Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Afternoon Tea at Coquette Patisserie -- Cleveland, OH



Happy Mardi Gras! I wanted to get this post in before the end of February and it's fitting, because Coquette Patisserie has King Cake today. 

On February 19th Dave and I attended Afternoon Tea at Coquette Patisserie -- this event required registration in advance and it sold out so if you see an Afternoon Tea pop up on Coquette Patisserie's Facebook page make sure to register yourself! Afternoon Tea is an event hosted semi-frequently at Coquette Patisserie -- a quick glance at their past Facebook events showed a December, January, and February tea. However, this is not a monthly event (yet), so if you'd like to attend one keep an eye out and then make sure to book a table.




Afternoon Tea for February consisted of a prix fixe menu which included "a tea sandwich, quiche, French macaron, opera cake, cheesecake and fresh baked brioche with jam & compound butter, and a pot of tea or a french press of coffee."





When we arrived we discovered that we could order Tea for Two and get a slight discount by sharing a pot of tea. We decided to go that route, because we didn't need two tea pots or two french presses along with our tea time samples.




Our tea selection was the Peach Peony made with Organic White Peony (Bai Mu Dan) with peach:


  



Our food samples arrived in two portions -- the savory samples and the dessert samples. Larger portions of all of the samples were available for purchase. With the Tea for Two, we were able to get double the samples, so you'll see everything times two on our plate.




Tea Sandwich: Made with prosciutto, fresh cucumber, and herb cream cheese on rye. We were able to order ours without the prosciutto.




Quiche: Made with local roasted beet and garlic.




Baby Brioche: Served with honey-thyme butter, pepper jelly, and peach jam.




Its difficult for me to say what my favorite savory sample was -- I really enjoyed both the quiche and the baby brioche with the thyme-butter and pepper jelly. I don't know if I even sampled the sweeter jelly, because the thyme-butter/pepper jelly combination was too good.

Dave liked the layers of flavor and texture that were revealed in each bite of the cucumber sandwich.

For our sweet samples Dave selected a vanilla cardamom macaroon and I selected a chocolate cream macaroon.


Opera: Sponge cake soaked in coffee syrup layered with chocolate ganache, and coffee buttercream. 



Chevre Cheesecake: Mackenzie Cremery goat cheese, served with ginger-apricot compote.




Macaron with Chocolate Cream Ganache. 


Vanilla Cardamom Macaroon. 




We thoroughly enjoyed the February Afternoon Tea at Coquette Patisserie. It was a relaxing hour, we knew going in that the food would be absolutely amazing and for the price we paid everything was well worth it. I don't think this is an event that we'll book every time it's available, because travelling to Cleveland is a bit of a haul for us, but it's certainly something we would attend again.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Kurentovanje (Slovenian Winter Festival) -- Cleveland, OH


I had another blog post planned for today, but Kurentovanje was so much fun yesterday I needed to share everything that happened at the event. I found out about the Cleveland Kurentovanje event on Facebook earlier this week and prior to seeing the event shared by Cleveland Night Market. We went into this event kind of blind, we had no idea how to pronounce Kurentovanje (we know now!) and did no research outside of looking at the Facebook event the Slovenian National Home created.

There was a schedule of events available that told the history of Kurentovanje which originated in Ptuj, Slovenia about 55 years ago. The event always takes place before Mardi Gras and in Slovenia Kurentovanje draws 100,000 people yearly with 800 Kurents marching in the procession.

The Kurents wear sheepskin garments and have a chain of huge bells hanging around their waist. The clanging of the bells helps chase away winter. The Kurents also have a furry hat with ribbons, and a long red tongue. Completing the ensemble is a club carried in the Kurent's left hand.

We arrived at the Slovenian National Home at 11:00 and as promised there was plenty of parking, I hate parking in Cleveland and love when there is ample, easily accessible parking. There were people outside of the Slovenian National Home to direct us on which doors to use and when we stepped inside, there were already quite a few people.





Dave and I set-out in search of coffee and ended up at one of the bars which is kind of the same thing. Dave tried a Lasko and I ordered mulled wine (not pictured). 





Colorful Kurentovanje signs were all over the Slovenian National Home. It was time to celebrate!
  


The event was cash only and we did not have enough to purchase a Slivo Shot, but there's always next year.


In the main hall there were quite a few vendors ready to get everyone in the Kurentovanje spirit. We took these Kurent photos at the Slovenska Pristava (a private club for Slovenian Americans in Geneva, Ohio) booth.






Also on site was the Pierogi Lady, pastry vendors, sandwich vendors, clothing vendors, etc.

Downstairs there was a bocce tournament going on, Dave wanted to spend as much time as possible watching the bocce tournament.








There was also a kids craft area set-up downstairs. These two budding artists worked really hard at home to create adorable (and pretty accurate) Kurent masks. 



Eventually I coaxed Dave back upstairs where we ordered a krofe, which is a traditional Slovenian donut which has not been filled. After we ate our krofe, it was time to make our way outside to get ready for the parade. 



Not to be confused with the two days before Kurentovanje which were unseasonably warm, the cold weather was out in full force yesterday for the parade down St. Clair Ave. 




 
Many community groups took part in the parade displaying their community and Slovenian pride.



  

  
  



   
  
     







  

  


  


The grand finale of the parade was the Kurents coming down the street to a delightful clanging of their bells.










My goal this week was to touch a Kurent, I told this man it would make my life infinitely better if I could have a photo with a Kurent. It worked, my mood was much improved after my Kurent photo. The red carnation I'm holding was passed out during the parade and is the national flower of
Slovenia.







When Krampus is afoot, you also take a picture with Krampus. Krampus is the European companion to St. Nicholas. Rather than bad boys and girls receiving coal, they receive a punishment from Krampus.  






Cleveland Kurentovanje was expecting 8,000-10,000 people to attend yesterday's festivities. After the parade the party headed back inside with more food, music, and dancing. Followed by an after party down the street at Sterle's Country House until 10:00 p.m. We had another event to attend down the street, so we left Kurentovanje around 1:00.

We had more fun at Kurentovanje than we've had in a long time. I am marking our calendar so that we can attend next year with a group of friends. On Friday the first ever Cleveland Kurent Jump was held at a Cleveland brewery to kick-off Kurentovanje and we will be attending that next year as well if it's held again. Everyone we spoke with was so friendly and welcoming. We had a blast and cannot wait to attend the 2018 festivities.

Ohio Wanderlust Rating for Cleveland Kurentovanje: