The “Feed Me!” Files 1: Salé/Salty

It’s quite surprising, given the name of this blog, that I have yet to actually blog about food. Anyone who knows me knows how important food is to me. Having Chinese blood puts food as the absolute number one priority. My mother always taught me that you can scrimp on anything else but never, EVER with food.

Trying out new restaurants, and more specifically, trying the weirdest thing I can find on the menu, is one of my life’s greatest joys. I’m unabashedly adventurous when it comes to cuisine; the more atypical the better. It is important to try out “local” fare when I go to new places, too. In my mind, a place is largely defined by the kind of food eaten there, so I don’t feel I’ve really experienced somewhere until I’ve tasted the food.

I present here part one of my foodscapades so far in Switzerland; the salé, or salty, stuff (dessert will require a whole other post). So, napkins on laps and belts loosened in anticipation kiddies: this post is going to be of a highly gastronomical nature.

Fondue – of course I had to try fondue within my first three days here. It was bad enough being in possession of a blog named after this foodstuff for a month or so before having ever touched it to my lips. It’s fun, but I found it extremely heavy and a bit too rich; definitely needs to be accompanied by a side dish to tone it down. Nice, but not nearly as tasty as…

Raclette – It took me two months in Switzerland before I tried it, but boy is this stuff good. (I had had a McRaclette burger in McDonald’s but it doesn’t count, and let’s not talk of that again…) The general consensus seems to be that raclette tastes better, but fondue is more fun. Tip: drink only hot drinks with raclette and fondue, otherwise you risk causing the melted cheese to solidify in your stomach. OUCH.

Stag – that’s a funny one, because I ate this once and I didn’t even know it. I thought it was strangely-textured beef, seasoned with a bit too much red wine. I found out later it was in fact cerf (stag), hence the very strong flavour.

Bambi – as all my friends insist on calling it. Yes, I had deer, it was yummy, and it was a microwave meal. The kinds of meat you find in supermarkets here are very different to what we’re used to in England. For example, last night I made…

Horse steak – ready-seasoned with red curry. It was good. Rather tough, and spicy, though that was more due to the curry than the actual horse meat I suspect.

Wild boar – now this is one I’m really proud of! Sanglier as it is known in French, and eaten in a vibey beer hole in Zürich accompanied with spätzli (a kind of pasta) and red cabbage. It tasted somewhat like pork, but leaner (nicer). It was the beginning of November, hunting season, so what I had on my plate was genuinely hunted wild boar. I felt like an Ancient Roman.

Saucisse Vaudoise – as I’m in the canton of Vaud, I see this stuff everywhere (and there are loads of sausages everywhere anyway). It’s a kind of smoked sausage which you need to boil for about 45 minutes. Well worth the wait though, it’s yummmyy. However the first time I bought one from the supermarket, I didn’t exactly know what it was, and failed to spot the cooking instructions, so I peeled back the skin and started to eat it…raw. I realised quite quickly that you’re not supposed to eat it like that. It’s ok, I was alone, no-one saw me…

Salty crêpes – yes, I was confused too when I first heard about this. To me, crêpes were those overpriced flimsy sweet things which are made even sweeter by adding Nutella and sold from street stalls in England. However, a recent trip to an amazing crêpe restaurant with a Swiss friend (who knows all the good places to eat) initiated me into the wonder that is salty crêpes. They are made of blé noir (buckwheat), and the menu was extensive, because there is a whole host of things you can add. In my crêpe was spinach, tomme (a cheese local to Vaud, so I had to have it) and sausage. It was fairly gigantic, but naturally I couldn’t pass on a sweet crêpe for dessert, which had sweet chestnut paste, a ball of vanilla ice cream, and a shot of liqueur which the waiter poured on top then set aflame. So I had a flaming crêpe.

Rösti – You can’t really go wrong with potato, onion, cheese and (in my case) an egg. A traditional Swiss dish, very hearty and filling.

Phew, I’m feeling rather peckish now… Next up, sweet stuffs from Suisse.

I also realise that my last post promised this one would be about differing national perspectives… you should know better by now than to expect me to be able to predict where the blog Muse will take me!

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