Latest Event Updates

French potato salad, simply the best

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Ingredients: 2 1/2 pounds fingerling or small new potatoes, halved (quartered if large), coarse salt and ground pepper

1/4 cup olive oil, 3 tablespoons Dijon or other mustard, 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar or raspberry vinegar,

3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, 1 teaspoon dill, 1 teaspoon estragon

Step 1

Place potatoes in a large pot; cover with cold water by 1 inch and season generously with salt. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer and cook until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Run under cold water to cool slightly, then drain.

Step 2

Meanwhile prepare the dressing, in a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, mustard, vinegar, parsley, thyme; dill, and estragon season with salt and pepper. Add potatoes and pickles and toss to combine. Serve at room temperature. To store, refrigerate, up to overnight. It is perfect for a hot summer’s day…with meat or without

Blueberry festival in Belgium: The Witch and the Black Goat

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While witches have always existed in the Salm valley, just like anywhere else, the folklore group of the Macralles du Val de Salm from Belgium has only been in existence since 1955. Every year on 20 of July, the Macralles gather at a place: called Tienne-Messe to celebrate their Sabbath. This “Son et lumière” show stages amusing anecdotes about what has happened to certain of the people of the Salm valley during the last year, all in the Walloon dialect. Then the next day, they march in procession through the streets of the he Fête des Myrtilles (Blueberry Festival – July 21). The story of the Macralles is drawn from a local legend: the legend of Gustine Makra.

The course of the event: Every July 20 and for 24 hours, the “Neurès Bièsses” (the Macralles) symbolically take possession of the key of the city, and gather on the rocks of Tiennemesse to hold their Sabbath in the presence of their master, the “NeûrBo” (the Black Goat), who is none other than the Devil. This ceremony attracts more than 2,000 spectators every year. The macralleboast, in the local patois, of their harmful activities perpetrated during the year, whose targets are very diverse.

From 7:30 pm, musical and visual entertainment in the streets of Vielsalm

At 9:30 pm: taking the keys to the city; the macralles invade the communal park! During a scenario reviewed every year, they seize the key to the great displeasure of the mayor and the country guard. They then demand power for a period of 24 hours.
The “Neurès Bièsses” (the macralles) then gather at a place called Tiennemesse.
They review funny events and anecdotes of local and regional life. The devil, Neûr Bo (black goat) presides over this ceremony full of magic, terror and laughter. Every year, more than a thousand spectators witness this real sound and light.
Highlights of the Sabbath: – the arrival by the air of witches, with the help of their broom of course! – the establishment of the cauldron where the emmacrallée potion, the “tcha-tcha” will be concocted – the arrival of the devil on an authentic hearse – the enthronements of personalities, greeted by hunting horns and artifices. Not to mention the various more or less skilful attempts of the Country Guard (“the Emmacrallé”) who tries, without much success it must be said, to put an end to the Sabbath and tries to make public order reign!

Who has already once attended the Sabbath in the past should not be afraid to see the same things again from year to year because the Sabbath changes over the years. If we always strive to maintain a common frame to the various performances, we seek above all constantly not to tire the faithful spectators, especially through the use of many accessories and disguises, as well as music adapted and composed by our technical team. The lighting and a studied pyrotechnics make it possible to stage the highlights of the Sabbath, to enhance the play of the actors and the visual effects.
The “Neurès Bièsses” also take advantage of this sound and light show to induct certain personalities, both local and national, and thus confer on them the title of “Baron des Frambâches”. The ritual of enthronement consists in making the future Barons taste the “tcha-tcha” (potion based on crushed blueberries) and to make them ride
and broom and repeat the sentence that will “emmacraller” them forever: “Sôte, Mirôte, oût hayes èt bouchons!”

On the Sabbath are also enthroned the young Macralles nicknamed the ” loumerottes “. The loumerottes only become real Macralles after two years of apprenticeship.
After the Sabbath, a reception is organized and brings together all the members of the Macralles group, as well as the Barons of the Frambâches and the sympathizers. The opportunity for everyone to meet, and to sign the Golden Book, a real treasure illustrated by many cartoonists, each more prestigious than the other…

In addition to the outdoor processions, the Macralles are of course rampant in their own locality; collection of eggs and giant omelette offered each beginning of the year, local entertainment etc. 

