Cheese Fondue

2017-08-03T12:14:27+00:00

Cheese Fondue is the Swiss national dish! So what is it all about?

The idea is really simple. Heat grated cheese slowly and add some white wine along with some cornstarch. Once the cheese turns liquid use a long fork to dip a piece of bread into the cheese. Stir and enjoy!

There are different kinds of ready made packages on the market, where you just have to heat up the content until it’s liquid. Better quality are different cheese mixtures that you can buy. You then add the ingredients of wine, starch and garlic yourself. There are even one person portions of 200g, that you can just heat up in the microwave in the package.

In Switzerland probably every family has a fondue set. That is the caquelon (fondue pot), a réchaud (portable stove) and quite a few long Fondue forks. Different sets can be purchased in bigger super markets.

The meal is rather heavy. A Swiss adult eats about 200g of cheese. If you are not used to cheese just eat less!

The meal is also really rather simple. Cheese and bread – that’s about it!

Fondue is great, but smelly. We cook and enjoy fondue together as a family or with friends during the winter season in the kitchen behind a closed door and then air the room well.

To help digestion people like to drink white wine, black tea or fizzy water. As a desert we often serve fruit salad, which is also light.

Cheese Fondue 2017-08-03T12:14:27+00:00

The Story of the Shepherds

2017-08-03T12:14:27+00:00

By mid December in many Swiss homes all is set for celebrating Christmas. Often a genuine fir tree is purchased and then lovingly decorated. Gifts are laid at the foot of the tree.

In quite a few homes you will also find hand made figures, with shepherds, a stable, a manger, the baby Jesus along with his parents Joseph and Mary. This set is made of clay. Often wood or fabric is used too.

During the Christmas celebration quite a few Christians would then read the age old and familiar Christmas story according to the gospel of Luke (Chapter 2) that renders the perspective of the shepherds:

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus to register all the empire for taxes. This was the first registration, taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria. Everyone went to his own town to be registered. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family line of David. He went to be registered with Mary, who was promised in marriage to him and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

Now there were shepherds nearby living out in the field, keeping guard over their flock at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were absolutely terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid! Listen carefully, for I proclaim to you good news that brings great joy to all the people: Today your Savior is born in the city of David. He is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a vast, heavenly army appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among people with whom he is pleased!”

When the angels left them and went back to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, that the Lord has made known to us.” So they hurried off and located Mary and Joseph, and found the baby lying in a manger. When they saw him, they related what they had been told about this child, and all who heard it were astonished at what the shepherds said. But Mary treasured up all these words, pondering in her heart what they might mean. So the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen; everything was just as they had been told.

The Story of the Shepherds 2017-08-03T12:14:27+00:00

Christmas Season

2016-12-13T22:04:25+00:00

The atmosphere in town is just great. Special Christmas decoration is up. Music is weaving through the streets. The scent of roasted chestnut is hanging in the air. Throngs of people are on the road. Excited kids are trailing behind their parents.

For many adults December is a stressful month. They have to get all the presents ready to give to their kids and the wider family when celebrating Christmas. The shops offer special Christmas sales. Advertisements suggest specific gifts for Christmas. The season has become quite commercialised.

December is also the time when the companies invite their employees out for a meal before the end of the year. There are Christmas plays at schools, concerts and church events are lined up too. People on the whole are really busy.

Christmas is actually a Christian holiday celebrating the birth of Christ. Switzerland has become a rather secular nation where for the majority the deeper meaning of Christmas has been lost.

Most people are looking forwards to the week off between Christmas and New Years’ Eve. This is a short but festive holiday. In some way it has a bit the feel of Chinese New Year. Most restaurants and even hotels are closed in that week. Shops are closed or just only open on specific days. It is good to get stocked up and get ready for a time with family and friends and maybe already hit the ski trail.

Christmas Season 2016-12-13T22:04:25+00:00

Burgdorf and its Castle

2016-12-07T20:01:36+00:00

Burgdorf is called the door to the Emmental. The beautiful old city is quite compact and sits on a sandstone hill in the middle of the Emmen valley. The modern city is down at the foot of the hill.

The massive castle sits at the highest point of the hill and overlooks the city and the Emmen valley. From the towers even the Jura can be see on horizon. On a clear day the view is gorgeous.

The castle is mentioned for the first time in 1080 and at that stage was owned by the dukes of Zähringen. They built the city around the castle.

Today the castle hosts three museums that are included in the price of the ticket (CHF 7.- / Person). The castle museum exhibits a lot of articles through different time periods and authentic old documents. The other two museums are much smaller. The gold museum offers some insights into how gold was washed in the Emmen river. The museum of ethnology dates back to it’s founder Schiffman who died in 1904. He had donated all his exotic articles from his travels to Japan, China and Korea to the gymnasium (high school) of the city.

The museums are open daily, April to October in the afternoons. November to March they just open Saturday 11am to 5pm.

The beer brewed in the city is also quite a treat!

The population of the city of Burgdorf is around 16’000 people. It is just a 20’ train ride from Berne.

Burgdorf and its Castle 2016-12-07T20:01:36+00:00