Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas Greetings at Pizza Riforma di Lugano

Lugano has definitely got the Christmas spirit going this year. If you are feeling very social or just want to get out the house for a bit, why not head down to the Piazza Riforma at 5pm today where Lugano's Municipality wishes to greet all its citizens?

Mulled wine will be offered for free and who knows what else you might discover while strolling through the Christmas decorated alleys of town.

Venue: Christmas greetings to the citizens
Where: Town Hall, Piazza Riforma
Date: Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Time: 17:00 to 19:00

And remember if you decide to hit the ice rink on Thursday, Dec 25th between 3pm and 5 pm you'll bump into Father Christmas who will be waiting to skate with your kids and with you!

Friday, December 19, 2014

How the Swiss send a letter to Father Christmas

Whoever writes a letter to the Christ Child (who - in the German part of Switzerland - brings the presents at Christmas) will get an answer. The same applies to St. Nicholas and Babbo Natale. A special team at the Swiss Post answers every request on their behalf.

In Switzerland each year approximately 16,000 letters are addressed to Santa. Addresses range from the local woods to the North Pole. And the post office delivers them all. Not to the forest, not into heaven, not to the North Pole either, but to Chiasso, where a special team answers the letters on behalf of the addressee.

The only prerequisite is that the sender is identifiable. And even if the sender only marks "Sébastien, 5" or "Anna Lena, Trueb," the post will move heaven and earth to determine the complete address. For example, by checking the postmark. Thus, only four hundred letters remain unanswered.

Three quarters of the letters are from the French part of Switzerland and Ticino - an interesting cultural detail. To the Christ Child, the St. Nicholas and Babbo Natale, origins don't matter, they reply eloquent in all four national languages as well as in English.

And what does Santa's team deliver? It could be a Christmas story, a flip book or a box of crayons. Something that will make the children's faces light up and is sure to make them smile.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Scrumptious Christmas mince pies recipe

These mince pies are a guaranteed success. I might celebrate Christmas Italian style with my in-laws every year but I will never give up my English Christmas tradition of mince pies. Here is a recipe that will blow your tastebuds and those of your family. Italian or not!

For the pastry:
240 grams plain flour
60 grams vegetable shortening
60 grams cold butter
juice of 1 orange
1 pinch of salt
approx. 350 grams mincemeat
icing sugar (for dusting)

For the cranberry studded mincemeat: (makes about 600ml)
60 ml ruby port
75 grams soft dark brown sugar
300 grams cranberries
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cloves
75 grams currants
75 grams raisins
30 grams dried cranberries
finely grated zest and juice of 1 clementine
25 ml brandy
3 drops almond extract
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons honey

1.) Make the mincemeat in advance.
2.) In a large pan, dissolve the sugar in the ruby port over a gentle heat.
3.) Add the cranberries and stir.
4.) Add the cinnamon, ginger and cloves, currants, raisins, dried cranberries and the zest and juice of the clementine.
5.) Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 20 minutes, or until the fruit has broken down and has absorbed most of the liquid in the pan. (You may need to squish the cranberries a little with the back of a wooden spoon to incorporate them fully.)
6.) Remove from the heat and allow to cool a little.
7.) Add the brandy, almond extract, vanilla extract and honey and stir well with a wooden spoon to mash the mixture down into a paste.
8.) Spoon the mincemeat into sterilised jars and, once cool, store in the fridge for up to two weeks.
9.) Then once you are ready to make your mince pies, get out a tray of miniature tart tins, each indent 4.5cm in diameter, along with a 5.5cm fluted, round biscuit cutter and a 4cm star cutter.
10.) Measure the flour into a shallow bowl or dish and, with a teaspoon, dollop little mounds of vegetable shortening into the bowl, add the butter, diced small, shake to cover it, then put in the freezer for 20 minutes. This is what will make the pastry so tender and flaky later.
11.) Mix together the orange juice and salt in a separate, small bowl, cover and leave in the fridge to chill.
12.) After the 20 minutes, empty the flour and fat into the bowl of your food processor and blitz until you’ve got a pale pile of porridge-like crumbs.
13.) Pour the salted juice down the funnel, pulsing until it looks as if the dough is about to cohere; you want to stop just before it does (even if some orange juice is left). If all your juice is used up and you need more liquid, add some iced water.

