Even the most energetic party girl needs downtime every now and then. For the perpetual Netflix-on-the-couch gal to those who just need to make the most of her infrequent nights in, these gift ideas can suit anyone who enjoys where they live. From indulgent coasters and gilded untensils that makes even take-out feel like a special affair, to wooly slippers that have changeable, outdoor-friendly soles, these are the makings of a happy home life. Think Danish Hygge - that untranslatable feeling of coziness complete with candles, couch cuddles and great company - because who wouldn't love that? People draping those sheepskins all over their furniture were really onto something...

01. Chipper Things Should I Wash My Hair Today? Flowchart | 02. Skandinavisk Hygge candle 
03. Click & Grow Smart Herb Garden | 04. Vika Sky serving utensils | 05. Rosanna Booze decanter
06. Jonathan Adler Malachite coasters | 07. Klippan lapp blanket | 08. IKEA sheepskin  
09. Mahabis classic slipper | 10. L.L. Bean plush-lined robe

Holiday Gift Guide: The Stylista

December 7, 2015

Holiday Gift Guide: The Stylista

If, like me, you are getting a later start on shopping for the holidays, I'm here to help. All this week, I'm rounding up gift ideas in several categories based on who you're shopping for. I like to think there's a little bit of me in each of these themes, so hopefully this informs on-the-nose gift-giving. Expect footwear recommendations across the board, because I am the shoegirl, after all.

First up, we have the Stylista. I call her this because 'Fashionistas' are too often slaves to labels and trends, whereas the Stylista believes firmly in her own sense of style and loves pieces because they are beautiful and well-made, not because someone else told her she should. She strives to own only chic, useful pieces, but enjoys the indulgence of something just plain pretty, or witty. This means good-for-you lip products in classic colors, Italian-made scarves, leather sneakers from Barcelona and diamonds in an unexpected, understated way. Essentially, things she'll treasure for more than just a season.

01. Bite Beauty Discovery Set | 02. Clare V. gold splash foldover clutch 
05. Casetify iPhone case | 06. J.Crew Italian brushed wool scarf | 07. Boden leopard boots
08. Meyba leather joggers | 09. Garance Doré's Love Style Life | 10. Day Birger et Mikkelsen Gweneth mini bag

*Photo via Vienna Wedekind

Review of Genius Gluten Free Bread: Now Available in Germany!

December 2, 2015

Genius Gluten Free German bread assortment review
Genius Gluten Free bread in Germany review Traditionelles Dunkeles Brot toast with Kaiser Zimt Honig
Genius Gluten Free bread in Germany review Weissbrot sandwich
Genius Gluten Free bread in Germany review Fruechtebrot cinnamon toast
Genius Gluten Free German bread assortment review

When I got the message from my friend Adam that a UK-based fresh-baked bread company was coming to Berlin and wanted to meet with the gluten-free community here to discuss its entry into the German market, I jumped at the chance. Gluten-free bread in Germany is, let's face it, sorely disappointing, especially coming from other parts of the world where a loaf can't often double as a doorstop. There are a few options at specialty groceries and through online retailers that are pretty good, but I've yet to find anything that made me proclaim "this is delicious!". Mostly, it's been just settling for what's out there, something my foodie sensibilities does begrudgingly. That is, until now.

Genuis's website got me really excited pre-meeting with the visiting group, and our dinner itself left me positively giddy. Lucinda Bruce-Gardyne, Genius's founder, was so full of optimism and confidence about their foray into these new markets (Genius is also available in France, Sweden and the Netherlands), it was hard not feel like we too were drinking the Kool-Aid. She described how Genius was born from her children's allergies and her desire to feed everyone the same good food, rather than needing to have safe assortment for the gluten- and dairy-intolerant among them every mealtime, and it became clear this wasn't just a sales pitch. She was in this for love of good food and keeping loved ones safe and healthy with what they ate - and she was kindly sharing what she created with all of us. As the other members of the Genius group raved about products, not even needing to be gluten-free themselves, it was obvious this was just a good product, period. "This is pretty good, for being gluten-free" is pretty much my most-hated phrase related to food. I was pretty positive this bread would meet my discerning standards.

I had hoped that Genius would bring us a sample to try, but as they started pulling out bag after bag of baked goods, showing us the assortment that was ready to go to market in its German packaging, I couldn't believe all they had to offer. There were multiple sliced loaves, big fluffy rolls that squished when poked them, even two kinds of big, moist-looking muffins. As I looked around, starting to formulate which ones I wanted to try and which ones I'd throw elbows to take home, they pulled out another bag, full of the entire range, all for me. I honestly nearly cried.

