Chocolate

2018-04-28T10:31:34+00:00

Swiss chocolate is world famous for its delicious taste and the wide variety of flavours. There are basically three different kinds: black, milk and white chocolate and then countless ingredients to refine the basic product.

Chocolate can also be added to milk and then be enjoyed as a nice tasting and quite powerful drink.

Only the average German (12.2kg) eats more chocolate in a given year than the average Swiss (11.7kg)! So chocolate is actually also very popular in the area and given as a gift on all sorts of occasions.

There are many big companies offering nice products such as Lindt, Cailler, Nestlé and others. A company that suddenly popped up everywhere offering delicious, freshly made chocolate is Läderach (see the picture).

To get reasonably priced good quality chocolate Migros has their own brand called Frey.

Chocolate 2018-04-28T10:31:34+00:00

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

Lavaux – World Class Vines

2016-09-28T13:31:25+00:00

The area of Lavaux is located between Vevey and Lausanne above the lake of Geneva in the Canton de Vaud (french speaking). A variety of Chasselas grapes are the base for the Grand Cru of Lavaux vines produced in the villages of Lutry, Villette, Epesses, St. Saphorin, Chardonne, Dézaley, Calamin and Vevey. 80% of Lavaux’s vine production is white wine.

The vine production profits from a triple effect of the sun: direct sunlight, the sun reflected from the lake, and the warmth stored in the thousands of walls forming the terraces of Lavaux.

About 250 families are involved in the vine production where the vineyards have been handed down over generations. The oldest records go back to a vineyard in Lutry mentioned in 997.

Since 2007 the area of Lavaux has become a UNESCO World Heritage.

Explore the area between June and October with a guided tour on Sunday afternoon. Start your tour at 3pm in Cully. The tour takes 2 1/2 hours and finishes with tasting the wine! Round your tour off by taking the old „Swiss“ steam vessel that was lovingly renovated and cruise the lake. Going back to Bern just takes a good hour only.

Lavaux – World Class Vines 2016-09-28T13:31:25+00:00

Swiss Cuisine

2016-09-26T13:18:12+00:00

The Swiss cuisine is very much influenced by France, Germany and Italy where each country has it’s distinctive style of foods. So in Switzerland you will find the French „Haute Cuisine“, wonderful Italian food (not just only pizzas) and the solid German food. Beer and wine are also often part of a good meal.

Switzerland has also many local dishes. The local dishes are rather plain using simple ingredients such as potatoes, bread and cheese. Fondue and Raclette (both cheese dishes) as well as Rösti (grated and backed potatoes) are the most famous ones.

The picture here shows a carrot soup that was served in a local unspectacular restaurant on top of the Niederhorn. However it is not just simply the quality of the food but also how it is served which make a real difference.

Lunchtime under the week is the best deal for meals at restaurants. Every restaurant will have at least one or two set meals for the day between CHF 15 and 25 (depending on the kind of place) including a starter, the main meal and a dessert.

Switzerland is renowned for its international hospitality schools. The most famous one is the one in Lausanne but others are found in Lucerne, Zurich and Thun too.

Swiss Cuisine 2016-09-26T13:18:12+00:00

Burgdorf’s Famous Beer

2016-12-07T19:59:24+00:00

Burgdorf is a small enchanting historic town with a big medieval castle sitting on a rock. It is less than 25km away from Berne. The city is the gate to the beautiful Emmental.

1999 Burgdorf’s now well known beer brewery took up its business. Meanwhile they have been so successful that they moved to a bigger (actually historic) site. At their general assembly on Saturday May 21, over 1600 share holders took part. Everybody attending was treated to free beer and a pair of sausages. This kind of dividend is very tangible.

Their general assembly turned out to be the funniest I have ever attended. Everybody was in a splendid mood and enjoyed drinking all the different kinds of beer while doing GA business. The agenda of the 18th general assembly was whisked through without a glitch with crowds cheering for each item.

The brewery is still just a local company, but the beer of Burgdorf is by now known far beyond the borders of the canton of Berne. The brewery offers informative guided tours. At the end of the tour it’s hard to resist tasting their freshly brewed beer which is an a league of it’s own.

Burgdorf’s Famous Beer 2016-12-07T19:59:24+00:00

Happy Easter

2016-03-21T12:02:08+00:00

Easter is a happy holiday. For weeks before this public holiday the shops already start selling chocolate Easter rabbits. They come in all sorts of shapes and flavours. You get the normal milk chocolate as well as black and white chocolate Easter rabbits. Some kids keep their chocolate rabbits for months resisting all temptations. Those sweet beasts are still quite fine after many months….

There is an Easter tradition that the families celebrate together with this kids. After a generous brunch the parents will hide some of the sweet goodies outside in the garden or around the home and then let the excited kids search and discover them.

On Easter Sunday people also like to eat hard boiled eggs with colored shells. Some of those eggs are turned into quite some artwork.

Easter is a long weekend off work. People are off work from Good Friday until Easter Monday. Some also use the opportunity for a brief holiday abroad.

Easter is early this year (already on Sunday, March 27, 2016). In the Western church (in contrast with the Eastern church) the date is set on the first Sunday following the full moon after March 20. Easter is in correlation with the Jewish Passover festival during which Christ was crucified and then three days later rose from the dead.

In many churches there are special services remembering Christ’s death on the cross (Good Friday) and his resurrection (Easter). Often these services are accompanied by great classical or sacred music.

Happy Easter 2016-03-21T12:02:08+00:00

Vermicelles, a Delicious Dessert

2016-02-12T13:36:20+00:00

This dessert is a speciality that comes from the Ticino, the Italian speaking part of Switzerland. But nowadays during winter it is enjoyed all over the country.

The word vermicelles is probably derived from the latin vermiculus – small worms. Sweet chestnuts are smashed. Sugar and butter are added. The mass of the pressed chestnut mix is pressed through a form with holes. The result are the delightful “small worms”. The ready made product is found in most supermarkets and sold in smaller blocks.

This winter dessert is completed with cream and meringue. The latter is a very sweet mix of sugar and egg white that gets carefully heated up. It turns into a white brittle material.

A guete! (Swiss German, literally: “Wishing you a good appetite”) Enjoy!

Vermicelles, a Delicious Dessert 2016-02-12T13:36:20+00:00

On January 6: The Three Kings Cake

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

At the beginning of January the three kings cake is a very popular bakery product. Leavened sweet bread is rolled into buns. In one of the buns a small plastic figure is hidden. The person who finds the figure has the privilege to wear the crown that comes along with it. Obviously every year the kids are very excited to search for the hidden treasure!

The three kings cake is sold in supermarkets and bakeries. This one here cost CHF 4.70 at Migros and weighs 420g. It really is delicious.

Nowadays most people are probably hardly aware what the three kings cake is all about. The biblical record states: “After Jesus’ birth, Wise Men from the east came to Jerusalem. They asked, “Where is the child who has been born to be king of the Jews? When we were in the east, we saw his star. Now we have come to worship him.”” (Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 2, Verse 1-2)

By the third century legends started mentioning three kings. By the 6th century they were called Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar. In Switzerland the tradition of the three kings cake was only introduced after WWII.

On January 6: The Three Kings Cake 2017-08-03T12:14:27+00:00