by Rhonda Fischer
Hark! The Palm Beach high season rings in an array of offerings that bring to life the magic of the winter holidays in this unique island setting. The island is a special place throughout the year, but I particularly love the holidays. Steeped in Christmas tradition and nostalgia, Palm Beach at this time of year makes you remember times gone by. The streets are buzzing with festive activity, happy smiles, and “Merry Christmas” wishes. Shops and restaurants are full of patrons. Cultural happenings are at their peak. Locals and visitors alike are in the giving spirit.
During the holiday season, Palm Beach is all about charity, tradition and well-rounded living. It becomes a magical place where special moments turn into lasting memories.
Interior designer Leta Austin Foster has filled her eponymous boutique with custom-made and expertly sourced homewares that draw upon her long-standing relationships with European artisans. From French linens by D. Porthault to exquisite Milanese handpainted tableware by Labatorio Paravicini, you can search the curated collection for that perfect item or request a custom order from Leta, who works with the very best monogrammers from Paris to New York.
Dining Al Fresco
Across the way from Leta Austin Foster’s boutique is Renato’s—an absolute favorite among Palm Beach residents. This upscale Italian eatery is known for its romantic courtyard seating and elegant, old-world feel.
I have worked with event designer and florist extraordinaire Barbara Hamilton for more than 20 years. Together, we collaborate while decorating for the season, considering the fine details and color nuances of each space throughout the home. At Christmas, my style is more traditional (think: stunning displays of white lilies and staircases draped in magnolias), but when it comes to creating wreaths, I love to add inventive touches with natural elements such as berries, princess pine and eucalyptus.
The spirit of the holiday season comes alive on Worth Avenue with its palm trees wrapped in lights, decorated storefronts and much-loved singing Christmas tree. The sparkling window display at Richters, showcasing its exquisite collection of one-of-a-kind estate and vintage jewelry, is always enchanting and takes my breath away.
Considered a highlight of the Palm Beach social season, the Annual Dinner Dance hosted by The Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach is a dazzling affair. A night of French wine, enchanting décor and dancing raises over a million dollars for the Foundation’s advocacy initiatives, educational programs, architectural resources, cultural events and preservation in Palm Beach.
The Norton Museum of Art is where I treat my soul to all things cultural. On view this season is an exhibition examining the life of the legendary artist Georgia O’Keeffe through her art, her clothing and the way she posed for the camera.
The Palm Beach lifestyle is synonymous with living a healthy, active life. From the tennis court to the golf course, there are no shortage of ways to get outside on the island and stay fit. One of my favorite ways to get physical is at Squeeze Pilates in Royal Poinciana Plaza.
Buttermilk Pancakes—A classic family recipe passed down by my husband’s grandmother.
1 egg, 11⁄2 cups of buttermilk, 1 cup of flour, 1 tsp salt,
1 tsp baking powder, and 3⁄4 tsp of soda dissolved in a little water
Break egg in a bowl, add 3/4 of a cup of buttermilk and water. Sift in flour, salt, and
baking powder. Mix in the rest of the buttermilk.
Palm Beach Cheese Puffs—Never amiss are these cherished hors d’ouevres at any Palm Beach cocktail party.
2 cups mayonnaise, 2 cups grated Parmesan cheese, 1⁄2 cup finely
chopped yellow onion, and 10 slices white bread
Preheat oven to 350 °F. In a large bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, cheese, and onion.
Cut the bread into rounds using a 1-inch cutter. Arrange on a baking sheet. Place a heaping
teaspoon of the mayonnaise-cheese spread on top. Bake for 6-8 minutes, until the tops turn
golden. Transfer to a decorative plate and serve hot.