Merry Christmas & Happy New Year
The love for baking and fond memories of her Oma Doris from Stuttgart made Alina Tompert launch Zimt Bakery in 2020 during the pandemic. Growing up in California she happily joined her mom in the yearly family tradition of backing “Plätzchen” during Christmas season from an early age on. However, she was particularly impressed by the package of Christmas Cookies that her Oma Doris sent from Germany each year for the holidays. It contained an assortment of about 20 beautiful, unique, lovingly crafted “Guadsle” (the Swabian expression for cookies).
After her grandma’s passing, Alina turned to baking from the recipes that she inherited from Oma Doris: “I am thrilled to present the lineup of Zimt Guadsle for the traditional holiday baking, and my own mash-up of modern flavors in our seasonal line up of Plätzchen”.
Zimt Bakery specializes in Plätzchen and Guadsle, the former being Zimt’s modern seasonal take and the latter being Zimt’s traditional holiday cookies rooted in Oma Doris’ recipes. Over the holidays, Zimt Bakery will offer also homemade Lebkuchen Hearts which are customizable with a name or message. And even our furry friends can join in the delight of freshly baked cookies. Zimt Bakery also makes Plätzchen for Paws![Read more…] about Zimt Bakery ships Christmas Plätzchen in California
The holidays are usually a great time for some cozy family movie nights. And this year with so many restrictions in place due to the pandemic even more so; movies can transport us into a different world and let us escape these strange times for a good two entertaining hours or more, of course, if you like to binge-watch.
Justine Barda, CEO of telescopefilm.com, a company that promotes international films to American audiences, teamed up with German Films this year to create a German Films microsite on Telescope. This site offers audiences a database with an abundance of German films and series with information about where to watch them online in the USA.
Check out telescopefilm.com/germanfilms and build your own holiday list today. There are many ways to go about finding the perfect movie. Either choose the search function and look for a particular movie or get some ideas on what to watch by checking out the recommendations at Telescope’s Spotlight, which presents a new themed international film selection every week.
Either way, you can’t go wrong. Be it a movie from the wide international film selection or one of more than 30,000 German films. The choice is yours.
Here are a couple playlists for certain search terms we tried:
Just get the popcorn and you’re ready for the show! Enjoy!
What’s Oktoberfest Time without some real Yodeling?!
Welcome to a new edition of our XPAT Spotlight Interviews. Today we’ve invited Kathrin Jakob, a real “Müncher Kindel” by birth and ‘Yodel Star in Hollywood’ to share with us not only her story but also some Oktoberfest vibes. Born in Munich, Kathrin grew up in Lower Bavaria, in a village called “Wallersdorf”. She now lives in South Pasadena, CA.
What inspired you to move to California?
Before I moved here I studied Vocal and Piano at a vocational school for music in Regensburg, Germany. Some of my teachers there had studied music in the US and that planted the seed in me that I could do something similar. I graduated with a degree but didn’t feel “finished” in any way and I started researching music colleges in the US. I visited Los Angeles to tour two schools with my mom and immediately fell in love with the city, the weather, and the people. That same year I moved to LA to continue my studies at the Los Angeles College of Music in Pasadena.[Read more…] about Bavarian Yodeler in Hollywood – Meet Kathrin Jakob, Bringing Authentic Oktoberfest Vibes to California
Invite Oktoberfest into your home. The perfect time for a Bavarian Pork Roast.
It’s Oktoberfest time, only that the traditional Oktoberfest in Munich won’t open its doors this year due to the worldwide pandemic.
We didn’t want this to deter us from enjoying some Oktoberfest vibes, however, and decided to celebrate with a Bavarian Schweinsbraten or also called Krustenbraten; simply a pork roast with a deliciously crunchy, crackling pork rind.
Most of the necessary ingredients are some we usually have at home already, like onions, carrots, and of course beer – lots of it. The challenge you might run into is to get the right cut of pork, particularly one with the skin on! We found the latter to be quite a challenge.
The perfect cut – Boneless pork shoulder with skin
After calling the best butchers in town, including some from which restaurants purchase their meat, we learned that we could get a hold of a pork shoulder but only with the bone still in and definitely no skin. One of the butchers even told us that unless we knew some independent, smaller butcher personally we will have a hard time finding a pork roast with the skin on. “It’s just not produced that way here and we all more or less buy from the same meat plant or big suppliers”.
Aha! Well, our next call was to a German butcher in town. They had to have what I needed, no?
Unfortunately, they didn’t, at least not on the day I wanted it. The lady however gave me a great tip: “Go try Stater Brother’s. Their party roast”. Really!?
