Tuesday, 7 June 2005

Swiss Food

It's been a while since I blogged. Me and my family were on a driving holiday to Switzerland last week and it's only now that I got to sit down and type up something for this food blog. I will be posting our travel iteneraries in my other blog - soon. But on the food front it was not quite as exciting.

We just passed by France, stopping at Reims to sleep and tour around for a few hours. I didn't get a chance to visit a local market or eat a restaurant. Three kids were with us who were turning up their noses on things like pig's trotters, sausages or anything that looked different. Ay ya yay!!

I did notice that roadside food in France is so much better than in the UK. They're expensive as well but we had one of the best quiche, egg flan, and mash potatoes at a roadside cafe in the Jura region.

High prices in Switzerland kept me from eating at proper sitdown restaurants which is a shame 'coz Shatzli suggested lots of food to try. I even printed out all the emails she sent me as a guide but I only tried a few. Oh well, all's not lost because my sister lives there now so there would definitely be more chances for me in the coming months/years when I come back to visit.

One of the highlights of our trip was a visit at the Nestle Cailler chocolate factory in Broc. We were shown a 'romantic' documentary on how the company was formed. Then led by a guide on sections of the factory while explaining the intricancies of chocolate making. Did you know that Cailler made the first milk chocolate? The lady guide said they only use fresh milk from the Gruyere area and are used in the factory within 24 hours of milking from cows. Unlike some chocolate makers who use powdered milk. It is the only Nestle Cailler factory and they only export 40% of their output which explains why their products are not very common outside of Switz. After the short tour we were led to the tasting room where an array of the complete range of Cailler chocolates were laid out for us to sample. Yes you can eat as much as you like!! I got really excited over seeing chocolates everywhere. Yum! See picture above of what we had.

Most of the time we ate in fastfoods and Migros supermarket - they're the most affordable. Occassionally we indulge in some really rich snacks and desserts. Above are meringues (or what's left of it) and heavy cream from the small cute village of Gruyere. Shoplady said to eat it by dipping the meringues in the cream and scoffing it down. Double cholesterolic calorific expialidocious !! But they were divine! Haha. I just forgot all about diet or high sugar level that day.

Above are fondue pots and cooker for sale in the same shop. No fondue or raclette for me. :(

The one time we went to a proper restaurant was at the Restaurant du Lac de Bret. Setting of the place was beautiful. We sat by a picture window overlooking the small picturesque lake of Lac de Bret. Seafood was their specialty so it was just natural to order that. It was so fresh that we didn't realise the lobster in the aquarium that greeted us was our dinner! Poor chap but he was delectable. I couldn't remember the name of the dish we had but as you can see above it was served in a cast iron wok. The seafood (lobster, giant prawns, mussels, and langoustine) was steamed/cooked over long grained rice which was in turn cooked in stock and spices. The flavouring was simple and subtle which was meant to bring out the delicious freshness of the seafood. It was very very good ! Don't ask about the price though I don't want to spoil the memory.

We visited the small delightful village of Kandersteg and had a happy 'accident' of being in a small brasserie-like restaurant (Aux Chalet View) where we had nice soups, delish strawberry tart (above), and the traditional Swiss rosti with bratwurst (below). First daughter liked the latter. She said rosti was like hash brown while the sausage (bratwurst) was excellent. It's probably their proximity to Germany why all the sausages we had in Switz, whether from a street stall or a supermarket or a restaurant, were all superb.

I didn't fare well foodie wise, why I didn't even get the chance to taste Swiss wine. A friend said they have excellent 'young' wines which are best to have within a year of bottling as they don't keep well through the years. Never mind I'll make sure my next time will be better.

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