fbpx
close

Marina Lovefoodish

STORIES

Culinary trip to Parma – Where to go and what to experience in 3 days

My personal highlight: Discovering an enchanting pearl full of culture & extraordinary delicacies only a few hours by train from Zurich!

How much do you know about this Italian Culture & Gastronomy City located 5h by train from Zurich?

Parma has been shaped along the centuries by great painters as Correggio & Antelami. In the national gallery of Pilotta you can find some works by Da Vinci, Barbieri, Allegri, van Dyck, and many others from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. The unique piece from Leonardo da Vinci called ‘La Scapigliata’ from 1508 all made in oil on a wood panel captured my heart immediately.
For Opera lovers it’s absolutely recommended to visit Teatro Regio. It’s one of the most renowned and high-quality opera houses in Italy. It has been associated with many great composers, such as Giuseppe Verdi and Gioachino Rossini. This venue continues to serve the great Italian musical tradition, staging four operas every season and hosting a yearly Verdi Festival in October!
Another landmark of Parma is their Teatro Farnese. The theatre is one of the most renowned example of a wooden theatre that stands today. Created in the 1600’s, at the time it was also the largest theatre in the world and could hold a crowd of 3’000 people. It’s absolutely recommended to go there fro a throwback in time!

During the Middle Ages, Parma was ruled by the Franks and was part of the Holy Roman Empire. During the 1800’s, the city was annexed by France under the rule of Napoleon, and then finally became a part of the Kingdom of Italy in 1860.

Guess why Parma has been nominated a City of Gastronomy?

On December 11th, 2015 Parma was officially invited to take part in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, becoming the first Italian Creative City of Gastronomy (The network includes more than 70 cities in 32 countries). Parma is a true Foodvalley, A. because of their king of Cheese called Parmigiano Reggiano that has its origins here and B. because of the world famous Parma ham. More than that, Parma is home to the top school of Italian cooking called Alma!

Foodie hint: You recognize the original Parma by it’s 5 pointed crown branded onto it’s skin.

Emilia-Romagna is the European region with the highest number of PDO and PGI products, and it is described by Forbes “Italy’s greatest gastronomic treasure.

Ever heard about the delicacy Culatello di Zibello?

It is the precious piece made from the large muscle mass in the rear leg of the pig. Creating it means destroying the possibility of making a prosciutto!
Its tremendous aging time, the fact that it’s the best part of the leg, and the expertise required to make it one of the most expensive salumi in Italy, particularly if it adheres to the DOP regulations to be a Zibello culatello.
The best way to experience the history & an exclusive tasting of the Culatello is to visit the Culatello Museum. The Museum is located in the court where the historical & gastronomic hideaway Antica Corte Pallavicina Relais has its domicile. The old fortified castle built by the Pallavicino family in 1320, is a place where love for good food and local products has always been a distinctive mark.
I suggest booking a night at their fantastic hotel for ca. 220 Euro/night.

Enjoy a typical dinner at their 1 Michelin Star Restaurant and go for a walk around the castle admiring the Po river and an impressive nature.

The ambience at the restaurant is special. The glass front gives a super special light and atmosphere and embraces the natural beauty of the Po river. The restaurant received the Michelin Guide Star since 2011 and represents the best of the refined Bassa Parmense. Chef Massimo and Luciano Spigaroli use most of the raw materials produced directly in the ancient court of Pallavicina according to traditions of the surrounded lands.

My personal highlight was the walk in their cellar looking at hundreds of Culatello di Zibello beautifully hanging down the ceiling. At the restaurant I enjoyed the podium of Culatello from the “White Pig” aged over 18, 27  and over 37 months. The truffled Guinea Fowl cooked with Culatello in the Po river’s clay served with vegetables from the garden was of an outstanding tender and aromatic taste!

Book a tasty bus tour to experience the traditional production of Parmigiano Reggiano DOP and Parma ham or get a customized tour!

The best way to dive into the heritage of Parma’s artisan food is to book a tasty tour. Our press trip organized by Comune di Parma and OMNIA Relations took place with the company Maestro Travel Experience. The tour takes 4 hours and brings you by bus to all production sites. The Cheese factory we visited is a small family business consisting of exactly 3 employees! It’s a unique experience to see with how much care and ability the 50 kilo heavy loafs of Parmigiano are processed all by hand! Learn how this cheese, devoid of any chemical additive, can be aged for years to improve its quality. You will recognize the various aging stages thanks to the tasting led by an expert.
On our second stop we visited a parma ham producer. The family-run factory presented all the steps from the meat processing to the flavors of the curing rooms. I am very happy to have learnt all facts to recognize an original Parma ham. Every tour is of course accompanied by a delicious tasting! The tours are the best stops to buy your souvenir for home. A big thank you to Elisa that explained to us so many details and included plenty of tasting occasion on the trip!

Another must do on your program: Visit ALMA the International School of Italian Cuisine where best Italian Chefs graduate from and book one of their Masterclasses!

Welcome to the world’s leading international training centre for Italian Cuisine, founded by the Italian Master Chef Gualtiero Marchesi. Walking around in the beautiful Palazzo Ducale of Colorno makes you feel in heaven. Surrounded by an intense variety of smells that constantly stimulate my senses I feel that here is where the magic happens! We had the chance to visit a class in the first year of education learning cutting techniques, an other class was creating beautiful chocolate sculptures made all by hand!

ALMA covers an area of 5’000 square metres. The classrooms are fully equipped for training professionals.

