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Journey to Poland with Ann Marie

While I had never thought I would ever make it to Poland to see this country, the opportunity arose and Britt, my Garden Store manager and Polish pottery lover and I thought “why not check out the Polish Pottery festival in Bolesławiec”.      It was a decision we will never regret.

Our trip began with our flight into Wroclaw, Poland.   For some reason it took me the whole trip before I mastered actually saying the name of this town.   I guess my age is showing and this “old dog”  needs some Polish pronunciation lessons.    Once we checked into our hotel and dropped our bags it was out to the street to walk around this historic town.

Wrocław is the largest city in south western Poland and sits on the banks of the Oder River.   The town like all of Poland still retains the remnants of Soviet control with not so beautiful block building but the town center and area surrounding are stunning.    But what was beautiful were the people that were enjoying the beautiful town center and the surrounding areas especially along the river.  The town has undergone alot of renovation these days and we could tell the people of Wroclaw took much pride in their town.    There is too many things to mention about the town and in fact we could have spent weeks poking around.  Here is the link to Wikipedia to read more: https://bit.ly/2wlQwFx.

Our immediate focus was food of course.   Britt organized a food tour and at 5:00 we were swept into a full foodie tour and a bit of history of Wroclaw. Pictures speak louder than words but I can say Yum.  See for yourself:

Next day we were off to the pottery car.   Now, just want to warn you that if you are traveling and anticipating getting a car- in Poland you will need an international drivers license.   Thankfully we could take the 1 1/2 hour trip by taxi without a hiccup and around $100.00 which was ok considering the distance.   I highly recommend though getting the license for the trip as it seemed pretty straight forward driving and to be able to check out nooks and crannies you will need a car.

The festival was bright and lively on the first day and everything in site was amazing.   Of course lots of Boleslwiec pottery- I think at least 10-15 different factories at least.  Great venue of restaurants all around the town center to choose from as well.   While browsing we also checked out other handmade items and hope we can import them to sell in our store.  We will keep you posted.

The next day we had a fantastic tour of the pottery factory where most of the Polish Pottery at Ann Marie’s originates.  Our Polish Pottery representative Twila from Pottery Avenue in the US sponsored us on the tour and it was amazing.  One of the largest pottery factories I have toured in Europe.

Our final day at the festival was on Friday and it was packed with crowds.  Although I think there were some tourists I believe it was mostly the Polish celebrating the Pottery and enjoying the festivities!   Lots of activities and special events and also a pottery parade featuring many of the pottery factories.   The US Army also marched and I must say they had a nice representation.

Back to Wroclaw for one more Pączki (Polish donut) and Polish Sausage before flying home.

 

 

 

 

Boxing Day Traditions

 

When is Boxing Day?
Boxing Day is the 26th December and is a national holiday in the UK and Ireland.

A ‘Christmas Box’ in Britain is a name for a Christmas present. Boxing Day was traditionally a day off for servants and the day when they received a ‘Christmas Box’ from the master. The servants would also go home on Boxing Day to give ‘Christmas Boxes’ to their families.

Activities on Boxing Day
Boxing Day is a time to spend with family or friends, usually those not seen on Christmas Day itself. In recent times, the day has become synonymous with many sports. Horse racing is particularly popular with meets all over the England.

Many top football(soccer) teams also play on Boxing Day.

Boxing Day is also a time when the British show their eccentricity by taking part in all kinds of silly activities. These include bizarre traditions including swimming the icy cold English Channel, fun runs, and charity events.

Fox Hunting on Boxing Day
Until 2004, Boxing Day hunts were a traditional part of the day, but the ban on fox hunting has put an end to this in its usual sense. Hunters will still gather dressed resplendently in red hunting coats to the sound of the hunting horn. But, since it is now forbidden to chase the fox with dogs, they now follow artificially laid trails.

.The New Boxing Day Sport – Shopping

Another ‘sport’ to emerge in recent years is shopping. What was once a day of relaxation and family time sees the start of the sales. Sales used to start in January, post-New Year, but the desire to grab a bargain and for shops to off-load stock means many now begin on Boxing Day.

Boxing Day in Ireland
In Ireland, Boxing Day is also known as “St. Stephen’s Day” named after the Saint stoned to death for believing in Jesus.

  In Ireland on Boxing,  there was once a barbaric act carried out by the so-called “Wren Boys.” These boys would dress up and go out, and stone wren birds to death then carry their catch around the town knocking on doors and asking for money, the stoning representing what had happened to St Stephen. This terrible tradition has now stopped, thank goodness, but the Wrens Boys still dress up but instead parade around town and collect money for charity.

Food and Drink on Boxing Day
With guests often popping in for a snack or tipple the food and drink on Boxing Day are more relaxed than Christmas Day.

