Holiday Food Traditions Around the Globe

There are so many holiday food traditions enjoyed by those around the world. This week, we take a look at a handful of special ways that different cultures celebrate the holiday season:

Germany– Marzipan is a sweet treat that has been enjoyed for years during the holiday season by those in Germany. Commonly referred to as candy potatoes, marzipan is not only delightful, but also so easy to make!
Not to mention, we have the Germans to thank for the ever-popular advent calendars we see around this time of year. 

The Spruce Eat's German Christmas Candy
Image by: The Spruce Eats

Italy – It is common on Christmas Eve for Italians to ditch meat and instead serve a bounty of fish, also known as the Feast of the Seven Fishes. Eel is oftentimes served during the holiday meal as it is a common catch off of the Amalfi coast during the winter season. 

The Spruce Eat's Fried Eel
Image by: The Spruce Eats

Japan– Japan has practiced a long standing tradition of indulging on soba noodles every New Years Eve. Toshikoshi Soba, which translates to “New Year’s Eve Noodles” are meant to be slurped while reflecting and transitioning from one year into another. 

Just One Cookbook's Toshikoshi Soba
Image by: Just One Cookbook

The South– Also as a way to ring in the New Year, it is common for those in the South to serve up some black-eyed peas and collard greens. Greens represent paper money while the beans are symbolic for coins. This comfort food must be eaten on New Year’s Day for optimum luck the rest of the year. 

New York Times Cooking: Black-eyed Peas and Collard Greens
Image by: New York Times Cooking

Scandinavia– Sweden and Norway have a love for Cardamom as they consume anywhere from 18 to 30 times more of the spice per capita each year. With Cardamom being such a staple in their spice racks, it is common during the holiday season to see it featured in their dishes, especially their baked goods. Their Fyrstekake (a Cardamom-Almond tart) is the perfect Scandinavian holiday food.  

We at Etta+ Billie love cardamom as well! Our favorite spice is offered in our Grapefruit Cardamom line or our special edition holiday Ritual Coffee + Cardamom Soap!

Cafe Johnsonia's Fyrstekake (Norwegian Cardamom-Almond Tart)
Image by: Cafe Johnsonia

Holiday Gift Guides Featuring Etta+Billie!

We’ve been featured in some pretty sweet gift guides this holiday season. From foodie lovers to the eco-conscious, you’re sure to find something to please everyone on your list with some goodies from E+B. For all of your shopping needs, check out some of these gift guides featuring our products:

7×7– Who doesn’t love supporting their local retailers? The 7×7 has curated a list of local SF makers with some unique holiday gifts.

Loyale– Loyale’s gift guide features women-owned, ethical businesses in their guide this year. Our very own Cedarwood soap is one of their favorites!

Loyale's 2019 Gift Guide
Image by: Loyale Studio

Core 77– More gift ideas for the Locavore who loves to travel. Featuring our handy travel kit, perfect for all of your holiday traveling needs.

Parsnip– Parsnip’s list is perfect for those lovers of all things natural and a little self-indulgence. 

Parsnip's 2019 Ultimate Gift Guide
Image by: Parsnip

Brit + Co– We’ve all got that coffee addict in our life, and Brit+Co has the perfect list of gifts for them. Featuring 58 coffee-centric items from candles, t shirts, to our very own Mint+Coffee scrub. 

California.com A compilation of great gifts made from some California makers. 

Charliemadison– Our products make the best stocking stuffers and Charliemadison agrees! Their guide features useful gifts for almost anyone and includes our Bergamot Ginger Hand+Body wash.

Charliemadison's Originals Gift Guide 2019
Image by: Charliemadison Originals

Lucky Break– More stocking stuffers with beauty in mind featuring our wonderfully robust and moisturizing Cedarwood Soap

Where to Go? What to Eat? in San Francisco, CA with Perch

This week we asked Perch owner Zoel Fages a bit about his shop and some local tips when visiting San Francisco’s Glen Park neighborhood.

Perch owner Zoel Fages.

Tell us a bit about your shop:

Glen Park gift shop Perch's window display.

“Perch is a collection of everything I love: new, vintage and international. I had always thought in the back of my mind that I would love to open a shop.

After 20 years in my career at Gap, I was bored, and at the same time a shop in our new neighborhood was moving out and the landlord was looking for a new tenant. The stars aligned and we signed a lease just days before the market crashed.”