If you prefer to use a freestanding mixer to make the pastry, cut the fats into the flour with the flat paddle, leaving the bowl in the fridge to chill down for the 20-minute flour-and-fat-freezer session.

14.) Add liquid as above. I often find the pastry uses more liquid in the mixer than the processor.
15.) Turn the mixture out of the processor or mixing bowl onto a pastry board or work surface and, using your hands, combine to a dough. Then form into 3 discs (you’ll need to make these in 3 batches, unless you’ve got enough tart tins to make all 36 pies at once).
16.) Wrap each disc in cling film and put in the fridge to rest for 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 220°C.
17.) Roll out the discs, one at a time, as thinly as you can without exaggerating; in other words, you want a light pastry case, but one sturdy enough to support the dense mincemeat. This is easy-going dough, so you don’t have to pander to it: just get rolling and patch up as you need.
18.) Out of each rolled-out disc cut out circles a little wider than the indentations in the tart tins; I use a fluted cookie cutter for this.  Press these circles gently into the moulds and dollop in a scant teaspoon of mincemeat.
19.) Then cut out your stars with your little star cutter – re-rolling the pastry as necessary – and place the tops lightly on the mincemeat.
20.) Put in the oven and bake for 10–15 minutes: keep an eye on them as they really don’t take long and ovens do vary.
21.) Remove from the oven, prising out the little pies straight away and letting the empty tin cool down before you start putting in the pastry for the next batch.  Carry on until they’re all done.
22.) Dust over some icing sugar et voilà!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Switzerland's second Christmas

Switzerland's "Second Christmas" tradition? A friend once told me that between Christmas and New Years you can bring gifts to the post office and they mail it free of charge to needy people somewhere in the world.

During the 17th edition of the "2 x Christmas" campaign over 73,000 parcels were collected. It is a charitable campaign supported jointly by the Swiss Red Cross (SRC), Swiss TV and Swiss Post. The goods donated are distributed to needy people in Switzerland via the cantonal associations of the Swiss Red Cross. In collaboration with the national Red Cross associations, some are also distributed to families and social institutions in Moldavia, Bulgaria, Belarus and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Over the Christmas period, people donate food and day-to-day necessities. Swiss Post transports these free of charge to the SRC logistics centre in Wabern (Berne), where they are sorted and forwarded to those in need by Swiss Post employees and SRC volunteers.

The 18th campaign will take place between 24 December 2014 and 10 January 2015.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Lugano's Book Nook is bidding farewell

It is sad news but inevitable. The Book Nook, Lugano's English Library is closing it doors after 17 years! Ticino's lending library and used bookseller in Viganello is in the process of liquidating their vast collection.

Heavy-heartedly I will say that it is an opportunity for you to pick up some books, DVDs or audio books for everyone in your family - at only CHF. 1.- a piece! Plan to stop by Tuesday December 18th from 14:00-16:00, Wednesday, December 19th from 14:00-16:00, Thursday, December 20th from 14:00-16:00 or Tuesday, December 23th from 14:00-16:00.

A special find of mine was "Enchanting Ticino"by Hanna & Juliusz Komarnicki. This unique book captures the nature, events and culture that surrounds us. It is a photographic journey of discovery illustrating the beauty of Ticino. The limited text is in English, and therefore makes a fabulous gift.

A big, big thank you to all the volunteers, helpers and sponsors over the years that made this lovely spot a little haven away from home for many of us English speakers in search for English books for our kids to read. The Book Nook was especially appreciated by its supporters before the arrival of Amazon & Co. when it was still a challenge to find a different Good Night story every week to read to our kids.

You will be dearly missed by your followers.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Pro Infirmis asks who's perfect?

Who is perfect, anyway? Pro Infirmis, a Swiss organization for people with disabilities, asked that question in a compelling installation and video. Founded in 1920 in Zurich, Pro Infirmis plays an important role in advocating for and supporting people with disabilities through a wide range of programs, including political advocacy and legal assistance.

This project was created last year to mark the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, which occurs each year on December 3rd. Although the entire four-minute video created by writer and director Alain Gsponer is captivating, the models' reactions to the project and the responses from passers-by are deeply touching.