ALMA educates chefs and pastry chefs, bakery chefs, assistants for restaurant, bar managers and food & beverage managers coming from all around the world. Annually 1100 students graduate at ALMA. This is probably the best investment ever for a future as well as an extraordinary training experience.

Their events and some of the classes are open to everyone. I absolutely recommend to book one and experience this unique surrounding live! Get more about the available events here.

How to get to Parma

From Zurich it’s easy to take the train to Milan. SBB offers a good time table with attractive prices. From Milan you can choose the Frecciabianca Train that takes you to Parma in only 1 hour. For the future new direct connections to Bologna are planned. I like to express a big thank you to SBB & Trenitalia for the excellent and smooth ride to Parma.

Where to sleep in Parma

I spent a night at a very authentic and charming B&B located in the middle of the city close to the “duomo” called Al Battistero D’oro. Patrizia is the host and a charismatic and very hearty person taking care of every wish you have. The B&B is her private home and decorated carefully with class and style reflecting the charisma and warm personality she has. The place is peaceful and quit and located in the historical city centre.
Get in contact to ask your quote. Price vary from ca. 100 Euro/night. Find more accommodation suggestions here.

Events to mark in your agenda this September:
Settembre Gastronomico Traiettorie
Cena dei Mille
Giardini Gourmet

A special thank you goes to the city of Parma and our press trip organisator OMNIA Relations/Ilaria Tortora as well as all involved person that made our trip the perfect gastronomic holiday.

In the mood of other travel stories and food trips ? What about a wine tour in Piedmont? Find all you need to organize it here in my Piedmont blog story.

read more
AfricaSTORIESTravel

Your Tanzania Holiday: Observe the big 5 on an epic safari & sail on the crystal-clear Zanzibar Sea with a traditional wooden Catamaran

Which arguments are relevant to you when deciding where to plan your epic holiday? Is it the time frame you have, the budget or the level of adventure or relax you are seeking? My itinerary for Tanzania covers a combination of these requirements. The essence for me is to move smooth and with a certain flexibility, without being too much fixed on a travel schedule. This is why I often book flights, 1-2 accommodations and in this case the safari in advance. I love the idea to stay longer in a place when I like it a lot or move on when this is not the case.

Most of the accommodation can easily be booked through booking.com or airbnb, once there. If I have a must-see hotel or restaurant on my bucket list, I take care of this reservation in advance. In this case it was the Zanzibar Coffeehouse in Stone town! Are you a coffee lover as I am? Plan extra time to visit one of their coffee farms! Get more on that here. The farm is located at the foot of the Mbeya range in Southern Tanzania.

How to get to North Tanzania

Tanzania is easily reached via frequent air connections to Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar airports.Get a direct flight from Zurich to Dar es Salaam (I bought a SWISS early bird for ca. 700 CHF) From Dar es Salaam you can fly either to Arusha (what I did) or to Kilimanjaro Airport. Find direct flights from Dar es Salaam to Arusha and from Arusha to Zanzibar for example with assalaamair. Absolutely recommend the airline.

How many days should I go on a safari?

The safari I choose took 5 days. 4 days are absolutely fine, too. Why not going for a personalized safari where you can choose by yourself, how many days to stay in a park?
This why I recommend organizing it directly through a safari specialist. There are several tour operators that include different parks to visit. If you love hiking, don’t miss Kilimanjaro!

Choose an overnight in a tent in camps for the maximum adventure. Feel the animal life at night to truly connect to the wild life. Believe me, the experience of hearing a buffalo eating grass just right behind your tent is priceless! The equipment is great and you get spoiled with delicious fresh prepared food.

In my opinion Tarangire, Serengeti and Ngorongoro national parks are the must see for your Tanzania Safari. The nature and wild life that you encounter here is unique since you get very close to the animal and you can feel the way they live very intense.

The budget for a group 5-day trip could cost around 1000 USD (tent overnight and entrance to the mentioned parks, food included). You can individualize your safari, too.
Get in contact with the local Ranger & Guide Deo from Sirini Safaris. His knowledge about the animal’s life is extraordinary. Having an experienced guide as Deo makes you feel safe every second. On top of that he drives you at the right time at the most exciting wild life situation you can catch! I appreciated very much having Deo as our ranger.

The safari takes place in a powerful and spacious 4×4 safari car with 7 passenger seats. We were a group of 6 which was the perfect size.

Did you know that a ranger has to drive at least 1.5 year as a co-driver through the parks before getting the official permit to be a Safari ranger? Furthermore, all rangers interact through the whole safari by walkie talkie to always be prepared where the next wild life situation is taking place!

The sunrise in the Serengeti park was one of the most beautiful ever seen. Get the feeling of these experience in my videos and pictures!

Discovering Zanzibar in 10 days – Start in Stone Town

Start your Zanzibar holiday in Stone Town, the capital of Zanzibar. Get there from Dar es Salaam by ferry (costs ca. 35 USD) or by plane.
Stone town has its own charm, it’s a place where to feel the first Zanzibar vibes and get in touch with their cultural & food traditions. I recommend staying 2 days before heading north to the beaches. Stone Town is confusing at daytime, it’s easy to get lost. At night time, it’s even worse because many of the shops used as landmarks may have packed everything away. I would not recommend walking around alone.

