Presents for my friends

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I haven't said much about how classes are going here, but I love my class, my teacher and my classmates. Maybe because there are only 2 other students in the class, even though there are supposed to be at least 4 students per class. Our teacher is a vivacious woman in her late 30s, and the other two students are also both females from English-speaking countries. As a result, our class is very low-key and relaxing, and we spend much of our class time chatting (in Mandarin, of course) about girly things such as exercise, beauty, clothes and celebrities.

One of my classmates, who I've become good friends with, got us all little goody bags with candy for Christmas, so this weekend I thought I'd put together a little something for my classmates and teacher as well.

I had to go to the trinket/stationery store to pick up a hairdryer (it's just gotten too chilly to not blow-dry my hair after showering now), and I happened upon some cute plastic gift bags:

I want my gift bags to forever remind me of all the sweet things I enjoy eating, don't you?


I bought 3 sets of gift bags in total: two sets of small ones and one set of larger ones, for a total of $1.87!

Next, what to fill them with? I'd spied these mini-macarons a while ago and had been curious about them. Authentic macarons go for about $2.50-$3 a piece in NYC/London/Paris, sometimes more. These "macarons" came in bags of maybe 20 pieces each for $1.33 a bag. I got all three flavors: vanilla, chocolate and strawberry.



They were really inconsistent. The vanilla ones were very firm (and tasted eggy), the chocolate ones less firm (and completely lacking in chocolate flavor), and the strawberry ones had the best flavor, but were basically sponge cakes. They're fun, but they're no French macarons. (I think I might need to moisturize my hands more too, hmm.)

I also stopped by an award-winning bakery (Hogan) on my way home ... they have some Christmas treats right now, including scones and chestnut balls. I haven't tried either yet and bought 4 scones (one for my classmates/teacher and one for me), but then I realized that I have another friend who I should give a present to as well, so that was packed away. Someday I'll get to try these scones. I bought 2 raspberry scones, one traditional (sultana or raisin), and one chocolate. I hope they're good.

I also wanted to restock my supply of my favorite chocolates (in the entire world), Kinder Bueno. I first discovered them while I was here eleven years ago and I fell in love. They're chocolate-covered wafers with a hazelnut cream filling. It's a little sweet for me now, but still incredibly delicious. I've gone a little bonkers eating these because they're pretty difficult to find in New York, and even when found, they go for about $3 a pack (which contains 2 rows of 4 wafer "squares" each). Here? You can get a multi-pack pack of 3 packs for $2.50! Yes, please!

Anyway, while restocking, I thought, "why not add a row of these per gift bag?"

Here are the scones packed away, and the Kinder Bueno

The hazelnut cream filling, mmm.

The macarons, ready to go

The final product, ready to be delivered

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