Swiss Food -- From Haute to Wholesome
By Margaret M. Johnson
Colorfully decorated with frescoes
Pfistern Zurich Restaurant
We started in French-speaking
Lucky for us our guide just happened to know master chocolate maker Jean-Pascal Serignant at Chocolatier Du Rhone (www.du-rhone.ch), so we were treated to a firsthand look at how great Swiss chocolate is made. Whether it's milk (which the Swiss invented), dark, white, or fondant, the transformation of cocoa into chocolate lies somewhere between science and magic, and most "maitres chocolatiers" like Serignant are willing to show but not tell their personal secrets.
For a Swiss meal with an Italian twist, nearby Sapori in
Our next stop was
We were lucky to connect with
Without benefit of a personal guide, you can visit the Emmental Schaukaserei, a show dairy/visitor attraction in Affoltern (www.showdairy.ch), where the secret is revealed -- the holes appear during the fermentation process and vary in size between that of a cherry and a walnut.
In nearby Interlaken, one of
Like many major Swiss cities, Lucerne, our next stop, enjoys a lakeside location on the River Reuss and
Last but not least,
Have lunch in the Sprungli tearoom, or for heartier fare in a hofbrauhaus (beer hall) setting, cross the tram tracks and head to Restaurant Zeughauskeller (www.zeughskeller.ch) housed in what was once an ancient arsenal. Sausages and the traditional veal specialty "Zurcher Geschnetzeltes" are a "must." Loosely translated as "cut meat
For a chic finale to our Swiss romp, we checked in to the art-filled, tech-smart
We loved its build-your-own-meal menu style where we got to choose the meat, poultry, or fish we wanted, its size, whether we wanted it wood grilled or roasted, hot or cold sauce, and vegetables from a long, long list. The provenance of all ingredients is shown on the menu, and a lovely touch to the meal is that side dishes are served to-be-shared in the center of the table on stainless steel warmers.
We finished, naturally, with a cheese course that included, among others, an exclusive Swiss Brie, Appenzeller, Forester, and one of "Tina's mountain cheeses." Tina, by the way, and 34 colleagues are "leased" by the hotel to supply milk to cheese makers. The lucky cows get to graze freely on a mountain slope near Gstaad for about 80 days during the summer, nibbling happily on more than 150 different kinds of herbs and grasses that ultimately influence the taste of the cheese. In autumn,
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(c) 2009 Margaret M. Johnson Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc.
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