The hills are alive!!! Chronicles of my travels part deux!

On top of JungFrauJoch - the top of Europe
Was quite windy and cold up here
So part deux of my travels were in Switzerland - but not just any part of Switz - the Alps!!  And let me just say, the scenery takes my breath away.  I was visiting in a small town almost 6000 ft above ground called Lenzerheide also known by locals as LA. heide ('heide' is pronounced heidi- which is a famous children's book about a girl living in the Swiss alps).  I also had a chance to see the 'top of Europe' at over 11,000 ft above ground.  The temperature drastically changed from moderate to winter chill and the air was a lot stiffer.  You definitely needed to hydrate yourself as you could feel the pressure as we were making our way to the summit!!
What's also interesting is that Switzerland has many influences from it's neighbors in Germany, France and Italy.  But of course is famed for it's own specialties such as fondue, raclette, rosti and of course chocolate.
I will tell you a funny story about Rosti which is a popular shredded potato dish which was originally a breakfast food, but now can be served at any time with trimmings like ham, brie and egg over it which was the way I had it for the lunch hour.  It came with what I would refer to as apple sauce and commonly in my experience with potato pancakes such as Latkas - you would spread it over it.  But my Swiss friends insisted that it wasn't apple sauce and rather they called it smashed apples as their view on sauces is that it should be a smooth consistency.  Another Swiss dish that was prepared home made for me were capuns.  This was a delicious dish made of swiss chard leaves that wrap around cubed deer meat, egg, and flour.  It was served in a creamy broth and reminded me of savoury stuffed grape leaves and cannelloni in a lighter hollandaise sauce at the same time. 
I was taken to the best dinner of my life while in Switzerland as well.   If I think of food porn or more delicately a gourmet version of heaven - this would be the place.  We went to the Schauenstein Hotel to dine at Schloss SchauensteinThe 2010 winner of the 'highest new entry' on the 50 World's Best Restaurant's List for S.Pelligrino; A 2 Michelin star restaurant and the chef Andreas Caminada has won "Chef of the year" in 2008 and 2010 which has made this an exclusive culninary destination for foodies.  The hotel or more appropriately we should call it a castle is in a quaint part of Switzerland where we took one lane whiny roads to get there. I had to hold my breath a couple of times as I could only imagine what would be if we took the turn at too sharp an angle.
Caminada has quite a presence and came out to greet us when we walked in.  We were escorted to a dedicated bar room with couches and that is where our experience started.  We started with some bubbly of course and snacked on some delicacies prepared from Chef Caminida.  Each dish that came out was presented in a unique way and all the plates were cutting-edge and innovative but delicate at the same time.  Caminada’s hallmark as I'm researching is food served up in petri dishes, shot glasses and a dazzling array of crockery, using textures, foams, brulees and layers of tastes to create a gastronomic experience to stimulate the senses.
After our 'snacks'; we are led to an opulent dining room where our dinner experience started with a paired wine for each course.  I must also make a comment about the service which was remarkable and flawless.  The would have a server for each of us and they would place the dish in front of us at the same time.  When we would get up to the bathroom; our napkin was freshly placed on our seat when we would get back.  This attention to detail on every aspect whether it's the culinary experience or the service is no wonder this restaurant is one of the hardest restaurants to get a reservation at in Switzerland and perhaps the world.  I was told that it all it's Friday and Saturdays are completely booked until Spring 2011.
We had 9 courses including a dessert course which was served back in the bar area with playful items such as lollipops, marshmallows and jellies that of course were made by our reknown chef.  The food is delicate, delicious, innovative and you can tell that it was made with love. The biggest surprise for me was that with every dish you get a small card which says what you’re eating and an icon on it. At the end of the experience, these cards are put into a book and given to you with a bag of handmade treats as well.  This will remain one of the biggest gourmet highlights of my life!

No comments:

Post a Comment