I love going to the market. But you already knew that.
I love going to the market. But you already knew that.
Tables and tables of “slow food” approved products once again filled the Messe event space in Zürich. Recognizable by its logo of a snail, Slow Food continues its mission of “good, clean and fair” (bon, propre et juste / gut, sauber und fair), promoting food that satisfies the senses, is environment-friendly, health-friendly too, is at prices both accessible to consumers and fair to workers, and most of all, is fresh, local and delicious !
It was a true feast for the eyes and taste buds at the inaugural Slow Food Market in 2011, when I discovered (and tasted !) so many new products from various regions of Switzerland. One year later, some of those items are now cupboard staples in my home. So back to the market I went to see what other delicious finds I would make, with my eye on the sweet stands, but of course.
Over the course of a year (and even just a month), my chocolate stash fills up, empties, fills up again and re-empties itself many times. There are always new bars to taste and brands to discover near and far.
I’ll start with the one bar that impressed me the most this year, so far. And… it’s from an American chocolate maker, which may surprise some. More and more American artisans are showing their talents in the chocolate world, many going from bean to bar; Patric and Askinosie both in Missouri, Dandelion and Theo in California, Taza in Boston and my latest find, Xocolatl by David in Portland, Oregon. A bar made with olive oil was certainly intriguing, and when I saw fleur de sel on the ingredients list too, I knew that was for me (my favorite way to eat dark chocolate – with salt). A light bar at just over 60g, it was also extremely light on the palate, an incredibly smooth bar, with a great snap despite the oil. To me, it was the perfect balance of sensations – creamy, dark, thin, sweet, salty – if a tad too addicting.
When I learned that my fellow sweet toothed dessert blogger, Brian Jaeger, and I share not only the same passion but the same birthday, two things were very clear. There would be a celebratory meal. And there would be many desserts.
To add even more sweetness to the table, my friend and baking guru Nick Malgieri happened to be in town visiting. So off the three of us went, on the train to Hägendorf for a pilgrimage to Reto and Anni Lampart’s restaurant.
On a recent weekend getaway with my husband to a small Alpine village in Switzerland’s southeastern region of Graubünden, I realized three things:
1. You can never take enough photos of flower boxes, old stone water fountains and crooked timber houses
2. I am obsessed with the way the Swiss keep their wood
3. You could spend a lifetime trying to visit every picturesque village in Switzerland
There are many things we have to look forward to here in Zürich during the summer: the sun, a bustling atmosphere along the lake, pedal boats, hiking among wild flowers, picnics… and the Swedish Summer Smörgåsbord at Au Premier restaurant.
As I have just passed another anniversary here in Zürich (4 years !), I’ll try not to go on and on about how much I am still in love with this city – during the hot, sunny summers, in the rain, in the snow, in the winter, spring, summer and fall… But it’s true. 10 years with my husband and it’s like we just met, and 4 years in Zürich and it’s like I just moved here. I never tire of the picturesque views of the mountains overlooking the lake (my reaction is still to grab my camera); and my eyes still grow wider when I turn the corner of a favorite charming street in the old town.
Best of all, while continuously rediscovering the same pleasures, there is so much to discover for the first time. There is always something new and different here, be it a music festival, an art exhibit or a funny local holiday. Or my favorite (but of course), while less frequent, are the sweet happenings. Ladurée coming to town, Switzerland’s first Salon du Chocolat and a nougat shop, to name three delicious highlights. And now here’s where you’ll most likely find me … at the new and most certainly improved Café Milchbar, which just (re)opened its doors on June 23rd.
One of my favorite streets in Paris is rue de Buci in the 6th arrondissement. I’ve been making a detour there since 1999, when as a student, I would always get a grilled, flattened panini from my panini guy at his little stand, as well as magazines and fun paper accessories at Buci News. (Both stops are still obligatory whenever I’m in Paris – and the panini is still from the same guy.) There was another “must” on that street about which I waxed poetic on the blog back in 2008: a certain palmier, or elephant ear, at Bonbonnière de Buci. I still remember the day a few years ago when I stood, frozen, in front of an empty storefront in disbelief that this little gem of a pâtisserie had closed.
But my palmier is back ! Reborn, in the very same spot, thanks to The Smiths Bakery, a new sweet shop that just opened mid-May.
To some people, Sicily conjures up images of endless citrus groves and fields of olive trees, blood oranges and golden olive oil galore. To others, it may be all about the wines (especially dessert wines and fortified ones like Marsala) and the abundance of fresh fish. To me, as you know, it’s all about the sweets. I already plan on returning one day to experience those other delicacies too – notably the wines and the island’s king of fish, swordfish… when I’m not 6 months pregnant ! (How’s that for a surprise – and total disclosure ?!) Thankfully though, gelati, granite and marzipan are not on any lists of foods to avoid.
And Sicily is truly a heavenly place for us sweet lovers. Let’s put it this way, ice cream sandwiches (literally, ice cream in a sandwich) are a way of life; and brioche dipped in sweet, icy granita is common for breakfast.
And so, without further ado, the highlights of my sweet discoveries in Sicily… Read the rest of this story >>
I’m just returned from Sicily, so you know what that means – there is soon to be a Sweet Sicily post on the blog here ! But before I get to the gelato, granita, cassata and marzipan, first a stroll through a few Sicilian markets, where I spent most of my time. (When not eating gelato, granita, cassata and marzipan. Not to mention cannoli and torrone and chocolate and…)