Disabled mannequins received eliciting astonished looks from passers-by on Zurich's Bahnhofstrasse. Between the perfect mannequins, there were figures with scoliosis or brittle bone disease modelling the latest fashions. One had shortened limbs; the other a malformed spine.

See for yourself:

Thursday, December 11, 2014

7 interesting facts about Santa's reindeer

Eight little reindeer beside Santa's sleigh, 

Getting hitched up - to be on their way.
The first one said, "We can't be late,"

The second one said, "Christmas won't wait."

The third one said, 'The sleigh's full of toys....."

The fourth one said, "For all the girls and boys."

The fifth one said, '"I'm ready to fly...."
The sixth one said, "Across the evening sky."
The seventh one said, "Look, it's starting to snow."
The eighth one said, "I think it's time to go."
Ready?" asked Santa. "It's almost Christmas Day."
And off they all flew - - up, up, and away!

One of my most popular posts around Christmas is: How many reindeer does Santa have? I therefore decided to come up with some more fun facts on reindeer.

1.) The names of Santa's reindeer are from the poem "A Visit From St. Nicholas", more commonly known as "The Night Before Christmas," written by Clement Clarke Moore in 1823.

2.) Most of Santa’s reindeer have male-sounding names, such as Blitzer, Comet, and Cupid. However, male reindeers shed their antlers around Christmas, so the reindeer pulling Santa’s sleigh are likely not male, but female or castrati.

3.) Rudolph's story was originally written in verse by Robert L. May for the Montgomery Ward chain of department stores in 1939, and published as a book to be given to children in the store at Christmas time. According to this story, Rudolph's glowing red nose made him a social outcast among the other reindeer. However, one Christmas Eve Santa Claus was having a lot of difficulty making his flight around the world because it was too foggy. When Santa went to Rudolph's house to deliver his presents he noticed the glowing red nose in the darkened bedroom and decided it could be a makeshift lamp to guide his sleigh. He asked Rudolph to lead the sleigh for the rest of the night, Rudolph accepted and returned home a hero for having helped Santa Claus.

4.) Norwegian scientists have hypothesized that Rudolph’s red nose is probably the result of a parasitic infection of his respiratory system.

5.) Reindeer have large hooves that spread apart as they walk on the snow. They act like snowshoes and prevent the reindeer from sinking in the snow! Have you ever tried walking with snowshoes?  These special hooves also help them look for food beneath the snow.  The tendons in their hooves create a clicking sound when they walk.

6.) Reindeer have an excellent sense of smell. Because food is scarce in the Arctic, reindeer use their great sense of smell to detect food buried deep beneath the snow.

7.) Reindeer are excellent swimmers.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Do you know the names of Santa's reindeer?

How many reindeer are pulling Santa's sleigh? Do you know the names of all Santa's reindeer?

Originally, Santa had eight reindeer. And then Rudolph came along. So now he has nine. These are their names:

1. Dasher
2. Dancer
3. Prancer
4. Vixen
5. Comet
6. Cupid
7. Donner (or Donder)
8. Blitzen
9. Rudolph

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

English Movie Matinee in Lugano

It's a movie matinée and it will be shown in English. An event not to be missed. The kids will love it.

You know the penguins of Madagascar BUT what you don't know, is they've been leading a double life: as secret agents!

Join the IWCL (Int'l. Women's Club of Lugano) with your friends and family for a viewing of Dreamwork's Madagascar 2. It is fun for adults and for kids. Just whizz off an e-mail to to reserve your seat and make sure you don't oversleep.

Venue: Madagascar 2 Matinée
Where: Cinestar Lugano, Via Ciani 100, 6900 Lugano
Date: Saturday, December 13th, 2014
Time: 10:00 am

Friday, December 5, 2014

Samichlaus tradition in Switzerland (San Nicolao)

In Switzerland, the tradition of St. Nicolas is somewhat different from the norm. Switzerland is a country of several languages so it is not surprising there are several different St. Nicholas traditions. In German-speaking areas Saint Nicholas is known as Samichlaus. Though he looks the same as Father Christmas, the Samichlaus (originally Sankt Nikolaus) does not bring the presents at Christmas. Rather, he appears on the 6th of December. Children visit the Samichlaus (usually at school or with their parents) to be judged and recite poems that they've learned. The other option - when I was little - was leaving your boots in front of the door the night of December 5th to find them filled with goddies the next morning.