Lunch will usually be a buffet or leftovers from Christmas lunch. Baked Ham is a popular Boxing Day meat and of course, mince pies with brandy butter or a slice of Christmas cake are almost obligatory.

 

Inspirations from the Forest-Celebrating the Majestic Pine

 As the holidays approach we are always inspired by the Majestic pines…the site and smell transport us to holidays past and hold excitement of holidays to come…

pinetree

despite its stillness the pinetree manages to dance.
its arms stretch out,
thin and rigid,
ardently asserting I am.

looking at this one I’m overcome with strangeness:
slanted on a mountain peak
it reaches out into the darkening night,
as if awaiting to spar with the moon.

~from HelloPoetry.com

Simon Pearce– inspired by Vermont Evergreens.  

Celebrate this holiday season with something special from Simon Pearce, Vermont glassblower, Ireland inspired. His handblown glass trees reflect the beauty of the forest which is captured with brilliant clarity. As in nature, each of his trees is unique: they’re handmade by Simon Pearce artisans to showcase the purity of their materials and honor the regal yet rough-hewn essence of an evergreen. Collect multiples to create your own shimmering forest or give one as an elegantly elemental gift!
  

Arte Italica Natale

Natale is the festive collection to entertain through the winter season. Berries and pine boughs surround the snowy evergreens. The Natale Square Plate is perfect for serving tasty treats, or cookies for Santa. Pair the collection with pewter or some of Arte Italica’s new pieces. Hand made in Italy.

Recipe of the week

Pine Needle Tea 

Bouquet of Foraged Pine
2 cups Filtered Water
1 teaspoon Raw Honey
Pinch of Salt 
1 teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar

 

Begin with heating the filtered water on the stove at a low to medium heat. Begin with your pined bouquet and separate the needles from the stem, pulling them off in the opposite direction of growth. Make two piles, needles and stems. Take the needles and chop them with a knife or herb chopper into one to two inch sections. Place into the water as it just begins to come to a boil. Keep at a lower heat! You want to steep the pine needles, not boil them otherwise they will taste bitter. Simmer on the stove for ten minutes. Add in the pinch of salt which expands the flavor and then turn off the heat and keep covered for five minutes. Strain out the pine needles with a colander or cheese cloth and pour tea into a mug. Stir in the raw honey and apple cider vinegar and sip the woods. 

Cozy Fall Inspirations and Burleigh Pottery

As the temperatures dip and the days shorten, we at Ann Marie’s are preparing for the cold season ahead. Whether as an accompaniment to hot porridge and maple syrup in the morning, catching up with old friends, or cozying up to a warm fire and a good book, autumn is the time or year we reach for our favorite teas.   And what better way welcome the cold weather and say you care than one of Burleigh’s new gift boxes? Boxes feature either a breakfast or tea cup, saucer and side plate, in Burleigh’s classic prints. Pair with any of Thursday’s Cottage delicious curds and Yorkshire Gold tea for a truly British gift.

 From the elegant Asiatic Pheasants line to the cheerful Calico, Burleigh’s prints are quintessentially British and integrate well into both traditional and modern kitchens. The unparalleled craftsmanship and range of pieces have made Burleigh a favorite at Ann Marie’s and around the world.

William Leigh and Frederick Rathbone joined their talents to form a pottery in 1862. Their names were joined into “Burleigh” in the 1930s, but the techniques have remained largely the same since the pottery’s founding.

Prints are transferred from an engraved copper roller to tissue paper, and from there brushed by hand onto unglazed pieces. Burleigh is the last pottery in the world to use this traditional transfer technique. Each piece is fired three times, and it takes 25 craftsmen contribute to the finishing of each piece. The results are dishes we love, perfect for both entertaining and everyday use.

English Scone Recipe

Taken from cooking.nytimes.com

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups self-rising flour (3 cups all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt can be substituted)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 4 ounces unsalted butter at cool room temperature, more for pan, optional
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon whole milk
  • 1 cup dried currants, optional
  • 1 egg yolk

PREPARATION

  1. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk in the sugar. (Or give all the dry ingredients a quick whirl in a food processor.) Cut butter into bits and work it into the dry ingredients with fingertips or a pastry blender, or by pulsing the processor, until mixture is finely crumbly. If using a food processor, transfer mixture to a bowl.
  2. Gradually add 1 cup milk and the currants, if using, and mix with a fork. Knead lightly by hand to make a smooth dough. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate 20 minutes.
  3. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Grease a baking sheet with butter or line it with parchment paper. Roll dough to a 3/4-inch thickness. Use a fluted 2- or 3-inch cutter to punch out scones. Scraps can be kneaded lightly for additional scones. Beat the egg yolk with remaining milk and brush on the scones. Place on baking sheet and bake 10 to 12 minutes until risen and golden brown.

Check out our selections of Curds and Jams to top off  your hot out of the oven scone at Ann Marie’s.

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