Saturday, October 06, 2012

Huttwil Cheese Festival - October 6, 2012

Huttwil is an ancient market town in Canton Bern. Map

These are raclette cheeses flavored with various herbs and spices.

We put just about everything in cheese here!

She is making "Hobelchäs" by using a "hobel" to the shave the cheese into paper thin slices. Basically it is an inverted block plane. The cheese must be at least 3 years old and very hard to do this.

"Znüniwurm" literally means 9 o'clock worm. We have two anticipated snack times in Switzerland called "Znüni "at 9AM and "Zveri" at 4PM.

Meringues were invented in Meiringen, Bern.

A HUGE wheel of Emmentaler.

Emmentaler sliced and ready to sell.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Medallions of chicken breast marinated in tandoori spices with grilled shitake, chantrelle, crimini mushrooms and grilled onion rings.

Serves 2
For the chicken:
2 small chicken breasts (or one very large) sliced into 6 equal size medallions about 1cm thick
2 teaspoons tandoori spice
2 teaspoon light olive oil
Salt and pepper
Mix the oil with the spices and let sit for at least 15 minutes then grill.
For the mushroom mixture:
1.5 cups of sliced fresh mixed wild mushrooms seasoned with salt and pepper.
2 teaspoons of Austrian dark pumpkin seed oil.
1 teaspoons of truffle vinegar.
1 teaspoon of balsamic reduction.
Grill mushrooms and toss in the dressing and reserve.
Onion Mixture:
1 medium onion cut into 5mm rings and add the rings to the chicken marinade before grilling.
Place one chicken medallion in the middle of a plate and top with ¼ of the grilled mushroom mixture. Add another chicken medallion and top with another ¼ of the mushroom mixture. Add one more chicken medallion and top with the grilled onions.
Drizzle with remainder of the mushroom marinade and serve.
Copyright Chez Edorovio 2012

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

How to Filet a Chicken

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

September is Chästeilet, or cheese-parting time in the Berner Oberland

By Melanie McGaugh
During September, in small towns all over the Berner Oberland, the traditional Autumn festival of the Chästeilet, also spelled Käseteilet in some parts, takes place. It is the Justital Valley Chästeilet though, that is the grand-daddy of these events. This chästeilet, which has been occurring for more than 250 years high above the town of Sigriswil on the lake of Thun’s north shore, is definitely the least commercial one of its kind in the Berner Oberland. This event is not geared for tourists, although everyone is very welcome, because many of the visitors are local people who have come to purchase their cheeses by the wheel to keep and carefully age in their own cellars. This is the day that I, and other mountain cheese-lovers, have been anticipating for months. It is best to arrive early (8:00) in the morning in Sigriswil, where signs will point you to the car park, from there a large tour bus will take you part-way up the Justital valley to the point where the road becomes too narrow for the bus to go any further. Here you must make a bit of a walk up to the field where the festivities are occurring; good walking shoes are a must. Then the fun begins…there are literally hundreds of wheels of mountain cheese, and you can start sampling them. There are soft, young cheeses called Mütschli, along with 1-year, 2-year and sometimes 3-year-old hard cheeses, also available are raclette cheeses, along with an assortment of many others to taste and to buy. They all can usually be purchased by the piece or by the wheel. These cheeses are not to be found in any commercial grocery store chain like Migros and Coop, in fact, most of them will never be seen outside of the Berner Oberland, and priced at a mere 17-24 Chf a kilo, I consider them to be one of the best bargains in Switzerland. After you have made your choices, go over to the specially erected tent where refreshments can be purchased; there you will find soup, wursts on the grill, käsebrätel, soft drinks, wine and beer. The käsebrätel is a must…it is made with one of the raclette cheeses from this year, and to me there is nothing like the smell and taste of this freshly-melted cheese over good farm bread washed down with a glass of Swiss white wine. Maybe it has something to do with the magical mix of fresh mountain air, the incredible scenery and the laughter and good cheer surrounding me! This local event is both a celebration of thanksgiving for another year’s harvest, and the safe return to the valley of man and beast after months of hard work…and it is definitely an experience not to be missed!

A word of warning: If you wish to return via bus down the valley to the car park, be aware that the buses stop running before the cows start making their colorful procession down! (The time of the alpabzug varies, so it is best to ask the bus driver on your way up to the event, but it can occur shortly after lunch). It is a long walk down to the village…I know from experience, the first year we went we were caught unaware, and we became part of a long and rather messy (there are lots of cows!) trek back down to our car. This year it will be held on September 23rd 2011.