By the way every October 31 from 1999 to 2008, the Macralles also organized the Halloween party for children: torchlight procession in the streets of the locality, followed by a ball for all the little devils and other monsters!
Between 2000 and 2010, the Macralles of the Val de Salm were the initiators of 7 “Great Gatherings of Witches”.
The program of these diabolical days expanded as the editions went on: artisanal market ofthewitch, street entertainment: storytellers, fire-eaters, jugglers, magicians, puppet theater, medieval musicians and other troubadours.

In the evening, a large international procession of groups of witches took place: “sisters” came especially from the whole of Belgium, but also from France, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland; as early as 2001, for the first time in Belgium, the presence of luminous electric floats in the procession, always on the theme of witchcraft, which will dazzle more than one!

For the pleasure of the eyes, no less than 8,000 light points are needed per tank to perfect the magic of the show. The closing evening in the communal park is placed under the sign of fire, accompanied by wild music.

The legend of Gustine Makra: she had managed to awaken the fairies and gnomes from hibernation, but she had also revived tormentors and ghosts, werewolves and demons. Fortunately, the later canonized Gengoux, long ago, managed to conjure up the Beings of Darkness. But now that almost 1313 years have passed, they are about to wake up again… Do you manage to make contact with above- , extraterranean and subterranean creatures and reveal the Mysteries of the Macralle? You can learn the language of the black magicians, who not only uses words, but also sound vibrations –and waves, sound patterns and music? After all, don’t you shy away from fighting Gustine Makra & her Creatures of Darkness, and putting them back to sleep with the appropriate formula.

Grilled potatoes with green goddess dressing

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Ingredients: 800 g potatoes, olive oil, Pepper salt

For the sauce or dip: 4 tbsp mayonnaise, 4 tbsp sour cream, 10 g chives, 10 g flat parsley, 10 g tarragon leaves, 10 g dill + extra, 10 g basil + extra, 1 garlic clove juice of 1 lemon, splash of water

Clean the potatoes, but you don’t have to peel them.

Cook the potatoes until cooked through. Drain and leave to cool. Cut in half.

Put a grill pan on the heat and let it get hot. Drizzle the potatoes with olive oil and grill them in the pan on both sides. Season with salt and pepper.

Make the green goddes dressing:

Mix the mayonnaise, sour cream, chives, parsley, tarragon leaves, dill, basil and garlic with a hand blender to form a nice, smooth green sauce.

Season with pepper, salt and lemon juice.

If it’s too thick, you can add a small splash of water.

Finishing touch:

Serve the grilled potatoes with the green goddess dressing. Finish with a few tufts of herbs.

Rhubarb limonade

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Ingredients for the winner fresh drink of 2021

for four persons:

2 rhubarb stems, 2 tablespoons raspberry syrup, 4 tablespoons rhubarb syrup, 1 tablespoon cane sugar, 750 ml mineral water, 4 branches of lavender (fresh or dried, pay attention to uncolored branches), ice cubes.


Peel the rhubarb and cut into thin slices. Mix the syrup, sugar and mineral water in a large bowl and add rhubarb slices.

Squeeze the lemon juice and divide in 4 glasses. Pour the syrup into the glasses and toss with ice cubes and garnish with fresh lavender branches.

Yellow crab-of-the-woods mushroom with lamb stew and quark noodle

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These special spring-summer mushroom’s common names are crab-of-the-woodssulphur polyporesulphur shelf, and chicken-of-the-woods. Its fruit bodies grow as striking golden-yellow shelf-like structures on tree trunks and branches. Old fruitbodies fade to pale beige or pale grey. The undersurface of the fruit body is made up of tubelike pores rather than gills.

Laetiporus sulphureus is a saphrophyte and occasionally a weak parasite, causing brown cubical rot in the heartwood of trees on which it grows. Unlike many bracket fungi, it is edible when young, although adverse reactions have been reported.

Due to its taste, Laetiporus sulphureus has been called the chicken polypore and chicken-of-the-woods (not to be confused with Grifola frondosa, the so-called hen-of-the-woods).

