Guest Blogger: Ross Campbell

Today on the blog we welcome a column by the guest blogger of the month, Ross Campbell. Ross relocated from US to Luxembourg one year ago and loves the life in the Grand-Duchy.

One Year Down and I’m Still In Awe of Luxembourg Food

As an American, I didn’t move to Luxembourg to save money, I moved there because I fell in love with the culture and especially the food. Not only are many of the food options in the city more delicious and seemingly made with more care than what you would find in American restaurant, but they are generally healthier as well.

Where to Eat in Luxembourg

I’ve been living in Luxembourg for about 14 months now, and over that course of time I’ve come to know a few different restaurants that I can always count on. They’re what I would call old favorites by now, and each one of them has two things in common. They’re reasonably priced and you can generally get a meal there for less than 20 Euro, and they offer excellent food made from quality ingredients.

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La Campagnola in Steinsel

This unassuming little Italian restaurant offers excellent tasting food at lower than average prices. It’s one of my favorite locations to eat at within the surrounding Luxembourg area, and I personally really enjoy the pizza here. For less than 20 euro you can get a good rich pizza with toppings of your choosing, and it’s particularly enjoyable when paired with a good quality wine, and there are many wine options available.

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La Riviera in Bereldange

This little gem of a restaurant offers up a mixed selection of food types. There are pizzas and other Italian dishes, but you’ll also find French-inspired options. The tartar here is especially good, but many of the pizzas are also enjoyable and there is always a good selection of fresh toppings to choose from, which keeps me coming back for more. If you’re a fan of Italian wine, this restaurant also has quite a bit to offer in that regard as well, with several good strong options for each dish that you decide on.

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La Romantica in Moutfort

Finally, there is La Romantica out in Moutfort. This is a place that I’ve come to love, despite the large crowds of people and the tightly spaced tables. This is one of the best places to go and get a huge pizza that is cooked within a fiery oven that you can enjoy with friends. There are tons of toppings to choose from, and they’re all nice and fresh and full of flavor. Most of the pizza options are excellent here, and you can also pick up your food to go if you would like.

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My Challenges Moving to Luxembourg

While I certainly can’t complain about the food or living conditions in Luxembourg (both of which are excellent) I can say that I wish the overall process of getting set up here was as simple as finding the amazing restaurants throughout the area. I struggled through the Visa process, as many non-student Americans will when moving to Europe. I had to get my permit within 90 days and I had to show them I was working and could provide for myself adequately financially and I also had to prove who I was by showing my passport, my health certificate showing my recent vaccinations and a lease contract provided by my new landlord. This was all handled through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

I didn’t want to leave behind my small household property including my clothing, computer, books and other personal items so I had them boxed and shipped in the cargo area of the plane to accompany me when I arrived. My car took a little more effort as I had to have it shipped with an international car shipping company, A-1 Auto Transport, Inc., and I paid just under $3800 USD to have it shipped overseas and then transported by land to my new home in Luxembourg. When you bring a car to Luxembourg, you must provide paperwork including the registration, title, permit of residency and a passport to show you are the actual owner. It is time consuming, but having your own car here is a great convenience when you want to travel or sight-see once you arrive.

If you’re a foodie like I am, there’s really no place that can come close to comparison to Luxembourg, at least no place I’ve been to and I have traveled extensively for quite a few years. I encourage you to come and visit and try eating at a variety of restaurants to get a feel for the area. Sure, you may find the cost of living a little higher than in the U.S., but there is a lot to love about this cultured city.

 

If you wish to participate to the guest blogger column, feel free to send an email to Barefoot in Luxembourg!

Jenni’s Corner: Meet the Start-Up Company Blueberry & Pie


 Today Jenni meets Tuire and Wojtek, the creators of brand new children’s book Message in a Bottle.

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Can you tell us a bit about yourself. Who are you and what are you doing here?

Tuire, 24,  and Wojtek, 39, are the founders of a  book publishing start-up company Blueberry & Pie which creates books with a customized message for children.

Finnish born Tuire, is the CEO and the Illustrator of the company while Polish Wojtek is taking care of the finance even though they both admit being equally involved in the company’s daily operations and developing and executing its business strategy.

The company was founded 1 year ago when Wojtek had made redundant at Skype and Tuire had just finished her studies in in Belgium. They both were looking for something to do and the idea of an own publishing company was born as a result of combining their skills, passion and interest towards illustration and entrepreneurship. Creating books had been on their mind already for some time and once the opportunity came, they didn’t hesitate to grip it.

Can you tell Barefoot in Luxembourg readers a bit more about your book project?

