Saturday, October 23, 2010

There's More to Switzerland than Chocolate....Right?

They say that there is more to Switzerland than watches, chocolate and the lucrative banking industry but I'm not so sure. While we haven't really been buying any watches (and I admit I already own a Swiss watch) or putting our savings into secret accounts, we have been taking full advantage of all the chocolately goodness that this great country has to offer.

Last week we took a "date day" just go to play and ended up at my favorite spot on earth - IKEA! If you think that it is overwhelming and confusing in America, you need to try it in a country where you can speak about 3 words of the local language. I have a gift card I need to use but had no idea how to ask anyone about it. We managed to make it home empty-handed, except for....

Chocolate! They have these fabulous ice cream machines that will load your cone with the perfect mix of vanilla ice cream and chocolately syrup. Amazing.

 But then, we went to Nyon, and discovered Rapp. Holy Cow. The website is in French, but it is worth taking a peek at just for the incredible pictures (choose "Galerie" or just click here). Our pictures don't do justice to the experience of being completely surrounded by chocolate but here's an idea of just how incredible Rapp is (and I think you can click our pictures to make them bigger).

 They even had marzipan fruit and veggies! 

We limited ourselves to 1 thing and ended up with this chocolate mousse thing. It actually tasted a lot like heaven a rich chocolate cheesecake with a chocolate crust and white chocolate shavings on top.

 In other chocolate news, David has been buying and trying a different chocolate bar every week (which is about how often we make it to a grocery store). It's relatively cheap (all food here is expensive) and fun - there are a million different brands and flavor combinations. Here's his most recent sampling:

 Last night, part of our school came home from a camping trip, so we welcomed them back with a big sign and....dark chocolate brownies! I used this recipe for Dark Cocoa Brownies from Vintage Victuals and they turned out pretty well, especially for my first real attempt at navigating metric conversions and an industrial-sized oven. The powdered sugar helped to cut the richness of the cocoa powder and they went great with hot French press coffee.

We have a few guys here from South Africa too, so I went out on a [major] limb and tried to tackle a traditional melktert. Our friend, Mandy, made one for us while we were living in WPB but she wasn't around to help us. She did send us the recipe though, and we ended up with this: 

It took a few tries to get the custard right (and we made scrambled eggs once....oops) but I think it turned out okay for our first try. If you need a little South African flair in your life, here's Mandy's recipe:

250ml cake flour
5ml baking powder
1ml salt
80 ml sugar
100 grams butter
1 egg, beaten

750ml milk
80 grams flour
1ml cake flour
1ml salt
4 eggs, seperated
100ml sugar
5ml vanilla extract
Ground cinnamon, to taste

For crust: 
1. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt. 
2. Add sugar and cream with butter. 
3. Add beaten egg and mix well.
4. Press into 2 greased pie dishes (we used 1 big springform pan).

For filling: 
1. Heat milk and butter in a heavy saucepan.
2. Sift flour and salt and mix to combine with egg yolks. Beat well.
3. Slowly add some of the hot milk to the egg mixture. Stir until well combined, and then add back to the saucepan. Let simmer for a few minutes, until thick, stirring constantly.
4. Remove from heat and add vanilla extract.
5. Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold lightly into the cooked milk mixture.
6. Pour filling into pan(s) and sprinkle with ground cinnamon. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees Celcius (about 350 F) for 20 minutes. 

While I was baking it up yesterday, I also ventured into the world of muesli. This stuff is all the rage in Europe and now I know why - it's delicious and you can really customize it to whatever you like. We make enormous batches of it at the base because it is so great with yogurt for breakfast, so I made some with and without dried fruit (raisins and apricots).
Since we make so much of it, there isn't really a real recipe but here's the gist of it.
 corn flakes
unsweetened coconut
sliced almonds
dried fruit

1.In individual pans, toast coconut (10 min), oats (25 min) and almonds (15 min). 
2. Dump into a big bowl and mix with unsweetened corn flakes. 
3. Throw in whatever dried fruit you have lying around. Or chocolate chips - whatever your heart desires
4. Heat honey so it's nice and soft. 
5. Drizzle over mixture and stir well. You want it kind of clumpy.
6. Let cool before storing

I think it'd be awesome with dried apples and cranberries and pumpkin pie spice. Or yogurt-covered raisins.


  1. Koreans don't really like chocolate!! I'm so jealous right now!! If you mail me chocolate, I'll mail you... meat-flavored Dick Sticks (no joke, bought those once by accident). Good trade? :)

  2. Aw, Nicole! You and David are so amazing! That chocolate thing looks great. Yum!