Archive for the ‘food’ Category
The train from Lausanne to Gruyères cut through vineyards, golden in the morning sunshine, with just the slightest hint of snow accenting all the mediterranean colors. The train wound its way up and up through the grape fields, rising high over Lake Geneva, until the vineyards became stacked layers balancing over the lake, seeming ready to spill right into the water. It was a landscape just like this that first enchanted me with Switzerland. As the train made a final turn inland toward Gruyères, the landscape changed entirely, and suddenly everything was coated in a layer of snow—even the cows and sheep.
Today I visited La Maison du Gruyère (The House of Gruyère), a cheese dairy near Gruyères, Switzerland in the Fribourg countryside, where you can learn the entire cheese making process and do a cheese tasting afterwards!
Milk from Cows who Vacation in the Swiss Alps
It all starts with milk, from cows who spend their summers feeding on grass up in the Swiss alps, a vital part of Swiss culture marked with colorful traditions (see more about this below under “Fast Facts”). Gruyère cheese is still made according to a traditional recipe dating back to 1115 AD. At the cheese dairy, the milk is delivered by farmers twice a day and the cheese is made 3-4 times a day. You can watch the entire process and see the cheese makers at work—a perfect way to immerse yourself in Swiss culture.
I was drawn to Lausanne by a distant memory. Back in my college days when I was studying abroad in Italy, I took an overnight train to either Barcelona or Paris. On the way I remember waking up early in the morning and looking out the train window. I was so stunned by the beautiful view that it’s still etched in my mind. The day was crystal clear and there was a big blue lake, reflecting the sky and snow capped mountains in its waters. The hills were exploding with green and tumbled straight onto the water’s shore. I looked for a sign of where we were: Lausanne. I vowed to come back here one day, stop, and linger, instead of just passing through.
Finally today I caught a train back to Lausanne.
2012 was a great year for us in regards to food photography. Several members of team Culture Vixen are obsessed with photographing our food, which makes for long paparazzi sessions in restaurants, sometimes to the point of our food getting cold. Luckily the result of all this food adoration has resulted in the following collection of photos. We hope you love them as much as we do!
Strawberry Soup, Fossheim Hotel in Lom, Norway. This dish was so beautifully presented, I hated to eat it!
Fancy appetizer at Neh in Tallinn, Estonia.
From Dubrovnik I traveled by long distance bus to Split, Croatia, famous for its roman ruins, specifically Diocletian’s Palace. Split is also a hub for visits to a cluster of sun-kissed islands located just off the Croatian coast. After spending a few months in Northern Europe, I’m remembering just how much I love warm beach locations.
The entire journey north hugged the Croatian coastline, which was filled with stunning beaches. All along the way from my window seat, I enviously watched beach goers wade into the ocean, which was so clear you could see the pebbles in the shallow surf from up on the road! The whole route wound along rocky cliffs that dramatically plunged into sparkling emerald water. It was absolutely gorgeous.
In the old Muhu dialect of Estonian, “neh” roughly translates to a combination of “yes,” “naturally,” and “of course.” After being treated to a generous multi-course meal at this entrepreneurial spinoff of Pädaste Manor’s Alexander Restaurant on Muhu Island (Estonia’s third largest island), the idea of simply saying “yes” to Neh makes perfect sense. Why wouldn’t I say yes to fresh ingredients, creative recipes and a welcoming staff?
Tallinn, Estonia is the perfect weekend addition to a tour of Scandinavia. It’s a quick, easy and inexpensive ferry ride away from both Stockholm and Helsinki. With its charming and well preserved old town, ringed with stone walls adorned by fairytale turrets, it’s the perfect place to experience pure Baltic flavor laced with a sliver of Scandinavian influence.
Stockholm’s Nordic Sea Hotel is not only home to the Icebar, but it’s home to an Ice Menu too. In the Sea Bar & Restaurant you can get this set menu featuring dishes inspired by the flavors of Jukkasjärvi in Swedish Lapland. Here dishes are served on plates and bowls made of pure ice from the Torne river in Northern Sweden!
Sweden is home to the famous Ice Hotel, located way up north in Swedish Lapland, where you can sleep on ice beds in an artistically sculpted ice room and dine on ice dishes with drinks in ice cups in the dead of winter. Adventurous couples can even get married in the ice chapel. (I fully considered this.) If your plans don’t include a northern jaunt during the winter months, you can still get your icy fix at the Icebar inside downtown Stockholm’s Nordic Sea Hotel.
Today’s route snaked further north taking us past more gorgeous countryside alongside a turquoise river. Lom is a small village filled with wood cabins at the foot of a mountain. A traditional wooden stave church anchors the town, and across from the church is Lom Bakery, giving off a heavenly scent of raisins, cinnamon and fresh baked bread. While waiting out the rain, I had a hot chocolate and a coconut-flake topped pastry with vanilla filling that had a slight hint of nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger and cloves.