Many people think that the mushroom tastes like crab or lobster leading to the nickname lobster-of-the-woods. The authors of Mushrooms in Color said that the mushroom tastes good sauteed in butter or prepared in a cream sauce served on toast or rice. It is highly regarded in Germany and North America.

Young specimens are edible if they exude large amounts of a clear to pale yellow watery liquid. Only the young outer edges of larger specimens should be collected, as older portions tend to be tough, unpalatable, and bug-infested. The mushroom should not be eaten raw. Certain species of deer consume this type of mushroom.

Braised lamb with mushroom and green asparagus with quark noodle

Ingredients:1 large onion, quartered, 1 leek, halved lengthwise, 500 gr green asparagus, peeled, 1 large carrot, quartered, 1 garlic head, halved horizontally, 3 thyme sprigs, 3 parsley sprigs, 3 rosemary sprigs, 1 fresh bay leaf, 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns, One 8-pound semi-boneless leg of lamb (aitch bone removed), salt, 2 quarts chicken stock or low-sodium broth

  • Step 1 Preheat the oven to 500°. In a roasting pan that’s large enough to hold the lamb, spread out the vegetables, herbs and peppercorns. Season the lamb generously with salt. Set the lamb on top of the vegetables and roast for about 25 minutes, until the lamb is lightly browned.
  • Step 2 Add the stock to the pan and cover the pan with foil. Reduce the oven temperature to 300° and braise the lamb for 2 hours. Uncover the lamb and cook for 1 hour longer, until deeply browned on top and the meat is very tender. Let the lamb rest in the juices for 15 minutes, then transfer it to a carving board. Strain the cooking juices, discarding the solids, and spoon off the fat. Slice the lamb 1/4 inch thick and serve with some of the cooking juices.
  • Step 3 Serve with roasted vegetables and with the quark noodles or with the Italian gnocchi.

Italian meatballs in creamy tomato sauce

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Ingredients: ⅓ cup plain bread crumbs, ½ cup milk, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 onion, diced, 1 pound ground beef, 1 pound ground pork, 2 eggs, ¼ bunch fresh parsley, chopped 3 cloves garlic, crushed 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon dried Italian herb seasoning, 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

For the sauce: 1 can tomato purée, 2 tbsp butter, 1 big tablespoon flour, 1 teaspoon estragon, salt and pepper

Step 1 Cover a baking sheet with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray.

Step 2 Soak bread crumbs in milk or in water in a small bowl for 20 minutes.

Step 3 Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir onions in hot oil until translucent, about 20 minutes.

Step 4 Mix beef and pork together in a large bowl. Stir onions, bread crumb mixture, eggs, parsley, garlic, salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, Italian herb seasoning, and Parmesan cheese into meat mixture with a rubber spatula until combined. Cover and refrigerate for about one hour.

Step 5 Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Using wet hands, form meat mixture into balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Arrange onto prepared baking sheet.

Step 7 Bake in the preheated oven until browned and cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes.

Step 8 Prepare sauce. Heat some butter in a frying pan, add 1 tablespoon of flour. Pour tomato can or purée over flour add some water, salt and pepper to taste and flavour with 1 tablespoon estragon. Pour 100 ml cream and let it cook for 2 minutes.

Step 9 Serve meatballs in the sauce.

Belgian stew cooked in beer

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Ingredients: 500 g stewed meat (pork or beef), 2 large onions, 33 cl dark abbey beer or trappist 25 cl kriek Belgian beer1 cut white bread, 2 tbsp dark mustard thyme and bay leaf butter flour,pepper and sea salt

For the chicory salad: 3 stumps chicory,1 raddichio, 1 tbsp vinegar, 3 tbsp oil, pepper and sea salt, 3 tbsp dried cranberries, 4 tbsp chopped walnuts

Methods: Fry the chopped onions in a cooking pot. Next to this, heat butter in a saucepan and wait for the foam to disappear. Meanwhile, season the meat with pepper and sea salt.

Fry the finelly cut meat in portions in the butter until they crust nicely. Merge the fried meat in the saucepan with the onions. Sprinkle some flour over the last portion add the slice of bread to dish and let it bake for a while. This will help to bind the sauce later. If necessary, add some water to the meat.

