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28 December 2009

NUTS! A tale of two bloggers



Several months ago I was lamenting the fact that I couldn’t find good pecans here in Belgium. Shortly thereafter I got an email from Mardi at Eat, Live, Travel, Write, offering to send me pecans in exchange for a certain type of Belgian Chocolate--Manons by Neuhaus. A good deal, I think!


At the time, I was traveling a lot, and when I got home Mardi was traveling. Last week, though, she was in Paris, a couple of hours from us by train. Now, some people might say that it was nuts to go to Paris just for some pecans. HA! I say they have never had really good pecans.


Last week the day finally arrived to make the grand exchange.


We arranged to meet at Angelina’s, on the Rue de Rivoli, at 3 pm. Dan and I bought tickets for the train which would get us to Paris in time to also do a little shopping and maybe have lunch with some friends.


Normally, it's an easy thing to do: train from our town at 7:30 am, Thalys (fast train) from Liege at 8:40, arrive in Paris at 11. Return by 6 pm train to Liege, home by 9 pm. But the day we had arranged to go there was snow and ice. The Thalys left Liege an hour late, and arrived in Paris TWO hours late! We missed lunch.


Did we care? Nope. Paris at Christmas is wonderful. The City of Lights puts on her special party clothes for Christmas. We walked around the Louvre and all the way up the Rue de Rivoli. We got to Angelina’s in time for hot chocolate with Mardi and her husband Neil and her friend Alicia. We weren't sure we'd be able to get home that night, but HECK - we were in Paris! Spending the night in Paris isn't too awful. Except for the no clean underwear thing. But we didn't care. We knew it would be ok whatever happened. A lot of people might say it was nuts to make a trip like that in that kind of weather. I say they must not be pecan lovers.



Over some pretty wicked hot chocolate, we made the big exchange: I brought Mardi her beloved Manons, along with some double truffles and a few pralines from La Maison Saive. For Neil and Alicia there were more chocolates, and cookie towers too!


I love Christmas!

Left to right: Mardi, Neil, Alicia, and Dan.


Mardi brought me my beloved pecans, as well as some maple syrup and some totally wicked vinegar. PLUS some lavender caramels. The only problem with those is that Dan knows about them--I have to share.


Isn’t it a blast to meet someone IRL that you know from the internet? This day was no exception. We had a great time with Mardi and Neil and Alicia, and before we knew it, it was time to go. Why, you’re wondering? Did we think our train would be on time? A lot of people might say that it was nuts to think our train might be on time. Hmm. I’d have to agree with them on that.


On our way back to the Metro we passed by Louvre, took some more photos, and made it back to the Gare du Nord in plenty of time for our train. Even if it had been on time we’d have been there in plenty of time. We’ll pass blessedly over the return trip by saying that the only good part was that by the time we got to our town that night the station was closed, so we didn’t have to pay for parking!


A lot of people might say that this day was too difficult, that the trains should have been on time, that the weather was no excuse. A lot of people on our trains WERE saying that, and a good deal more. To them I say:



Thank you, Mardi!



25 comments:

My Carolina Kitchen said...

For a southern girl who was raised with pecan trees on our property, I fully understand. There's just nothing like fresh nuts. Love the story - so much fun.
Sam

2 Stews said...

Kate...pecans are my favorite nut! I pick them out of a mixed nut assortment first.

What fun to meet Mardi in Paris! And the hot chocolate at Angelina's is the best...liquid dessert!!

I'll bring you nuts any day for chocolate ;-)) I fly to Paris, Brussels and London....

Happy New Year!

Diane

Maggie B said...

I do love pecans but brazil nuts are my faves and I can understand completely why you had to make the trip.
If you ever crave another hot chocolate at Angelina's just let me know. I would love a reason to go back there again.
I can be in Paris in two and a half hours!!
Maggie

zurin said...

how nice and exciting. I Love exchanges :))

Kate said...

Pecans are king! Well worth a trip...sounds like it got complicated but still turned out.

La Table De Nana said...

Great photos!! What's not to love? Paris! Nuts AND meeting an internet friend! You all look great! And how pretty is that name Mardi? First time I have heard of it:)

What a life you guys!!!