Samichlaus is usually accompanied by a helper called Schmutzli (from "schmutzig" - dirty). He is dressed in a black or brown cape with a large hood. He wears a black beard and is smeared with dirt. While the Samichlaus praises the kids who have been good, Schmutzli takes the naughty kids, puts them into his bag and carries them away. This makes for a practical way for parents to make their kids behave well: "Be good or Schmutzli will carry you off in his bag!"

Fear not for the Swiss children. Described above is the original form. Nowadays Schmutzli is purely ornamental or even left out completely.

My kids used to visit San Nicola in he woods with their school class. Trust me, they never slept very well the night before.

Should you need a Samichlaus for your family you can check out the Chlaus directory here:

The evening meal on December 6th traditionally consists of a man-shaped bread (called Grittibänz, recipe here), mandarines, walnuts, peanuts (with the shells), Lebkuchen and chocolates.

So, make sure you put your boots outside the door tonight and IF you have been good you'll awake tomorrow morning to find them filled with mandarines, nuts and chocolates.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Natale a Breganzona

"At Christmas I no more desire a rose
Than wish a snow in May's new-fangled mirth;
But like of each thing that in season grows."
William Shakespeare

There will indeed not be any roses but rather poinsettias and as for the snow, it is too early to say, but even the snow will be welcomed to render the atmosphere even more magical.

Christmas in Breganzona is ready to welcome you with its charming Christmas spirit. You'll find over 50 exhibitors selling their arts and crafts as well as gastronomic delicacies. This is a celebration for those of you who love Christmas genuine, generous and festive.

Venue: Natale a Breganzona
Where: Campetto Rosso, Scuole Elementari, 6932 Breganzona
When: Saturday, Dec 6th from 15:00 and Sunday, Dec 7th, 2014 from 10:00

Don't miss it!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Natale in Piazza - Christmas cheer in Lugano

Did you see that yesterday at 6pm in Piazza Riforma the Christmas tree lights were lit by the Mayor Marco Borradori who was accompanied by a gospel choir.

This is an exciting moment especially for children: the lighting of the city’s biggest Christmas tree marks the beginning of Natale in Piazza. The City proposes a magical world for young and old and which features 37 very special days in the streets of the city centre so that the Christmas season can reach out to everyone.

First and foremost the skating rink is back in town at Piazza Manzoni. You'll be able to skate for over a month! The skating rink is open every day until January 6th, 2015. Entrance is free and if you don't have your own skates, you can rent them right there for CHF 5.–.

During Advent, Piazza Riforma will feature gastronomic chalets that will delight both adults and children offering sweets, vin brûlé, pretzels and lots more. Gourmets will appreciate a very special chalet with dishes prepared by the most renowned chefs of the Canton. Until December 24th  you can find all sorts of Christmas specialties in the charming little wooden huts such as decorations and original gift ideas.

24 days before Christmas, the market will take over the pedestrian area of the town centre as well, with stalls, which will offer a rich ware of goods such as gastronomic specialties, arts and crafts items, precious fabrics, oriental scents and charitable initiatives.

During Advent, every Saturday and Sunday afternoon fun activities for the whole family.
Monday 8.12, at 03:00 p.m. | “Piccoli Cantori di Pura” ’s Concert
Saturday 13.12, from 05:00 p.m. | St. Lucia’s Day  with a Swedish Choir
Saturday 14.12, from 04:00 p.m. | Kolping Singers Lugano’s Concert
Saturday 14.12, at 04:30 p.m. | Arrival of the Peace Light in Lugano
Sunday 21.12, from 02:30 p.m. to 04:30 p.m. | Outdoor Soap-bubbles activity by the group InBolla!

And don't forget the Christmas Mass at San Nicolao’s Church in Via Mons. Angelo Jelmini 4, Besso on Wednesday 24.12, at 10.00 p.m.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Nine Mountain Climbers atop a Swiss Mountain Peak

Look what is cruising the internet these days: an adventurous team of nine mountain climbers sponsored by mountaineering outfitter Mammut snapped this aerial photo of the group atop the Jungfrau, one of the main summits of the Bernese Alps in Switzerland. The photo is one in a long history of audacious and whimsical shoots by Mammut over the last few years. Here’s a video of the shot coming together. If you have the time, take three minutes to indulge in Switzerland's natural beauty.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Tasis Holiday Market 2014

T'is the holiday season again and the American school in Montagola is holding it's yearly Holiday market soon.