With all these fresh baked goods to eat in a limited amount of time*, I enlisted the help of my husband (who eats mostly gluten-free anyway thanks to our no-gluten-in-the-house rule) and a couple of friends - one gluten-intolerant, the other, her gluten-eating partner - to power through all these products and see how they stood up to both what we know of gluten-free baked goods here in Germany, as well as everything we wished they would be. These were our findings:

Genius Gluten Free bread in Germany review Traditionelles Dunkeles Brot toast with Kaiser Zimt Honig

Traditionelles Dunkeles Brot (Traditional Dark Bread)

This is the loaf that launched a bread company. Founder Lucinda said this one was developed in her kitchen to feed her family and became the beginning of a long line of gluten-free breads, muffins and other goodies like crumpets and pies (sadly not available to the German market yet). This one is a good neutral bread, without being flavorless, though I found it a little dry. It had a good crunch when toasted, but does tend to be more crumbly than the other sliced breads. For sandwiches, it fell apart the quickest, but as morning toast with some Berlin cinnamon honey, it was divine. This one reminded me the most of more traditional German bread in flavor, although it was still significantly lighter in density.

Genius Gluten Free bread in Germany review Dunkeles Mehrkornbrot buttered toast with breakfast

Dunkeles Mehrkornbrot (Dark Multigrain Bread)

These slices had great flavor with a slight crunch from the nuts and seeds. Light like any good non-German bread, yet hearty enough to feel like you're getting some great nutrition. Toasted, it did suffer a bit from dryness, so my advice is don't toast too long. My husband and I both enjoyed this as toast and for sandwiches, and we agreed it had the best taste of any store or bakery-bought gluten-free sandwich/sliced bread we've tried in Germany yet (and we've gone through an assortment of Schär, Schnitzer and the singular GF bakery here in Berlin). This is gonna be a best-seller here in Germany, I just know it.

Genius Gluten Free bread in Germany review Weissbrot sandwich with Pink's Foods Red Chilli Jelly

Weißbrot (White Bread)

This loaf was perhaps the one most like it's gluten-filled counterpart. Soft, with just the right amount of chewiness. Since there's no gluten, there's no sticking to the roof of your mouth. Like most white bread, on it's own, it a little boring, flavor-wise. Its strength lies with PB&J, grilled cheese, cinnamon toast or even made into holiday stuffing. I enjoyed this both untoasted for sandwiches and toasted for breakfast toast and for grilled cheese. It suffered from a little dryness next to the crust, but overall this bread performed like any good white bread should.

Genius Gluten Free bread in Germany review Fruechtebrot cinnamon toast

Früchtebrot (Fruitbread, like a cinnamon raisin bread)

Admittedly, I'm not the biggest raisins-in-baked-goods fan, but these slightly cinnamon-y slices with small, soft pieces of not only raisins, but sultanas and currant as well, might have won me over. I tried this both toasted with just butter and also with butter and cinnamon, and it was a perfect breakfast or snack bread. Once starting to go stale, it made an excellent French toast as well. Sweet without being overly so, the mix of fruits and spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and more) makes it quite the tasty slice. Even my husband, not usually big on sweet stuff, reached for this loaf a surprising number of times. This one will be a breakfast go-to for me.

Genius Gluten Free bread in Germany review Mehrkorn Broetchen as burger buns

Mehrkorn Brötchen (Multigrain Rolls)

This was one of the first packages set in front of me by Genius and when I touched them, I marvelled at how the fluffy rolls gave when I pressed into them (as opposed to more traditional German Brötchen, which can often sub in for hockey pucks). While the inside was fluffy and soft, the outside was coated in just the right amount and assortment of seeds and nuts to compliment the grain-flavor on the inside. My husband and I enjoyed these first with some soup, then it was me and my gluten-intolerant guest who got the other two as burger buns. While, much like the white roll, it's not so much a bun as a roll, it did the job nicely, holding up to the messy insides of a burger without crumbling or disintegrating.

Genius Gluten Free bread in Germany review Helle Broetchen in package

Helle Brötchen (Light Rolls)

A good, basic white roll is often hard to find, one that is flavorful can be even harder. This one was so fluffy and tasty, I swear that any gluten-eater would take it for "the real thing". It's grain kind of flavor went beyond just the yeasty white nothingness of a basic roll. The first time my husband and I split one with our soup, slightly warmed in the oven, we were bowled over. This might be the best packaged gluten-free bread product we'd ever tasted. The next round of these was enjoyed slightly toasted as burger buns, and while only slightly too thick for the task, it was a delicious use for these rather large rolls. Unfortunately, this was the first of all the products to show mold, two days after opening and three days after receiving them. Not sure if this indicative of faster-spoiling ingredients or perhaps a product that was defrosted earlier than the others, but my advice is to eat this one immediately after purchase. Trust me though, it won't be difficult.

Genius Gluten Free bread in Germany review Schokoladen Muffins with coffee

Schokoladen Muffins (Chocolate Muffins)

Store-bought muffins - and cupcakes, which the Germans irritatingly call "Muffins" - are notoriously not great here. Much like bread, they tend to be much denser and drier than American and British counterparts. Biting into these felt almost as if I were back in the States. The chocolate flavor was rich, but not overpowering. The crumb was moist, but not soggy. I was surprised to see several kinds of fruit juice concentrates on the list of ingredients, which must account for a lot of the great moisture, without any fruit flavor coming through. The size here is also quite generous, not like the giant Costo muffins from the U.S., but perhaps nearly twice the size of the gluten-free ones I've seen on Germany grocery shelves. Being a baker myself, I don't often buy cakes or muffins, but these are definitely on my list for when I don't have time to make something myself.

