I know it's only October and even Halloween hasn't come and gone, but once I get into the fall state of mind, all I can think about is the holiday season.
"Holiday" has a specific meaning for me--sure, I like Thanksgiving and all--but I'm mostly thinking about Christmas and that little day a month beforehand... my birthday. No, I'm no longer six years old or celebrating my sweet sixteen, but my birthday is admittedly my favorite day of the year. After October 20th rolls around, November 20th isn't far behind and I start getting into my own version of the holiday spirit.
When I'm in Saint Dié, not so far from the German border, this means indulging in feasts of gingerbread cookies dipped in hot chocolate milk. I'd love to tell you a story of how the recipe for these was passed down for generations and generations, but that's not how it goes. You know those German discount supermarkets like Lidl, Aldi, and Norma? That's where it all takes place. The earlier you go--end of October is perfect--the fresher these cookies are.
Covered in chocolate or thin sugary icing, they're called Lebkuchen and look somewhat like bells or Christmas trees. Some of them also have tiny colored sprinkles, and sprinkles have always had a strange appeal for me. All I remember from a long flight delay that got us stuck at the Chicago O'Hare Hilton when I was 5 is the donut with sprinkles I had at the hotel. I don't think I even liked donuts, but I sure liked sprinkles.
Anyway, these Lebkuchen signal the beginning of my favorite part of the year. And the ones we bought today were absolutely perfect and possibly the best I've ever had: moist, tasty, and colorful. They were as fresh as can be, and though I couldn't even wait to get home for the hot chocolate that usually goes along with it--the parking lot is a fine place for Lebkuchen--they were all I needed.
All I can say now is that Holiday Season, Lucie Version, looks like it's off to a good start.
P.S. : If you want to go ahead and make Lebkuchen, here's a recipe that looks nice.