The TASIS Parents Association does so much for TASIS, and this Holiday Market is another example of their hard work and dedication to the School and to the community at large.

Shop from over 70 stalls selling fashion, jewellery, Christmas gifts, Fimo decorations, Love and lace signs and much more. Indulge in the foods of the world and make new friends.

Don't miss it.

Venue: TASIS Holiday Market
Where: American School of Switzerland TASIS, Via Collina d'Oro, 6926 Montagnola
Date: Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014
Time: 13:30–19:00

FREE valet parking for all visitors!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving Mimosa

Wishing a very Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers. I have a treat for you today. Not only can your food be amazing on Thanksgiving, your drinks can be too. Here's a big cheers to you all. Thank you for being such great supporters of Expat with Kids.

A little tip: This drink is quick to put together, and is very refreshing and light while baking all day with so much sugar, flour, and pumpkin!

Cranberry Mimosa:
White Cranberry Juice
Sparkling Elderflower Soda (optional)
Frozen Cranberries

Add equal parts Prosecco and white cranberry juice to each glass. Add in a swig of elderflower soda, and garnish with some frozen cranberries.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

St.Edward's Christmas Market 2014

This Saturday, St. Edward’s Church in Lugano welcomes everybody to its Christmas Market at the warm and festive Casa Benson.

Be tempted by a selection of homemade traditional specialities, handicrafts & preserves.

Enjoy a glass of mulled wine whilst browsing amongst many stalls: Tiffany treasures, handbags and scarves, children’s handmade gifts, books old & new, DVDs to watch again, and some new surprises!

Morning Coffee & Lunches will be served and Child Care provided.

Parking reserved across the street at the Via Motta car park. Collect your free parking ticket on the day.

All proceeds go to the ministry of St. Edward’s Church

Venue: St. Edward's Christmas Market
Where: Casa Benson, Via Clemente Maraini 6, 6900 Lugano
Date: Saturday, November 29th, 2014
Time: 10:00 - 15:00
For more Information visit

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Thanksgiving recipes for you

"Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all."
Harriet Van Horne

Admittedly I post the same recipes every year but they are, after all, my classics and are guaranteed to provide you with a delicious and easy-to-cook Thanksgiving meal.

By marrying into an Italian family I gave up my traditional British Christmas feast and we enjoy a very abundant Neapolitan banquet every year. Thanksgiving gives me an excellent excuse to present my family with a turkey at least once a year. Unfortunately, neither my hubby nor my kids are big turkey lovers but at this point they are overruled by THE BOSS!

Here are my favourite recipes I keep on concocting every year:

Maple-Roasted Turkey with Sage Butter
1 sticks unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/4 bunch fresh sage, finely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (12 to 14-pound) fresh turkey, giblets, neck, and liver discarded
8 strips bacon
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons hot water or bouillon
Preheat the oven to 320 degrees F and remove the top rack of the oven.
Put the butter and sage in a mixing bowl and mash with a fork or spoon until the sage is well incorporated. Season with salt and pepper.
Rinse the bird thoroughly inside and out with cold water, and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle the cavity and skin liberally with salt and pepper. Using your fingers, gently lift the skin from the turkey breast and slip the remaining seasoned butter under, massaging the breast meat as you go. Truss the bird by crossing the legs over one another and tying with a piece of kitchen twine. Shingle the bacon strips over the breast so it's totally covered. Put the turkey on a rack in a large roasting pan, cover the turkey with aluminium foil, and place in the oven.
In a small bowl, stir the maple syrup with 2 tablespoons of hot water to thin. Roast the turkey for 2 hours, basting with the maple glaze every 30 minutes. Continue cooking until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the meaty part of the thigh registers 170 degrees F. The thigh juices will run clear when pricked with a knife, about 4 hours total (20 minutes per pound). About 1/2 hour before you think the turkey is done, remove the foil so that it can brown. When done take the turkey out of the oven and put the roasting pan on the stovetop. Transfer the turkey to a serving tray to rest at least 20 minutes before carving. Serve with Turkey Gravy.

