Posted on

Gingerbread Houses (while supplies last)

Gingerbread House

Every year, just before the holiday season hits, our decorators are busy making Gingerbread Houses. It starts with lots of gingerbread baking in our ovens and whipping meringue (the glue) and soon cute little houses line our wooden tables. There are trees to be made, snowmen to be built and gingerbread boys and girls to be decorated.

ginger-in-forest

 

We make a limited supply of Gingerbread houses, so be sure to pick one up at our Buffalo Grove, Deerfield or Schaumburg stores or order online and schedule your store pick-up.

Snowmen waiting for a home.

Posted on

Gluten-free Pies for the Holidays

gf_holidaypies

Did you know we have a certified gluten-free facility in our Schaumburg store? This year, we are making gluten-free pies for the holidays. Apple, Chocolate Pecan and Pumpkin will be made fresh for the holidays. We also have gluten-free pie crusts in our freezer for those of you who love to make your own pie but dread the crust. Our crust, made with butter and cream cheese, is flaky and delicious!

For your convenience, order all of your holiday pies online and schedule store pick-up, date and time. We make a limited supply of gluten-free pies, so don’t miss out; order online today!

Posted on

Santa Down the Chimney

For more than 15 years, Santa Down the Chimney cake has graced the tables of many Christmas feasts in Chicagoland and it continues to be our most popular Christmas cake. It brings a smile to everyone’s face. You choose between yellow cake and Devil’s Food cake. It’s filled and frosted with our signature buttercream and serves 8-12. $24.95

And now it’s easier than ever to order with our online shop … you schedule the pick up date, time and store. Order Santa Down the Chimney here.

Posted on

The Wrap

Good-bye Florence!
Good-bye Florence!

We traded our bikes for walking shoes and spent the rest of our time prowling the streets of Florence. In a day, we chalked up 8 miles. We were on a mission to buy the things we wanted but didn’t want to carry on our bikes. Plus, we had the chore of packing our bikes.

We returned to the olive oil shop we visited on the Foodie’s Tour. It is located in the tiny Piazza del Limbo, where there’s a plaque marking the water level (about 13 feet), when in November 1966, the rising waters of the Arno River flooded Florence.

Piazza del Limbo, Florence

We spent 45 minutes in hardware store waiting to be served; you take a ticket, like in a deli, and wait until it’s your turn. There, we had a found a “chitarra” to make pasta and so, we waited.

We spent another 45 minutes waiting in line at the famous sandwich shop, All’Antico Vinaio, and like most everyone else found a patch of curb to sit on and eat our sandwich (well, half — they are huge!). Could something like this work at Deerfields Cafe in Buffalo Grove, we wondered?

We met Adriano who stored our bag in his garage for the month of May and graciously brought it to our current digs. His place was the first Airbnb we stayed.

We walked a mile to get our bike boxes and another mile carrying them back “home.” We had really lucked out staying at an Airbnb, where the hosts were fellow cyclists. Flavio had gone to a bike shop, picked up bike boxes and stored them for us in his garage. He also gave us a phone number for a local company, CapCosi, in Florence where y0u can reserve a van for transport to the airport (info@capcosi.it). CapCosi and our driver, Massimo, were excellent. For 55 euros, we and our bikes were transported to the airport. These are the details that can make or break a cycling adventure. For us, it all worked out perfectly.

In total, we biked 22 days. We had zero flat tires, one fall each, two soaking wet rides, three rest days (San Casino del Bagni, Montalcino and Radda in Chianti), and too many pizzas (pizza) and liters of wine to count!

We toasted Tuscany, its storybook towns and reminisced about our experiences.

Posted on

Day 22: Montelupo to Florence … A Triumphant Return

Early morning serious grade workout. Coffee hasn't even kicked in!
Early morning serious grade workout in Montelupo Fiorentina. Caffeine hasn’t even kicked in!

 

Train or rain? Of course, we chose rain for our final ride back to Florence. It was our last day of riding after all, a short 16-mile ride. Plus, with a little luck, we might beat the forecasted storms.

Getting out of Montelupo Fiorentina proved as tricky as getting into it. Out the gate, we hit a steep hill. The 17% grade scrambled our legs and the following 19% grade had us hoofing it up the hill.

image

The route, SP 73, wound its way through small towns and was a beautiful ride until the clouds darkened and the rain began … lightly at first and by the time we hit the edge of Florence, the rain became insistent.

image
Skies began to darken on the scenic two-lane road to Florence.

We weren’t the only cyclists on the road, though. Being Sunday, there were handfuls of riders out for the day, rain or shine.

Soaking wet, we took refuge in a small bar in Florence, drinking cappuccinos and eating Pane del Pescatore (bread of the fisherman), a slightly sweet mound filled with raisins and almonds, spiced with fennel and orange zest. It tastes like soft-baked biscotti with just the right level of sweetness.

Pane del Pescatore is a slightly sweet mound of almonds, raisins and spiced with fennel and orange zest.
Pane del Pescatore is a slightly sweet mound of almonds, raisins, It’s spiced with fennel and orange zest and tastes like soft-baked biscotti.

 

When the rain lulled, we biked closer to our destination for the next two nights and tucked in for a lunch at a nearby trattoria. We lucked out and found a local’s favorite in Trattoria Cesarina. The food was so good and the service friendly that we went there the next night for our final evening in Florence. We weren’t disappointed! Both times, the restaurant was lively and crowded with locals.

Radicchio flan, spaghetti with clams, salad with thinly sliced mushrooms and shaved parmesan, the inside of the radicchio flan
Radicchio flan; spaghetti with clams, simple salad with sliced mushrooms; the inside of the radicchio flan (ridiculously delicious!).