Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A virtual tour of Villeroy and Boch

I definitely need some new kitchenwares and plates, but not the usual mono-colour plates that we use to have and whose absence can get easily unnoticed. I need something more colourful, stylish and personal that can adorn my Friday evening meals. Plates to make me happy to look at, help me to enjoy the food, eventually with flowers and leaves, and a lot of colours. I spontaneously began the search with Villeroy and Boch, browsing their latest collections and, of course, the season discounts.


The most easy to match collection is Artesano: simple pure white, with assortment of oiled acacia wood. An impressive statement that can happily invite your guests to your wedding, or for a rich lunch at the veranda of your summer house. Simple lines and big volumes, that characterize all the items, from the pizza plate, to the pitchers and creamers, or the salad servers. 
The same white monocromous line characterizes the Flow collection, the difference being the spontaneous round lines of the plates, platters and bowls. The most complete collection is in my opinion the New Wave, which have almost everything one need to have for decorating generously a table: platters with 2 or more compartments, presentation plates, grill plate, pickle dish, salad plate square, eye catcher, various sizes of dip bowls, and many bowls, plates and cups. 

Source: villeroy-boch-Audun-Ferme-Coffeepot-6-pers.-1,30l-31

Time for more sophistication and colours. The delicate items from the Althea Nova collection are inviting friends and family to a big dinner. It has also breakfast cups and saucers, teapot for the afternoon tea and an espresso cup. The salad bowls and pickle dish and various sizes of plates are clearly an indication about the kind of menu that the users of this collection would love to taste. 

Source: http://www.villeroy-boch.co.uk/shop/petite-fleur-covered-sugar-6-pers-0-20l.html

Let's move slowly in my world. A world inspired by nature, as the fine porcelain of Petite Fleur (Small Fleur) collection. The flowers are scattered on the surface of the porcelain, a style inspired by the 19th century works. It's hard to chose witch one I would love the best, as each has its own charm and personality. If I would buy it, I will surely use it for a generous meal, where I can use the big oval soup tureen, the oval platters and the bowls, but also the tea and coffee pots. For outdoor meals, be sure that you have the proper assortment of flowers in your garden.

Source: http://www.villeroy-boch.co.uk/shop/mariefleur-gris-basic-sugar-jampot-6-pers.html

Mariefleur gris collection cannot be compared with anything I've seen by now. A pastel painting spread to the white shinning surface of the porcelain. One of the salad bowl and the serving plate are graciously shaped. Me, the coffee lover, is tempted with a coffee cup, plus espresso and latte macchiato. It's amazing how many combinations you can have only by using two types of flowers and main colours. 

Source: http://www.villeroy-boch.co.uk/shop/catalogsearch/result/?q=Mariefleur

Mariefleur collection is a step forward to more painted art on porcelain. The colours are full of life and makes you feel that it is summer all round the year. The delicate line following the shape is another element of elegance that influences the style of the table.

Source: http://www.villeroy-boch.co.uk/shop/anmut-bloom-espresso-cup.html
For people in love with colours there are even more options. The Anmut collection is offering various combinations with more new options being updated regularly. Because I love diversity, Anmut Bloom looks very close to my soul, but elegant eaters will probably prefer to chose from one of the versions of My Colour, featuring, till now: ocean blue, petrol blue, rocky grey, sky blue and savannah cream, forest green and orange sunset, pink rose or red cherry. 

Source: http://www.villeroy-boch.co.uk/shop/catalog/product/view/id/23701/s/kima-vase-midnight-sky-300mm/

There is no Friday evening meal without flowers on the table and at Villeroy and Boch, I can finish the shopping with vases too. The collections of Kima, Tiko, Numa and Nek. The names sound very funny and unusual, but the products are very simple bottlenecked or rounded and with a lot of force in the monochrome nuances and clear lines. 
As a simple calculation, a full set can cost a little fortune, but at least in Germany, there is the chance to catch up one of the special season sales that can last for a couple of days. Such a purchase is an investment for life so really worth the effort. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Foodie tour Antwerp

Travel and food, good food especially, are part of the same story and I love to know a country or town through its culinary culture. There are lots of books about it and one day will have maybe the time to explore the literature beyond this assumption. But till then, let's have a little look of my foodie discoveries in Antwerp, a beautiful diamond that I can't wait to visit again.

Both Netherlands and Belgium are tempting the visitors with waffles, but the experts say that the traditional art belongs to Belgium. As an adept of home-made cakes, I am not sure if my recipes are following a certain national pattern, but I could not stop but observe the generous ideas of Belgium waffle producers. Such a gorgeous combination can be bought from the street, for around 5 Euro, half the price you can pay for it in the cheap city of Berlin, for instance. But, obviously, there is more life and temptation into the Made in Antwerp one. 

Shops close early in the afternoon and open relatively late in the morning. For the fast shopping, it is possible to use the local supermarket networks, such as Mega Image or Albert Heijm, with many regional products and fruits and vegetables. I enjoyed a pleasant healthy breakfast at the Daily Roast, in the old historical quarter. It was raining and I was hungry for a good coffee. I spent one hour waiting to see the sun, sipping my delicious coffee while getting warm admiring the maps of Africa from the walls. 

Belgium is not only about rain, but also about chocolate. Pralines, made by Leonidas - one of the first brands I ever heard in my life, as it was my mother's favourite - or Elisa's, whose shop is situated in the old historical center. Many jelly combination and a lot of marzipan, as I was explained in the shop.

 Here it is, the smallest waffles shop in the world. Small and beautiful.

I am not a terrific chocolate tester, but I went to Antwerp to see more European fashion. At Paleis op de Meir, in the former kitchen used by Napoleon in his main headquarters during the occupation of the city, I was offered a reason more to love both. A beautiful dress made by chocolate. In other words, you can have your chocolate, and wear it too. 

For more travel recommendations for Antwerp, check my travel blog here.
While there, I also checked one of the best kosher restaurants in Europe, Hoffy's.