Roasted Turkey Gravy
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large, smoked turkey wing or 2 small ones
1 medium onion, quartered
2 carrots, chopped
1 ribs celery, chopped
1 head garlic, split through the equator
4 stems fresh sage
4 sprigs fresh thyme
6 parsley stems
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
6 cups chicken stock
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add the wing, onion, carrots, celery, garlic, and herbs, and cook for 5 minutes. Place in the oven and roast for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and place over medium heat. Remove the wing and set aside. Add the flour and let cook for about 1 minute. Add the stock and simmer until it has reduced by about 1/4, about 15 minutes. Strain the sauce and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.

Cranberry Sauce
1 pound fresh cranberries, approximately 4 cups
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup 100 percent cranberry juice, not cocktail
1 cup honey
Wash the cranberries and discard any that are soft or wrinkled.
Combine the orange juice, cranberry juice and honey in a 2 quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the cranberries and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries burst and the mixture thickens. Do not cook for more than 15 minutes as the pectin will start to break down and the sauce will not set as well. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
Carefully spoon the cranberry sauce into a 3 cup mold. Place in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours and up to overnight.
To unmold and serve, immerse bottom of mold in hot water for 10 to 15 seconds and turn upside down on plate or serving dish. If necessary, carefully run a warm knife around the edge of the mold.

This year I have discovered a new dessert that I will switch for the classic pumpkin pie. Here goes:

Pumpkin and Bourbon Mousse
¾ cup sugar
6 tbsp. bourbon
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
¼ tsp. ground cloves
8 eggs, yolks and whites separated
1 cup canned pumpkin
orange zest for garnish
Bring 2" water to a boil in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Place a medium metal bowl over pan, and add sugar, bourbon, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and egg yolks; whisk together, and cook, whisking constantly until thickened and pale, about 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and set bourbon mixture aside. In another bowl, whisk egg whites until stiff peaks form; add canned pumpkin, and fold until almost combined. Add to warm bourbon mixture and fold together until smooth. Divide among serving glasses and sprinkle with orange zest; serve immediately.

Happy Cooking! Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Circus Knie is in town

Listen up children ... the National Circus has come to town. Like every year in November, Circus Knie arrived yesterday. Can you believe it is the 96th edition of this show, which includes artists, animals, jugglers, clowns and of course the family Knie whose eighth generation - in the person of Marie Chanel - will offer the classic number "Maxi and Mini."

Hurry, there are still tickets available for the three shows tomorrow at 10:30, 14:30 and 18:00 before the Circus heads back home to Rapperswil after their last show which is traditionally in Lugano and is the most moving performance for the artists and therefore also for the audience.

Venue: Circo Knie
Where: Stadio Cornaredo, Via Trevano 100, 6900 Lugano
When, Sunday, November 23rd, 2014
Time: 10:30, 14:30, 18:00
Click here for tickets online:

David Larible is this year's highlight

Thursday, November 20, 2014

American Thanksgiving in Lugano

Thanksgiving is just around the corner. Have you invited your American friends over or even your Swiss neighbours? This is the perfect opportunity to host a lunch or dinner party and cook whatever tickles your fancy. Italian, Swiss or American.

Still missing some ingredients? Order the turkey at your local butchers or ask the capo of the meat department at Manor or Coop to reserve one for next Thursday. By now, there are enough foreigners living in the Ticino that most butchers have realised there is some kind of feast end of November and turkeys are in demand.

Missing some American ingredients, check out either or and order fast. There is still time.

If you are searching for company the American Women of Ticino (AWOT) are organising a Potluck Thanksgiving Dinner on Thursday Nov. 27, 2014. For more details, please contact them directly at

Monday, November 17, 2014

Migros' Christmas song 2014: "Ensemble"

I have heard through the grapevine about Migros' Christmas charity song entitled "Ensemble" where 23 well-known Swiss artists, interpret the Christmas song for people in need.

Being typically Swiss the song is sung in the country's three official languages. Well, maybe I should correct that, Swiss German is after all a dialect but it does give it the distinctly Helvetic touch and make me feel right at home again.

The title “Ensemble” also expresses the motto of the Christmas fundraising sponsor of this year, the Swiss supermarket company Migros, “Celebrate together, Give together.” With this song Migros calls on the Swiss population to donate for people in need who live in their country.