Things to do in Stone Town

  • Discover the Forodhani Gardens Food Market in the late afternoon and eat your snack right at the waterfront while admiring the sunset. Try the Zanzibar Pizza from Mister Mango! The dough is made of water and flour and comes filled with either salty or sweet ingredients. My suggestion: avocado, tomato & cheese!
  • Go for typical lunch or dinner at the place called Emerson Spice. Get a la carte Swahili BBQ. This very special atmospheric 19th-century house, built in Swahili-Arabian style, once belonged to the last Swahili ruler of Zanzibar and has been carefully restored
  • Darjani Bazaar is the main bazaar in Stone Town. It’s an interesting place to go for a quick walk and buy spices, coffee and tea at very good prices. Don’t be scared of the smells there.
  • Get lost in the narrow streets and stroll for souvenirs! Be ready to negotiate for your shopping’s. Find some unique handmade crafts or dresses created from local artists.
  • Stop by for a selfie at Freddy Mercury’s House. Did you know he grew up in Zanzibar?
  • Take a Spice Tour. Stone town is the perfect place to start the half day spice tour. Get more from your local hotel or find more about it here.
  • Sip on a delicious ginger, cinnamon, star anise, cloves and chili Tea or a spiced coffee at Stone Town Café

Beaches to see & places to stay in Zanzibar – Start north in Kendwa or Nungwi and move south by taxi

Start your beach holiday in the north in the place called Kendwa. Here you find kilometer long sandy beaches that are not affected so much by the tides. Kendwa & Nungwi are well known for its luxury resort, so don’t be surprised to see lots of couples. There are backpacker hotels, too, that work if you are looking for fun & parties. The Kendwa Rock may be a popular one. Don’t miss the full moon parties at Kendwa Rock taking place Saturday’s! Since I was traveling solo I found it bit difficult here to find a good value for money hotel, not too much in the backpacker crowd & not to luxurious. Kendwa is close to Nungwi, which has a number of bars and restaurants. I stayed 2 nights in Nungwi and headed directly on to Matemwe.

Activities in Kendwa & Nungwi

  • Enjoy a sunset on a comfortable hammock on the front of the bar at Sunset Kendwa (also known as the Sundet Bungalows Hotel) at Kendwa Beach
  • Diving or snorkeling! The Scuba Do Zanzibar is a PADI accredited 5-Star Gold-Palm Dive Centre and recognised as one of the most professional, eco-friendly diving, snorkelling and Water Sports centres in Zanzibar.
  • Book a tour with the operator Safariblue. Spend a day out on a traditional wooden boat (dhow) including snorkeling and a delicious Swahili seafood barbecue made fresh on an island.

I stayed 2 nights in Nungwi and headed directly on to Matemwe. Here you are not surrounded by any pushy beach boys that try to sell you souvenirs or excursions as back in Nungwi. I enjoyed very much staying at Sevi Boutique hotel that offers spacious and comfy villas and excellent local and international food. Get more on my experience on my travel guide here.

Activities in Matemwe

Go for scuba diving (the best times for visibility tend to be between June to October in the north and November to March in the south). The Mnemba Atoll is probably the most famous dive spot in Zanzibar. This is easy to reach from Sevi Boutique Hotel. Get in contact with your hotel manager to make a reservation, snorkeling will cost you 45 USD for a half day.

Moving South! Paje – chill vibes southeast of the Island

A place southeast of the island I absolutely recommend is Paje. It is well known among kite surfers. I went for a yoga class located in the Paje by night Hotel. Very much recommend the Hotel Waterfront. Paje has a good choice of hotels offering value for money stays. As a solo traveller getting in contact with other travelers works very easy due to the chilled vibes and different communal spaces in Paje. In the evenings, there are several parties and events going on, if you are in the mood of some action! The colors of the sea seen here are imaginably clear. The beaches seemed endless to me! The Maasai beach boys down here, appeared less pushy to me. I had the chance to get a lovely exchange of personal life stories with some of them. It makes you better understand their background and culture.

Activities in Paje

  • I loved the choice of coffee shops, restaurants and bars in Paje! They are all located along the beach, so go for a walk and try them all!
  • Sail the typical Zanzibar Catamaran and enjoy the wind blowing in your face
  • Kite surfing is a must if this is your sport!
  • Walk along the beach to Jambiani (about 30 min from Paje). There is a beach restaurant on a Pier belonging to the Spice Island Hotel. Get lost in their hammock overlooking paradise clear blue waters. This is your spot to get drink and make a unique photo of your Zanzibar trip!

Don’t expect to see any sunset in Paje, the suns goes down on the other side of the island. You can take a taxi or dala dala (public bus) to Machamvi Beach. About 20 min. card drive. about traveling Zanzibar

Practical Tips for your travel in Tanzania

In general I can say, that traveling solo in Tanzania is safe, I never felt in danger. Of course be careful and avoid to walk alone by night in dark/ remote places. Golden rule! When interacting with the Maasai boys insist on your price since they will always try to get a benefit.

Absolutely recommend to book some transfers in advance when you move from one place to the other at your hotel for example. Arriving at the ferry station can get very annoying having lots of taxi drivers hunting for a potential passenger.

Looking for a stay in Dar es Salaam before heading back home? Book your night at Slipaway, this place is known among expats and is peaceful to spent the last day at the pool and do some last souvenir shoppings before heading home. Ask your hotel for a city tour if you have still time left.

Visa: Some countries are exempt from visas, but for most people they cost $50 for a single entry – unfortunately, if you’re American your visa is $100. Work/volunteer visas are $200.

