Friday, 31 August 2012

La Route du Vin d' Alsace - Bas Rhin

Before the autumn sneaks in, I'd like to share with you my traveling experiences through the French countryside. Our destination for this summer was Alsace, Lorraine and Luxembourg. (You can check out our route here)

Route du Vin,  as seen from Mont-Ste-Odile

Following the Route du Vin through small villages in the mountain valleys was our dream already for long time and this year we made it come true. We rented a cute cabrio and off we went.


The gate to the Route du Vin is actually Marlenheim, but we decided to make a little turn to the mountains before and went first to Dabo. On top of the sandstone formation you will find a small chapel and you can enjoy a beautiful view over the valley. The serpentine roads through little villages and mountainous forest are ideal for a motorbike trip and for sure we will come back once. But you can't complain, when the car rental upgrades you to a Mercedes SLK, or can you?

and its small chapel

After a short walk through Marlenheim in 35°C and a little refreshment, we went further to Molsheim and Obernai. You won't believe it but Molsheim is famous for cars!!! The young car designer Ettore Bugatti from Milan founded his factory 1909 in Molsheim, Alsace and became famous for his luxury sport cars. Today the factory is used for building plane parts, but the name Bugatti can be still found everywhere.

Where to eat in Obernai:
La Stub du Parc (169, Route d'Ottrott)


After the first glass of Alsace wine in the evening on the local square, we spent the following day exploring Strasbourg. Trying to escape a bit from the heat, we got our first overview on a boat trip and enjoyed the view from the water of the historic city and the new EU buildings, before we start our exploration on foot. 

me and La Petite France in the background
Where to eat in Strasbourg:
L'ami Schutz (1, Ponts-Couverts)
Le Clou (3, rue du Chaudron)
Le Pont Corbeau (21, quai Saint-Nicolas)
Le Tire-Bouchon (5, rue des Tailleurs-de-Pierre)
Chez Yvonne (10, rue du Sanglier)

Our final destination for the second day was Dambach-la-Ville, one of the smaller villages of the Route du Vin. We stayed on the beautiful family-owned vineyard Ruhlmann-Schutz and had immediately the chance to participate in a wine-tasting. I very much liked the friendly atmosphere and the little village where everyone greets you on the street. It has  also kept its authentic spirit.

From Mme Schutz, we also got a very good recommendation where to go for dinner: 
L'Arbre Vert (2, rue du Général de Gaulle) 
We had the Foie gras poêlé with apples and the Coq au Riesling with Spätzle accompanied with a regional Riesling, and as a desert a tarte aux Mirabelles and Eau de vie des Mirabelles. I guess this is where my hunt for mirabelles started...

Mme Schutz and me with our first treasures
 and the lovely flowers


I felt a bit pity when we left this lovely place in the next morning, but there was still so much to explore. So after we loaded the first treasures to our car and got the first time slightly concerned if a sport car has enough space for all the great things we might find on our way, we continued towards Barr. (Note to myself: a motorbike is even worth!!!)
view over Barr from the vineyards
According to my lovely man, Barr wins the price for old grannies with hats. We bumped into them at every corner. After a couple of clueless glances we found out that they all were painting aquarelles from the picturesque village.

So we let the ladies do their paintings and hopped back to our car to explore the Mont-Ste-Odile which hosts a convent. Again our route took us to serpentine roads in the mountains with amazing views.

and the view 
As you might have noticed, I love to cook, and I found in the local shop a very nice cooking book with the name "Découvrir les recette des chefs des Winstubs d'Alsace". It includes recipes of the 13 best winstubs (local traditional restaurants) which I mention here in my post. Of course we couldn't try all of them, but if you have a chance to check them out, I would say it's worth it.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

tarte aux mirabelles

I am just back from great holidays in Alsace, Lorraine and Luxembourg. But before I tell you more about it, I will make a typical tarte with yellow plums from that region. 

If you want to try it on your own, here comes the recipe...

list of ingredients

for the pastry:
250 g of flour,
125 g of butter,
5cl water

for the filling:
500 g fresh Mirabelles
50 g creme fraiche,
50 g sugar,
1 fresh egg,
1 bag vanilla sugar
10 g butter to grease the pan


1. Preheat the oven to 210 ° C/425 ° F. Wash the plums and cut them into halves.

2. Gently knead the flour and butter together while adding the water. Form a ball out of the dough and let it rest in a cool place for an hour or even better overnight. Brush a cake mold with butter and put the dough inside. Let it rest again in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.

3. For the filling mix eggs and sugar until it becomes a light yellow cream then add creme fraiche and the vanilla sugar. 

4. Place the fruit halves on the dough and pour the filling over the fruits. Bake about 40 minutes.

Enjoy warm or cold with a glass of Gewürztraminer from Alsace.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

ready to go!