For the video production of the song, “Ensemble” Migros has managed to bring together 23 famous Swiss artists, including well-known names of show-business as Noëmi Nadelmann, Pepe Lienhard, Sebalter, Pippo Pollina, Fabienne Louves. Among them is the legendary football coach Gilbert Gress, who in the video has a very special role. The song was composed by Roman Camenzind. For the filming of the video artists met in the magical setting of an Alpine hut. The video with an invitation to participate in the fundraiser will be broadcast for the first time as a television ad on Friday, November 21, 2014.

The amount donated will be distributed equally to four charities in Switzerland: Swiss Winter Relief , Heks, Caritas, and Pro Juventute. The money will be used to finance various projects. The money raised will be donated in equal parts (25%) of the four organizations mentioned. At the end of the collection, Migros will double the amount donated up to a maximum of CHF 1 million in total.

So, be aware and look out for the vouchers worth 5, 10 and 20 francs you can buy as of November 22nd for making donations. Money can also be donated by a payment to the account 30-620742-6 PC, by sending an SMS with the keyword “Migros” to the number 455, by downloading the Christmas song by ExLibris, iTunes or GooglePlay.

Click here and get a sneak première of the song "Ensemble" or learn more about the fundraiser on Mirgos' site:

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Celebration of St.Martin

Saint Martin Day is celebrated on the 11th of November in Switzerland.

St. Martin was a Roman soldier who was baptized as an adult. He lived in the 4th century and was the founder of monasteries in and around Tours in France. He is also known as St. Martin of Tours. He later became the bishop of Tours and is the patron saint of harvest and the poor.

Legends concerning St. Martin are more abundant than historic facts. Apparently Martin was a very kind man who did many good deeds. The most famous legend about him is that one freezing cold winter night, he crossed the path of an old beggar who was only wearing rags. Immediately, Martin cut his own cloak in two and gave one half to the beggar to prevent him from freezing to death. It turned out that the beggar was Jesus.

St. Martin’s Day is much anticipated by children, when in the evening a procession is held around the neighbourhood carrying home-made lanterns and singing traditional songs.

Back when I was a little girl in Zurich I used to sing:

Laterne, Laterne
Sonne, Mond und Sterne,
Brenne aus mein Licht, brenne aus mein Licht
Aber nur meine liebe Laterne nicht.

Lantern, Lantern,
Sun, Moon and Stars,
Shine my little light, shine my light light
But don’t set fire to my lantern.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

San Martino's Fair in Mendrisio

It is time to visit Mendrisio's market full of local products such as salami, sausages, cheese, and of course, roasted chestnuts. A world of visual and olfactory sensations are waiting for you to take in. Spot the Alphorn blowers who - if you are lucky - will let your kids have a go at it. You'll also find horse riding for children. Not to be missed is Saturday's exhibition and sale of Swiss cows.

There are old proverbs celebrating San Martino and the time of the year when wine becomes the central focus. In fact, the Saint is remembered on the 11th of November, when work in the fields is mostly finished. After the fruit harvest and the preparation of food for the winter and the next planting season, it is the time when the wine was readied.

This was a very important moment in the calendar of old rural Ticino, with the end of agricultural contracts, payment of rents and fairs to attend.

Times have changed, but the San Martino's fair is still a date not to be missed, having renewed itself every Autumn for almost four hundred years. Among stalls offering everything from horticultural produce to brown cows, the farmers of the entire region meet to sell, buy and trade in a contagiously happy atmosphere, especially when there's a little November sun to warm the days.

Venue: San Martino's Fair
Where: Mendrisio down town
When: Saturday November 8th to Tuesday November 11th, 2014
For a detailed programme, click here.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Expat with Kids on Pinterest

Click below and come visit me at Pinterest

Monday, November 3, 2014

Family Fun Fair in Lugano

It is the event of the year: the Family Fun fair organised by the IWCL (Int'l. Women's Club of Lugano). Not to be missed come rain or come shine!

There are ongoing activities during the day for big and small. Come along, even if you do not have little people with you. All you need to bring is an empty stomach as our vendors will offer everything from amazing Asian Fusion Catering to wonderful Guily Pleasure cupcakes.

Kids' Klub will be offering ongoing face painting, bouncing castle and the possibility to discover and try instruments under the supervision of wonderful music teachers. Looms workshop will be organised by some volunteers. NANATelier will surprise you with their little creations. Be Unique Suisse provides fun in a unique and stylish way. Karin Hochapfel will make your children sing, Clown Poppins will pop by in the afternoon and Kelly Fischer will be storytelling.

Meet, Sample or Buy:
Taste of America
Cecilia Tsai and Miamily
Lugano Family tour 
Robin Bognuda and All for Kids
Mary Kay
Cloud of Cloth
El Galeon
Book Nook

The following sponsors are offering special discounts. You can collect coupons by writing to Every Family will receive a goodie bag so - if you are sure to come - please let IWCL know.

International Women’s Club of Lugano
The American Women of Ticino
U Name It Stickers
Children helmets
Rock My Baby
Just Rosy
English Counselling Switzerland
Hello Switzerland
Città del Sole Lugano:
Forever Living Products
"Be Fit for Life"

Venue: Family Fun Fair
Where: Hotel Pestalozzi, Piazza Indipendenza 9, 6900 Lugano
Date: Sunday, November 9, 2014
Time: 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Have a wonderful Sunday,

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Lago di Lugano on a Sunday afternoon

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween!!
Jack-o-lantern smiling bright
Witches flying in the night
Ghosts and goblins, cats and bats
Witches with their funny hats
A full moon can't be beat
As we go out to Trick or Treat

Happy Halloween!!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Witch’s Cheesy Broom sticks Halloween recipe

Together with the witches hats, brooms are probably the most defining accessory of a wicked witch, they are also their means of transport. Here is an ingenious and healthy tip to make a Witch’s Broom snack.

Ingredients for 12 brooms:
12 Slices of Cheese
12 Pretzel sticks
12 Fresh Chive

1. Fold each cheese slice and cut the fringes of the broom using a pair of scissors.
2. Roll the slice of cheese around a pretzel stick having the fringes looking down.
3. Finally to keep the cheese around the stick, use some chive and knot it around.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

History of Halloween

The history of Halloween can be traced back 2,000 years. It was during these ancient times in Europe that the Celts celebrated the beginning of winter on the evening of October 31st. November 1st was the first day of their new year and it also marked the first day of winter. They believed that death was strongly linked to the long and bitter winter. The Celts thought that during the winter the dead and the living existed simultaneously because it was on this day that the dead roamed the earth. Samhain was the name they gave to their celebration of the dead on the evening of October 31st.

However, when Christians began to gain authority in the 800s, the history of Halloween was forever changed; November 1st became known as All Saints Day or All-Hallows. It is believed that the Christians slightly altered the holiday into a church related celebration, honoring deceased saints. Not unlike Celtic tradition though, the Christians too honored the dead on this day. The evening of October 31st soon became known as All-Hallows Eve and was eventually changed to Halloween.

The tradition of wearing Halloween costumes stems from an Irish and Scottish ritual known as “guising.” In the 19th century, children would dress up in various costumes and go house to house, looking for gifts of coins, food, or snacks. One of the earliest records of guising is in 1895, where Scottish masqueraders carried lanterns made out of turnips and visited homes to be rewarded with fruit, money, or cakes. When the Scottish and Irish migrated to America, they brought along their guising tradition.

Check out this Visual History of Halloween:

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Expat with Kids: 4th Blogiversary

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Brunch al Lido di Lugano: it's Paradise!

It's little piece of paradise. There is just nothing else like the Sunday brunch at the Lido di Lugano. The tempting buffet, the friendly service, the cosy pavillon and the mystic view onto the Lake Ceresio. The experience is amazing when it is an overcast day, on sunny days the brunch at the Lido is simply unbeatable.

From Lasagne to Luganighetta and from Scampi to Salmon. A cheese platter that makes your palate water not to mention the different types of mousse and cakes!

Surrounded by palm trees, a sandy beach and the lake melting into hills of Ticino on the horizon, your senses and you taste buds are spoilt to the max.

It is an absolute must during the winter months. We come especially from Paris to live this marvel, all YOU need to do is pick up the phone and reserve for next Sunday!

Reservation highly recommended, please call or leave a message on 091/971'55'00. For more info, click here:

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