Genius Gluten Free bread in Germany review Zitronenmuffins mit Mohn with coffee

Zitronenmuffins mit Mohn (Lemon Poppyseed Muffins)

The lemon flavor in these muffins is divine and the poppyseeds, which can play an overpowering role if used too abundantly, were the perfect subtle accompaniment to the bright citrus flavor. Just like the chocolate version, these were very moist with a great texture. While our friends got to taste this muffin and came away most impressed, my husband was pretty ambivalent about them. Since I make cakes and muffins often and he claimed mine were better, he didn't feel the need to indulge in these like I did (he also doesn't have my sweettooth, so take from that what you will). Though I could perhaps agree with him - I mean, when is good homemade not better than just about anything store-bought? - I still think the Genius muffins are far and away better than any muffins, or cupcakes for that matter, on Germany's shelves. If you're looking to indulge in a sweet breakfast or snack, I would highly recommend these.

Genius Gluten Free bread in Germany review Fruechtebrot French toast

Now that you're as excited as I am about this bread, you want to know where to buy it, right? Well, it is scheduled to be available on Food Oase this week, so check in and place your order before they sell out! Just want to be able to go to the store and pick one up? I feel you, but we've got to have patience, as Germany is notoriously slow to adopt new things. The more you ask your stores for more Genius Gluten Free products, the more likely they will be to add it to their offerings. The plan is to be in Berlin stores soon, so lobby hard with your local markets to help make that happen!

If you are lucky enough to live in or near Hannover, these are available at select Edeka's as of yesterday. Believe me, this bread is so good, I'm tempted to take a trip there just to pick some up... Stay tuned and be sure to follow me on Twitter as I will update whenever I get more information from the folks at Genius about where to buy its products here in Germany. Also, be sure to follow the Genius Germany page on Facebook to show your support (and to lobby for the pains au chocolat - Free From Food Awards 2015 Breakfast Winner - to come to the German market)!

*Important note: Genius is shipped to Germany frozen, then defrosted when put up for sale, which, as most GF eaters know, reduces the shelf-life by two days; refreezing after purchase in Germany is not recommended.

This post was in collaboration with Genius Gluten Free. I received free products for my review, but all opinions are entirely my own.

Exploring Berlin | UNESCO World Heritage Site: Berlin Housing Estates Gartenstadt Falkenberg / Tuschkastensiedlung

November 25, 2015

UNESCO World Heritage Site Berlin Modernism Housing Estates Gartenstadt Falkenberg Garden City Tuschkastensiedlung at graphic doorway of house on Gartenstadtweg

The diversity of sights here in Berlin never ceases to amaze me. I love everything from the gritty, graffitied streets in Neukölln to the sprawling, Palo Alto-esque homes we pass through every time we head out to Grunewald. In a city where bombs leftover from past conflicts can still disrupt daily life, you come to expect the unexpected. But I can say that I was at least a bit surprised to discover the Falkenberg Garden City, a most charming development out in Bohnsdorf, built between 1913 and 1916 as a cooperative building society model. Architecture is a hobby of mine (one I even studied for a time) and I immediately added this to my must-see list.

So one weekend blissfully free of rain, we made a plan to check it out. It was the first day this season where the nip in the air cut to the bone, so I put on my new favorite teddy bear-like fleece jacket, along with urban trekking friendly sneakers and my new CRU London Gordon backpack for easy picture taking and snack toting. I am all about whatever makes it easier to explore this city in a comfortable way - and this time of year, a warm one as well! Bundled and ready, we headed out to the far southeast corner of the city.

Somewhere between Schönefeld Airport and Müggelsee, you will find a few streets with these colorful, distinctive houses. Tucked into an otherwise unremarkable Berlin suburb, these homes recall a much earlier era, one in which optimism and forward-thinking were paramount. We began with the street that was the second stage of development, Gartenstadtweg, on which several different kinds of homes were arranged in long, connected rows and staggered groups. Even with its long, linear model, the community and connectedness were apparent in the repeating architectural elements. True to its name, the homes on this street were overflowing with plantlife, even in late autumn. More striking than the lush gardens and lawns, a rarity in urban living, was the vibrant, idyllic architecture. The original little nook of homes on Akazienhof is less sprawling, but no less charming, with a cozy inner stretch of Robinia tree-lined green space. It's a little like a fairytale village within what is commonly seen as a gritty, urban city.

You can see more of my photos from this great spot here.