Here is a calendar with more information about other chästeilets:


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Eataly - Asti

The shop:
Eataly in Asti arrived about a year ago and we have been a little disappointed in the scale of the shop compared to Eataly in Turin. The Turin installment of Eataly is a mega-store and the Eataly in Asti is a more the size of a service station convenience store. Selection is limited and seems to be mostly focused on gift items like luxury chocolate and expensive jars of preserved vegetables rather than the raw ingredients that a serious cook wants to see. Gone is the huge vegetable stand and the beautiful salumis you see in Turin, not to mention the fantastic butcher's counter and fish market. In Asti we are treated to a half dozen different types of vacuumed-packed cuts of meat, an equal number of salamis and no fresh fish. In Switzerland when a big grocery store puts in a tiny convenience store they call it Coop Pronto instead of Coop or Migrolino instead of Migro. Eataly Asti is a mere shadow of Turin.
The restaurants:
On the up-side, they do offer two restaurants at the location. A trattoria that is open for lunch and dinner and a more formal restaurant that is only open for dinner. We met friends Canan and Umberto for lunch so our only option was the trattoria.
The trattoria consists of two rooms, both are light, airy and unpretentious. Menus for both restaurants can be found here
For starters:
Umberto ordered the Energetica vegetariana (picture below) a salad with mixed leaf lettuce, tomato, carrot, corn, fennel, artichoke and pomegranate, which he seemed to enjoy very much.
Canan, Melanie and I ordered La battuta di Vitello de "La Granda", which is essentially steak tartar accompanied with a mache, tomato, fennel and carrot salad decorated with a balsamic glaze. The Granda is an association of stockbreeders from the region around Cuneo raising the Piemontese breed of cattle. (only in Italian). Eataly is among their selected retail network. They do not feed their animals food from animal origin nor food stored in a way that modifies their pH (ie no fermented food as the silomais (corn choped and kept under plastic to promote fermentation) and they promote phytotherapy and vaccination rather than traditional medicines. La Granda is the best Piemontese beef available. Granda is the Cuneo province. The dish was delicious. (thanks Umberto for this information)
For the main course:
Canan ordered Faggottini ai carciofi al profumo di timo which turned out to be very under-cooked and was sent back after a "discussion" with the waitress. Apparently, she wanted us to believe that they are supposed to taste like flavorless little balls of hard dough!
Umberto really enjoyed his Agnolotti "Antignano prodotto tipico" alle erbe fini, which are small meat-filled ravioli made by a local company and available around the world at your nearest Eataly location.
Melanie and I had Filetto di Maile al pan speziato which turned out to be a piece of rather chewy pork coated in a non-descript, mushy, bread-crumb coating. There was a hint of Chinese five-spice in the sauce and I enjoyed the flavors but the presentation was weak because of the breading on the pork, a rather sad re-warmed baked potato and some dessicated aubergine.
The wine:
Eataly has a very good reputation for stocking good wine so we decided to opt for the house white and the house red. The wine list is viewable here.
We tried to order the house white but it was sold-out and they did not offer us a substitute, so we ordered a half-bottle of nondescript Gavi. I don't know how much it cost, there was no price listed.
The red was a Barbera Sfusa Cantina sociale Castelnuovo Belbo which was good but not remarkable. The pricing was curious however, 2€/glass, 4€/2.5dl, 5€/5dl and 6€/liter. Needless to say, we opted for the liter.

Just desserts:
The dessert selection was written on a chalkboard without prices. Melanie and I just had a coffee for dessert and Canan had creme brulée which was soupy and slightly curdled. (sorry, no picture) Umberto had coffee-flavored panna cotta which he thoroughly enjoyed.
Considering that the restaurant was only about 40% full, service was slow, mildly impersonal and we were disappointed that we had to debate the fagottini with the waitress. The total was 104 euros after we asked them to remove Canan's fagottini which was still calculated in. When we paid we asked the cashier to split the bill 50/50, which he did, but we were not given an itemised version of the bill, only told what to pay and then given a receipt for what we paid. We had no idea how everything tallied.

In summary:
Eataly prides itself on presenting exceptional quality food carefully prepared. We have eaten in Turin and it has always been a pleasure. Using the Turin model as a benchmark we were disappointed in our experience in Asti. It wasn't that bad but we had hoped for more.

Thank you to Canan and Umberto for taking  the pictures. (my camera's battery was dead)


Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Le Bouquet Garni in Village-Neuf, France

Melanie and I had to go to Basel on business today, so we decided to hop the border to France and have lunch at A L’Aigle in Village Neuf where we had had a fantastic dinner back in May.
Unfortunately, the restaurant was closed, but the restaurant “Le Bouquet Garni”, located right across the street, was open and it looked charming, so we decided to give it a try.

Lucky decision for us! The restaurant is as charming on the inside as it looks from the street. Although the decore is out-dated and well-used, we found it a delightful change from those “not-a-hair-out-of-place” restaurants we usually encounter in Switzerland.

When we arrived at 12:15 the restaurant was about 1/3 full. By the time we had our apero, there wasn’t a seat left in the house. Everything, from our aperos to our desserts, was hand-made and executed with a high attention to detail.