How right she was! Stater Brother’s Party Roast fulfilled at least one crucial part. It’s a pork shoulder with the bone still in but with the skin on. Yay!! My crackling pork rind was saved.
How to get the famous Schweinebratenkruste = crackling pork rind
Now I had my meat and it was time to start preparing our feast.
The easiest way to give your pork roast’s skin the neatly shaped diamond pattern is to cut it after having put the roast upside down, skin first, into a pot of boiling hot water . Keep the water low so that you immerse only the skin and keep it there for about 15 minutes. After that take the meat out, tap it dry with a piece of kitchen paper and you are ready to get to work. Your knife will glide effortlessly through the pork skin to give it the desired diamond pattern.
Preparing for a hearty beer sauce – Use lots of dark beer
To get the yummy beer sauce that tastes so delicious with potato dumplings, have a few bottles of beer ready to use.
After you prepared the pork skin (see above), your roast is ready to be put in the oven. Have the oven preheated to about 350 F, season the pork roast on all sides with salt pepper, sweet paprika and cumin, put it in a roaster, and up it goes into the oven with the prepared pork skin facing up.
After the meat has roasted for about 10 minutes, place the onions, leek and carrots around the roast and add the first bottle of beer. Make sure the liquid is about one to two inches high in your roaster, especially covering all the vegetable. (Burnt onions make the beer sauce bitter!)
Keep the pork roast in the oven for about 1 1/2 hours while routinely adding more beer to the liquid.
Finally, to get the beer sauce’s smooth consistency, pour the liquid into a strainer once the roast has finished cooking. You will need the help of a fork to mash and push the vegetable mixture through the strainer. And, voilà, there is your savory beer sauce!
Don’t forget the Knödel & Brezen – Potato Dumplings & Pretzels, a MUST
In the meantime prepare the Knödel, the potato dumplings that make your traditional Schweinbraten- pork roast dish authentic. I didn’t make my Knödel from scratch, I have to admit, but used the “Rohe Klösse” mix, usually from Knorr. In this case, I only found it from Kartoffelland.
The last touch is a Bavarian Brezen (pretzel), which can’t be missing from a feast like this. If you are lucky you will have a German store near you that can help you stock up on this Bavarian treat. You can never have enough of this German staple food in your home anyway!
Your Bavarian Oktoberfest Pork Roast is ready. Sit back, relax, and enjoy your feast with a nice cool glass of beer!
Ingredients for the traditional Bavarian Schweinebraten – Pork Roast
Let us know in the comments how your Schweinebraten turned out in case you tried this recipe.
Images: All food images ©CaliforniaGermans; Oktoberfest lettering image©pixabay.com
The German American School Association (GASA) is pleased to announce that again this year, the Los Angeles Turners, Inc. Scholarship Fund is awarding two Scholarships, based on merit and financial need, for the 2020 – 2021 school year.
This scholarship program is designed to assist children at least 6 years or older in their endeavor to learn German at one of GASA’s Saturday Schools.
The deadline for submitting completed APPLICATIONS is August 31, 2020. Incomplete or falsified information will invalidate the application.
The chosen recipient(s) will be notified by September 8, 2020.
All details can be found on the form, please read carefully.
The atoms of my soul
The old familiar melodies
of almost forgotten lyrics
like a whisper
on my lips.
Memories of traditions
and little things that are different,
in this place,
Are you unsure if you can travel to Germany this summer? What about your partner, a US citizen? Can he/she enter Germany? What about quarantine? How about leaving the USA if one is a non-immigrant visa holder? Can I return to the US after visiting family in Germany?
Questions and more questions. Covid-19 has for sure much impacted our lives these days. Apart from social distancing and shelter in place orders, it has also greatly impacted travel!
We have invited Petra Korn from pKorn Law, who has offices in Berlin and Los Angeles, to give us some advice as well as clarify some immigration issues regarding naturalization and green card applications that have been put on hold during the Covid-19 shutdown.
Find out what you should know about traveling in terms of visa issues and immigration, and much more in our video.
If you have any additional immigration questions or would like to see a completely different topic discussed here, please contact us and let us know!
Notes: Expired green card holders, in the process of naturalization, are still legally in the country and their permanent resident status is still in place as long as they stay in the US!
Helpful Links: USCIS Response to COVID-19 https://www.uscis.gov/about-us/uscis-response-covid-19 (Naturalization notices & other important facts); Special Situation Page https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/special-situations ; USCIS Field Offices https://www.uscis.gov/about-us/uscis-office-closings ; Germany- Federal Foreign Office-Traveler advice https://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/en/einreiseundaufenthalt/coronavirus ; Tool to find information on relevant public health office in Germany to inquire regarding 2-week quarantine https://tools.rki.de/plztool/ ;
BMI – Information for Germany https://www.bmi.bund.
