Archive for the ‘food’ Category
St. Gallen, tucked away in Switzerland’s northwestern corner, turned out to be a culinary slice of heaven. This city has it all—classic and modern architecture, a vast historical legacy, a focus on fashion, UNESCO world heritage sights and an emphasis on good food.
Monastery Haute Cuisine
Hands down, the most unique meal in town is the St. Gallus haute cuisine dining experience at Gaststuben zum Schlössli, a restored castle in the heart of St. Gallen’s old town with themed dining rooms.
Wanted to share some photos from my first fondue here in Switzerland. Switzerland is a land of great cheeses, and fondue is no exception. This communal classic is the perfect bonding ritual, and great for sharing with friends and family on a cold day. Although there are endless variations as far as fondue staples go, like veggies or chocolate fondue with fruit, the classic Swiss tradition is all about bread and potatoes.
Somehow the days just keep getting better. This morning I opened the windows to find a spectacular sunshine-filled view of Lake Lucerne, a welcome surprise after a few stormy days, and the perfect weather for an ascent up Mount Rigi, a must-see highlight to any trip through Switzerland. The peak of Mt. Rigi is visible from Lucerne’s city center on a clear day, easily recognizable by its pointed control tower antennae in the distance.
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.