UNESCO World Heritage Site Berlin Modernism Housing Estates Gartenstadt Falkenberg Garden City Tuschkastensiedlung grey homes along Gartenstadtweg UNESCO World Heritage Site Berlin Modernism Housing Estates Gartenstadt Falkenberg Garden City Tuschkastensiedlung double white doorways with arbor UNESCO World Heritage Site Berlin Modernism Housing Estates Gartenstadt Falkenberg Garden City Tuschkastensiedlung double yellow doorways with arbor
UNESCO World Heritage Site Berlin Modernism Housing Estates Gartenstadt Falkenberg Garden City Tuschkastensiedlung in front of yellow and orange houses on Gartenstadtweg with CRU London Gordon backpack UNESCO World Heritage Site Berlin Modernism Housing Estates Gartenstadt Falkenberg Garden City Tuschkastensiedlung looking at large black house with graphic accents wearing CRU London Gordon backpack

UNESCO World Heritage Site Berlin Modernism Housing Estates Gartenstadt Falkenberg Garden City Tuschkastensiedlung gate to Gartenstadtweg 64 CRU London Gordon backpack on fence at UNESCO World Heritage Site Berlin Modernism Housing Estates Gartenstadt Falkenberg Garden City Tuschkastensiedlung
UNESCO World Heritage Site Berlin Modernism Housing Estates Gartenstadt Falkenberg Garden City Tuschkastensiedlung stairs to bright blue house on Gartenstadtweg UNESCO World Heritage Site Berlin Modernism Housing Estates Gartenstadt Falkenberg Garden City Tuschkastensiedlung raised yellow house with tiered garden on Gartenstadtweg
UNESCO World Heritage Site Berlin Modernism Housing Estates Gartenstadt Falkenberg Garden City Tuschkastensiedlung large orange house on Gartenstadtweg
CRU London backpack | Uniqlo fleece coat | Krochet Kids Intl hat | Ace & Tate glasses
Design House Stockholm scarf | Nike sneakers (similar)
UNESCO World Heritage Site Berlin Modernism Housing Estates Gartenstadt Falkenberg Garden City Tuschkastensiedlung on Gartenstadtweg sidewalk at colorful houses with CRU London Gordon backpack

UNESCO World Heritage Site Berlin Modernism Housing Estates Gartenstadt Falkenberg Garden City Tuschkastensiedlung orange checkered front of house on Gartendstadtweg Krochet Kids Intl knit hat and Ace and Tate Lucca glasses at UNESCO World Heritage Site Berlin Modernism Housing Estates Gartenstadt Falkenberg Garden City Tuschkastensiedlung UNESCO World Heritage Site Berlin Modernism Housing Estates Gartenstadt Falkenberg Garden City Tuschkastensiedlung row of yellow and orange houses on Gartenstadtweg CRU London Gordon backpack at graphic front of house at UNESCO World Heritage Site Berlin Modernism Housing Estates Gartenstadt Falkenberg Garden City Tuschkastensiedlung Nike Internationalists at red doorway of UNESCO World Heritage Site Berlin Modernism Housing Estates Gartenstadt Falkenberg Garden City Tuschkastensiedlung UNESCO World Heritage Site Berlin Modernism Housing Estates Gartenstadt Falkenberg Garden City Tuschkastensiedlung green door with arbor on Akazienhof UNESCO World Heritage Site Berlin Modernism Housing Estates Gartenstadt Falkenberg Garden City Tuschkastensiedlung window with overgrown ivy on Akazienhof UNESCO World Heritage Site Berlin Modernism Housing Estates Gartenstadt Falkenberg Garden City Tuschkastensiedlung path to large individual home on Akazienhof UNESCO World Heritage Site Berlin Modernism Housing Estates Gartenstadt Falkenberg Garden City Tuschkastensiedlung row of colorful houses on Akazienhof UNESCO World Heritage Site Berlin Modernism Housing Estates Gartenstadt Falkenberg Garden City Tuschkastensiedlung garden gnome on rain pipe in garden on Akazienhof UNESCO World Heritage Site Berlin Modernism Housing Estates Gartenstadt Falkenberg Garden City Tuschkastensiedlung large purple house on Am Falkenberg

Gartenstadt Falkenberg
Akazienhof, Am Falkenberg, Gartenstadtweg, 12524 Berlin
S Grünau

This post is in collaboration with CRU London. Concept and styling are entirely my own.

10 Recipes and Tips for a Gluten-Free Thanksgiving

November 19, 2015

Thanksgiving Gluten-Free Recipe Round-Up
Thanksgiving Gluten-Free Recipe Round-Up with sides

It's no surprise that my first turkey - and my first-ever hosting of Thanksgiving - was mostly courtesy of Real Simple's recipes. At a time when I was still learning my way around a kitchen and German grocery store (where most American conveniences, like canned pumpkin, had to be made from scratch), I figured I'd make it as easy on myself as I could. Years later, I find many of these recipes still hold up, still garnering rave reviews. They're not "cheater" recipes or lacking in any way, they're just simple, easy-to-understand ways of getting to the same result: a delicious Thanksgiving - or any holiday, really - dinner. And when you have such a massive feast to prepare, who couldn't use some simplification?

