Today all the children in Holland are excited because SinterKlaas (the Dutch Santa) arrived in Holland on his steamboat. He lives in Spain and comes to Holland a few weeks before SinterKlaas avond ~ December 5th which is the day the children receive gifts from him. He helper is not an elf but Zwarte Piet (Black Peter).
December 6th is St. Nicolas Day which is the birthday of this saint. The season brings with it certain Dutch goodies one of which is speculaas or the spice cookie. I love speculaas not only to eat, as there is nothing better dipped in a cup of hot tea, but also for the beautiful molds used to create these wonderful cookies.
For years, I have been collecting these cookie molds large and small. I have a wall in my little kitchen where I hang them. They come in all sizes and various motifs. Click on the photo to enlarge it so you can really get a good look at them. The little lady with the baby on her back comes from a famous cookie shop on the market square in Brussels, Belgium. It was hand carved and very nicely detailed.
These are my newest molds. I purchased these in The Alsace, France. They are springerle molds. I fell in love with these being a stitcher who loves samplers and just had to add them to my collection.
These molds have not been darkened with any oil or stain and are actually able to be used for making the cookies. My other molds are just for show. I was taught by a baker in the National Bakery Museum how to make the cookies. It is a very work intensive process but so fun to see the forms of these molds come to life.
This mold is my largest and used to hang in an actual bakery. It was bought at an antique shop that was going out of business. It is very heavy as it is carved from a solid piece of wood.
Some of my 'newer' molds which still need to be hung. The husband of a good friend is always picking them up for me at flea markets. He found me a really special one that is double sided but has had wood worm. It is outside in our storage shed and will need to be handled to be certain before bringing it in the house.
Those three molds from the previous photo will hang on the wall with this lady and her gentleman. They are hanging where other pictures had been and too far apart. I will rearrange the wall with the other forms to make it look nicer. This way, I can simply add more nails to where these already are.
Another 'arrival' is the wine called Beaujolais nouveau. It is a wine that is fermented for only a few weeks and then sold as of the 3rd Thursday of November. We picked up two bottles this morning. I can't wait to see how this year's nouveau is! This wine has a special place in my heart. Back when I first immigrated to Europe, we lived in Brussels and I was unfamiliar with drinking wine. Jos and I used to take walks in the city in the evenings and stop for a drink in a cafe. He told me to try this young and fruity wine thinking I might like it. Each year, as it comes out, I am taken back to that first autumn here by my taste buds. How different it was to be in a big city and sit in a cafe sipping wine. You really never know where life will take you!
You can still sign up for the blog give~away on the last post if you have not done so. This is a long blog entry so I will save my responses for tomorrow.