Hats By Katrinka

Kate Brown Pernia is a Milliner on sabbatical in Switzerland. She has been designing hats and teaching millinery under her Katrinka label since the 1980s. Kate is also the founder of Houston Hat Net. View Katrinka hats and hat patterns at www.hatsbykatrinka.com.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Delicious Switzerland

Just before moving to Switzerland in December I was eating fish and chips in a restaurant in Falls Church, Virginia. Someone told me to enjoy my meal because it was the last good one I’d have. After all, the Swiss are not known for good food, I was told. Oh how wrong that was!

Switzerland is a farming country and I am told that the farming is heavily subsidized here. There is a large emphasis in the grocery stores on buying local. I’ve not found molasses or brown sugar in the stores yet but I can find many varieties of mushrooms, pastries, breads and chocolate. Leeks are a staple (at least this time of year) and delicious. Beets come in shrink wrapped packages already roasted and ready to eat. There is a wide variety of pasta and pastry doughs fresh made in refrigerated sections and never before have I had milk or yoghurt that is this tasty! The butter is heavenly and pie or quiche crust is a whole new experience when made with Swiss butter. Don’t get me started on the cheese for I am ruined forever! The Farmer’s Market sets up on our street twice a week and we go to the cheese stand to watch what the locals are buying. My current favorite is a very stinky but silky and delicious Scharfer Maxx cheese from the Appenzeller region just up the mountain. Well, it is just heaven!

Meat is expensive so we eat it sparingly but it is delicious. The chickens are free range and I’ve never seen such fresh and beautiful orange egg yolks. There seems to be an unlimited range of pork products and the bratwurst stands on the street have completely changed my mind about "fast food." I’m just getting started here but I’ve had great food in restaurants as well. Thai and Indian food, Japanese sushi as well as Swiss specialties like rösti and wurst. For brunch this morning in a local restaurant I had "toast" served with slices of paper thin ham and sliced banana with a thin layer of cheese. This was served in a light curry sauce with other sliced fruits - star fruit, grapes and pineapple (ananas) topped off with a delicate and beautiful tomatillo.

On Friday I rode through the Alps to Zurich with my friend Starr to take an Indian cooking class. Simi taught us to make Chaamp ki Biryani, a layered fragrant rice and lamb chop dish made with cardamom, cumin, fresh mint, rose essence, saffron and other spices. We also made a potato and beet raita (yoghurt dish) and Karahi chicken with fresh fenugreek which is in season now.

No, I don’t think I’m going to be going hungry here!


At 3:57 AM, Blogger Evelyn said...

Who could go hungry with Swiss chocolate everywhere anyway!!!


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