Only now, it all has to be gluten-free (thank you, celiac), which adds an extra layer (or five) of complication. It's important to note, as it often is with gluten-free needs, the devil's in the details. Even if you've managed to procure some gluten-free rolls for yourself or your gluten-free guest, gluten so often lurks in the most unexpected of places. That broth you use to rehydrate your turkey? It commonly has wheat or yeast grown from wheat. Nuts and spices, staples on any good Thanksgiving table? More often than not, it reads "may contain gluten" on the label. Seriously?! Sometimes it feels like the whole food industry is out to get us.

Staying safe from glutening requires diligence and flexibility. Always read labels and if you are hosting someone with food allergies, be sure to ask what things to look out for as you buy your ingredients, as many celiacs often have other food sensitivities. Don't forget about cross-contamination in the kitchen and on the table - designate serving utensils for the gluten-free food and use a dedicated gluten-free cutting board for preparation of allergy-friendly food. It can be a hassle, but I promise, your gluten-free guest will be so grateful they might even tear up at being able to take part in such a special meal (yes, I've done this).

So with Thanksgiving a week away, I thought I'd share my favorite recipes - plus a few new ones - that I'm going to depend on this year:

  • These are the guidelines I've followed every year for Thanksgiving turkey (and a few times, Christmas), with great results. Don't let the task scare you off, it's easier than you think. And no matter what your grandmother did: No stuffing in the bird! Not only does it slow down the cooking time, but if it's with wheat-based bread, the whole thing is then contaminated for the gluten-free.

  • This apple, cranberry and pecan stuffing was a game-changer for me, having grown up on sticky Stovetop that had me convinced I hated stuffing. Whether you use a traditional Italian loaf for those non-allergy folks, or a good, hearty gluten-free white loaf (I've done both, pre- and post-celiac diagnosis), both ways turn out as the best stuffing I've ever tasted. Last year, guests even rated mine above the gluten-filled stuffing someone else brought. Boom!

  • The mushy canned yams of my childhood Thanksgivings I've replaced with real steamed sweet potato casserole, albeit in a very decadent presentation. With brown sugar and marshmallows, it's a bit more like dessert. Gluttonous, but that's kind of what Thanksgiving is all about.

  • Mashed potatoes are a must, with copious amounts of butter. Adding sour cream to them is the trick my mom taught me that I use to this day.

  • Ever since my step-dad joined the family, his mom's corn soufflé has become a staple at our holiday feasts. Every time I've served it at my Thanksgivings, it's always met with high praise - and second helpings. It's classic, middle-America goodness. (find the recipe below)

  • With all this heavy stuff, I like to whip up some fresh green veggies so I don't feel as if I'll have a coronary right there at the table. These green beans with pecans and maple vinaigrette are simple yet elevated enough for a holiday table.

  • Embarassingly, I'm a fan of the jelly cranberry sauce that plunks out in a can-shaped blob onto the serving dish, but that's purely nostalgia from my childhood. As as adult, I have discovered that real cranberry relish - made from real, fresh cranberries - are where it's at. This Bourbon Cranberry Compote - add the zest from one orange, trust me! - is just what turkey (and leftover turkey sandwiches) is begging for.

I realize saying this is a bit of Thanksgiving sacrilege, but pumpkin pie is not my favorite thing. More often than not, it's a slightly gelatinous hunk with only a subtle pumpkin flavor and a too dry, lackluster crust. But I love pumpkin, so I'm all about finding something better. These are my top pumpkin dessert contenders this year (or perhaps I'll make them all...):

  • This pumpkin mousse pie from Anna of Creamy Crunchy Sweet is absolutely delicious. Good pumpkin flavor, creamy yet light, I was bowled over when I tested this recipe out last month. Instead of just subbing in a standard gluten-free pie crust, I made a more simple crust of crushed Schär Spekulatius cookies and butter (I followed this recipe for the crust) for a great flavor and texture to accompany that creamy pumpkin filling. A bit crumbly, but so good.

  • One of my very favorite gluten-free blogs - the seasonal recipes! that photography! - just published this beautiful Hazelnut Pumpkin Tart, which I probably stared at googly-eyed for a good five minutes before even reading the recipe. Usually, I don't like making things for the masses that I haven't at least tested first, but based on past experience with Wild Apple, something tells me no one would be disappointed.

  • Thanksgiving might be all about pies, but I'm a cake girl. Ever since I made these Pumpkin Brown-Butter Cakes a couple months back, I have been just waiting for an excuse to make them again. Moist, spicy and a great consistency, they received rave reviews from our guests as well. Thanksgiving sounds like just the excuse to whip up another batch, perhaps in a large, single cake version.

Here's to a tasty Thanksgiving and a delicious holiday season!


The Kelley's Corn Soufflé

20 oz/ 567g frozen corn
3 eggs
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour
2 tsp salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 tablespoon sugar
dash nutmeg
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 cups half and half (half cream, half milk)
3 strips bacon, cooked unti crispy
French fried onions (GF recipes for homemade fried and baked versions)

Preheat oven to 325°F/162°C. Lightly grease 9x13"/22x33cm baking dish. Mix all ingredients except bacon and fried onions in the pan. Bake for one hour. Sprinkle with onions and bacon for the last five minutes in oven. Serve warm.