Blueberry & Pie’s first book Message in a Bottle was launched on 26th of August, 2016 and it is a story of Scarlet Hawaiian honeycreeper bird Kiki who finds a message in the bottle and decides to deliver it to the intended person. She can only see the first name of the person in the beginning of her trip but on her way from Hawaii to the final destination she discovers parts of the message once it is fully revealed in the last page of the book. The adventure takes Kiki from the tropical Hawaii to cold North America all the way to sunny South America until she makes her way to Europe. During her journey she discovers local animals who help her to reach her goal: “ The story isn’t only educational from the geographical point of view but also teaches kids that everything is possible with the help of others”, Tuire summarizes. The animals that Kiki meets have been selected with the help of biologists in order to provide a realistic picture of their habitat. “I hate when polar bears are placed on South Pole or penguins in the North Pole” she adds referring to false presentation of many animals’ geographical home in some children’s books or cartoons.

The idea with the personalized message is that each person ordering the book writes the final message by themselves and thus making it very unique and fitting to the occasion no matter if it is a birthday, Christmas or a get-well present. This is possible because the books are printed only on demand and hence the buyer can really customize the message he or she wants to communicate to the child.  It could simply be a greeting from an uncle but also a special memory from last summer written down by the grandparents.

Why people in Luxembourg should be attracted by your project?

Luxembourg is full of expats and other international people who are constantly looking for unique presents for the birthday of their friends’ kids, baby showers or baptisms. Children living in Luxembourg also learn English already from very early age so this could be also one way to enhance their learning process.

What have been the biggest challenges and how have you overcome them?

The biggest challenge was just to get started. Neither Tuire nor Wojtek had any idea how to start a business and how much work it would require. They didn’t know anything about publishing nor had any contacts in the field, which made the beginning even harder: “ Publishing industry is a very closed field and without contacts or proven reputation, nobody takes you seriously” Tuire elaborates referring to the process of finding the right people to work with.

“We were also struggling to find the exact storyline that we were satisfied with” Vojtech adds.

Both agree that the most rewarding thing is just to see the book becoming true and see that the hard work has paid off.

What are your future plans?

“We want to make a series of books where Kiki goes on adventure in different continents. For example, a story where the journey starts from Australia and takes a round in Asia before finishing in Europe. In this way, a family with several kids could have same book with different stories” the business partners explain.

This is, however, a long-term goal and at the moment all focus and effort is being directed to make the first story available.

Coming back to your Luxembourg background, how long have you been living in Luxembourg?

It has been 4 years since Tuire first came to Luxembourg as an au pair and 7 years since Wojtek began his work at Skype.

What is your favorite place in the city?

Tuire and her inner child like the park in the city center where you can find the big wooden ship made for kids.  Wojtek in turn prefers the Grund area.

What is your favorite restaurant in Luxembourg?

Both of them are big fans of sushi and gladly eat out food that isn’t easy to make at home Kamakura is the favorite sushi restaurant in Wojtek’s opinion while Tuire likes Yamayu Santatsu: “the name that I can never pronounce” she admits.

What is your preferred night-life spot in Luxembourg?

As a beer fan, Wojtek enjoys BBC or the Big Beer Company due to their big selection of beer but Tuire rather stays home zipping whiskey and reading Donald Duck cartoons.They both admit not being very big night owls.

What do you like about Luxembourg life?

Tuire praises nature, especially Mullerthal region and its endless hiking paths. Wojtek follows the same truck of his colleague and likes the combination of easily accessible nature but also international atmosphere of the country.

What do you miss here and you would like to change or improve?

Tuire finds it hard to connect with Luxembourgish people: “ they have their own interesting culture but it’s really hard to get in to that”. Wojteck points out Luxembourg being rather homogeneous group of people when it comes to professionalism: “Most people are working in banking or financial industry and it would be nice to have more variety”

What is the best place you visited in a range of 200 km from the city and that you would suggest for a daily trip?

“Berdorf is definitely worth of visiting; it has beautiful cliffs, offers a possibility for climbing and they call it the Little Switzerland” Tuire recommends as a nature loving person.

How would you describe Luxembourg in three adjectives?

Luxembourg is rich, green and international for Tuire.
Wojteck finds it charming, advanced and open.

Message in a bottle is available for purchase on their website https://www.messageinabottlebook.co.uk at the price of 26 EUR.