Here are some of the highlights: (click on any of the pictures to enlarge)

Above: a slice of foie gras with a salad of endive and sprouts with a fig and nut compote and orange peal marmalade.
Above: Escalopes of pan-seared foie gras de canard served over a tartelette tatin of apples.
Above: a feuillete of wild champignons.
Everything was just perfect, including our 22 Euro bottle of Saint Chinian.
For all of you frugal gourmets, the lunch menu will be irrestible! For an amazing 10.50 Euros you get:
  • A lovely pumpkin soup with smoked bacon lardons…
  • A very delicious (but slightly plain looking) plate of incredibly tender pork ragu and spiral noodles…
  • And a delicious, home-made, apple strudel.

Here is our bill. Click on it to enlarge.

We have programmed the address into our GPS and we will return soon!

Le Bouquet Garni
94, rue du Général De Gaulle
F-68128 Village-Neuf
France - Alsace
Tél +33 (0)3 89 69 88 05

Open for lunch from 11h30 to 14h, dinner from 18h30 to 21h30
Closed Sunday evening and Monday. Call for reservations or you will get stuck in the backroom (like us), which is ok, but the main room is nicer.


Monday, September 27, 2010

Restaurant Le Corte in Odalengo Grande

Piedmont is a place where extraordinary restaurants are not rare and yet, once in a while, you stumble on a restaurant that completely catches you off guard and thoroughly delights you in every way. Le Corte is just that sort of restaurant.
We had eaten at Le Corte once, and it was good, and we had been meaning to return but for one reason or another we never got around to doing it. Well recently some friends visited and we decided it was high time to go back. A quick check on the web page and it was easy to see that everything had changed. Formerly owned by Anna Cortevesio and Corrado Calvo, Le Corte has been operated by chef/owner Marco Casalini since March 2010.

Le Corte is an old school house and is well off the beaten track in Vallestura a frazione (comune) of Odalengo Grande. It’s remote country location ensures you of a quiet dining experience, especially during the week. We arrived on a Wednesday evening and Marco greeted us at the door with an enthusiastic welcome and from the first introduction we felt his natural honest warmth and graciousness. We were seated on the screened terrace which seats 15 or 20 people in a tasteful minimalist modern décor and we had the terrace to ourselves.
Moments after we were seated, Marco brought us a bottle of “Corteranzo Spumante” a delicious sparkler made just a few kilometers away at the winery Isabella in Corteranzo. Made of Chardonnay and a touch of Moscato, it was refreshingly dry and delicious and the perfect way to start the evening.
Although there is a menu on the webpage, we were happy to put ourselves in Marco’s hands and let him bring us a tasting menu of everything he had prepared that day.
To say Marco is a passionate Italian chef barely scratches the surface. He is a local produce fanatic and spends all of his spare time looking for interesting and seasonal local ingredients. Marco cooks and serves all the dishes himself with the help of Simone Gennaro his sous-chef. During the evening’s conversation he told us about finding an outstanding source of eggs nearby and confessed to paying one Euro each for them, but ‘the price isn’t important, quality comes first’ he told us. One of our courses contained one of these precious eggs and I can vouch for their outstanding quality. His Euros were well spent!

Course after course, the food came out. Some of the highlights were: A poached egg topped with a fillet of “tinca gobba” (a local fresh water fish) and guanciale a kind of bacon made from pig's cheek. (sorry, no picture)

A roasted red pepper flan, over roasted yellow peppers and very mild anchovies and onions (I think). (unfortunately my picture did not come out very well). We drank an outstanding Isabella Carpe Diem Chardonnay with the first few courses.

Then came the main course which was house made Tajarin with black truffles, bacon bits and a fonduta di toma (local cheese) sauce. Tajarin is a fettuccini type of pasta and the traditional recipe is 40 egg yolks and one kilo of flour and a pinch of salt.

We drank a beautiful bottle of 2008 Ruché by Cascina Tavjin 14% with the pasta course. The food was delicious but there was simply no way we could eat a roast course on top of all this.

Dessert was a tartlet filled with crème anglaise and topped with poached apple and gianduja chocolate.

Followed by two very nice grappas from Antica Distilleria di Altavilla. The first was a 1997 Grappa di Moscato and the second was a 2001 Grappa di Ruché. Both were lovely but the Moscato was softer and easier to drink.
The price was 45 euros per person wine, tax and tip included and worth every penny, but just as important as the food was the warm and passionate reception we received from Marco.

Via Odalengo Grande, 2
15020 ODALENGO GRANDE (AL) Fraz. Vallestura
Telephone: 0142 949044 - Marco understands a little English but is shy to speak. If you say "prenotazione questa sera per quattro, ad otto", he will understand and you reservations this evening for four at 8:00.


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