Serves 8-12 as a side (or 1, if you're me).

Top 10 gluten-free things to eat in Copenhagen

November 6, 2015

Copenhagen Østerberg Ice Cream cup with scoops and  watercolour fruit paintings
Copenhagen DØP DEN ØKOLOGISKE PØLSEMAND gluten-free award-winning goat sausage and root vegetable mash at counter
Copenhagen Street Food at Paper Island Copper + Wheat fries double fried in duck fat
Copenhagen Torvehallerne food market building

Let's be honest, traveling with celiac can be a huge pain in the ass. You just want to see new things, get lost in neighborhoods amongst the locals... that is until you realize you're starving and there's nowhere around to eat safely. Yes, we gluten-free folk know the importance of scouting out the right establishments and planning our touring around them. And in all honesty, how bad is it to plan a trip around the best places to eat? Even before I knew I had celiac, this was how I preferred to travel.

This was my first big trip somewhere new post-diagnosis, mainly because I heard such great things about the gluten-free options here. And I wasn't disappointed, though some surprisingly early closing hours meant careful planning was necessary (do check current times when you visit so you don't get left with an empty belly and nothing but packaged food to snack on). Whether you have to be gluten-free or not, these spots are worth a stop for something better than just whatever happens to be around.

So without further ado, these are the 10 best things I ate when I was in Copenhagen:

Grød caramel, apple and roasted almond gluten-free oat and quinoa porridge in Nørrebro Copenhagen

1. Caramel-apple oat-quinoa porridge from Grød

I ate breakfast here on three occasions, and frankly, I could have eaten here every day I was in town. There's a reason this place is talked about all over the internet, Instagrammed like crazy and even sells its own cookbook: Because it's a bowl of warm, satisfying love. The shop is a tiny little spot in a half-basement, with a kitchen so small you wonder how they even manage to serve up all that they do. Breakfast porridge, sweet porridge, savory porridge and some of the most lovely juice of apple and sea buckthorn you could ask for. Best of all: a gluten-free oat and quinoa porridge! Add the homemade, thick gooey caramel, apples and roasted almonds and it's pretty much the best breakfast ever. I gave it a shot with another topping combination, but it just didn't make my tastebuds sing the way this salty-crunchy-sweet concoction did. I still pine for it daily back in Berlin...

Jægersborggade 50, Nørrebro
also at Torvehallerne

Naturbageriert Landbageriert bakery gluten-free apple cinnamon roll æble-rissnegl at The Lakes Copenhagen

2. Apple-cinnamon roll from Naturbageriert (Landbageriert)

Living in Germany I admit I'm much more easily bowled over by pastries that ever before. Pastries here are fine, but growing up with sugary American treats, I find them too often unsweet, dry and frankly, boring. Add to that the limited availability of gluten-free options, and I've all but given up. But this Danish swirl of apples and cinnamon was a satisfying surprise. It definitely has the whole gluten-free texture and taste, but it's done in the very best way possible. It had just the right moisture and sweetness - and I'm still kicking myself for not stocking my suitcase full of them to bring back to Berlin.

One thing to note: This place is a bit hard to find, both on the internet and in real life (but don't let that deter you - it's worth it, I promise!). It appears that it used to be called 'Naturbageriert', but is now 'Landbageriert', though it's still called Naturbageriert on the shop itself. The shop is also very understated and the signs aren't obvious. I walked past it twice and didn't realize it was there. Look for the gold pretzel and the piles of baked goods in the window. This bakery is a life saver for any celiacs in Copenhagen, complete with bread and sweet and savory pastries and rolls (most are also vegan). I enjoyed a really lovely tørkage hindbærsnitte there as well.

Naturbageriert Landbageriert bakery with gluten-free goods in the window Indre By Copenhagen

Frederiksborggade 29, Indre By

Copenhagen Street Food at Paper Island Copper + Wheat menu with fries double fried in duck fat

3. Duck fat fries from Copper and Wheat at Copenhagen Street Food

A favorite of a very kind four-year-old I know, duck fat fries were not something I was about to pass up while on holiday. Apparently it sounded enticing enough to the rest of my foodie travelling group, and we headed over for an afternoon snack before our dinner reservations one night. Turns out Copenhagen Street Food is quite the lovely spot just across the water from the Nyhavn, an interior filled with food trucks and stalls, along with plenty of cozy indoor - complete with a stone fireplace - and picturesque waterside outdoor seating.

But we didn't go there to eat - we went to snack, on double duck fat fries. Three of us shared two orders of crispy goodness with an assortment of dips, but when the fourth member of our traveling band of food-lovers joined, another order had to be made. Perfectly crisp and delicious, these are my new gold standard for fries, the regular ones forever falling flat for me now. I'm sure there's a lot more great food at this spot, but I can't imagine visiting again without a cone of fries from Copper and Wheat.

