I love local festivals. Art festivals, watermelon festivals, rodeo, whatever, it doesn't really matter. Local festivals are a great way to see what people in a community care about. This weekend was the Swiss-American Christmas Market. There were carols, cookies, toys, arts and crafts, and of course, a gingerbread house competition.
I think this one made good use of licorice rope for fencing and I liked the candy tiled roof, but
the marshmallow ski slope on this one was very inventive, and I liked the peppermint over the door. Hard decision. Gingerbread design is a demanding art.
A teenage girl tried to talk me into buying a stollen to support her class. (Only $20!) I didn't, but she did get me to spend $2 on two tiny cookies, and I felt guilty for not buying more. She has a future in sales.
But the highlight was RACLETTE! I hadn't heard of raclette until last year, when my French teacher described it. Honestly, it didn't sound all that interesting, a way to do toasted cheese without an oven. Oh was I wrong. This stuff is fabulous. And unlike fondue, you don't have to worry about the bread falling off your fork. You get your portion of melted cheese all to yourself.
You could smell the cheese toasting all the way to Rice University. You could have found your way to the market with your eyes closed. Sadly, raclette is not very photogenic. But food that makes people this happy, doesn't have to be.