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Jenni’s Corner: Hub Dot Anniversary Event

From this month on, a new series of articles written by Jenni Laiho will be published on Barefoot in Luxembourg. Struggling a bit between the blog, the events and my work, I found some needed support in Jenni, who is helping me out with my agenda. Wishing Jenni a warm welcome to Barefoot in Luxembourg! The first event she attended on my behalf was the anniversary of Hub Dot Luxembourg.

On a behalf of Barefoot in Luxembourg, I had a privilege to be part of the second Luxembourg Hubdot event which idea behind is to provide similar minded women with networking opportunities.

Upon my arrival at Bo Concept, where the event took place on Thursday 16th June, I was positively surprised to notice how  casually everybody was chatting with each other, while sipping champagne and nibbling appetizers. Many of these women were complete strangers to one another,  connected with a common interest towards personal growth and fashion; the latter being the theme of the day’s event.

As compared to many other similar events I have been, Hubdot has a distinctive element of being based on story-telling rather than just standard mingling. As I entered the venue, the event was just about to start and the host Carlotta welcomed the first speaker to climb on the stage. Each speaker had 90 seconds to shortly present their experience and tell the public what had made them to change the course of their lives and become bloggers, designers, personal shoppers or shop owners.  After nearly 18 speakers had shared their stories, I felt really inspired. It was simply amazing to hear how these ordinary women with very normal and diverse background had left their permanent jobs to pursue their dream or were working hard along the daytime work.

What I really liked about the event, was the fact that it was open for everyone without a specific social status, experience or other qualifications. I was also impressed by the idea of using “dot codes” as an ice breaker meaning that each person chose to wear a different dot colour on their clothes according to their current status. Green: ‘I’m here to be inspired’; yellow: ‘I have an idea. Can anyone help?; blue: ‘I’m here to socialize and shop’; red: ‘I’m established (in my career/business)’; and purple: ‘I want to tell you about (my story/work). It meant that other participants could see on one glance the reason why someone else was here.

In the middle of the speeches, there was a short break, which everyone could be used for mingling and exchanging different viewpoints.  I browsed around the different stands that were set up by these women who already had launched their businesses. There were a lot of beautiful jewellery, hand bags and clothes that really deserve to get more attention. Besides promoting the actual products, the event was really more about spreading the energy, enthusiasm and courage for each and every one to follow their true passion.

I had a chance to talk to some of these ladies that I could never get  hold on in a normal circumstances and I found it truly empowering. I might not change my current job just yet but it really made me think about the other possibilities through which I could better utilize my creativeness and imagination.

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Expat Traditions: the Beaujolais Nouveau

Today Zach will introduce us to a French lovely tradition that more and more in the last years has been taking space in Luxembourg – the Beaujolais wine.

Beaujolais Nouveau for Dummies in a few lines 🙂

The Beaujolais Nouveau was born in ….

September 8, 1951! It was decided back then, by the French government, that AOC wines produced within the year couldn’t be able to be sold to the public before December 15 of the same year. However, syndicates representing the Beaujolais area got the right to sell Beaujolais before, as soon as the vinification process of the wine over. This is how the Beaujolais Nouveau was born. Since 1951, every year, on the third Thursday of November, the harvest of Beaujolais Nouveau can be savored.

What is the challenge compared to other AOC wines?

Beaujolais Nouveau wines are really hard to produce. Indeed, within three months, the winemaker has to produce a wine which expresses and represents the fruity grapes. Entire grapes are put in the thanks to keep all the flavors of the fruits, for where every winemaker has to assess the duration of each stage of fermentation and perfectly control the temperature of the wine.

And the most important, why is it celebrated? 

In case you were looking for an occasion to party and celebrate during in week after work, don’t look any further. Each new year of the Beaujolais Nouveau is an opportunity to go out with your friends and taste a good wine (depending of the year 🙂 )

Winter is coming. It’s dark around 5pm, it’s wet and colt. You need to get used to mulled wine before the skiing period!

You know you need five fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. That’s what every dietician says. It’s much easier to do it while drinking than eating, especially if you can do that with friends!

It’s a good opportunity to meet people while talking about its taste this year!  However, be aware that this is really rare to find somebody agreed with you on the flavor! Whatever, just enjoy it 🙂

Maintaining the tradition is really important as well. The Beaujolais Nouveau celebrates this year its 64 years old, and as you are polite, you celebrate its birthday!

And especially, the Beaujolais Nouveau and its related festivities are the symbol all over the world of conviviality and solidarity …

I sincerely hope you will enjoy it this year!

Several Beaujolais party will be held in Luxembourg during the next days. If you want to enjoy the one organized by MixInLux, pass to Jakob’s House on Thursday 19th November, starting from 7 pm. French appetizer, including cheese fondue, will be served for free with the wine.

