August 23, 2004
I am sure you remember about Christoph and Susanne, our German friends, who are both research scientists in Paris and serious food enthusiasts. In fact, I think of Christoph as the German twin of Alton Brown (for the scientific approach) and Jeffrey Steingarten (for the thorough, border-line obsessive experimentations), which is bound to make him a valuable friend.
Christoph and Susanne came to my birthday party, and as luck would have it, they had been to Germany just a week before, where they had the marvelous idea of putting together a little care package for your truly.
I couldn't have been more pleased by such a thoughtful present : just imagining them trying to figure out what should be in the basket -- remembering about conversations past and what they knew about my tastes -- fills me with joy. And here are the special treats that they decided to include, which I unwrapped happily while jumping up and down with excitement (a difficult exercise) :
- A thick slice of Schwarzwälder Schinken, the typical ham from the Black Forest region : it had been vacuum-sealed, preserving its delightful moistness and smoky, delicious taste.
- A quarter of a loaf of German rye bread, home-baked by Christoph himself, who told me it was his most successful so far, lucky me! This was, of course, the perfect match for the schinken, but I also enjoyed it greatly for breakfast, in thin slices with a little butter or jam.
- A can of homemade Leberwurst (as indicated by the mention "aus eigener Herstellung"). This is a liver sausage, which Christoph suggested spreading on toasts of excellent German bread.
- A bottle of Mirabellen Wasser, a brandy made from mirabelles, those tiny light green plums. We haven't yet opened it, but it sounds like a fantastic apéritif.
- A pair of handmade wooden Speculoos molds from Freiburg, in the shape of a small St-Nicolas and a little stork, complete with recipes!
And to finish off this parade of unique and so well-chosen gifts, Susanne also gave me a small, beautiful 3D painting that she made especially for me, remembering how much I had loved the one that was on display in their living-room.
To me, this is the perfect kind of present : personal, generous and thoughtful, it makes the recipient glow with the tingly, delicious feeling of being loved and cared for. Thank you, Christoph and Susanne, you are the kindest! (And again : why oh why can't I have a birthday every month?)
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