Money: The official currency is Tanzanian Shillings (TSH). Many hotels and tourist activities accept dollars and cards. I recommend to pay in shilling, since this is often cheaper. Be aware that there are not many ATM’s on the island, make sure you get enough cash in Stone Town when you arrive.

On some parts of Tanzania & mostly everywhere in Zanzibar people are mostly conservative, be respectful and make sure for example with dressing or taking photos (maybe ask for permission before) to not offend anyone or accidentally get yourself into trouble.

During Ramadan, it’s better to respect their traditions: No drinking, eating or smoking in the streets (or singing), no public displays of affection.

You will notice a lot of poverty in Zanzibar. Most of the local people live in the villages constructed around the hotel resorts. As a tourist you will always stand out and a lot of people will assume you have money and they’ll want your business. Be patient and respectful, I made the experience, that somehow they appreciate very much a discussion. Make them understand your intensions. I know, it’s not always easy, because they have one goal in their mind, and this is selling. But somehow it’s a good way to practice saying no!

“No thanks” in Swahili is “Hapana asante!”

Lot of people on Zanzibar say they’re a“Tour Guide”. They approach you with this to sell you a tour and often it’s a trap. If you want a good guide with great knowledge, ask your hotel or get in contact with pal Farid who is the best tour guide in Stone Town.

My very personal Tanzania experience

Traveling Zanzibar made me notice a lot of discrepancies between poor and rich. The island is full of luxury resorts with high walls dividing them from the villages where the local people live. Most people are poor and live in very simple habitats. But they recognize tourism is a way out of poverty, and so tourism is welcome. People give their best to let you remeber Zanzibar a place of joy and peace.

This is why I understand, that all of these business man have one principal goal when approaching. I had situations in my mind where I felt guilty, because all of that was new to me. Tough I am not rich! It was the first time traveling in a 3rd world country. But what I realized too, is that people here are happy and smile a lot more than many people back home. Thank you Zanzibar for your good vibes. Hakuna matata! All will be good.

read more
Africa

Sevi Boutique Hotel Zanzibar

My personal highlight:
A peaceful hideaway where to slurp an exotic fresh juice and spent hours observing the crystal clear Zanzibar sea

Welcome to Sevi Boutique Hotel ! This little pearl is located in the village of Matemwe on the north-eastern coast of Unguja, the main island of the Zanzibar Archipelago, between Mwangaseni and Kigomani.

A day at Sevi Boutique Hotel starts with a hearty welcome of the staff and a delicious breakfast! Home made bread, croissants and jams combined with fresh juices to boost your energy. All of this served on a spacious terrace overlooking the sea. The African dream !

After breakfast there is the choice to either relax at the pools. One is the infinity pool overlooking the sea, the other is embedded in a beautiful garden. For those who choose a Spa day, choose out of their massages and get a swim at the pool in the SPA area after your treatment!
My mornings often started with a walk along the white sandy beaches admiring the incredible wide tides! The scenery is amazing and nature full of surprises.

What I loved best at this place is its tranquility. Traveling from the northern part of Zanzibar that is more busy and crowded with tourists and all inclusive resorts, this spot is unattractive for beach boys. All hotels here are relatively far apart.
Sometimes in the evening you see local boys and kids playing football, I enjoyed this bit of action in the hood!

My personal suggestions: As almost everywhere on the islands, the beach is dependent on the tides. At low tide, the sea can get beyond the coral barrier. An accommodation with pool is therefore recommended.

Accommodation

Find 14 different villas or Bungalows in the traditional Bandas style. The rooms are very spacious and decorated with natural materials. Little details as a hammock in the garden or private little pool make your stay extra special. I loved to do my morning yoga in 2nd floor of my Bandas and get a bath in my cozy private pool! All rooms are surrounded by a well maintained garden, this offers good privacy between every bungalow. Of course there is a mosquito net around your the kingsize bed and AC.

As honeymoon travelers or family holiday with kids opt for the Villa. It offers a seafront and all comfort you need on 250 sqm on two floors. The view out of the balcony on the second floor will leave you lots of unforgettable memories to bring back home.

Book your room here and ask for the actual rates!

Food & Drinks

As a food lover I was very happy to enjoy fresh sea food every day. The fish is caught practically in front of the hotel. The menu choice is small but special every day. There are dishes for vegetarian, too. I was happy to discover various local Swahili dishes with excellent curry during my stay. Get a variety of raw tuna carpaccio to grilled lobster combined with local vegetables and spices. Be prepared to fall in love with special aromatized salts as curry or cinnamon and fresh baked bread!

What to do around Matemwe & Sevi Boutique Hotel

Matemwe is ideally located for snorkeling or diving at the Mnemba Atoll, one of the diving hotspots of the island. If you are planning several dives, Matemwe is a good choice. Ask the Diving specialist at Sevi to advise you. A snorkeling morning is around 45 USD which I found reasonable, all equipment used was of good quality, wet suit, water, coffee & snacks included. Of course you can choose a service from the local fisher man that are around the beach. Prices are cheaper but service quality varies.The staff of Sevi Boutique Hotel and Manager George are very happy to assist you for any kind of activity.
I would like to take the occasion here to say thank you for the time spent at Sevi and hope to be back soon!

Are you in the mood of more lovefoodish travel stories?
Planning a trip to Bali? Get some inspiration here!

read more
Asian Food

Kinkhao Thai Restaurant Zurich

My personal highlight: Welcome to the living room style tavolata where random people sit really close together and enjoy traditional Thai Food

As a food blogger I am always snooping around in town when it comes to new openings. I became aware of this little gem Kinkhao via Instagram.
It is located in the former Liquid at Zwinglistrasse 12.

