Just got back into town from Switzerland. Sadly, not really a 'What I Did On My Summer Vacation' entry, as I was there to attend a funeral. I truly wish that I could have cooked something over there. Not just because of the ready supply of beautiful meats, cheeses, wines, and produce...but...beyond family celebrations like weddings, holidays, housewarmings, etc., it's important for those of us who cook to feed and nurture those we care about in times of sorrow, as well. Eating a good meal together is welcome and warranted under any circumstances.
Walking around Nyon, I was struck by the number of really great looking butcher shops, cheese shops, and bakeries that one really needs to go out of the way to find here in our country. OK...fine...your supermarket has 'everything'...but does it? I can rarely find at...oh, say...Stop & Shop the fish or meat cut called for in that tasty-looking Bon Appetit recipe I want to try. And, sorry, meat and fish purveyors of metro-west, those few butcher shops and fishmongers we have left locally, you rarely cut it. (Literally...I suppose.)
I have to say, though, there were some disappointments across the pond. Never got a decent croissant anywhere in Switzerland...and they speak a LOT of French over there, so...one would think... And I rarely feel competitive or want to slag a fellow cook, but whomever runs the kitchen of the lovely Hotel La Barcarolle has NO idea how to season food. (Salt, mon ami, SALT! There's such a thing as too much and too little, and you are equally adept at hitting either end of the spectrum.)
However, I ate at one restaurant that is, frankly, worth the trip to Nyon alone: Le Maitre Jacques. Mon Dieux! Classic European bistro fare. The kind of place I would want just down the street where I could eat weekly (cue the theme to Cheers, played on a tiny accordian...and Jacques would sit at my table and tell me what he was making for me, as Claudine, the sassy waitress brings over a glass of wine and an amuse bouche...). I'm not sure, but I believe our hosts at this dinner simply told the establishment a large group was coming and to prepare a dinner for us. (But, Coco & Harry, if you picked this menu then all kudos to you.)
Let's see...other food memories:
And, something I need to try this Fall: we've all, at this point, had some form of the warm goat cheese salad. (And, frankly, I'll take goat cheese in ANY form...) But I could not understand why the one I had prior to the aforementioned veal was so tasty. Most of the restaurants were serving outside this time of year in Nyon, and so in the semi darkness I really had to get down close to the table and dissect this delectable goat cheese to discern what was going on. (With all due apologies from the strange acting 'Ugly American' to the French family eating one table over.) I believe this chef took a slice of apple, topped that with a bit of grated gruyere-type cheese, THEN sat a slice of goat cheese on top of that and threw it all under the broiler. Wow! Warm, soft, salty and sweet - offset by cold, dressed greens. Try it. So good!!
Au revoir, Nyon.