Appenzellerland, set between the Alps and Lake Constance in the northeast region of Switzerland, is a place where traditions are closely guarded and time is a relative term. In fact, as I walk through the car-free village of Appenzell, with its candy colored, chalet-style houses, quaint restaurants and whimsical displays of garden elves lining the sidewalks, it’s the anachronism of brightly clad tourists taking selfies on their iPhones that reminds me I’m actually in the 21st century.
If you don’t already have plans for July 2 through July 24 this year, I have a suggestion. The Tour de France — the greatest bicycle race in the world and the third-most popular sporting event, drawing close to 4 million TV viewers worldwide — takes place during those three weeks. Even if you can’t be among the thousands of spectators cheering the competitors on along the 2,200-mile route, you can still join in the excitement of the race. Continue reading →
For people who love dairy and cheese, a visit to The Netherlands is a must. So prevalent is the national love of dairy that it’s difficult to avoid the sight and smell of cheese, or ‘kaas’ in Dutch. From the proliferation of independent cheese shops to the tourist attractions based around huge yellow wheels, for such a small country there’s a lot of cheese to be had. Continue reading →
A person’s first taste of lamb can be one of those great palate-changers, a moment when you realize there is a lot more for dinner than the same old steak. Fresh lamb shank, leg or loin has an earthy richness and complexity that can make a lot of beef and pork seem ho-hum by comparison.
Some rookies are introduced to lamb in the form of a rack or chop at white tablecloth establishments. Others have devoured a gyro with Feta or a curry dish at an Indian eatery without ever noticing that the craveable meat is lamb.
A specific cheese can instantly bring to mind an association: often of a place, region, country or dish. For me Raclette evokes thoughts of the snow-dipped mountains and hearth warmed chalets of Switzerland. Stilton makes me imagine the holiday season in England, with a glass of port to greet guests. And Manchego is as definitive of Spanish cheese as any I can think of, both here in the States and in the tapas spots throughout Spain. Some cheeses even take on, rightly or wrongly, the name of a place of supposed origin: Swiss cheese, not actually Swiss and American cheese, not actually cheese, come immediately to mind.
Fresh Goat cheese and truffles. What a fabulous idea. Like bread and chocolate, wine and roses, it would make a beautiful coupling. Mary Keehn, proprietress of Cypress Grove Chevre, just knew it. “Once we had sourced a steady supply of truffles we went about making it. We were all so excited to try it. Goat cheese and truffles. How could it not be yummy?”
Until she took a taste.