Last weekend I found myself in Lucerne, writing a travel piece about that most Helvetic of cities (well, it calls itself a city. Apart from the surprising number of people hanging around on the waterfront with plastic bags full of booze – which became less surprising when we saw the price of alcohol – it seemed more like a prosperous and picturesque little town to this particular Londoner). On Sunday, we sneaked smoked ham rolls from the hotel breakfast buffet, and caught the early train to the edge of the Bernese Oberland – where, a good six hours, and about 700 meters upward later, I met this cow, which I hold directly responsible for this spinach dumpling dish at the Rathaus Brauerei (microbrewery), which, I believe, was described coyly as coming “with Appenzeller”:
and this spinach käsekuchen that sent me skipping heavily along the path from Meiringen (birthplace of the meringue, no less – but no sign of them at 8am on a Sunday morning, the godless hussies) to Grindelwald:
It looks burnt, but actually, it was just chock-a-block with spinach, and thus represented, for Switzerland, remarkably good value (I think it cost about £14. Say no more.) There was also the cheesiest sandwich I have ever not finished (even cheesier than Kappacasein’s alpine overload), and a moitié–moitié fondue, made from half Gruyère and half Vacherin Fribourgeois, with the result that, by the end of the weekend, I was starting to believe that it really was possible to eat too much cheese. It isn’t, of course – I was just hallucinating. Probably because of the cheese.
Other things we ate included some pleasingly delicate roasted veal sausages on sauerkraut, also at the brewery:
and an extraordinary dish I sadly forgot to record the name of; a vol au vent filled with veal and pork meatballs, grated apples and raisins, gilded with a slightly sweet cream and wine sauce.
I also spotted some wild strawberries growing in the shady, wooded path up into the mountains – they were good, but not as muskily aromatic as the Provencal ones the legumier used to sell for €5 a punnet.
And, of course, there was beer (and one slightly apricotty, fragrant Swiss white wine, a Grand Cru de Nyon) – banana-scented light ale, and a clovey weissbeer, and everything tasting better with a view…