Foodie Penpals October 2015 reveal

I can’t believe another round of Foodie Penpals has been and gone already! The next one is the final one for 2015, as Carol Anne is understandably taking a break for December (I’m sure people will have plenty of treats to enjoy then anyway!).

My package actually arrived not long after I got back from my holiday, but in keeping with the rules I waited until closer to the end of the month to write my reveal post. This time I got to send my package to Germany, which was a bit more of a challenge as I wanted to try and find products that aren’t in every single supermarket there (a lot of brands are the same). In return, I got a lovely package from England. Abbie told me it was her first time taking part, but if she hadn’t mentioned that I would never have known. The package she put together was amazing! I had mentioned that we like spicy food, such as Thai, and asked her to put in some healthy snacks (I’m desperately trying to get those pounds that have crept back on since we moved to Switzerland!).

Here’s my box of treats waiting to be unpacked:

Foodie October 2015As you can see, I did take out the postcard so you could see the food.

Now for a closer look:

Foodie October 2015Two more Graze tubs. The one Charlotte sent me last month was delicious, so I was pleased to see these ones in my latest package. These ones have both been devoured already, and they were both very tasty indeed.

Foodie October 2015Energy-giving treats. These were both delicious, but I especially liked the coconut and macadamia energy ball. I ate these for my mid-morning snack on two days so Jan didn’t even get a look in ­čśë

Foodie October 2015Some sweet treats. All were tasty, but the macaroon was my favourite. It’s a good job she only included one because I’m not sure I could have stopped myself eating two in a row (and then feeling sick!).

Foodie October 2015Thai (sweet) chilli snacks. The crackers have been demolished, and most delicious they were too. The chickpeas are waiting for the next time we sit down to watch a film – they look intriguing so I thought I’d be nice and actually share with Jan ­čśë

Foodie October 2015Finally, a drink. This is actually still sitting in my fridge untried but I will definitely be drinking it soon. It sounds absolutely delicious (and very healthy). Many thanks Abbie Lee for an amazing box!

Once again, I was sending to a non-blogger so I’ll show you myself what I bought her:

Foodie October 2015Z├╝rcher Geschnetzeltes sauce – you can probably get that in Germany, but oh well, it’s Swiss at least. Branche chocolate bars (these are delicious!). Basler L├Ąckerli – a kind of gingerbread. A hazelnut biscuit called “bird’s nest”. Swiss herb salt (it’s literally salt mixed with various herbs) and a barley soup from Graub├╝nden (anything with “B├╝ndner” in the name comes from the canton of Graub├╝nden/Grisons).

If you want to take part in Foodie Penpals, you can read the rules and sign up here. (This is the European version, for those of you in the US/Canada, the original Foodie Penpals on The Lean Green Bean is here.). Matches go out on the 5th of each month, so if you want to take part in November go and sign up right now! The deadline for sending packages is the 20th of the month. It’s a lot of fun and if you do decide to sign up I promise you won’t regret it!

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More from Zurich

I tried to write this post a few days ago but WordPress lost it and I couldn’t be bothered to type it all out again…

1 January was our final day in Zurich. We started 2015 by sleeping til 1.30 p.m., then eventually managed to drag ourselves out of the hotel and to the main train station, where we found a cafe for breakfast. I had a hazelnut-filled croissant (which are called Gipfeli in Swiss German!) and a far-too-sweet cinnamon latte. Then it was time for some more walking. We took a different parallel street to Bahnhofstrasse, one we’d never been down before, and eventually came to Zurich’s “other” river – the Sihl. Apparently it flows below the Hauptbahnhof (main station) and parts of the station are actually below the river! The things you learn from Wikipedia… Once we got away from the town centre, the path was slippy but it looked pretty with the river alongside and the tree branches hanging over it.

After we’d walked for a while, Jan consulted the map on his phone then decided we needed to turn left if we were eventually going to end up back in town. He then proceeded to make me go up this set of steps:

 

Narnia eat your heart out!

I didn’t so much walk up them as haul myself up, clinging to the handrail for dear life the whole time! What looks like pretty snow had been trodden on so often that it was actually more like ice. Very, very slippy ice! At the top, we found a park area set on a hillside. All the local kids were out playing with their bobsleighs. I wish we could have borrowed one… it would have been slightly easy than walking/slipping down the frozen path!

