Monthly Archives: July 2011

In all the time I’ve been living here, I’ve hardly ever been in the old town during daylight. Having been the address of Lausanne’s University for centuries (up until the 1970s, when it moved to Dorigny), it is no wonder that, still today, one can find many student bars in its narrow stone streets.

Things are quite different on a sunday afternoon – it’s peaceful, quiet, and there are hardly any people on the streets. The calmness makes one put more attention on the details, and this is what I found.

Details of he Lausanne’s Cathedral, which is considered Switzerland’s finest gothic building.
Many charming buildings, covered with climbing plants.
A castle dating back to the XIV century!
Individual wrought iron signs for hairdressers, restaurants, theaters and shops.
Beautiful fountains with drinkable water.

Have you recently seen a familiar place from a different perspective?

  • Brie de Meaux. Real french brie is made of raw cow milk and has a not so inviting smell. It’s soft and creamy in the inside, and has a soft white crust around it. There are many variations in the (swiss) markets, including truffles, herbs and nuts. It’s taste is soft and has somewhat of hazelnut in it. I first became a fan of brie in Madrid, when I discovered a tapa that was a small steak with melted brie and fleur de sel on it. And now, I would eat it even without bread (I know I shouldn’t).

 

 

  • Mozzarella di Bufala. What’s the difference with regular mozzarella (for italians: fior di latte), you may ask? This mozzarella is made from the milk of the domestic water buffalo, rather than from cow milk. Even though its originally from Italy, we also have local producers in Switzerland. If you want to be a real gourmet, then go for the Mozzarella di Bufala Campana trademark, which was granted with a Protected Geographical Status in 2008. The cheese has a bright white color and spheric shape, a smooth and shiny surface and a very refreshing taste. If you find yourself in Milan some time, I’d highly recommend you to check out the Mozzarella Bar (in the roof top of a shopping mall next to the Cathedral) – not only can you taste your way through different mozzarellas, but you can also order a whole lot of dishes made with this delicious cheese!

 

 

  • Gruyère. Very swiss/french. I had eaten gruyère a few times before moving to Switzerland and never considered it as one of my favorites – but it just tastes so differently here. So much better! Even though its a hard cheese, I find it a bit softer here than abroad, and it has a milder nutty taste (maybe this is related to its aging – I’m really not an expert!). It was fascinating to learn about its history and production in La Maison du Gruyère (right after eating a shameless amount of cheese). Gruyère is one of the cheeses used in fondue moitié-moitié (the other one being Vacherin), but is also used for many other plates such as the french onion soup or quiches.

 

  • Queijo de Serra. Remember that cheese I ate in Lisbon? Now that has been a great find. Serra da Estrela (commonly called Queijo de Serra) is from Portugal and is made of sheep’s milk. The maturer the cheese is, the harder it will be. I have a devotion for creamy cheese (can you tell from my previous choices?), so the one I really like is the amanteigado – when its young and liquid, so liquid you can (and will) eat it with a spoon.

 

 

  • Tomme Vaudoise. Up to now, many of these cheeses are known internationally; but let me tell you about a little regional secret – the tomme vaudoise. One of my favorites because of its mild taste, this cheese is from my current canton – Vaud. It’s made of raw cow milk and ranges a wide range of textures and intensive tastes depending on its matureness. I’m pretty sure I’ve tried them all (no, really) – and my very favorite one (a fresh one) can’t be found in regular supermarkets. I always have to wait until saturday and search for it at the farmers market. That’s my plan for saturday by the way!

 

Now its your turn: Which cheese would be on your top 5 list?

When thinking of cute villages, one will probably think of La Provençe in France. Switzerland has nothing to envy the french villes – or wouldn’t you love to live in this tiny street?

It’s everything about it. Its colorful but harmonized and traditional architecture. The climbing and twining plants covering the right building. The romantic street lamps and lovely restaurant and shop signs. The cathedral appearing in the background. I took this picture on a sunday at swiss lunch time and all I could hear were clinging plates and a a kid’s laughter. It was so peaceful, so calm. I will definitely miss this.

Lavaux, Switzerland

Now that summer has officially arrived, I can no longer hold myself back from telling you about one of my favorite places in the World (and no, I do not mean that my number one swiss cheese shop in Switzerland) – The Vineyards of Lavaux.

Thinking of Switzerland as a wine producer might seem odd to you, but the fact is, Switzerland is one of the World’s top wine consumers (and I’m a proud contributor to these statistics). Living less than a 10 minutes train ride from this picturesque terraces, it’s no wonder that walking across its vineyards has become one of my favorite activities for a sunny sunday afternoon. And while I move along small paths between the family-owned vineyards, I dream about living in one of those beautiful mansions…

Someday I will.

The 2 and a half hours walk starts in Grandvaux, a small village of around 2,000 habitants at about 500m height above sea level. Directions are always easily recognizable – one only has to follow the yellow arrows (or, alternatively, a green sign that reads Terrasses de Lavaux).

Lavaux, Switzerland

Although most of the walk is through vineyards, you get the chance to walk through the tiny villages in the region – such as Riex, Epesses or Rivaz. All of them are loaded with cozy wine cellars offering a different local wine each week or month.

I made a quick stop in Riex to do some wine tasting. What would be a sunday without wine anyway?

I even spotted some premature grapes on the way! Harvesting will take place in September (I can’t believe I’ll miss it!).

Lavaux, Switzerland

Each village is special and unique. Each of them have their own wine production, which proudly differentiates them from their neighbors. Not to visit at least of of the many wine cellars that lie on the way would be a crime (or a lot of self-control).

Lavaux, Switzerland

Lavaux, Switzerland

Lavaux, Switzerland Lavaux, Switzerland

Isn’t this the most beautiful place you’ve ever seen?

Practical Information

Route: From Grandvaux to St. Saphorin (Canton Vaud, Switzerland)
Elevation gain uphill: none, really – it only goes downhill
Elevation gain downhill: 180m
Length: approx. 10 km
Duration: 3.5 hrs (including a stop for a glass of white wine!)
Difficulty: Super Easy
Map: The closest I could find was this route From La Conversion to Vevey (I took a shorter walk in between these two points).