Link for US citizens returning from or transiting through Europe: https://travel.state.
General travel/Coronavirus information: https://faq.
Screening & Quarantine upon returning to the US (Department of Homeland Security): https://www.dhs.
LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The information on this website, within this article and within the video is for general information purposes and entertainment only. Nothing on this site, article, or video should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. Readers of this website should contact their attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular legal matter. Any links to other third-party websites are only for the convenience of the reader, and user of the website.
How have you been holding up during these weeks of sheltering in place?
I have to admit, it wasn’t such an easy transition for me at first, even though I thought I had the least of changes compared to anyone else in my family. Finally, after a few weeks in, I realized that what was slowly getting to me was the lack of a routine that would keep me sane and rooted.
At the start of the Covid-19 restrictions around the second week of March when sheltering in place became the new normal, I found myself in the kitchen almost 24/7. It was overwhelming perhaps also frustrating, but someone in my family was almost always on the edge of starvation!
When I wasn’t cooking, I was ‘hunting’ for food and toilet paper (!) at the local stores – an activity that could easily cause mere anxiety given the feeling of scarcity it emitted when looking at empty shelves that used to be full of pasta, rice, beans, flour and more. It was a picture I had never imagined I would encounter in the United States.
Back at home, apart from being the cook on call, I also turned into the family hairstylist, accidental school counselor, and I tried my luck at Ayurvedic cooking, since the family decided that vegan is the way to go now.
And…at the end of the day, I just longed for the now seemingly simple days of pre-Covid-19 that had regular hours for work and school and daily school drop off and pick up times were planned for ahead of time. Even spending hours at soccer training and driving to all kinds of other school events, and the fact of never really being home just sounded so inviting now!
Battling to turn into a somewhat exhausted, tense superwoman overnight, I realized I needed to reclaim some balance in my life. So I implemented some changes to bring order into this whole new chaos and the benefits and results have been rewarding, not only for myself but for the whole family.
Now my new routine includes daily yoga sessions, happening online, that even induce my husband sometimes to participate, although reluctantly. Meditation practice is as much part of the new routine as some scheduled family time, where we all try to meet up together once a day after working, learning, and socializing on Zoom all day long. (You need to give these eyes a break sometimes!). And, I managed that everyone in the family understood that the restaurant called “kitchen” is not always open. That was challenging!
But, what can I say, I’ve started to like my new day’s schedule now. I see new possibilities in situations that before just made me feel stressed out. Therefore, our family is more relaxed and laughter finds its way even into some tense situations.
Needless to say… the sudden change of lifestyle introduced by the Covid-19 pandemic had been a bit more challenging than I initially anticipated. In fact, I am still in the midst of fully comprehending and coming to terms with how the world around us has changed so suddenly from one day to the other.
However, this new situation has also opened up a path of immense appreciation, of witnessing life around me with much more gratitude. It opened up paths for positive changes in my life that I was too busy to see before or felt I had no time to implement.
Well, now there is plenty of time! For contemplation, self-reflection, working on future dreams, and generally becoming a better human being.
I hope we all find a way to embrace the changes that these unprecedented times have brought upon us; changes not only among our families, and communities but also to humanity as a whole.
If nothing at all, I wish for us to have become more tolerant and hope that- as we are experiencing and living through this pandemic together as one humankind – we internalize that “we are all in this together”, no matter what skin color, religion or what country we are from.
To celebrate life, human diversity, and our beautiful planet earth that stands up for us every day, I invite you to get inspired by the incredibly beautiful and meditative footage of the movie “BARAKA”, a movie that has a special place in our home.
Enjoy. Stay healthy! We are all in this together!
(Video of the trailer below or try https://documentarylovers.com/film/baraka/ )
Images: ©CaliforniaGermans – grocery store, ©Pixabay – Yoga image, Calm image
Usually, we love hearing the words “School is out!”,… but at the start of summer. This year is different. School has been out for quite a while now and summer hasn’t even started yet. It’s been some challenging weeks for children and parents alike.
While having (more) free time sounded very appealing at first, many kids now actually yearn for some academic challenges and guided intellectual interaction during this ongoing pandemic with its shelter-at-home restrictions.
To keep your children engaged, GASA (German American School Association) is starting Online German Classes geared towards children 4 years & older. A minimum of 8 students per class is required, so grab a bunch of your children’s friends and form your own virtual German learning group with the help of GASA.
Classes start already next week, with Session 1, May 11th through June 6th. Session 2 is scheduled for June 8th through July 4th.
Check out the flyer below for more information. Bis bald!
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