What do you love most about your area and how long have you been located there?

Gorgeous bag options at Perch SF.

“Perch has been in Glen Park for over 11 years. It is the only neighborhood I would consider having a shop. We are a small neighborhood that feels more like a village than neighborhood. I wanted a shop located in a place where I could get to know the community and be a part of it. If Glen Park had a pharmacy, there would be no reason to leave. It has everything you need.”

Is your area known for anything in particular?

Apothecary shelf at Glen Park gift shop Perch.

“Glen Park is primarily known for Glen Park Canyon and the Bart stop. It is a part of San Francisco that most people do not even know exists. I certainly did not until I moved to the nearby neighborhood of Sunnyside.”

Describe your favorite places for food/drink in your area:

Holding a warm cup of coffee.

Almost any type of food can be found in Glen Park. The highlights are:

Gialina:  the best thin crust pizza in town, seriously! They also have great salads, pasta, and meat dishes. A must if visiting Glen Park. 

Higher Ground:  A crepe place that has been in the ‘hood over 30 years. The owner also owns a sweet Italian spot, Manzoni. He works both places every day – I don’t know how he does it.

Le P’tit Laurant: A small corner French bistro with classic French cuisine.

La Cornetta: My favorite taqueria! They offer the staples, but always delicious.

Where to Go? What to Eat? in Bend, OR. with Root Adorned

This week we asked Root Adorned owner Erin Hasler a bit about her beautiful shop and some local tips when visiting Bend.

Root Adorned owner Erin Hasler inside of her Bend, Oregon shop.

Born and raised in Bend, Erin is honored to bring her unique perspective to the community that she so dearly loves. After facing breast cancer as a young mother and wife, Erin discovered a new zest for life. She sold her hand crafted jewelry line and sought out a new career that would enable her to travel the world, support artisans and connect to community. It was from this dream that RootAdorned was born. Erin is a firm believer that life is short and you shouldn’t waste a moment of our precious time on Earth. 

Tell us a bit about your shop.

An inside look into Root Adorned, with plants hanging above and a variety of products carefully curated below.

“Root Adorned is a home goods experience that brings the very best treasures from around the world to your home. Our goal is to help you create the nest of your dreams. A home that feels like the perfect sanctuary to rest and revive. We believe that surrounding yourself with beauty has an incredible effect on the soul. Our homes should reflect the beauty that is within all of us; each as unique as the individuals we know and love.” 

Moroccan blankets hanging on a wall, plants inside of artisan ceramics, stationary cards

“We scour the globe to find one of a kind treasures for your nest. Swoon worthy vintage Moroccan rugs that are patina’d with time and love, hand selected from deep within the souks and sure to be family heirlooms for generations to come. Vintage handiras, Moroccan wedding blankets crafted with love, intention and prayers for a beautiful life. House plants so stunning they double as art.”

What do you love most about your area and how long have you been located there?

The sun setting over an unpopulated field of trees and bushes.

“I’m a second generation Bendite, which is rare these days. I’ve lived in other cities but I always came home to the high desert. I am my happiest when I’m out in in nature and we’re so blessed to have a bounty of natural beauty around us in Bend.”

Is your area known for anything in particular?

A lake where people are swimming under a partially cloudy sky, a large mountain range sits snow-capped in the background.

“Bend, Oregon is an outdoor recreation mecca. We have some of the best trail systems, high mountain lakes, skiing and snowboarding, rock climbing, white water rafting and mountain biking. It’s also become a bit of a beer haven; last time I checked we had 32 local breweries! Although ironically, I’m allergic to gluten and can’t drink beer :).”

Describe your favorite places for food/drinks in your area:

My favorite restaurants/bars are:

Breakfast: Cafe Sintra in downtown for a delicious breakfast/brunch with a Portuguese influence. D&D for the local dive bar eggs & bacon.

Lunch: Sunny Yoga Kitchen!!! They’re our neighbors, but they’re also the best lunch spot in town and the sweetest women you could ever know! 

DinnerJoolz for Lebanese with a delicious twist. Barrio for the best tacos and their Don Chipotle margarita. Spork for fantastic, globally inspired faire and the raddest ambience.

Drinks: Velvet in downtown Bend for fantastic cocktails, great ambience and it’s owned by a really awesome couple. D&D, it’s my favorite dive bar and the perfect place to have a low key drink with your friends.

