Pastry shop stop
Jose Van Leeuwen Lintz has just pulled a batch of genuine Belgian sandwich bread out of the oven -- it is still too warm to cut -- and she is very happy. After years of searching, Mrs. Lintz has found a source for the special mix of flour that Belgians have long been using to make their loaves crusty, crunchy, light and chewy. This batch, her first, is perfect.
The aroma of bread baking is just one of the many wonderful smells inside Par Excellence, Mrs. Lintz's new pastry-cakery-cafe shop in Fullerton. Besides various kinds of bread she makes cookies, candy, rolls and other pastry confections with European flair. Everything is made from scratch -- "We don't do anything quick."
She also bakes splendid wedding cakes, made with real French buttercream and filled with Grand Marnier and strawberries, or Chambord and raspberries, or "any filling you like," she says. In addition, there is coffee, including eight different specialty coffee drinks: cappuccino, Irish cream, Viennese with cinnamon and cafe au chocolat, among them.
Mrs. Lintz was born in Belgium, married an American G.I., came to the United States and raised a family, learning along the way about the American way of life.
But the more she learned, the more she sensed something missing. "I could see people needed something I knew about. In Belgium," she says, "when we went shopping in the afternoon, we'd always stop for coffee and a pastry. You can sit and 'D discuss your purchases, your day. . . . Because when you're shopping, you can't talk about what's bothering you.
"People are so busy busy busy living here, they don't have time to do the relaxing things. Why do you have to wait till you're old?"
The shop, in the Rossville Center at 7850 Rossville Blvd., is open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. The phone number is (410) 882-8108.
The Pennsylvania Dutch Convention & Visitors Bureau is offering folks a chance to take a working vacation with a difference -- as guests at a farm in Lancaster County. A day's activities might include milking cows, feeding chickens, baling hay or collecting eggs from the hen house. It's not all work, however: there are also chances for long bike rides or walks through the country, or wading in nearby creeks. The day starts off with a farm-fresh breakfast prepared by the hosts, which might feature home-grown meats, such as sausage, scrapple or ham, fresh eggs, fresh milk, fruits, home-canned jams and jellies or home-baked sweet treats.
For more information, call (800) 735-2629, Ext. 2318, for brochures (be patient and listen to the entire voice mail message), or (717) 299-8901 for specific questions. Or write to the Pennsylvania Dutch Convention & Visitors Bureau, Dept. 2318, 501 Greenfield Road, Lancaster, Pa. 17601.
Sweet ideas with crosswords
Want to send a really sweet message to someone? You can say it with chocolate. Chocolate Photos' new Chocolate Crosswords is a game, a greeting card and a personal message all in one package.
You compose the brief message, and Chocolate Photos uses your words to create a game board that doubles as the greeting card, then creates chocolate letters that spell out what you've said. Recipients place the chocolate letters on the board -- some of the spaces are labeled with "?" instead of letters -- to get your message. In case they're baffled, or so impatient they eat some of the letters before they figure it out, a solution card is also enclosed.
Each message can have up to 32 letters and numbers. If you have trouble making your message fit, the folks at Chocolate Photos will be glad to help. Call toll-free at (800) 942-9361. Each Chocolate Crosswords message costs $19.95 plus $7.50 shipping and handling. All major credit cards are accepted, and delivery will be made within 48 hours. (For an extra fee, you can get next-day delivery.)
There's good news for people who are trying to cut down on calories from sweets or who prefer to use artificial sweeteners: The Nutrasweet Co. is introducing a granulated version of their "sugar alternative." The new product, called Nutrasweet Spoonful, should be on store shelves in July. It has 2 calories per teaspoon (sugar has 16), no saccharin, no sodium, and no sucrose, and it looks, spoons and measures like sugar. It can even be used in some cooking applications, though not all. (High heat and long-duration cooking will lead to some loss of sweetness, the Nutrasweet folks say, but in "nine out of 10 instances" the product can be substituted for sugar.)
For some examples of ways to use the new product, consumers can send $1 for shipping and handling to "The Nutrasweet Spoonful No-Bake Cookbook," P.O. Box 7777-A6, Mount Prospect, Ill., 60056-7777. There is a limit of one cookbook per household.
Baltimore oenophiles can now taste older vintages of some of their favorite wines as well as successive vintages from selected wineries at the Baltimore Grille at the Omni Inner Harbor Hotel. The restaurant has won numerous accolades for its wine list, which features more than 245 selections. Among the so-called "vertical selections" being offered are 1981 through 1988 cabernet sauvignon and 1986 through 1989 chardonnay from Napa Valley's Chateau Montelena; 1968, 1970 and 1979 through 1987 cabernet sauvignon from the Monte Rosso Vineyard of Louis M. Martini; 1981 through 1990 chardonnay from Guenoc Winery. Selections from Guenoc, the Omni Inner Harbor Hotel Winery of the Year for 1992, also include two special reserve bottlings, from 1984 and 1986.
Guenoc, of Middletown, Calif., has also produced a limited-edition, estate-bottled chardonnay for the Omni called Treasure the Chesapeake. For every bottle sold, $1 will be donated to the Chesapeake Bay Trust. For more information, call (410) 385-6601.