Saturday, October 21, 2006

Eating my way through Europe, part trois

Happy cows may come from California, but even happier ones come from Switzerland. I mean, really, you're hanging with fellow bovines in the middle of the Swiss Alps, sucking in chocolatey air and basking under the sun... How much better can it get?

The weather forecast called for rain, but it was nothing but blue skies in Grindelwald, an area over 3,000 meters above sea level. (Let's just say my ears popped.) A kind old man whom my brother met on Skype guided us here and pointed out how little snow remained on the mountain tops due to global warming. Then he mumbled some unpleasantries about our American president and sighed.

Just before our $50 trip up the ropeway, we stopped by a restaurant for beer and a platter of cured meat. Now, I have no clue what the exact process of curing meat is, but it's as if they sliced up some high-grade cow and let it sit under the sun for days until its flavors came bursting through. Haven't found anything like it in SoCal.

A couple days later, we were invited for fondue at another Skype friend's home. (Yes, my brother actually called up strangers via Skype.) Ironically, our new friend nor his roommate hadn't much experience making it at home. Apparently, fondue is only eaten about 3 times a year. "Yeah, this stuff is bad for you," he said, tarnishing my idyllic image of the Swiss as hedonistic people. Using a recipe found online, this is how they did it: Grease the pot with a fresh clove of garlic, combine gruyere and Freiburger Vacherin cheese, add white wine and between 1/2 cup of rigi kirsch (an olive based alcohol).

I took a whiff of the Freiburger Vacherin and nearly sneezed in it. Ah yes, it was, mmm, just a tad bit pungent. Throughout the evening, our host graciously refilled our wine glasses and replenished the pot with rigi kirsh (37% alcohol). It was a great homemade meal, and by the end of the night I was rosy-cheeked and giggly. hiccup! Here's another fondue-fact: Instead of dipping straight in, make a 360 degree swirl with your bread to keep the cheese nice and mixed. That's fondue etiquette!

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2 comments:

cari - Inland Empirical said...

Ohhhhhh....cheeeeesey!
And all I'm having for lunch is Rascals. :(

Vegancat said...

rigi kirsh ?

Sorry but that is not olive based, where did you read that?

It is made from cherrys...also called kirschwasser-cherry water in germany because it is made from cherrys but clear like water.