Where to Go? What to Eat? in San Francisco with Legion

This week, we asked Legion San Francisco owner Sydney Pfaff the local hotspots in her neighborhood.

LEGION is a shop and art gallery located in San Francisco. The shop features artful goods for your home and body, from candles to ceramics, art & design goods. Art shows hosted at the shop feature both up-and-coming and established artists. 

What do you love most about your area and how long have you been located there? 

Legion has been in Lower Nob Hill now for almost a year, prior to which we were in Chinatown for four and a half years. Sutter Street, our current street, is wonderful — lots of great neighboring businesses, particularly art galleries and amazing restaurants. I lived a block away from the space when I first moved here in 2003, so I have a soft spot for the area.

Is your area known for anything in particular?  

Our block is probably most notable for Liholiho! It’s one of the best (in my opinion) and most popular restaurants in the city. But we’re also super close to Union Square, so the area is constantly filled with both tourists and residents. 

Describe your favorite sights and activities in your area:

PHOTO FROM FLICKR

We’re in such a central location, so close to many different neighborhoods, and I’m fortunate enough to get to walk to and from work every day! There are a few galleries nearby that I love: Hashimoto ContemporarySpoke Art, and Chandran GalleryHuntington Parkis a great neighborhood park. I bring my two dogs to work every day, so we usually stop through their on our walk home.

What are your favorite places for food/drinks in your area?

Photo from Del Popolo

Del Popolois another one of my favorite restaurants — best pizza — and Royaleis one of my favorite little local bars. Other good spots that I frequent are Gen Gen Room(the downstairs bar at Liholiho), HogwashPCH, and Stookey’s Club Moderne.

Where to Go? What to Eat? Manhattan, NY with Magpie

Manhattan is known for many things—theater, shopping, dining, sightseeing, you name it—making it a very popular spot for both visitors and residents. With everything New York City has to offer, it can be overwhelming knowing where to start. Where should you go? What should you see? Where should you eat?

Sylvia Parker, owner of Magpie and a native New Yorker, has you covered! Sylvia’s shop—located in the Upper West Side of Manhattan—offers unique, beautiful, and practical gifts that are frequently handmade, organic, and locally made and designed. “We’ve been on the Upper West Side of Manhattan for six years,” says Sylvia. “We love our neighborhood for its mix of people, our proximity to two wonderful parks (Central and Riverside), the cultural richness, and old-time architecture.”

river and manhattan skyline

Where to Go?

American Museum of Natural History

Just a few blocks away from Magpie lies the American Museum of Natural History, a city landmark with world-famous exhibits. “I’ve always loved the old-fashioned dioramas and the giant blue whale suspended from the ceiling there,” Sylvia remarks. One of the largest museums in the world, the AMNH offers spectacles and exhibits for children and adults alike.

Central Park Rambles

A wooded area within Central Park, the Rambles are a restored area of the park that have been fitted with nature trails, gardens, and bird feeders. Located between 73rd and 78th streets, the Rambles offer a beautiful outdoor space full of both native and exotic plant species as well as views of a pond where visitors take out rowboats when the weather is nice.

Shakespeare Garden

Also in Central Park is the Shakespeare Garden, located near the Delacorte Theatre, the site of the annual “Shakespeare in the Park” series held in the summer. A less-frequented part of the park, this serene and picturesque part of the park is perfect for a relaxing stroll on its winding paths. Full of seasonal flowers, the garden is particularly lush in the spring and is a popular spot for outdoor weddings.

Museum Mile

A fifteen-minute walk across the park takes you to Museum Mile, which features one block after another of incredible museums including the Guggenheim, Cooper Hewitt, Frick, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, “which I consider one of the best (if not the best) museums in the world,” Sylvia adds.

Riverside Park

With four miles of park, from 72nd to 158th street along the Hudson River, Riverside Park is frequently considered one of the best waterfront parks in Manhattan. With sunset views, a bike path, outdoor cafes in the summer, a skate park, and other sports courts and fields; this park is a must-see when visiting the city.

food and drinks

What to Eat?

Zabars and Fairway Market

Two longtime favorites, Zabar’s and Fairway Market are both famed for their selections of cheese, coffee, and foodstuffs from around the world.

Orwashers, Maison Kayser, and By the Way

“Orwashers and Maison Kayser have particularly delicious bread and pastries,” notes Sylvia. “I also like a bakery called By the Way that sells homey gluten-free and dairy-free cakes and cookies.”

Murray’s Sturgeon

Murray’s Sturgeon, a gourmet deli, sells everything from dried fruit to smoked fish and has “the sweetest counter service ever.”

Amelie Wine Bar

A French bistro that was recently cited by Michelin, Amelie has phenomenal brunch and dinner menus as well as a wine list that is updated daily.

Mermaid Inn and Pizzeria Sirenetta

Mermaid Inn and Pizzeria Sirenetta are sister restaurants that both have terrific happy hour food. Pizzeria Sirenetta serves Neapolitan pizzas and rustic Italian fare while the Mermaid Inn is known for their seafood.

Jin Ramen

Another good spot for happy hour food, Jin Ramen offers delicious Japanese food and—of course—multiple kinds of ramen to choose from.

Shake Shack

The second Shake Shack to have ever opened its doors, this Upper West Side staple is popular among tourists, residents, and folks who work in the neighborhood. “There is always a long line outside for the burgers at Shake Shack.”

Amorino and Van Leeuwen

It’s also a good neighborhood for ice cream lovers,” Sylvia notes. “Amorino sells Italian-based gelato, while Van Leeuwen is local and features vegan ice cream in its shop.”

Where to Go? What to Eat? in Newport, RI with Kristen Coates

Newport, a gorgeous coastal city located in New England’s Rhode Island, is famous for its vast harbors filled with sailboats and yachts as well as its historic mansions, several of which have been converted into museums. The city has one of the highest concentrations of colonial homes in the nation in its downtown Historic District as well as its Gilded Age mansions, which were summer “cottages” built by mid-19th century wealthy southern planters looking to escape the heat of the south. But Newport has so much more to offer than sailing, mansions, and museums!

Kristen Coates, owner of a an arts and home goods store in Newport, grew up in Newport, RI and—after having lived in Los Angeles and New York for more than 15 years—currently resides in the beautiful city. Kristen shared some of her favorite activities, places to visit, and things to eat with us so your next trip to Newport can be filled with great sights, delicious food, and fun!

Newport RI
Photo by: Christian Harder for The Wall Street Journal Off Duty

Music Festivals
During July and August Newport hosts both the Folk Festival and the Jazz Festival along with the Live Local Music Festival, a grassroots indie arts and music festival started by a local photographer.

Cliff Walk
Cliff Walk is a world famous 3.5-mile walking trail that winds along the coast behind the mansions and gives an outstanding view of the water. This public access trail is unique in that it combines ocean views, stunning architecture, and rugged shorelines.

Newport Art Museum
The Newport Art Museum is a museum and art school located in downtown Newport that features changing exhibitions and art classes year-round. The museum’s exhibitions and collections reflect Rhode Island’s cultural heritage and contemporary art scene by featuring artists with ties to RI.

Redwood Library and Athenaeum
The Redwood Library is the oldest lending library that still occupies its original building in the United States. Designated a national historic landmark in 1962, the building also houses antique sculptures, paintings, furniture, and rare books.

Third & Elm Press
The oldest operating printing press in the country, Third & Elm Press, is also located in Newport. Visitors can view and purchase woodblock prints, limited edition books, and note cards and even watch the process of them being made by artist Ilse Buchert Nesbitt.

What to Eat?

White Horse Tavern
“The White Horse Tavern is a personal favorite come fall with the crackling fireplaces and the stories of haunted dining rooms and the bar!” One of the oldest taverns in the country, established in 1673, this place offers delicious food and drinks in a cosy historic setting.

Thames Street Kitchen
TSK is a wonderful farm-to-table restaurant that focuses on fresh seasonal and local ingredients. “The family that owns this place also owns the epic burger restaurant, Mission, and Winner Winner where they serve—you guessed it—chicken.”

Other Locally Owned Restaurants
Newport has dozens of locally owned restaurants including the Clarke Cooke House as well as Diego’s and Perro Salado (both excellent for Mexican food and margaritas). Stoneacre Brasserie has the best brunch, Pasta Beach for authentic Italian, and newly opened Bar and Board has cheese and charcuterie boards perfect for sharing over delicious wine

Additional Tips

Kristen notes her favorite Newport sights are along the coast and at the beaches. There are coves filled with soft-to-the-touch powdery white sand and waves perfect for surfing. Other beaches have great walking areas full of various flora and fauna. One of the best parts about Newport is being on the water and sailing around the island. There is a reason Newport is famous for it!

