Thursday, November 04, 2010

Eat, eat, eat

Our friend's Roger and Maguy welcomed us into their lovely home in Bern Switzerland. With a glass of champagne we tasted the three delicious cheeses she had selected as an appetizer and enjoyed their new winter garden room, a wall of glass that makes their home warm and sunny. After catching up for a few minutes and a house tour, Maguy stood up and said, "Now I will make a Syrian dinner and we will
Maguy and the mezze
Stefanie grating cucumbers
Entree plates
eat in 55 minutes. OK?" "Okay!" we said and I opted to sit in the kitchen and watch. Her daughter Stefanie helped with preparation so I was just an observer. First thing she did was put a marinated chicken into her soaked Rommeltopf. The chicken takes about 45 minutes in her oven. Next she plated and organized her mezzes - there were about a dozen: tahini, string cheese, a combo plate of peppers and radishes, a baked cheese en croute.  While Maguy got everything together, Stefanie grated cucumbers for a Tsaziki type dish - an accompaniment to the chicken. Somewhere, somehow delicious rice was prepared but they snuck it by me so I didn't get to see what they did. The rice was extraordinarily plump and perfect - perhaps the best rice I've ever eaten. They are both very expert cooks.

We ate and ate and ate - at least three times as much as we normally consume at a sitting. Once the mezzes and chicken, with lots of red wine, were cleared away, they prepared espressos and presented  three desserts on a tray - a cheesecake, a mousse and a tart. We did our best with this but then she brought out some Swiss chocolate! I flat out asked her if she was trying to kill us!

It was 1:00 a.m. when we left with plans to get together the next day to visit Neufchatel and eat fondue. EAT FONDUE!!! We were nearly comatose and doubted we'd be able to digest dinner before it was fondue time. 

Despite the rain the next morning, we continued with our plans for a short tour of Bern, Richard's old stomping grounds and a cheese finale.  By 3:00 p.m. after touring around and shivering in the rain, we were interested in eating again so the schedule turned out to be OK for fondue. It was extraordinary.  Dessert, yes dessert, was a blob of cream served with a crust filled with cream, served with raspberries. Another artery clogger but perfectly delicious! Why go halfway - if you're going to die, die choking on the good stuff. Not one to quit, Maguy wanted to go home and cook us a typical Swiss meal; I had to fight with her about opting out and finally insisted that we couldn't eat again. Those Syrians are persistent - when they decide they're going to feed you, watch out!!
Post fondue dessert

I was amazed to learn that all Swiss homes by law must have a bomb shelter, the law was in effect until only a few years ago. Theirs is now the wine cellar - nice transition.  


  1. That's the way I want to die!!!!!!

  2. It was really Barbara (me) that said that's the way she wants to die but I'm sure Nancy would agree.