Do you know MixinLux?

While organizing my agenda with the events to attend during next week in Luxembourg, I came across the MixinLux afterwork that will be held at Jakob’s next Thursday 23rd July.
If you follow my blog since the beginning, you know I am pretty much a fan of afterwork drinks: they give the opportunity to break your weekly routine, often an informal way for networking and discovering new places and make new friends out of your circle.
Since I arrived in Luxembourg, almost nine years ago, more and more organizations for “afterwork business” were created so I decided to have a chat with Zach and Mariano, who are the founders of MixinLux, before deciding to attend, in order to understand what differentiate their afterworks from the others in Luxembourg.

Zach and Mariano explained me that MixinLux aims to gather young professionals, expats and new comers around in a same place, after work, with nice music and few drinks. The main underlying idea is to meet friends, friends of friends, colleagues we heard about but never had a chance to talk with  … in order  to widen the network or just simply being introduced to other people working in different areas – fed up of discussing always the same working topics even after work anyone? 🙂

When I asked them why MixinLux should be different from the other after work groups, they gave me four specific reasons:

  • For them, good music is essential for a great party. For this reason, MixinLux has four resident DJs playing during their afterwork. Two of them are playing from 6.30pm until 10.30-11pm, the kind of music you need to chill-out and create a bit of atmosphere. The second two start playing around 11pm, only vinyl records, when people are ready to dance.
  • For every event, MixinLux tries to find a new idea to mix people, in order to prevent groups from staying all together during the entire night – and for the after work of the next Thursday, they have already some surprises ready.
  • MixinLux afterworks propose finger food and special cocktails.
  • There is a gopro hidden somewhere during their afterworks taking a picture every 10 seconds, and make a time-lapse with it.

MixinLux association has been created in April 2015 and has already held two events:

  • Aperiteca, in Apoteca, April 9: 250 people
  • Aperikki, IKKI Bar, June 4: 420 people

As said, next one will be held at Jakob’s in Clausen next Thursday. Joining MixinLux event is totally free.

Find more information on MixinLux association and next events on their FB page – some pictures of last IKKI event are following as well:

MixinLux Facebook Page

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Guest’s Post: Federica & the 8th Aperinetwork Event

8th Aperinetwork event, that was already reviewed earlier this year by Barefoot in Luxembourg, took place again at White House by Kader. I could not attend this time, so here Federica is telling us something more about that night.

The event is becoming now a monthly reunion for young professionals who want to enjoy the Italian way to do aperitivo in an international ambience.
White House staff was, as always, professional and cool and guests of the night could enjoy a huge free buffet and a captivating dj-set.
One decisive moment of the night was the prize-giving, who awarded three random participants with 3 Bernard Massard  bottles of Cremant (0.75l, a magnum and 3L). To win them you only have to join the event on Facebook, attend that night and then winners are extracted randomly from participants list.
Check Aperinetwork page for further locations and events.
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Guest Post: Patricia & Reale Restaurant in Castel di Sangro, Italy

Good Morning Folks! I am particularly happy today as it is going to be a short week for me and a super girly trip abroad will take me out of Luxembourg for some days.

I have decided to feature a blogger each and every couple of weeks and today is the turn of Patricia.
Patricia is a an incredible Brazilian architect – and an amazing mum – who has lived for years in Milan and moved to Luxembourg for love some years ago. She has an awesome inspiration page on Facebook (check it here) and you can either follow her on Instagram.

She has been recently on a trip to Italy and she visited this fascinating restaurant in the Abruzzo region.

Reale” restaurant is located in Castel di Sangro, Abruzzi region, Central Italy, in the premises of Hotel Casadonna. The restaurant was awarded in 2014 with the maximum recognition for the worldwide cuisine, the 3 Michelin Stars – something extremely rare for an eatery lost in such remote location.

Born as a typical Abruzzo restaurant today it has a more regional connotation to stand and highlights the raw materials of the territory. And the kitchen is definitely very unique and intriguing.
The settings of the restaurant are the mirror of the kitchen, the concept of the restaurant is controversial” in a positive connotation even if only by trying the dishes and visiting “live” the environment you can understand the true taste of the cuisine, you can feel the true essence of the space the architectural design and furnishing are very pure and synthetic, just to embrace the dishes that are the central feature and that color this neutral enclosure.

Below you can enjoy some pictures of our dinner and the location. Whenever you will visit this region in Italy, I hope you will book your stay at “Reale“, because it is really worth a try – and we are going there each and every time we got the chance.

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