Kinkhao means food in Thai explains Laor, Chrisoph’s wife and co-owner Laor. More than it describes everything that is experienced around food. The hospitality, the sharing and the feeling of good mood. All this takes place at Kinkhao sitting around several large tables. The ambience is cozy the Interieur simple decorated with attention to details as some typical local Thai decors.

About the menu

The motto is: One menu one a price. Enjoy a 4, 5 or 6 course menu with or without wine accompaniment. Prices start from 40 CHF for the 4 course menu without wine accompaniment. Absolutely try the menu including the wine, because the Spanish wine pairs super tasty with the spicy food!

We start eating!

Super tasty fish burger on a stick and a spicy sweet sauce. The sticks are a homage to the famous Thai streetfood Christoph explains to me and like all dishes this speciality comes from Laor’s homeland, the northeast of Thailand. The burgers are made from certified tilapita fish, kefir lime leaves, snake bean pieces and some egg really super tasty.
Next comes: a truly spicy thai salad next. I am kind of not used to eat so spicy, but very happy to have the super delicious red wine next to me!

The absolutely highlight for me is the next dish: A perch fillet nicely packed in a palm leaf, perfectly aromatized with coconut milk, Curry und Lime leafs. As a side we get sticky rice typical Thai style and some thin sliced shitake mushrooms, mint, lime juice and coriander with semolina that give the ideal touch and crunchiness to the dish. With all of that comes a Nam Phrik Oong, which is an intensely flavoured tomatoes with chili. Yes, spicy again!

After that we go for three different home made curries.
Hot & Spicy green curry with veggies, yellow curry with chicken and the red curry with pork. The green curry was absolutely to spicy but I did really love very much the pork curry, the meat was super tender and flavorful.

The lovely evening ended with a home made chocolate, coffee coconut cake made from Chrisoph’s son and an amaro Averna. Yes, accompanied by one of the songs Christoph and me like from the one and only Lucio Dalla.
Ciao ragazzi del Kinkhao! A prestissimo. Khup kun ka!

Opening hours: Monday – Saturday: as of 6 pm Opening & Apéro (included in the price), as of 7.30 pm dinner together – closing; between 11 and 12 pm

Address:  Kinkhao Restaurant, Zwinglistrasse 12, 8004 Zürich

www.kinkhao.ch

In the mood of other Asian restaurants in town? Here some suggestions!

read more
STORIES

What happened at St. Moritz Gourmet Festival 2019 ?

My personal highlight: The uniqueness of this event unites excellent international Chefs, creative minds and curious foodies in one special spot up in the Swiss Alps. Chef Nicolai Nørregaard from Denmark was my discovery this year.

Every year in January the Gourmet world of Switzerland points the eyes to St. Moritz. Together with chefs of a variety of prestigious local hotels, nine top-class star chefs from Europe and Asia join for culinary delights.

This year the following gourmet chefs participated at the festival 2019:

What to choose out of the variety of gourmet Food Events when visiting the the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival – a useful guide

Gourmet Safari Event: For those who love to experience different Chefs in different hotel locations in St. Moritz. This event allows best to interact with other gourmands. Taste a variation of menu in one night in an unforgettable surrounding. Get more inspiration here.

Legendary Kitchen Party at Badrutt’s Palace Hotel: The place to live the most vibrant and authentic vibes of the Chefs preparing the dishes directly in the kitchen. Together with 300 other guests you enjoy culinary highlights standing close to each other, the live music is the cherry on the top! Get some highlights of this year’s kitchen party here.

Side events: Wine & Cheese celebration in the legendary wine cellar of the Hotel Steffani, St. Moritz?
Go for this intimate evening in the Hotel Steffani, St. Moritz. Taste international rarities of wines paired with the amazing French cheese selection that Maître Antony, the world’s best “éleveur de fromages” offersorregarNNroregagararrdstivivalmon

Gourmet dinner with your favorite Chef!

My choice this year: Chef Nicolai Nørregaard from Copenhagen and I am absolutely happy about this selection, since the cuisine from Denmark was a novum to me.
The Gourmet dinners offer a relaxed atmosphere where to dive into a culinary journey. It’s the best way to experience the real food philosophy of a Chef. The dinner comes as a more course menu with signature dishes of the Chefs. Mostly there is the chance to talk in person to the Chefs during the dinner and get detailed explanations about the menu.

About my Gourmet dinner at Grand Hotel Kronenhof with Chef Nicolai Nørregaard

This dinner was an excursion to the Island of Bornholm, where the 1 Michelin Star Restaurant Kadeau Bornholm is located and run by Rasmus, Magnus & Nicolai. Beside Bornholm Nicolai and his partners run the 2 Michelin Stars restaurant Kadeau in Copenhagen.

Bornholm is a small island in the Baltic Sea, to the east of the east of Denmark, on the south of Sweden. Here the neighbors are the forest, the beach and the sea. The flavors of Bornholm were reflected 100% in the dishes prepared from Chef Nicolai. He knows the island best, since he grew up there. Years ago, when he was a kid he says during the interview, he used to spend a lot of time with is mother and his grandfather exploring the nature. That is where he got plenty of the knowledge on how to prepare, process and preserve the precious ingredients that grow on the island.

A lovely story I like to share with you that Nicolai revealed at our interview: back in time, when he was a teenager and he was dating a girl at his house it was absolutely normal, that girls got invited to help out in the garden. Some girls may have found that awkward back in time. The house of his mother was located in full nature.