So, the suitcase is nearly packed and tomorrow I am off to France! Alsace and Lorraine is the destination which means one week of nice little villages, a lot of sun (if we trust the weather forecast), good food and wine.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

target group men

I came across an interesting article about brands exploring their male clients and taking them more serious as an independent target group with own shops dedicated to men's wear. This doesn't seem so exciting at first glance, but from the architectural point of view, I was intrigued to find out what male interior design looks like.

The first example is the UGG for Men store in New York

The design elements feature a fusion of engineering, aviation, sailing and motorcycle culture. The decoration is quite minimalistic to not distract from the products. Highlights are rather set with functional objects, like for example the custom designed lights which resemble classic motorbike headlamps. 
The colour palette varies within earthy shades and the textures of natural stone, oiled oak and bomber jacket leather are rounding up the style.

The second example is the Jimmy Choo for Men store in London


The interior is elegant with some exotic highlights like the zebra skin carpet and the red leather chairs which remind me of old smoking rooms. Altogether the atmosphere reminds rather of a gentlemen's club than a store. But the message is clear, men shall relax and feel good.

But do men actually need their own retail environments? This doesn't mean just new interior design, but it would cover also the packaging and the perception of the brand. 

The target in architecture is sustainability which includes also the potential of serving different groups of people and being flexible. But how can we built sustainable and flexible when we forget that different groups of people have different perceptions and different likings?

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Scandinavian Chic by Malene Birger

I woke up today with the message from my lovely man sending me a picture of an outfit he liked. 
Funny enough I was holding the dress with the same pattern just two days ago in my hands, so I thought it's time for an update of Malene Birger's autumn winter collection.

spotted on Stockholm airport
The brand by Malene Birger comes from Denmark and is one of my favorites among the Scandinavians. But have a look yourself, I have collected some nice styles for you:

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The variety in the collection reaches from detailed evening dresses with lace, sequins and embroideries to elegant casual wear with a feminine touch. The choice of material is always luxury and the cuts elegant with a hint of Scandinavian understatement which is so typical for the North. 

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One of my favorite pieces is definitely the tiger pullover and the paisley dress in pure 60's style. But have also a look at the accessories. I just found an amazing "necklace" made of leather with a golden lion. You can see it in the second picture. 

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And as we are talking already about tiger and lions, there is more animal print in the collection to admire for example in bright blue. In general I like the use of bright colors for the autumn and in the current collection earthy shades are combined with a soft mint ,bright blue and yellow; just to brighten up your mood on a grey November day.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Boutique - where art meets fashion

As Helsinki is now design capital, there are some interesting exhibitions, one of them is just about to come: Boutique - where art meets fashion in the Amos Anderson Museum

According to the description "Boutique (...) is a wide-ranging multi-art form exhibition that fuses fashion with art. (...) Boutique is a total work of art with music and dance.


Boutique has been created in the spirit of collaboration and community. Five teams - each consisting of an artist and a designer - have created joint works of art. The teams are Paola Suhonen - Mikko Ijäs, Katja Tukiainen - Samu-Jussi Koski, Tero Puha - Teemu Muurimäki, Salla Salin - Timo Rissanen and Minna Parikka - Jani Leinonen.

And here are the dates: 17.8. - 12.11.2012

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

strictly for men by Gucci

For the new Gucci collection designer Frida Giannini found her inspiration in her passion for movies and the 70s. For once the movie "Total Eclipse" needs to be mentioned with Leonardo DiCaprio as the teenage poet Arthur Rimbaud. Another source of inspiration from the movie world is Austrian actor Helmut Berger who was very influential in lifestyle in the 1970s with his Middle European flourishes which now conquer the catwalk.



We see riding boots and equestrian trousers; dark, fin-de-siècle floral prints; tapestry travelling bags and silken tie prints used as a base for rich jacquards. But lets have a look on my favorite looks first!


The first looks are held in black, brown and blue shades. I have seen the bright dark blue in several collections for men and I do like it. Especially here I like how the velvet or silky shades contrast with the rich pattern and emphasize each other.


I also like the combination of elegant trousers in combination with rough leather or oversized wool knits. And the combination of green and blue shades is very nice. Once again I envy you guys for this great bags, leather or tapestry fabric. They give a good emphasize to the look.



And then once again come the shades of red...

Thursday, 2 August 2012

across the fields with Burberry

For Christopher Bailey, the title of his latest Burberry show, Town and Field, signified two worlds whose codes don't match. With the new fall collection he tried to built a unifying bridge based on contrasts. 

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Already for the pre-fall collection he found his inspiration in the pre-WWII thirties. In a very British manner the style was reflected in strict silhouettes, honest fabrics, and modest details. 

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The focus lies on tweedy tailoring. Jackets had harder, extended shoulders and nipped waists, sometimes with a bell peplum. Another key piece was a pencil skirt with a big diagonal ruffle.
The dark color palette accompanies the story: sage, bracken, lavender, charcoal, pewter.