The Blessing of Family and Friendship


After a week of rain, yesterday was sunny and bright. We had a merry Christmas. Surrounded by the love of our family and friends, we baked, cooked and were just happy sitting by the table, talking, taking family pictures, enjoying the lights on the Christmas tree and sitting by the fire place.

This Christmas I also got four special presents, all related to one of the things I treasure the most: friendship. I always say friends are the family we choose and consider myself blessed by the friendship of many friends, and especially girlfriends who have been by my side in crucial and not so crucial, sad and happy moments, no matter what and how far away we are.

A very special present was sent from Venezuela by my loving friends, Alberto and María Antonia, who happen to be my children’s Godparents. A piece of wood, found in the beaches of Margarita Island (where my grandparents were born and raised), hand painted by Venezuelan artist, Lissette Villamizar. It has an image of SantaTeresa de Ávila with her feather pen, meaningful to me, not only because Santa Teresa was a writer but also because she’s the saint patroness of gastronomy and Ron de Venezuela.

Also meaningful to me, I received a copy of Ron de Venezuela, the book by Rosanna Di Turi. It came signed by the author. I was kindly sent to me by two people who I work with and have a special place in my heart. My mentor in the rum business, Frank Magallanes, who has devoted 40 years to the Venezuelan rum industry and is the president of the Ron de Venezuela Promotion Fund. And Lucylde his right hand. No need to say that I’m already devouring the book!

Another special gift was sent by Dorita, a consequent follower of Savoir Faire, living in Logansport, Indiana. A piece of stained glass for my kitchen, hand painted by my friend herself, it symbolizes abundance.

Last, but not least, I was delighted by three very delicate and fancy tins of chocolate tablets, to make hot chocolate the old fashion way. They were sent from Tijuana, México, by my friend Orquídea, an avid reader and supporter of Savoir Faire. Every tin has different Mexican state names and contents: Tribute to Chiapas, carries semi-bitter chocolate; Tribute to Tabasco, carries bitter chocolate, and Tribute to Oaxaca carries semi-bitter chocolate with a hint of toast almonds. Coming from a country whose gastronomy was recently added to the Unesco’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Humanity list, I don’t have to say that this is a very appreciated present in my kitchen.

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