Turn the heat as low as possible (be careful because the Kriek beer contains sugar so the meat can be burnt). Add bay leaf and thyme and flavor with two tablespoons of mustard. Simmer it very quietly for about 2 hours. Let the stew cool down a bit before serving, then the meat will be much juicier.

Meanwhile prepare the salad: cut the chicory and raddichio into fine strips. Mix them in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Mix the vinegar and oil together. Finish the salad with the cranberries and chopped walnuts.

Potato quishe

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Ingredients: 2 big potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes, 300 g fresh spinach, 1 onion, 75 g grated cheese, 4 eggs, 250 ml cream, 1 tbsp of oregano, olive oil, pepper and salt, 150 g feta

Directions: Preheat oven for 200°C.

Smear the potatoes with the oil. Grease a round dish with olive oil and arrange sliced potatoes in their ..sidesaardappel_quiche

Put into the oven for 15 minutes.

Fry the onion in some oil. Add spinach and let it simmer.

Beat the eggs in a bowl with the cream, add spinach and grated cheese and flavor with oregano, salt and pepper to taste. Take the potato out from the oven pour over the egg and spinach mixture. Crumble the feta over the top and bake it for 35 minutes in the oven.

Italian bigné for Father’s day and for Pentecote

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Citrus bergamia, the bergamot orange, is a fragrant citrus fruit the size of an orange, with a yellow or green color similar to a lime, depending on ripeness. Genetic research into the ancestral origins of extant citrus cultivars found bergamot orange to be a probable hybrid of lemon and bitter orange.

The word bergamot is etymologically derived from the Italian word bergamotto, ultimately of Turkish origin: bey armudu or bey armut (“lord’s pear” or “lord pear”). Citrus bergamia is a small tree that blossoms during the winter. The juice tastes less sour than lemon, but more bitter than grapefruit. Be aware of that the bergamot orange is unrelated to the herbs known as bergamot, wild bergamot, bergamot mint, or bergamint –and Eau de Cologne mint (the taxonomy of which is disputed). Those latters are all in the mint family, and are named for their similar aroma.


The bergamot is a citrus fruit native to southern Italy. Production is mostly limited to the Ionian sea coastal areas of the province of Reggio di Calabria in Italy, to such an extent that it is a symbol of the entire city. Most of the bergamot comes from a short stretch of land there, where the temperature is favourable. The fruit is also produced in Argentina, Brazil, Algeria, the Ivory Coast, Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey, and South-East Asia.

Citrus bergamot is commercially grown in southern Calabria (province of Reggio), southern Italy. It is also grown in southern France and the Ivory Coast for the essential oil and in Antalya in southern Turkey for its marmalade. The fruit is not generally grown for juice consumption. However, in Mauritius where it is grown on a small-scale basis, it is largely consumed as juice by the locals. Usualy extracts have been used as an aromatic ingredient in food, tea, snus, perfumes, and cosmetics (but bergamot may cause skin irritation). Use on the skin can increase photosensitivity, resulting in greater damage from sun exposure. One hundred bergamot oranges yield about three ounces (85g) of bergamot oil.

Adulteration with cheaper products such as oil of rosewood and bergamot mint has been a problem for consumers. To protect the reputation of their produce, the Italian government introduced tight controls, including testing and certificates of purity. The Experimental Station for Essential Oil and Citrus By-Products) located in Reggio di Calabria, was the quality control body for the essential oil Bergamotto di Reggio Calabria DOP during World War II, Italy was unable to export to countries such as the Allied powers. Rival products from Brazil and Mexico came on to the market as a substitute, but these were produced from other citrus fruits such as sweet lime.

An essence extracted from the aromatic skin of this sour fruit is used to flavour Earl Gray and Lady Grey teas, as well as confectionery (including Turkish delights). Bergamot is one of the most common “casings” (flavorings) added to Swedish snus, a form of smokeless tobacco product.