“The quality of life and the beauty surrounding the island,” Kristen remarks, “there is no other place like it in the world.”

In the Kitchen: Fall Picnic Recipe Roundup

It happens every year: Summer goes by in the blink of an eye and it’s over before we know it. But just because fall is quickly approaching doesn’t mean we have to cease all outdoor fun and hide inside until spring rolls around. Autumn weather offers its own charming ambiance for outdoor activities, from hiking and camping to leaf peeping and picnicing.

fall squash

Don’t let the end of summer stop you from enjoying the outdoors. Instead, pack some of these great fall dishes, grab a picnic blanket (and maybe a sweater), and enjoy it!

etta + billie lip balm fall

Nutella Swirled Pumpkin Bread
Bacon, Fig, and Arugula Sandwiches
Slow Cooker Lentil and Ham Soup
Apple Cabbage Slaw
Caramel Apple Cider
Lumberjack Julep

Where to Go? What to Eat? Portland, Maine Travel Guide with Fitz and Bennett

We’re all familiar with Oregon’s largest city, Portland, known for its hip culture and thriving art, theater, and music scenes. But did you know Maine also offers its own Portland, a smaller city with river and mountain views as well as gorgeous Victorian-era houses, working fishing wharves, and converted warehouses with restaurants and shops?

Lauren, the owner of Fitz and Bennett Home—a thoughtfully curated home decor and gifts store located in Portland, ME—shares some of her favorite places to go, items to eat, and things to do in Portland. In addition to offering the standard attractions that come to mind when people think of Maine—great seafood, a beautiful coastline, and stunning lighthouses—Portland is also a popular spot for food and beer. “We have amazing restaurants in every food genre you can imagine,” totes Lauren.

Lauren’s storefront, situated in the historic Old Port of Portland, is just off of the beaten (and tourist ridden) path but still amongst the scenic cobblestones and historic architecture, and has a waterfront view right outside her door!

Portland Maine

Where to Go?

Willard Beach
Located in South Portland on the bay, Willard Beach is a moderately sized beach (so you don’t feel like you’re walking forever to find a spot, but also aren’t sitting right on top of other beachgoers) that offers calmer waters, slightly warmer water temperatures, and a dog-friendly environment before 8:00am during the beach season. “We love to bring our pooch down for a little play—dogs galore!”

Nature Trails
Portalnd, ME has a number of trails full of stellar views and calming natural surroundings. Some of these include Wolfe’s Neck in Freeport, Mackworth Island in Casco Bay, and the Eastern Promenade. With food trucks frequently parked along the top of the Promenade, you won’t go hungry during your hike!

Fitz and Bennett Home

What to Eat?

“The best activities (and almost all of them here) involve a good view and good food.”

The Green Elephant
An all vegetarian restaurant located on Congress Street, The Green Elephant is a favorite of Lauren’s. “My carnivorous husband loves it there too!”

Novare Res
A hidden away beer mecca, Novare Res has a great outdoor patio with games and picnic tables, making it a perfect stop for beer aficionados and families alike.

Local 188
Local 188 is the perfect spot for an intimate dinner or stellar brunch.The decor is reminiscent of being inside of a Toulouse-Lautrec painting.   

Silly’s
Slightly outside of the downtown area (but still on the peninsula), Silly’s is a great stop for all kinds of food options. Vegan selections are just as plentiful as meat-heavy dishes, and beer is served in tin mugs. Silly’s also has outdoor seating and funky decor throughout.

Fitz and Bennett Home - Etta + Billie Products

Additional Tips

Lauren recommends visiting Portland on months that shoulder the busy seasons; mid-June and early September. “Most of the tourists are gone and you’ll feel more like a local.”

There are also countless hotels in town to choose from during your stay in addition to very unique Airbnbs, so there’s no need to feel like you’re beholden to the big chain hotels.

Lauren’s overall advice for those wanting to visit Portland, ME? “Explore beyond the most popular places in Portland that have been written about over and over again. They are great and get press for a reason, but there are also a ton of other smaller fish here that are equally as amazing, so explore a bit!”

Fitz and Bennett Home