Copenhagen Street Food at Paper Island Copper + Wheat fries double fried in duck fat Copenhagen Street Food at Paper Island outdoor seating area

Copenhagen Street Food
Trangravsvej 14, The Paper Island, Christianshavn

Copenhagen Costa D'Hellerup gourmet pizza with potatoes, pesto, pancetta and gluten-free crust

4. Pizza at Costa D'Hellerup

There's a rather annoying thing about Copenhagen that I really don't care for: Everything closes early. Sure, nicer restaurants will stay open all hours as they drain the entirety of your savings account with those infamously high Danish prices, but regular cafes and food establishments are mostly closed by 6pm. So what is a traveling, gluten-free girl like myself to do? Enlist her friend who has paid for roaming internet on her phone look up a safe option that stays open later than the early-bird specials. Enter my saviour: Pizzeria Costa D-Hellerup.

Just outside of the boundary of the zones for our train tickets, my friend and I walked through the suburbs of Hellerup to get to what was my last hope for a hot dinner that night. Like most people I encountered in Copenhagen, the guys behind the counter were ridiculously friendly and charming, answering all my annoying questions about the safety of their gluten-free pizza (considering there were regular, gluten-filled pizzas to be had here as well). The owner was really passionate about serving the best and safest option for celiacs: A dough made from wheat-based flour - with the gluten removed. He said he had never had a celiac customer get sick, so I was on board, though skeptical.

Since we trekked all that way, we splurged on one of the gourmet pizzas to share, with potatoes, pesto and pancetta. After a bit of a wait considering the long line of people queueing that evening, I was blown away. This was far and away the best gluten-free pizza I had tasted. The crust, I suppose unsurprisingly, was just like what I remembered of gluten-containing crusts: light, white and with the perfect amount of flakiness. Even my gluten-eating companion was impressed. The thing that won it for me? No resulting illness or even so much as a bloated belly. This pizza is the real deal.

The only downside for travelers at this great spot? It's really more of a storefront than a restaurant. There was a couple of seats and a lone tall table set up outside (humorously right next to a bus stop, which meant every bus slowed for us until the driver realized we were eating, not waiting for a ride), but that's about it. If you've got a car, I would recommend picking up a pizza, or four, and bringing that hot, cheesy goodness back home to enjoy.

Copenhagen Costa D'Hellerup pizza sign about gluten-free crust from de-glutened wheat flour
Copenhagen Costa D'Hellerup pizzeria owner behind the counter with employee

Costa D'Hellerup
Kildegårdsvej 15, Hellerup

Hija de Sanchéz plates of cheese, tongue and fish skin tacos and roasted peppers at Copenhagen Torvehallerne food market

5. Tacos at Hija De Sanchéz

When a former Noma pastry chef opens up a taco stand, you go. Sure, we ate at Relæ and Manfred's, which were lovely, but there's something about a taqueria that makes me come running. The simplicity of a well-made corn tortilla with simple fillings made with love and care is just about my favorite thing to eat - and these ones did not disappoint. Opened earlier this summer, this stand at the far end of the outdoors stalls at Torvehallerne serves up not only tacos with tortillas off a most lovely tortilla machine that I really wanted to steal and take home, but quesadillas, the most amazing chips and salsa, along with an assortment of inspired drinks like various punches or Micheladas. A little pricey for how much you get, but these are more than worth the splurge.

The taco fillings seems to change up regularly (yeah, I ate here three times) so be sure to inquire about any possible gluten ingredients, like meat braised in beer, or the like. Otherwise, the offerings are for the most part naturally gluten-free, so enjoy!

Hija de Sanchéz taco stand counter at Copenhagen Torvehallerne food market

Hija De Sanchéz
TorvehallerneKBH, Frederiksborggade 21, Indre By

Copenhagen Torvehallerne food market

6. Pulled pork wrap at Palæo

Sadly, I never managed a photo of the very first thing I ate in Copenhagen after hopping off the plane and trekking out to our airbnb, but it was certainly not for it lacking in deliciousness. The pork had a nice spicy kick, a bit of a surprise coming from spice-averse Germany. Add to that the good crunch of a cabbage slaw and richness of a cashew-pesto and you have one tasty, though rather messy, lunch or snack. I will say the egg wrap was a bit paleo for my tastes (to be fair, I'm a die-hard tortilla fan), but it was altogether a tasty, good-for-you option. And since paleo is by nature gluten-free, celiacs can eat here without a care in the world.

Pilestræde 32, Indre By
also at Torvehallerne

Copenhagen DØP DEN ØKOLOGISKE PØLSEMAND gluten-free award-winning goat sausage and root vegetable mash

7. Goat sausage at Den Økologiske Pølsemand (Døp)

This famous sausage truck was mercilessly gluten-free-friendly in its offerings. While I mostly stay away from sausages (who knows what additives and casings and environment they've been in!), DØP thankfully stated their sausages were all gluten-free on their website (which was contradicted on-site, so be sure to ask which are safe) and even offer to serve them alongside vegetables instead of the ubiquitous gluten-y bun. There's even a veggie option!

