2010, How Sweet It Was
I hope 2011 has gotten off to a sweet start for everyone! It is certain to be full of new discoveries and adventures for me, with travels near and far. We’ll be home in Zürich, bouncing around Switzerland and going beyond the borders to wherever the train may take us. Perhaps heading to more exotic destinations too. And let’s not forget all the adventures in the kitchen. Many food bloggers have been compiling their “best of” lists and sharing their favorite travel and food experiences of 2010, which naturally got me thinking too. It’s fun to browse through photos of past trips and recall memorable tastes that demand to be recreated.
What are your travel and food highlights from the past year? Here are some of mine…
2010 felt the warmth of the sun (and the people) in Belize – recalling the places where I (almost) swam with sharks and tasted way more than just rice and beans. A repeat visit to Chateau d’Oex’s hot air balloon festival still feels like yesterday, as I visualize little bursts of color filling the otherwise white sky, the snowy mountains making for a picture perfect backdrop. The event is simply spectacular, and may even oblige an annual trip to the Gruyère region. Ok, so the region’s meringues with famous double cream might have something to do with that too. I remember staring up at the sky, yet again with mouth open, at the Swiss Patrouille’s Air Show in Emmen, a celebration of 100 years of aviation in Switzerland – beyond fascinating, although deafening without the proper ear protection.
I had a taste of fish & chips and sticky toffee pudding in London, not to mention rugby-sized meringues and excellent chocolate. Plus it was a simply brilliant experience to be a speaker at Food Blogger Connect, meeting fellow food bloggers from the UK and beyond.
There was plenty of chocolate in Paris too (quoi de neuf ?!), a much talked about Paris-Brest, the arrival in the capital of one of France’s best chocolatiers and my annual visit to the Salon du Chocolat – the latter certain to top the “best of” list year after year. 2010 was all about chocolate with caramel and salt, a trend I wouldn’t mind carrying over to 2011. I was lucky to spend time with Ballenberg’s chocolate maker Marius Bürgisser, as well as with the quirky Denise Acabo, known for her pig-tails and stellar chocolate shop in Paris’ 18th arrondissement. And what would the year be without plenty of cookies and dates? (Answer: not sweet enough.)
Speaking of dates, the year’s biggest baking success was my tahini date shortbread, making Mayssam Samaha’s list of the year’s top desserts. That’s one recipe I have repeated numerous times (Mayssam too!) and will continue to bake in the upcoming year. And thanks to a freezer full of rhubarb and raspberries from last summer’s markets, I have also been enjoying bright rhabarberberry crumbles. After the 500th tweak in my ever-evolving recipe for granola, 2011 may just be the year I set it in stone… and share it here too. Stay tuned for that. And last but not least, I’ll keep baking from Ladurée: The Sweet Recipes, my English translation of the cookbook published just a few months ago — certainly a favorite project of the year for me.
And now, time to look ahead… an already bursting folder of recipes labeled “to bake” keeps growing, while my travel list gets longer and longer. Where to this year? Only time will tell… Will it be Sicily? Rome? Lebanon? San Sebastian? Zermatt? Southeast Asia? Croatia?
What is on your travel agenda or wish list for 2011?