I have just been perusing my travel diary, flicking through the pages and wondering what part of my Swiss adventure that I’ll blog about next. The beard festival, Heidiland, my trip to Lake Como…? That all went out the window when I read “creamy butter”. So I am going to interrupt my journey to blog about what my taste buds are missing the most, from the land of ‘cows that wear bells’. Let me share my salivations with you…
Firstly, I actually miss the butter most of all. This is no ordinary sun-coloured butter, but a block of pale yellow velvet that subtly dances on your tongue before it melts. It is ever so dreamy and intensely lovely experiencing a wad of this in your mouth. There is no guilt, or arteries screaming “Nooooooooo!” but rather a celebratory “Hell yeeeesssssss!”
I would even eat the nubbly bits of end bread (that would usually get pawned off or thrown out to the birds), just so I could slather on some more buttery gold. I now cruise past the refrigerated section of my local supermarket sighing out loud at the bright yellow bricks. I’m really sorry, but you just don’t compare.
I could dedicate a whole blog to the chocolate situation, but I won’t, because you’ll probably punch me through the screen (unless of course you have some actual Swiss chocolate in your paws). Just picture being stranded in the middle of an aisle dedicated to the love of chocolate; where ‘no brand’ names yodel praises, and all manner of flavours just ooze “Hello gorgeous! Take a bite out of me!” Wink, wink, nudge, nudge, cat calls, wolf whistles… Homer Simpson drool… chocolate remnants smudged into my top.
Toward the end of my Swiss sojourn, my host came home from her weekly shop with a truck load of chocolate tablets and told me to choose a couple to take. There were new and exotic flavours; every one of them looked delicious. I’m indecisive at the best of times, so this was a sweet form of cacao torture. As much as I wanted to sample a bite of each and then rewrap the packet to hide the evidence, I pretty much picked the winners with my eyes closed and carried them around in my backpack for as long as I possibly could… to my next destination… ahem.
Now would you just pass the cheese, please? Why yes, I will… or a wonderful description of it that is currently forming slaver strands onto my keyboard.
Raclette is an absolute goddess of liquefied cheese, sent from dairy heaven. It is most often found at festivals or markets, with a line of people waiting for their hit. A contraption comprised of a stand with an outstretched arm of heat lamp, raining down its fiery breath, extends across a massive block of raclette cheese. The top of the block bubbles and someone scrapes that with a spatula-knife doohickey, right onto your choice of bread or boiled spuds with a side of gherkins and cocktail onions. The molten mass strings down your chin, as you try and scoop it all in. It was really difficult to keep my pleasure for food groans contained.
My host couldn’t let me leave Switzerland without experiencing the ultimate cheese fest – a classic fondue. Growing up, I always wondered what that mustard and russet flower patterned pot was at the back of the kitchen cupboard, with prongs sticking out; like some Star Wars character that didn’t make the cut. The only explanation given was ‘an old wedding present’. Well holy heck parentals – you should’ve cranked that one out!
For this special occasion, my host cooked up two pots – one with wine, and one without. I say occasion, because it wasn’t made very often; stinking out the entire house and with the need to use some serious elbow grease, post-pot performance. But yes, yes, and yes! By Jiminy Cricket, it’s worth it!
Fondue – yes do!
I ate it with some bread,
I ate it until I was well fed.
I ate it with veggies,
I ate it until my pants shrunk and gave me wedgies.
I ate it until my button popped,
I ate it until I dropped.
I actually did. I carried my bowling ball belly to bed and passed out in a cheese coma. Gluttony is not sexy. But what was a girl to do? With just one shot of Swiss fonduing – fon-do-it!
I must cut all of this delicious fat chat with a special mention to the water. There is nothing quite like filling your bottle fresh from a mountain stream or from one of the many fountains in the villages. It tastes crystalline; the kind of pure hydration that your body relishes in and cleanses the excess of melted cheese globs and chocolate crumbs.
I think I’m in a dreamy food stupor, now. It’s time I wiped the drool from my keyboard and started researching where I can find raclette in NZ. Until next time, yours porkily X