My question about the food philosophy that they follow at Kadeau was answered on the one hand by tasting the extremely balanced and delicate dishes during my dinner. My palate experimented different layers of sour, sweet or salty flavors, perfectly balanced and aromatized.
On the other hand, in the interview Nicolai explained, that on the island of Bornholm they follow the rhythm of the cycle of the seasons by observing nature. In Summer everything grows fast, so it’s a lot of work in a short period of time to absolve. Winter instead is his favorite season, because there is time to experience nature slowly. What I also understood, is that at Kadeau a big part of the work goes to fermenting, pickling and drying. They do also make syrups, oils or vinegars as for example the rhubarb root oil used in the soured cream berry dessert. Several tons of items were preserved this year, this to put Bornholm also on the plates in Copenhagen, when the restaurant Kadeau Bornholm closes its doors.

Another secret I love to share with you here, Cooking and experimenting the way Chef Nicolai works, he says, is like a Jazz composition, “sometime you improvise, but at the same time your instinct and experience create a composition that feels harmonic”. This explains to me, why he has chosen to go for a autodidactic education to get there where he is today.

Nicolai’s curiosity for cooking has always been there. He comes from a family with a high gastronomic interest. His granddad’s family owns a smokery, which is common in Bornholm. I was very happy to try a smoked Bornholm Salmon during our dinner with an excellent taste, of course balanced with a fermented tomato sauce, rosehip and fig leafs. On Bornholm the climate is so special, that figs grow, too!
The menu consisted of a variety of seafood as Oyster, salmon or scallops from the , vegetables and reindeer.

You can not imagine, how delicate and intense in the same time Scots pine taste with dried tomatoes & scallops. What about the unique nutty taste of Limfjord Oysters?

Our 7 course menu at a glance:

  • Limfjord Oyster, fermented gooseberry, kale & oyster emulsion.
  • Young potatoes, codroe, lovage, eldercapers, blue mussel
  • Bornholm smoked salmon, fermented tomato sauce, rosehip, fig leaf
  • Raw scallop, horseradish cream, scots pine, semi dry tomatoes
  • Celeriac, woodruff, oscietra caviar, oxalis, fermented white asparagus
  • Reindeer, Barbecue jelly, currant, rehydrated carrot & beetroot, chicken wing sauce
  • Soured cream, currant, raspberry, gooseberry, blueberry, rhubarb root oil, seaweed oil

The absolute highlight of my dinner was not only the visual presentation, more than that, it’s the different preparation techniques and the perfectly balanced flavor and taste of every ingredient that fascinated me. The dishes connected mind and soul, it was a surprise with every bite. 

A big thank you to Chef Nicolai Nørregaard and his team for introducing me to the food from Bornholm. A very warm thank you to the Grand hotel Kronenhof and St. Moritz Gourmet Festival for the flawless organization.

Curious to read about other St. Moritz Gourmet Festival experiences, check my stories here.

read more
AccomodationEuropeGUIDESTravel

B2 Boutique Hotel & SPA Zurich

My personal highlight: Feeling home in the midst of 33,000 books. In a sea of ​​poetry and history I fantasize about what happened in the beer brewery Hürlimann back in the year 1836. 

Do you know the feeling of forgetting every thought around you while time looses its value? This is what happened to me during my stay at B2 Boutique Hotel in Zurich. The hotel is built in the former Hürlimann brewery and full of history and architectural highlights. The Wine Library at B2 Boutique Hotel is memorable. On the ceiling you find lamps constructed from old original beer bottles. All books that fill the hotel library – 33000 of them – come from the inventory of a former antiquarian bookshop in Zurich. This boutique hotel is ideal if you are traveling to Zurich for a business trip or a SPA weekend. It is connected with a thermal bath and a marvellous temple of relax.
The thermal bath offers 3500 sqm of pure joy for body & soul. Take a bath in the rooftop infinity pool overlooking the city of Zurich. The fresh thermal water bubbles directly from Zurich’s “Aqui” spring and offers guests relaxation with valuable minerals in 35 to 41 degree warm water. A delight especially in cold winter days.  Find all of their packages here.

B2 Boutique hotel in a glimpse

  • 51 rooms and suites between 28 sqm – 55 sqm, book a room here
  • Meeting rooms for up to 18 people as well as a large room for events called Machine hall / 370sqm. A historic, landmarked event location for up to 100 persons as an extraordinary backdrop for special events, such as expositions, film or photo shootings, openings and presentations
  • Wine Library and restaurant with selected Swiss Wines from Caduff’s Wine loft.
  • Personalized Guest Ambassador service
  • Direct access to the Spa & thermal bath with 3500 sqm of Roman Bath and an infinity pool on the rooftop

Accommodation

The hotel offers 51 modern rooms in different categories. Each room is characterized by the industrial history of the house, yet so authentic that you feel thrown back in time. The rooms are specious and offer a warm interior. The parquet invites to walk around barefoot. Selected designer armchairs with classics ranging from Artifort to de Sede to Willudsen and Dixon lamps create a sense of urban living in an avant-garde atmosphere. The cherry on the top is the Hürlimann beer that waits for you in the mini-bar.

Food & Drinks

Small dishes even at exceptional times. The food choice is small but special and ideal for lunch or dinner. Get some vegetarian or meat ravioli, a burger with Swiss Cheese or just an apéro plate to accompany with a glass of delicious Swiss wine. Discover exclusive Swiss wines at the Wine Library designed by the famous restaurant in town called Caduff’s Wine Loft. It includes wines from well-known Swiss wine makers as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot gris, Pinot noir or Cabernet.