Fragrance Bergamot oil is one of the most commonly used ingredients in perfumery. It is prized for its ability to combine with an array of scents to form a bouquet of aromas that complement each other. Bergamot is a major component of the original Eau de Cologne composed by Jean-Marie Farina at the beginning of the 18th century in Germany. The first use of bergamot oil as a fragrance ingredient was recorded in 1714, and can be found in the Farina Archive in Cologne. However, much “Bergamot oil” is today derived instead from eau de Cologne mint also known as bergamot mint, which is a variety of water mint and is unrelated to citrus.


In several patch tests studies, application of some sources of bergamot oil directly to the skin of guinea pig was shown to have a concentration-dependent phototoxic effect of increasing redness after exposure to ultraviolet light (due to the chemical bergapten and possibly also citropten, bergamottin, geranial, and neral). This is a property shared by many other citrus fruits and other members of Rutacea including Rue). Bergapten has also been implicated as a potassium channel blocker; in one case study, a patient who consumed four litres of Earl Gray tea per day (which contains bergamot essential oil as a flavouring) suffered muscle cramps.

Italian bigné for father’s day with bergamot oil

I have an Italian friend, Luca who is fond of bergamot! He has told me several times that his “Mama” prepares the best Bigné with it. But what is bigné? -I asked him on the other day. And he was laughing meanwhile told the next:

“In my village the well known and beloved dolce (dessert) is the Bignè di San Giuseppe (St. Joseph’s beignet/Father’s Day Cream Puffs) they are deep-fried choux pastry puffs and filled with pastry cream and dusted with powdered sugar. There are many version of this delicacy. My mom’s recipe is for the Roman version of Bignè di San Giuseppe, it’s heaven on Earth,-exagerates Luca just thinking of it and licks his lips meanwhile continues the story of the Bigné. “The cream filled puffs are surprisingly light and fluffy and on the top of that they are easy to make.

“To find the appropriate word to describe this sweet “extravaganza” that used to reign in Luca’s family for Father’s Day (celebrated on March 19th in Italy) is difficult, while they have become a mixture of three region’s: his mother Franca, is from Palermo, Sicily, and his father, Salvatore is from Naples. After living Sicily for Tuscany, Luca’s parents moved to Pontremoli, because of his father’s job. So in this recipe THREE different traditional treats appear to celebrate Father’s day. They had: Zeppole di San Giuseppe from Naples, Sfinci from Palermo and Bignè di San Giuseppe from Rome. To make it clear you need some more elaborate explanation:

“The Sicilian Sfinci are deep-fried too but covered (yep, on top not filled) with the cannoli filling (ricotta with sugar, cinnamon, and chocolate chips) on top and then sprinkled with pistachios. Candied cherry and orange complete this pure joy.

The Neapolitan Zeppole are baked or fried, topped with cream pastry and crowned by an amarena flavored cherry.

And my mom’s version is the Roman variety in which the method for make Bignè is the same as pate à choux or éclairs. It’s pretty precise, so “Cara Silvestra”(that’s me) you need a scale. 

Ingredients for 50 Pastry Puffs: 500 g water, 125 g butter, 7 g salt, 300 g all-purpose flour, SIFTED a couple of times (don’t skip this step), 500 g eggs (usually 500g are from 10 eggs but check by weight them, they need to be the same weight of water) at room temperature, Vegetable oil for frying

For the Pastry Cream: 460 g whole milk, 6 egg yolks 120 g sugar 60 g corn starch, bergamot orange juice and rind or Lemon rind and Vanilla extract, icing sugar to dust for final decoration


Starting with the pastry puffs Note: you can make one day ahead the choux pastry dough and keep it in the fridge.

In a medium saucepan, combine water, butter, and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring with a wooden spoon until the butter has melted completely. Reduce heat to low and add flour. Stir the ingredients vigorously until a ball-shaped dough forms and a white film forms on the bottom of the saucepan (about 5 minutes). Remove from the heat and let it rest a few minutes so it’s not too hot for the eggs. Add just one egg at a time and incorporate well each before adding the next one. Do this until you have a thick cream. It’s possible that you won’t need all the eggs.