After leaving that park and walking down some random streets, we entered another park where we found more people sledding and another snowman. From there, we also had a view of the lake.

Finally, after walking for what seemed like days, we reached the lake. By this time it was dark and we were cold and hungry, but we still stopped to take a few photos of the lake. By which I mean Jan stole my camera and took pictures after witnessing me failing to get any good ones. Hmph!

After all the walking we’d done, Jan decided he wanted a hearty meal of the type served by a brew-house. The first Bierhalle we tried was closed (for future reference, lots of places in Zurich seem to close on New Year’s Day), so we headed to a place called Restaurant Johanniter. Jan chose a dark beer that was delicious! Unfortunately it was on special and the card only said “Schwarzbier” so we don’t know what it was to look out for in future. I went for the Appenzeller Qu├Âllfrisch, which was also tasty. To eat I had vension “geschnetzeltes” – geschnetzeltes is a word for strips of meat cut in a certain way. Jan had the traditional Z├╝rcher Geschnetzeltes, which I’m not keen on because it comes in a sauce with mushrooms. I then treated myself to some apple strudel for dessert (no picture of that because I was too busy stuffing my face ­čśë )

Once we’d eaten, we headed back to the hotel to pack and relax for a while. And that was the end of our trip to Zurich. A lovely city, if fairly small. I’m sure we’ll be back… Basel to Zurich is only a little over an hour by train, which makes it pretty perfect for a day trip with visitors.

35 Before 35: Eat fondue in Switzerland

K├ĄsefondueFondue is technically more of a winter food (for obvious reasons!), but when we took my brother to Basel for the day I was determined to find some despite the fact that it was July! Amazingly, I actually managed to find two restaurants in Basel that serve fondue year round. The first place we tried turned out to be closed as the owners were on holiday, so we ended up at a restaurant called Steinbock. (Steinbock, by the way, is the German name for the star sign Capricorn).

The restaurant was a fairly unassuming place on a busy street near the Schweizerische Bahnhof (Swiss railway station – there is also a Badische Bahnhof, which is the German train station, meaning you can travel there from Germany on a German rail pass). If I hadn’t discovered beforehand from the Internet that this was one of very few restaurants in Basel that does fondue year round I doubt we would have stopped there! However, it turned out to be a good choice. Apart from the many different types of fondue (including meat ones), the restaurant also had raclette and several different dishes involving R├Âsti, as well as some other traditional Swiss dishes and some pasta/gnocchi dishes. Jan initially wanted to order cheese fondue for three, but I suggested it might be better for just the two of us to get fondue, that way my brother could try a little bit but wouldn’t be left without any food if he didn’t like it. So we ordered fondue for two, while my brother went for the Schnitzel.
Just look at all the cheese in this pot… and remember, that’s for two people:

You can’t even tell what it is I’m dipping in! (For those who aren’t familiar with fondue, it’s bread).

The fondue was nice enough, although it had a little too much alcoho for my taste (cheese fondue is not just melted cheese – it actually consists of cheese, white wine, “Kirschwasser” – a kind of cherry schnapps – and usually some garlic). Most of the times I’ve eaten fondue, it’s been at work (we have a Swiss costumer who likes to send us fondue cheese), and obviously we’re sparing with the alcohol there. I prefer my fondue to taste more of cheese! It was still nice though, and Jan enjoyed it. But I do have to admit, my favourite part of the meal was the bread basket they brought out before we’d even ordered… filled with warm bread rolls that I’m sure had a hint of cheese in them I would go back there just for those! And for the record, no we did not finish the cheese! We used up all our bread and decided we were both too full to ask for more (trust me, it was a loooot of cheese!)

The food was fairly expensive – Jan spent nearly all of the 100 Swiss francs (just over 82 euros) he had on him just on our three meals plus three drinks! But by Swiss standards it was actually quite reasonable… I have seen Swiss caf├ęs that charged 15 Swiss francs (about 12 euros) for basically cheese on toast! If you ever find yourself in Basel, I would certainly recommend Restaurant Steinbock. But do make sure you have plenty of cash on you – the waiter said they didn’t accept credit cards, and Switzerland is far from cheap!

And there’s another thing crossed off my 35 before 35 list. Just 31 left to go!