All posts filed under ‘Gift ideas

A treat for the eyes and the soul: Marou – Faiseurs de chocolat

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design anthology
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Wait a second, I didn’t reveal to you my obsession yet? Here it comes: I’m desperately obsessed with Marou Chocolate, and that for some years now ever since I first encountered this wonderful treasure during my time in Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam.

How could I not fell in love with Marou Chocolate? This bean-to-bar chocolatier, founded by Samuel Maruta and Vincent Maurou in Vietnam, is an experience per se that you have to discover. I guarantee: Marou will become a friend, a special gift or simply something that makes your life more beautiful! {I’m sure I’m not the first one who said such things about Marou Chocolate!}

From every single bar emerges a luscious and distinctive taste. Ba Ria 76% dark chocolate is my favorite and I find it works perfectly with red wine. But for coffee, I prefer Tien Giang 80% single origin with a texture I find slightly “softer” that balances well with a strong espresso. So tell me which “Marou” is your favorite because I’m very curious to know!

Marou chocolate isn’t only top-notch gourmet chocolate but also outstanding packaging design. I’m a huge fan of the {award-winning} bold and gorgeous screen printed wrapping paper by Rice Creative. My confession: I can’t throw the packaging paper away!

This week-end, I thought I could shoot some pics to share with you how Marou Chocolate continues to be a wonderful part of my life ever since…

Enjoy this dear everyone because you can grab Marou at many  gourmet boutiques and coffee shops around the globe.

Where did I grab my bars of Marou Chocolate?
In Ho Chi Minh City at L’Usine and Annam Gourmet.
In Singapore at Robinson de Heeren.
In Sete at L’Epicerie-Sete.
In Berlin at Berliner Kaffeeroesterei.

Photography: La Mangosteen.

On my mind

Any bar of this wonderful treat would make my day.
Marou. Faiseurs de chocolat.
Made in Vietnam.

{Price winning packaging by Rice Creative}

One Olive – Floral design

A friend asked me the other day where I get the nice flowers I keep offering her {This post is for you Zori!}.
Well, I should mention that flowers are amongst the beautiful things that I love. They are naturally well-designed I would say. Roses, daisies, orchids, I love them all. But peonies are my favourite ones! Where do I get them? Most of the time at the Wet Market, but also at my favourite flower boutique One Olive!
It’s the most quirky and unique floral shop that I know in Singapore. Their space is small, but I always get lost in between the well-selected collection of wonderful plants, flowers and other cute antique objects. Impossible not to fall in love with! Also, they create and design flower bouquets I would die for! Looking for a special gift? What are you waiting for?

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I was looking for presents those days and I thought a nice pair of trendy sun glasses would make a perfect gift for this summer. You know already that I love wood. Handcrafted wood, that’s my jam! A pair of handcrafted wooden sunglasses by Woodhours {like the name, sounds like the world is ticking for wood…}? Perfect!

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Best pineapple tarte in Singapore

In a few days  on Feb 19th people here in Singapore will be celebrating Chinese New Year. The whole town is in such a festive mood. Lively decorations on houses and buildings, lanterns through out the streets of China Town, groups of men practicing the dragon dance on the streets for the upcoming performance. It’s also interesting to see the people getting excited, making the last preparations for the most important feast of the year.

And surely, there is one thing that can’t be missed during this occasion: pineapple tarts amongst so many other typical local delights that can be found in those hundredfolds of pop-up stands. It’s such a good occasion for me to introduce to the oversea readers the famous brand Bengawan solo (because I probably won’t tell anything new to locals and residents!).

It’s a bakery with a long history and tradition, founded by Mrs. Anastasia Liew back to 1976. Now at the age of 67, Mrs. Liew is still actively involved in the production process, making sure that every recipes is perfected as she want (how amazing!). Bengawan solo is very well-known for its many delicious kuehs from ondeh ondeh to kueh lapis, and of course, my favourite – the pineapple tart.

I find their recipe very delicate. The crust is extremely tender and buttery, reminding me a bit of the taste of croissants and of the German “Vanillekipferl” (biscuit made of almond pastry and vanilla sugar). The pineapple jam filling is subtle, juicy and not too sweet.

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5 memorable gift ideas with stories from Singapore

Here is my personal selection of special and meaningful gift ideas for you.
I discovered a lot of them when I was myself looking for gift ideas for families and friends in Europe. I wanted to offer them something special from the region, but did not want to buy ordinary souvenirs that you can find in most tourist shops.

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With heart and soul – By Myself

– By Myself: Hard to find, hard to forget –


It’s been a while since I came back to Bangkok. This time, I wanted to visit some places and designers that I’ve read about before. By Myself was definitely in my top 5.

I knew the shop was located in warehouse 5 in the famous Asiatique in Bangkok. But firstly, I could hardly imagine the size of the place (it was gigantic!), consisting of 9 warehouses which in turn offers different sois (“streets” in Thai) with uncountable souvenir shops (which were not my target) and a few designer places (which were my targets!). Secondly, our lack of understanding in the way the warehouses were arranged made it almost impossible to locate warehouse 5 easily. After walking up and down, and making wrong turns into various alleyways, I finally found number 5017 – the boutique of By Myself.

Tanawat (“Ouu”) Kuansuwan working in his boutique and atelier

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