Not a Bit Ho Hum
People often ask if I love to travel since I seem to be doing more and more of it these days. The real answer is that I am torn between the adventure/discovery of visiting other places and the comfort of being home. There never seems to be enough time to synthesize all the experiences from each trip. And I’m never happier than when sitting on the back porch in Hope (as I am doing now) listening to the birds and watching the spring-time new bright green leaves dancing in the breezy sunlight.
But just two weeks ago, I attended the annual Swiss press luncheon, this year at 11 Madison, and it rekindled my wanderlust all over again. I’ve loved the idea of Switzerland since childhood: Heidi and the alps stirred a longing in this New York skyscraper-landscaped child’s heart. I don’t remember when chocolate entered the picture but once it did, the result was at least eight “research” trips to this glorious country. I’ve enjoyed hiking through the alps, visiting the Jung Fraujoch, eating the entire contents of a wooden trencher filled with the best triple creme I’ve ever experienced, in the mountains of Gruyere. I’ve eaten chocolate in every canton of Switzerland, tasted the fabulous buttery Engandine Nut Torte in the Engandine Valley near Klosters, drunk amazing white and red wines including Dezaley, and Rubro, Merlot de Ticino; eaten white and black truffles in the same meal, weighed out on an antique balance scale before shaving over the pasta, and astonishingly tender but flavorful wild boar from the forests outside of Berne. In short, I’ve had a secret love affair with Switzerland for many years now and I’m ready to come clean and share some of the joy.
I’ve been proclaiming from the rooftops tops that as soon as I return from Slohomish to visit the family in June I’m staying put until Fall. But that was before I was tempted by photos of the Glacier Express (see www.graubuenden.ch) which travels 7 1/2 hours over 91 bridges from the high Alpine regions of St. Moritz, Davos, Zermott, with unparalleled views of the Matterhorn, past the fortresses and castles of the Domleschg, through the Rhine Gorge--the Swiss Grand Canyon and then to source of the Rhine River. Count me in—or should I say on! I have just one problem: The moment I’m in a moving object I tend to fall asleep. I just have to find out if this spectacular scenery will prove the exception.
While watching slides of the beautiful regions of Switzerland we were treated to a lovely lunch prepared by the newly arrived executive Swiss Chef Daniel Humm. It was appropriately light but exquisitely flavorful. The first course was tiny index-finger-sized columns of roasted beets, follwed by moist and deilicious Atlantic wild halibut with hon shimeji mushrooms and tiny new asparagus in a vin jaune sauce. And the Passion fruit meringue tart with macademia pralines and toasted coconut ice cream, prepared by the very talented pastry chef Nicole Kaplan was among the most exquisite desserts I’ve ever tasted anywhere.