Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I'm Back! And I Have Pictures....

I'm officially back from vacation and let me just say how great it was to relax and take some time away for myself. But it is also good to be back home and re-energized and re-focused on plans and ideas for the future.

As promised, here are just a FEW highlights from my trip to Colorado Springs, Colorado. Since this was my first time visiting the Rocky Mountain State, well my first time actually stepping foot on Colorado soil (I'm not counting the 10 + times I've had lay overs at the Denver airport)--I did take part in the tourist-role type of things to see and do while being there.

One of the first of many trips to, near or past the Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak. Shown below is Pikes Peak covered in snow (I was so glad it was way up there and not down where were--I think snow is pretty, but I am not a fan of being in it too long or being freezing cold).

Entering the Garden of the Gods....

Lone tree growing out of red rock....

More red rock....

Old Colorado City Trail....

HUGE rock/mountain formations....

Even more HUGE red rock/mountain formations.....

The famous "kissing camels" (zoomed in to see better).....

Another shot of "kissing camels" without the zoom...

More MASSIVE red rock that was impressive and cool to see up close and personal....

Token shot of the information board, which shows the date it became a National Natural Landmark, which happens to be the same year, I came into this world....

Another shot of the attempting to show the HUGE sheer size of the mountain....

During the next week, we visited a few of the local bakeries and several restaurants--most of which had really delicious food and desserts. A few of my favorites were these next bakeries. Keep in mind, this truly was a vacation for me, because I purchased and consumed more desserts during my vacation than I ever do while I'm at home. It was really fun to compare and contrast the different desserts to my own Jillicious Desserts and so I like to think of this part of the vacation as "research."

First stop Germany:

I tried to be really good about taking pictures of the food, but I kept forgetting about doing this every single time we came here. Did you catch that? Yep, we came here at least four times and each time picked up some fabulous bread: poppy seed rolls, Kaiser rolls, pretzel rolls and many other wonderful dense breads full of grains and seeds--the really heavy kind that fills you up after a few bites. They also have a large selection of German sausages and other meats and some cheeses in their deli section. There was also a little grocery section that had German brands of anything from mustard to candy.

And then the sweets. Oh, the candies...they carried the German brand Haribo Gummi's in every flavor and shape you can imagine. I'm now completely hooked on the Happy Cola's and I can neither confirm or deny that I may have consumed these tasty little gummy treats in large quantities.

Next stop The Netherlands:
Boonzaaijer's Dutch Bakery [pronounced bone-zi-yer]

Inside it was bright and cheery with an area for eating (I loved the little round tables with tulips painted on them)....

One of the bakery cases filled with several types of cookies and bars.....

And another filled with delicious looking cakes and pastries and also where we selected three desserts to take home and do our "research".....

Here are the three desserts we decided on: Lemon Bars (because we were told these were the very BEST), the Mountain Peak (the Bavarian cream filled pastry) and the Chocolate Mousse Cake (because we HAD to have something chocolate)...

Let's start with the Lemon Bars. I can understand why the woman at the bakery said these were the best lemon bars she's ever had. They were really, REALLY good. The lemon flavor was strong and tangy, but not over powering and the crust was tender and buttery and flaky and both components were the perfect amounts and compliemented the other and when we finished it, I wished we had more.

The Mountain Peaks were a nice surprise because although I thought they looked good, I wasn't prepared for how PHENOMENAL they actually were. I mean they were so YUMMY!! Here's the description from their menu: "Flaky pastry crust with raspberry and Bavarian crème. The choux lid looks like a mountain peak topping."

Need I say more? The picture speaks for itself.

The third dessert was a slice of Belgian Double Mousse cake and it was very delicious. I liked the combination of the milk chocolate and dark chocolate mousse in between the layers of the dark chocolate cake (see the picture right above the lemon bars).

Our final bakery stop was in France:

I don't have any pictures of this excellent cafe, because they were under construction and so there wasn't much to see, but they were still open during this time and so we visited their bakery and after much drooling over the many fabulous desserts, we decided to try the Double Chocolate Mousse Cake.

That's right, this cake deserves three pictures in a row to show off the details of how AWESOME this cake really was.

This cake was voted Best Cake; Colorado Springs, 2005 and let me just say that THIS cake totally deserved that award! Hands down, this was my favorite dessert from our "research." Here is Marigold's description: "Layers of Callbaut Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse and Chocolate Cake covered in Chocolate Ganache and topped with Milk Chocolate Shavings."

