I woke up this morning in quite a fog from all the 'ringing' in the new year last night. Boy oh boy, it will be one to remember! We had a delicious dinner right on the waterfront, and then headed down the coast a bit to a castle for fireworks and the countdown. Freakin' new year's eve in a castle, it was too cool. But I will say that I cannot be held responsible for all of our actions last night.
I think there might have been fence hoping - what, sneaking into parties isn't the cool thing to do on NYE? I know there was champagne (and lots of it). And I am absolutely positive that it was a great evening. So glad we got to welcome 2011 with friends! Hope ya'll had a great one as well :)
So, I thought for 2011 that I might share with you a few of "My Favorite German Things". Just like Oprah's favorite things, only my audience will not be winning anything cool, nor is anything high-end or designer, nor do I have a national talk show. So yeah, maybe not really like Oprah's favorite things...at all. But here is a short list of useful German products and some great products that we have stumbled across while living over here. Might not be terribly excited for my North American friends to read, but hey, if ya'll are ever over in Germany, you must check out these items:
(and of course, they are all IMHO, but I think I have decent taste! And if you have any suggestions about your favorite German things, I would love to hear them)
The Best Lip Balm...Ever: Kaufmann's Haut und Kinder Creme
This lip balm/skin soother/baby butt cream is so unbelievable good! Yes, better than Carmex, yes even better than Burt's Bees. Great for your lips, so good on dry, rough patches of skin, and I even dot it on as under eye cream on those really cold, wintery days. And how can you not love the retro tins they come in?! You can pick up a small can for about a Euro, and mine has lasted me over a year. Can't beat that! (And just to clarify, I use it as a lip balm and hand cream...not as butt balm, haha)
The Best Hand Lotion: Herbacin Wuta Kamille Hand Lotion
Another random German find, but great nonetheless. Non-greasy, but moisturizing. I always have a tube of it in my purse. If your hands are feeling a little rough and dry this winter, you have to pick you up some Herbacin Hand Cream!
The Best Coffee: Eilles Gourmet Cafe
Germany is known for having great coffee. I always miss it when we are back home in the state - but maybe not so much when we are in Canada...I am a sucker for Timmy Ho's! Not only is Eilles so deliciously full-bodied, but it is so reasonably priced as well. For around 5 Euro, you get a double pack that could easily last you for up to a month. It has such a rich flavor and is never bitter or burnt tasting. I crave it as soon as I wake up in the morning!
The Best Sparkling Water: Valser Classic
Ok, this might be cheating a bit. Technically Valser comes from a source in Switzerland, but you can find bottles of this deliciously bubble water all over Southern Germany. What some people that have not visited Europe might not know, is that everyone, at home, in restaurants, at work, drinks sparkling water. I have to admit, it took some getting used to, but after our first season, there was no going back to plain ol' tap water. I was hooked on Wasser mit Kohlensäure! And Valser is the best tasting sparkling water I have had. Not too bubbly, but still tingly enough. It goes down so smooth!
The Best German Beer: Tegenseer Hell
Ok, this was a tough one. There are sooo many beers in Germany, how can you really say which is best, when there is no possible way to try them all in a lifetime. What you may not realize, is that every little German village has a local brewery. And most of the time, you can only get that certain kind of beer in that one area. So while there are hundreds and hundreds brands of beers, I think I still feel comfortable praising Tegenseer. Hey, if even the Germans think it is one of the best, you know you aren't too off on the assessment. (And to give credit where it is due, my husband and his highly refined 'beer palate' helped me out on this one! See babe, it did come in handy!)
The Best German Chocolate: Château Feinherb Nuss Chocolate BarAgain, I can only judge the chocolate that I have tried, but I think I could try just about any and every brand in the world, and I would still come back to this 99 Euro cent giant candy bar (a note to all of ya'll in Germany, I have only found them at Aldi). Rich, but not too sweet, dark chocolate with whole hazelnuts - they love hazelnuts and chocolate over here, and I am not one to argue with that! These bars are dangerous, and disappear quite easily. I always bring a few of them home with me in the spring, but they don't last long!
The Best Accessory for a Hockey Game: The Oma Seat Cushion
Or, as I like to refer to it as, my 'butt pad'. While the atmosphere in German hockey arenas is so lively and wild, the temperature inside the rink is usually only a few degrees more than the temperature outside. And the plastic seats seem ice cold under your bum. So, I did what all the Omas at the game do; I invested in a wool seat cushion and could not be more comfortable or warm at the games now. I might look like I fool carrying it in, but when I am comfortable and cozy, and everyone else is peeling their ice cold buns off the seat like a tongue stuck to a frozen flag pole, who's laughing now?!
As much as I miss things from home, I am glad to find such delicious and high quality products abroad.
Again, Happy New Year to you! Make 2011 the best one yet :)