Archive for December, 2009

New Year’s Eve Traditions You and Your Children Will Love

New Year's Eve in Lisbon

2009 was such a difficult year for so many people that I’m  looking forward to ushering in a new decade. My family usually celebrates New Year’s Eve at home. Since it’s so hard to find babysitters, we invite all our neighbors over with their children. Then we play charades and other family games.

We also ask each guest to bring a hat, which they exchange with another guest when they arrive. Then both children and adults wear their borrowed hats through out the evening. It’s a simple tradition that is surprisingly funny because you start to take on a different personality. I love that it’s a playful way to greet the upcoming year.

How does your family celebrate New Year’s Eve?

I wish you a rich and rewarding 2010 full of time for family and the experiences you love most.

Catherine

Bolo Rei: Portugal’s Most Beloved Christmas Pastry

Christmas in Portugal is synonymous with Bolo Rei, or King’s Cake. The cakes are baked in the shape of a round crown, with jewels made from colorful chunks of dried fruits. They symbolize the gifts of the Three Wise Kings to the baby Jesus.

It is said that when the Wise Kings saw the Star of Bethlehem, they argued about which of them would get to present the gifts to Jesus. To end the dispute, the village baker cooked a cake with a fava bean hidden in it and then divided the cake into three pieces. The king who ate the piece with the bean won.

Today, children all over Portugal wait to see if they have the piece of cake with the bean, which is said to bring good luck and prosperity. The winner is also responsible for making the cake for family and friends the following year.

Here is my favorite recipe for Bolo Rei. Please feel free to post your favorite holiday recipes for our community to share.

May your days be merry and bright,

Catherine

Bolo Rei

3 cups flour, 1 ounce baker’s yeast, 3/4 cups of butter

3/4 cup sugar, 6 ounces assorted crystallized fruit

6 ounces assorted dried fruit, 4 eggs, grated rind of 1 lemon

Grated rind of 1 orange, 1/2 cup Port wine, 1 teaspoon salt

A handful of pine nuts and walnuts

1 fava bean

Chop most of the dried and crystallized fruit and soak in Port wine. Put the rest (unchopped) aside for decorating. Dissolve the baker’s yeast in a small amount of warm water and add 1 cup of the flour. Allow the mixture to rise for 15 minutes. In the meantime, beat the sugar, butter, and lemon and orange rind together and then add the eggs one at a time to the mixture. Add the flour and baker’s yeast mixture. Mix well and then add the rest of the flour and salt. Knead until mixture feels elastic. Add the fruit pieces. Shape the kneaded mixture into a ball and powder it with flour. Cover with a kitchen towel and allow to rise for 5 hours. After the mixture doubles in volume, place on a baking tray and put a hole in the middle. Hide the fava bean in the dough and allow it to rise one more hour. Before it goes in the oven, paint the cake with a beaten egg yolk; decorate the top with whole pieces of dried fruit, pine nuts, and walnuts. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees until golden brown. Remove from the oven and paint again with a small amount of gelatin diluted in hot water.

Still More Greetings from our Trunk Show Hostesses

More Holiday Greetings from our Trunk Show Hostesses

Holiday Greetings from our Trunk Show Hostesses

Every holiday season both my staff and I love receiving cards and photos from our customers. This year we’ve decided to share a few that were sent to us by our devoted and talented trunk show hostesses. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do and we will post more throughout the week.

Let there be Light: Portuguese Holiday Traditions

Photo by Jose Ferreira, Jr.

I hope each and every one of you is enjoying the countdown to the holidays. Advent is in full swing in Portugal: Everywhere you turn there are elaborate light shows, including these street displays in Lisbon. Families make a special point of bringing their children in from the suburbs or smaller towns to walk around at night and take in the magical feeling.

The Portuguese also love creating elaborate Nativity scenes, called Presépio. The statuettes combine Baroque detailing with a very simple folk art sensibility–many, in fact, are made from cork. The most stunning examples are found in churches, including the Santa Maria Maior de Lisboa cathedral.

What are your favorite holiday traditions in your town or city?

Papo Now Available at Bergdorf Goodman

I am delighted to announce that Papo d’Anjo is now available at Bergdorf Goodman in New York City. It’s a huge honor to have my clothes in such a gorgeous and legendary store and I’m excited that it will give Papo customers yet another way to get to know our collections.

Currently, Bergdorf is showcasing a collection of  holiday clothes designed especially for them. I’m particularly excited about our new holiday baby basket. It comes in a wicker basket lined in a red tartan fabric and includes a red cashmere receiving blanket, matching red cashmere cardigan, pants, booties and hat. The festive look is complemented by a white Madeira embroidered blouse and our signature Papo stuffed bunny.

If you are in New York City this holiday season, please stop by and take a look. Begining in February of 2010, Papo d’Anjo will have a much larger collection in this beautiful space.



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