My mouth is totally watering just typing this post and thinking about this cake. It was the most delicious cake--the mousse was smooth and rich, but not too rich. The dark chocolate cake was moist and just melted in my mouth and the ganache covering added yet another depth of chocolate that I still can't stop thinking about. When I visit my friend again, this will definitely be one of the first stops I make after I arrive. We also went back for lunch a few days later and the lunch was also excellent.

Now it's back to work, back to my life here in Oregon and on to planning the Jillicious Desserts spring menu. It was great to spend time with my best friend and experience her new life in Colorado and being able to relax and get back into the swing of things here. I'll be posting some book reviews later this week, since I took advantage of the time I had on vacation to read several books that I can't wait to share with you. Till then, happy baking, reading, working or whatever you have on your to-do list this week.


  1. Very, very interesting! The Dutch bakery looks very cute.
    I could have sworn that Haribo was French, maybe because (here in Italy) in some commercials of 30+ years ago that still ring in my head they would pronounce it with a French accent.
    I learned something new!

    I'm happy you had a good time, you deserved it!

  2. I am just drooooooooling over here. Lucky you, I love the research you have to do! And YAY for hanging out with Besties! I'm glad you had a fun and rejuvenating trip!

  3. So are you gonna add any of the desserts you tried to your menu?

  4. Great pictures of both scenery and desserts! Love Colorado Springs. Such a vibrant place. One of the best Italian restaurants I've ever eaten in was in Colorado Springs. Many years ago we had to drive from Scottsbluff, Nebraska to Colorado Springs to get our Volvo serviced. Great excuse!

  5. Wow, you've just transported me from tropical northern Australia to the mountains of Colorado. Thank you!

  6. My niece just got back from Denver(for work) and LOVED the place! Looks like you had a great time too! I would love to go there and do some "research" myself:) YUM! Glad you're back and I look forward to your book reviews!

  7. colorado springs is, for me, the most beautiful place in the world. i wonder if breadhead bakery is still there or was it deadbread? louis borachaner whom i wrote about in the pastry bible was the owner and it was a total surprise when miraculously he recognized me as i had never met him but adored his chocolate caramel tart. i'm longing to go back there and if not for the altitude and baking i would chose that as the place to live some day!

  8. I totally expect to see your versions of these treasures appear with the Jillicious Twist applied!

  9. Oh my God, not only your pictures are awesome but the cakes and desserts look delicious.

  10. Ok, the Double Chocolate Mousse Cake looks like a bit of heaven among the mountains... I think it deserved more than 3 pictures because it looks soo good. In time like this I wish we could transport ourselves so we can experience everything first hand.

    Glad you had fun in CO... I lived in Ft. Collins for a bit, and I loved it there.

    Now back to baking.. chop, chop :)

  11. Wow, Jill.. this trip is definitely worthy! So glad you are fully re-energized :-) Welcome back.... :-)

    Sawadee from Bangkok,

  12. Amazing trip, such a beutiful views, great food and what a wonderful photos to keep those memories alive!!! :)

  13. Welcome back Jill. Looks like you had an awesome time. I'm so jealous of your visit to the Dutch bakery (being my home country). I saw lots of childhood favorites like the Droste chocolate pastilles. The picture of the cookies was a little blurry but I wondered if they made almond filled cookies called "Gevulde Koek". They're awesome!!

  14. Welcome back Jill! The desserts all look/sound fabulous, especially the last one! Double-chocolate mousse cake sounds to die for!!

  15. Welcome back, Jill!! Great photos of a wonderful vacay with yummy side notes. Love love the photos of the red rock. Also, loved the little tour of 'Europe' integrated into your trip :) Tasty Europse, that is. Looking forward to more yummies from you!!

  16. Hi Jill...it's been a while since I stopped by any blogs! :( Anyway, I'm glad to see you have enjoyed your vacation & your "research"!!! ;) I am especially attracted to The Mountain Peak---- it's got ALL OF MY FAVORITES in it!! Gosh...looking at the picture, wished I could have gotten you to bring some back for me too!!! :P
    ....now, I have to get back to my March challenge!! :P

  17. Beautiful pictures....you make me want to visit Colorado Springs and not just for the view! I think I might do some 'research' of my own when I get there;)

  18. I am missing you! Are you still baking? We are moving from Virginia to Arizona!