In a deep saucepan heat the oil to 370 degrees (If you don’t have a frying thermometer place a toothpick into the oil if it starts bubbling all around the temperature is good). Use two tablespoons to scoop out the dough and drop it carefully and gently into the hot oil, by using one spoon to push the dough off of the other. Do this for about 4 bignè at a time, do not crowd them in the pot. Cook until golden and puffy, turning with a slotted spoon to fry evenly on all sides. (If they brown too quickly it means the oil is too hot). The bignè require long frying, like 7/8 minutes as after 3 minutes you will notice they will pop and almost double in size and they have to keep frying to be fully cooked. When done place on a paper towel and let them cool.

Now make the pastry cream: This recipe is particularly made for the bignè because it’s very thick and it’s perfect to fill the puffs. I like to use the Montersino method (he is a famous Italian Pastry Maestro) to make this pastry cream because it’s quick and super easy. My mother has made it many times without failing so I really recommend it. Basically, you wait for the liquids to slightly boil, add the eggs beaten with the starch, and wait few seconds without touching it until it makes a big bubble. After that, all you need is just to whisk a for a little and it’s ready. More specifically: In a medium saucepan heat the milk with vanilla extract/bergamot or lemon rind. Meanwhile, beat very well the eggs with sugar, add cornstarch and mix gently with a spatula. When the milk starts bubbling on the sides of the pan it’s time to pour the mounted eggs and wait, without stirring. As soon as the milk goes over the eggs making a small volcano it’s time to quickly whisk the pastry cream for a few seconds and it’s ready! Remove the lemon rind (I love to eat it when it’s cool) if you used it, and cover with cling film touching the pastry cream to avoid the creation of any film on top. When the cream has cooled, it’s time to fill the bignè. Using a skewer or a piping nozzle make a hole in your pastry bun and fill with pastry cream using a piping bag. Pipe more on top and dust with powdered sugar. 

Red Groat with vanilla sauce in Hamburg’s style

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Rødgrød (in Danish), Rote Grütze (in German or Rode Grütt) meaning is “red groat”, and it is a sweet fruit dish from Denmark and Northern Germany. The name of the dish in Danish features many of the elements that make Danish pronunciation difficult for non-native speakers, so, literally “red porridge with cream”, is a commonly used shibboleth since the early 1900s. Rødgrød or Rote Grütze was traditionally made of groat or grit, as revealed by the second component of the name in Danish, German, or Low German.

Semolina and sago are used in some family recipes; potato starch is today the standard choice to achieve a creamy to pudding-like starch gelatinization The essential ingredients that justify the adjective are red summer berries such as redcurrant, blackcurrant, raspberries, strawberries blackberries, bilberries, and stoned black cherries. The essential flavour can be achieved with redcurrant alone; a small amount of blackcurrant will add variety; sugar is used to intensify the flavour. The amounts of starch, sago, semolina differ with the solidity desired; 20 to 60 grams on a kilogram or liter of the recipe are usual; sago, groat or grit have to soak before they can be used

The preparation is basically that of a pudding: The fruits are cooked briefly with sugar The mass should cool down for a moment so that the starch—dissolved in fruit juice or water—can be stirred into it without clumping. A second cooking process of one to two minutes is needed to start the gelatinization; remaining streaks of white starch have to clear up in this process.

Rote Grütze is served hot or cold as a dessert with milk, a mixture of milk and vanilla sugar, vanilla sauce, (whipped)  cream, vanilla ice cream or custard to balance the refreshing taste of the fruit acids.

There are several modern variants of rodgrod sold basically in German supermarkets: grüne Grütze, the green variant, is made from goosberries and rhubarb in combination with kiwifruits and apples. In Denmark, a similar dish is known as stikkelsbærgrød (gooseberry jelly). To make blaue Grütze, the blue variant, blackberries, bilberries, blackcurrant and grapes are usually used. Gelbe Grütze consists of peaches, yellow gooseberries, bananas, gold kiwifruit, or other yellow fruits.

In Poland, parts of Russia, the Baltic States, Finland and Ukraine, kissel is known as a dessert similar to the Danish rodgrod.

In the US Virgin Islands—formerly the Danish West Indies before the US purchased the islands in 1917—it is known as “red grout” and is made with tapioca, guava, and sugar, served with a custard sauce.

The German Grote Grütze in Hamburg style″is made with vanilla sauce