The breakfast is regional from the Zurich Oberland and offers a buffet with fresh bread, fruits and vegetables as well as homemade Bircher muesli and fresh juices.

In the mood to discover more accommodations in the Lovefoodish guide ? Zurich, Hamburg or Munich for example? Get more here.

read more
AccomodationAsian FoodEuropeGUIDESRestaurant GuideTravel

Wellness & Contemporary Thai Food overlooking Zurich Lake at Panorama Resort Feusisberg

My personal highlight: Relaxing mind & soul in a secret hideaway – Enjoying Contemporary Thai food with a unique view overlooking Zurichlake in a sea of lights!

Where do you travel to if you are in the mood of a Spa Weekend? Sometimes a short car drive is preferred. The hideway has to be away from the city hustle. Th wellness resort Panorama Resort & SPA in Feusisberg is what you are looking for.

Here fascinating worlds of harmony and balance come together. Its location is fantastic. High above Lake Zurich you will find enjoyment, relaxation and a warm hospitality. The view is magic to admire either from the infinity pool, from the hotel room or by having dinner at the Contemporary Thai Restaurant Loy Fah. In their Rooftop bar called Mongomoon Sky Bar for a moment I thought to be in Bangkok. Watch the movie to understand why!

What makes The Panorama Resort & SPA special?

Being countryside makes one immediately feel serene because the pace is slower! No matter if the desire is relaxation of mind & body, excellent food ora a romantic weekend. Feusisberg is a small village about 35 kilometers distant by car from Zurich, easily to reach by train in less than an hour. The place is known for being the ideal conference place, too.

An absolute highlight is the infinity pool. It’s heated up to 30 degrees. I could not stop keeping my eyes away from all of the little bright lights shining over the lake!

The Akari SPA offers all you need when it comes to spoil your body. Find a wellness paradise on over 2000 m2 including outdoor & indoor pools, whirlpools, jet bubblers, seven different saunas and steam baths, foot whirlpools, cozy rest areas, a healthy spa buffet, spacious outdoor area and a professional gym. Absolutely try the offer of massages, too. It’s the cherry on the top after a wellness day.

Find their weekend specials as of 310 CHF/night (Book until Dec. 21, 2018). More details are available here.

Panorama Resort & SPA in a glimpse

  • 102 luxurious rooms & suites
  • Price start as of 200 CHF (classic Single room, incl. breakfast)
  • Contemporary Thai Restaurant Loy Fah with a stylish Mangomoon Sky Bar at the top of the resort, as well as the gourmet Restaurant “Collina”
  • 10 plenary rooms & 8 meeting rooms of various sizes, all with magnificent views over the Lake of Zurich
  •  Ideal place for wedding reception or other family celebrations
  • Wellness & Spa on over 2000 m2S
  • a hearty and service oriented staff

Accommodation

The hotel offers 102 modern rooms in different categories. I found the ambience in the Asian Junior Suite very warm decorated and spacious. The interior is equipped with natural materials as wood and fabrics combined with matching light colors.  Find all details for the booking here.

Food & Drinks

Try one of the three different restaurants or get a fancy drink with typical Thai ingredients as ginger, mint, butterfly pea flower or essences of lemon grass at the Mangomoon Sky Bar. For food there is a choice between the Restaurant Collina, the Contemporary Thai Restaurant Loy Fah or the Restaurant Körnlisegg, about 15 minutes drive from the hotel.

My experience at Contemporary Thai Restaurant Loy Fah

The interior at Loh Fay Restaurant is astonishing. Its design radiates cosmopolitan flair, at the same time it embodies the culture of ThailandLoy Fah Thai Chef Pich Tongurai and his staff spoiled us with a 4 course dinner, a delight for belly and eyes. Get an interpretation of traditional Thai cuisine in a surprising way. Authentic ingredients of the highest quality and freshness are used: Explore exquisite seafood or extravagant vegetarian dishes. No problem if you are more into meat, everybody finds the perfect choice.

4 course dinner to recommend

Appetizer

Tuna Tatar “Laab” – A fresh Tuna tatar with spices from the north-east region Isaan, with crispy fried mushroom & tapioca chips

or

Ceviche salad “Share Nham Pla”- Thai style king fish ceviche (raw) with lemongrass, sea grapes & chili lime dressing

First course

“Tom Kha” Cappuccino – comes with Galangal root and coconut broth, Thai herbs served with a grilled scallop

or

Pomelo Salat Vegi “Yam Som O” – Thai pomelo salad with grilled palm hearts, toasted coconut flakes & Thai basil

Second course

Sea bass “Pla Ob Kamin”  – In baking-paper steamed sea bass “Thai papillote” with Thai vegetables, turmeric & galangal root butter

or

Beef Curry “Massaman Nua” – Braised beef cheek in Mussamun curry, coconut gnocchi, edamame bean salsa & cashew nuts

Dessert

Mango-Stickyrice “Khao Niau Ma Muang” – Comes with a spring roll, flamed mango & black sesame ice cream

or

Thai Sago Pudding “Phuket Style” – The pudding (tapioca) comes with young coconut and mango ice cream

The restaurant is open from Wednesday to Sunday from 6 – 11 pm. The costs from the menu (set menu or free selection from the menu) are for the 3 course menu 80 CHF and for the 4 course menu 95 CHF.