I can be in Paris in 10 years:)~

Sasha said...

Oh, Paris <3

Enjoy your pecans!

The Best Family said...

what a lovely day - and so jealous that you got to have hot chocolate in paris with mardi and neil!

food with style said...

HOW FUN, A FWS HOOK UP! darling pics, and how sweet~

Hungry Dog said...

Kate!! I love this post. What a fabulous trip, and I completely agree that's great fun to meet some of your virtual friends in real life. What a spectacular day, and how fun to do it around the holidays.

Bob said...

What a fun thing to do! I'd go to Paris for pecans. Of course, it would just be a convenient excuse. ;)

Kate at Serendipity said...

Sam, ME TOO! I used to climb the pecan tree to escape from my brothers...

Diane, you're on! Let me know when you'll be in Brux and I'll meet you with some chocs. Or Paris. I'd say London too, but the trains are iffy right now :-(

Maggie, that's about how long it normally takes me. We should arrange lunch! I"m serious.

Zurin, Kate, Sasha, it was really worth the trip.

Monique, I love her name too. As luck would have it, it was a mardi that we met. How cool is that? DOUBLE Mardi!

Best Family, aren't they nice?

Jain, YES! FWS Rocks!

Hungry Dog, next time you'll be there too.

Bob, it was so worth the trip. You'll come too next time, ok?

Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite said...

Such fun to meet you in real life too!!! Thanks so much for all the goodies - it's really made our Christmas special!

The Gypsy Chef said...

Hi Kate, What a wonderful day. I would have braved the train also. No reason to ever stay home as I see it.
My friend Tilla and I order pecans 10 pounds at a time. Shall I bring you more?
The pictures are lovely, all of you look so happy.
Happy new year,
Pam

Kitchen Butterfly said...

Fantastic Kate. It is amazing to finally meet people you've read online....and I would travel for less than pecans. Perfectly normal.Not to mention maple syrup....how blessed we are. I also am a pecan lover....from the heart. Stay well

Sally said...

What a fun day and what a great blog! So glad to have found you...

I have a friend who moved to Germany for a year, met an Italian, married him promptly and 30 years later is still there...
Must be something about that place!

~~louise~~ said...

Hi Kate!!! What a FUN post!!! So cool to actually meet in real life.

I do hope you will be preserving some of those pecans for Pecan Day in March. Heck, if you can, April is National Pecan Month. How about some Belgium Nanaimo Bars???

I expect to be all moved in to my new house by New Year's Eve. I'll be offline while the switching goes through. I do wish you a very Happy, Healthy and Safe New Year. I look forward to your culinary adventures in 2010. I'm so glad we "met." Cheers!!!

nightowlchef said...

Haha, it was "NUTS"!! That was corny, but delightful! You may be nuts, but that's what makes life worth living. Paris + pecans + new friends + giving gifts = one heck of a good time!

Gosh, your post makes me miss Paris so much...

Louise, how are Belgian Nanaimo bars different from Canadian ones? I JUST ate a homemade one, and it was peanutty delicious!!

Jane said...

Gosh, Kate! What a grand life you have there. I am envious of your wonderful travels. I've never yet met anyone who I've communicated with online, but perhaps someday I will. Sounds like you had a glorious trip. I love your posts!

:) Jane

lostpastremembered said...

That is the best story... how wonderful making an exchange in Paris... brilliant... Happy New Year!!!

Sweet and Savory said...

What a wonderful happening. It is great that you two got to meet. I love stories like this.

Junglefrog said...

Ooo you must have gone to Paris on the worst day of the year to travel by train, lol... I guess I haven't really had good pecans either as the only ones here are the salty ones in nutmixes..

Alicia said...

Hi Kate, It was so great to meet you and Dan at Angelina's in December and the chocolates and cookies were just delicious. I just finished the cookies last night and wanted to tell you how yummy they were! Hope life in Belgium is good and not too cold. Best, Alicia

sweden said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Happy Cook said...

I love peacans. It is ndeed difficult to find it here. But then i found out we get them in Delahaize here.
My sis always send me pecan from US as she lives there. And I put them in freezer.