4 Years in Zürich and it’s only getting sweeter
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.
Locals in Zürich may know the Milchbar for its 35 years in a prime location, tucked away in a quiet square with a beautiful fountain; sandwiched between Bahnhofstrasse, bustling with bankers and shoppers, and the Limmatquai, with its punctual bright blue trams. But rather than boasting its vegetarian or meat options at lunch (and 5am opening time, which remains), it’s now all about the desserts ! And they’re of a very well known and high caliber, from the city’s oldest confectionery across the river, Péclard at Schober. The buttery French croissants and oversize meringues are here, as well as slices of Gugelhopf on the counter.
A setting both upscale and eclectic (stage builder and designer Raffi Otto brilliantly threw together dark leather, wood, faux brick and funky lighting) showcases Schober’s divine pastries, yet served in a more rustic way. Desserts are displayed on the trays they were baked on (as manager Christa said, “no schnick schnack”), not pre-sliced, so your hunger can dictate the size slice you request. The signature Cremeschnitte (millefeuille) is topped with whole strawberries and will continue to grab the spotlight until the season is sadly over. A tempting variety of breads are delivered every morning from Känzig, a personal favorite of mine, whose bretzels and fig bread always fill my market basket at Bürkliplatz.
Fruit tarts and flammekuechen aside, another house specialty is the ‘sandwich by the meter’. Again, let your eyes and stomach decide how big a slice, and you’ll pay by weight (CHF3/100g). The construction guys around the corner come in with their rulers and order by the centimeter – how Swiss ! What’s not so Swiss is the sauce; taking inspiration from Ocean Drive in Miami, they top the ham or cheese sandwiches with a mustard/mayonnaise blend just before serving – instead of coating the bread first, the usual step that can only make it soggy.
Wash it all down with a coffee, one of two blends that Ernst Knuchel, of Fresh Coffee in Ruschlikon, created exclusively for the Milchbar (and only makes 100 kilo per week). Or enjoy a glass of bubbly, as this address already promises to be a hot spot for the aperitif hour.
One last thing, be sure to check out the black and white photo in the front window, taken in 1947. You’ll see that by bringing the Milchbar back to life (it suddenly closed in May), Michel Péclard has brought the place full circle. Before the popular lunch spot, it was actually a confiserie… Merci vielmal, Michel !
Mon to Sat: 5am until… 10pm, 11pm, 12am depending on the crowd !