Fleischkäse (“Meat cheese”)

fleischkase
Photo from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leberk%C3%A4se

Today I tried again one of the most unusual Swiss specialities: the so-called “Fleischkäse”, which translated in English sounds something like “meat cheese”.
According to Wikipedia, it consists of corned beef, pork, bacon and onions and is made by grinding the ingredients very finely and then baking it as a loaf in a bread pan until it has a crunchy brown crust.
It looks actually weird and the Swiss name really gives an idea of what this food is. Meat with the texture and the appearance of cheese… or eventually cheese with the taste of meat.
If you really know what this dish is, you will probably not eat it.
But pretending not to know the preparation and the ingredients, it is actually quite tasty. Better if accompanied by some beer.
Beer? Yes, of course. This food is a speciality of Switzerland, but also known in Austria and Germany.
And how can you quench your thirst in such countries without beer?

The pearl of Ehrendingen

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Ehrendingen is the small nearly 5’000 inhabitant village where we live. All the main services are granted as usual in Switzerland (supermarket, post office, pharmacy, etc.), including some local restaurants.

And when I say “local” I mean… very Swiss: Wienerschnitzel and French fries being one of the main and most exciting dishes!

But today at lunch we found a restaurant which is really a pearl: the restaurant is old (it was a Piemontese restaurant, “Heimat”) but it was re-opened two months ago! And now it is based on international flavours with Asian and African influences. All with great presentation of the dishes, marvelous tastes and perfumes and unique recipes. All made by the young and friendly cook Tim, who was working before in a one-Michelin-star restaurant in Basel! I have been living in the Confederation for 15 years but, when eating outside, I never felt the real joy which only special recipes or extraordinary meals can give you!

Congratulations to the new crew of this reborn restaurant! If you are passing by Ehrendingen, a meal in the Heimat is really worthy! Heimat, like homeland…
But don’t worry: The tastes you will experience in this nice restaurant have nothing to do with its Swiss… “homeland”!

A slice of what I call pizza

pizzeria_MilanoAhhhh!
A nice round, crispy (where it needs to be) and soft (where it needs to be) wonderful pizza!

Stop! This can only be served in Italy!
No matter how Italian is the restaurant here in Switzerland…but the level of their pizza will never be as the one in Italy!

Even with a proper oven, the pizza here is totally disappointing.
And the quality-price ratio is absurd!
Look at the photo. That is the price list proudly shown on the window of a pizzeria in the city centre in Milan!

The same in Switzerland would be at list doubled.
A 5 Euro Margherita in Milan is something like minimum 10-12 Sfr in Switzerland!

And the quality!
Here in the Confederation, the pizza (let’s take the simplest and most classical one: Margherita, i.e. Tomato, mozzarella, basil) is always covered by a kind of uniform layer of “rubber/plastic” mixture which is supposed to be the melted mozzarella. This layer is normally well lubricated by a generous quantity of oil (olive oil? Mmmh…doubtful!)
The result is a heavy part which makes the whole pizza too difficult to finish!
The crispy border is often also too chewy and flexible, making the pizza look like a kind of sling!

Why all this?
I do not know exactly! But probably the ingredients are not supreme, the ways of preparing and cooking this delicious piece of art are just scholastic and the training on the job (so important here in each Canton for each occupation!) is not really helpful!

And probably all the “pizzaioli” (pizza bakers) in any Swiss “pizzaland” rely on the fact that no one ever tasted a real amazing pizza actually MADE IN ITALY!
Nothing to do with the circular reddish-orange, rubbery, pale bordered “Sw-izza“!

Is this a cup of coffee or a 3 liter gasoline canister?

Tazzina_di_caffè
Photo taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Espresso

Coffee in Switzerland…
I make it short: big shame!

Whenever you sit, wherever you sit in a bar, restaurant, tea-room, coffee shop, city center or shopping mall in Switzerland and you order a coffee, you will remain astonished!
Coming from Italy (the land of, among others, coffee!), when it comes to coffee I am quite demanding and extremely picky.
When I order a coffee in Italy I normally get a nice and fragrant espresso (I underline: “espresso”) at a very reasonable price!

When I order a coffee (meaning of course an “espresso”) in Switzerland:
– I have to clearly order “espresso”, not to get a brownish watery big cup of so-called coffee or, as they say in the Confederation, “Kaffee creme”;
– I will get a long, diluted, super bitter coffee which they proudly define “espresso”;
– I will get what mentioned above in a too thin and improper cup for an espresso;
– Shame! I will have to pay between 4.20 CHF (if lucky!) up to 4.80 CHF (as it recently occurred to me in a restaurant in Zurich);
– Shame No. 2! The high price of a cup of coffee in Switzerland has apparently no clear reason: no particular scarcity of the imported raw material, no significant remote location of the country, absolute no lack of bars, restaurants, etc. in the Confederation!

In Italy, where espresso, coffee and all the related variations (e.g. cappuccino, moccaccino, marocchino, etc., etc., etc., etc…) are “cult”, you normally pay between 0.9 and 1.5 EUR for a coffee. If you convert EUR to CHF multiplying by a simplified factor of 1.2, you can now understand my…disappointment for Swiss coffee!

Nowadays, a good average price for 95 octane gasoline is at least 1.5 CHF/liter in northern Switzerland, where I normally refill my car tank.
Therefore, if I take into account this price, the price of a cup of coffee and the taste of a cup of coffee in Switzerland….I sometimes find myself asking whether my drink at the bar is really an espresso or rather a canister of gasoline!!!

At a Swiss restaurant

We went to a restaurant some days ago. As soon as we arrived, they asked us whether we had booked or not.
We said (of course) not, because actually ours was a sudden decision, to go to the restaurant for lunch.
In the Swiss restaurants, the waiters are always asking for your possible booking. Do they think that if I had booked, without their duly asking, I might forget it??