I'm the first to admit that German sausages on-the-go are not what I miss most with being gluten-free, but these were some of the most impressive cart sausages I'd ever had. After being told the spicy beef and cheese options were off-limits, I opted for the award-winning goat sausage, set in a tray with mounds of pickled beets and root vegetable mash, along with mustard and ketchup. Even the pouring rain couldn't put a damper on my enjoyment.

Copenhagen DØP DEN ØKOLOGISKE PØLSEMAND sausage stand by the Round Tower

stands at the Round Tower and the Church of the Holy Ghost, Indre By

Copenhagen Nørrebro Karamelleriert shop caramel display

8. Caramels at Karamelleriert

I admit, caramels are one of my favorite sweets. Since I've butchered it every time I've tried making them at home, I'm OK with indulging in some pricy store-bought ones. And indulge I did at this fantastic little shop! My friends and I visited not once but twice to fill bags full of an assortment of flavoured caramels - from regular and licorice (both in sweet and salty), special ones like citrus-mango, cinnamon-caramel and peppermint - each time engaging with the lovely guy at the shop about everything they make and kindly answering all my gluten-related questions (FYI, there was only one of the hard licorices that might contain a smidgen of gluten). He even offered us to taste every batch of licorice powder he had made to understand the nuances of each one. Clearly, they are passionate about what they do here.

On our second visit, we lucked out that it was production day, the relatively tiny shop bustling with far too many workers for the space, frantically scooping, boxing and shipping, machines cutting and wrapping long, snake-like tubes of caramel, whirring and humming. Once I gaped open mouth at the positively massive chunk of caramel resting on a work table at the window and went to take a photo, our new caramel-making friend in the prep area grabbed my phone and took a few shots from his much better vantage point. After loading up more bags and picking out a special gift for my mom (happy birthday, Mom!), not to mention getting some samples fresh out of the packaging machine, we finally bid farewell to this most sweet shop. I'm doing my best not to order online, as I'm pretty sure that would become a regular occurrence...

Copenhagen Karamelleriert shop slab of caramel in window Nørrebro Copenhagen Nørrebro Karamelleriert caramel rope feeding into candy wrapper machine

Jægersborggade 36, Nørrebro

OLUFs frisklavede italienske ispinde ice cream pop Østerbro Copenhagen

9. Ice cream on a stick at Olufs

I first discovered this gem of a shop like so many wonderful things these days: via Instagram. Not one who needs any persuading for ice cream, I was equally enthralled with their gourmet execution. These are not your childhood summertime ice pops. In fact, they're not really popsicles at all, but more creamy ice cream encased in chocolate with beautiful, edible adornments on the outside. I wasn't even plotting a trip here, but when I spotted the wall displaying its logo and larger-than-life popsicle image on the side of a building while I was walking to breakfast on my own one day, I thought: Ice cream for breakfast. I mean, why not?

Somehow I lucked out and arrived just as they were opening up (again, team ice cream for breakfast) and I was overwhelmed by the freezer case full of a rainbow assortment of coated ice cream on sticks. The man behind the counter assured me they were gluten-free and asked if I needed any translation help. Luckily, Danish is so often close to German, I understood enough to identify a gorgeous-looking white chocolate and cherry pop I had to have. It melted quicker than I would have liked - after all the photos, of course - but it was thoroughly delicious and once again, I was sad I was not able to make it back for more flavors. It was also especially a treat since most gluten-free ice cream situations involve a boring cup rather than licking from a cone, I got to have my summery ice cream experience just like everyone else.

OLUFs frisklavede italienske ispinde ice cream pops display case Østerbro Copenhagen

OLUFs frisklavede italienske ispinde
Olufsvej 6, Østerbro

Copenhagen Østerberg Ice Cream case and scoops in a cup

10. Ice cream at Østerberg

I owe a huge debt of gratitude to friend and Copenhagen local Melanie for this recommendation. Aside from an unexpected stop at Olufs, my ice-cream-loving self somehow neglected to scout out any of my favorite summer (or let's face it, any time of year) treat. As soon as she explained how the gorgeous interior had blown up on Instagram, I was immediately intrigued. And so on our very last day, we made this our final stop before carting ourselves to the airport - and it did not disappoint.

The interior, with its crisp white punctuated with gorgeous watercolors of fruit, was indeed Instagram-worthy, but it was the flavors that had us swooning. Danish staples like licorice and hazelnut were joined with exotic choices like dragonfruit and aloe vera-pomegranate. I indulged, as I do, with no less than three different flavors and thoroughly enjoyed each one. The lovely girl working there - who funny enough, happened to be an American with Danish family who had relocated to this amazing city, because, why not? - swore their licorice was one of the best in Copenhagen, and while I had only tasted this one, I could swear she was right.

Copenhagen Østerberg Ice Cream counter and watercolour fruit paintings Copenhagen Østerberg Ice Cream counter with stools and watercolour fruit paintings

Østerberg Ice Cream
Rosenvængets Allé 7C, Østerbro