My personal highlight: the Beef Curry “Massaman Nua”. The beef cheek was extremely tender and the exotic coconut gnocchi combined with a not too intense curry an the ideal contemporary interpretation.

Absolutely try the SPA buffet, too. I loved the fact that plenty of products, including the breakfast buffet are hand made and very genuine in the taste. The scrambled eggs were super creamy, the jams and the “Butterzopf” of excellent softness.

In the mood to get inspired by other travel & food stories? Find more here.

read more
STORIESZurich Blogging

How Spanish excellence in wines & gastronomy is best paired with Swiss excellence in cuisine

My personal highlight: Visiting Schloss Schauenstein in the smallest city of the world called Fürstenau, taking a flight through the Spanish Wine world, enjoying Molecular gastronomy from 3 Michelin Star Chef Jordi Cruz and excellent genuine Swiss Cuisine from 3 Michelin Star Chef Andreas Caminada

Sometime you need few words to describe the emotions that food transmits, the hight quality of the product speaks for itself. This is why all of my senses found a very natural flow during this very unique event at Schloss Schauenstein. Nevertheless, this blog story goes covers some details, so that you can get a feeling of what I experienced, too!

Together with a selected group of food passionate media colleagues we had the honor to experience how Spanish excellence in wines and gastronomy is best paired with Swiss excellence in cuisine. The Association Foods and Wines from Spain invited to this magic day at Schloss Schauenstein, the home of 3 Michelin Star Chef Andreas Caminada.

The special guest for this event: Chef Jordi Cruz from Spain/ABaC Restaurant Barcelona. He added the perfect Spanish touch with his modern interpretation as for example a dish prepared with molecular gastronomy (more on this in the article below). The wine part was presented by David Schwarzwälder (Golden Nose Award).  He made us fly to the diverse wine world of Spain with all explanations and recommendations.

Discovering award-winning Spanish red wines – best known and avant-garde – My highlight: The red vine Cerro Gallina 2015 – 100% Bobal grape

Going on the tasting with Golden Nose Winner David Schwarzwälder was a pure adventure. Every “Flight” as he titles the tastings, has its own touch. We all know fantastic Spanish red wines from the regions of Ribera del Duero (20’000 ha) or Rioja (63’500 ha).

Spain is the country with most hectares of vineyard in the world with 953.607 hectares vineyard, this represents the 13,8% of world’s total hectares of vineyard. Most Spanish vineyard (61%) are devoted to the production of D.O. wines (quality wines). Spanish wine production stands for the 12,9% of total world production.

I am fascinated by the grape named Bobal. A dark-skinned wine grape variety native to Utiel-Requena in southeast Spain close to Valencia. The region encompasses three DOsD.O. ValenciaD.O. Alicante and D.O. Utiel-Requena. Outside Spain, Bobal is grown in small amounts in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France and the Italian island of Sardinia, where it is known as Bovale or Nieddera. Its name is derived from the Latin word bovale – meaning bull – and refers to the resemblance the grape bunches have to a bull’s head. The region features two main types of soil, alluvial-river bed– and clay with limestone deposits. The Continental climate defined by long and cold winters and relatively short, dry and hot summers is homogenous throughout the region.

Take the flight Celebrating Ripeness!

The flight for the Wine Cerro Gallina 2015 100% Bobal was named: Celebrating Ripeness! This because the cultivation of this grape is challenging, due to its exposure to the climate. Production is made on 6 hectares here. Depending on the vintage and harvest, the production ranges between 10 and 15,000 bottles. It may be a rarity to get one of this bottle! I love the wonderful taste of black berries and fruits. Fresh, full-bodied and supple at the same time.

An exotic/organic flight: 1771 Casa Los Frailes 2013 – 100% Monastrell grapes

What I loved from this wine is the fact, that it s organic. The family estate Casa Los Frailes is located in the southern part of the Valencia DO, Fontanars dels Alforins. The main grape of the estate and region is Monastrell. The cultivation and growth of the vineyards here is done through the process of biodynamic agriculture, created by Rudolf Steiner. All vineyards and wines are certified by organic farming. With 130 hectares of own vineyard, belongs to the Association of wine growers and producers “Terres dels Alforins“. The wine named 1771 is from the estate’s oldest, most coveted vines of 85 years. It is elegant I tasted some fabulous coconut and pepper note. Sounds exotic, right? I love the fact that it has no sulfates.

When 4 magic hands meet authentic premium quality products

Let’s start the aperitif with the most traditional Spanish delicacy, Jamón Ibérico de Bellota. The one we had is 5 year matured – Cinco Jotas Sánchez Romero Carvajal. I have shared with you the experience with this excellent product in my Seville travel story. Ibérico products are unique gourmet products from Spain due to their characteristics of their production, flavor and properties. The perfect pairing to this ham is the premium Cava Pere Venture Gran Vintage Brut 2012 GR.
It is made from 50% Macabeu and 50% Xarel·lo, that are old vines that through their fight to survive allow greater terroir character and complexity and a balanced taste.

Pere Ventura Gran Vintage 2014 has obtained the category “Cava de Paraje Calificado”, the highest quality distinction for premium cavas in DO Cava based on the singularity of its landscape of origin and the high standards of the production process.

Cultivation takes place according to ancestral Penedès wine tradition. Its color is bright golden, on the nose: clearly very aromatically elegant, clean, fruity and citric with a dash of lemon zest as well as lime and mandarin. I love the very elegant bottle design.

After a detailed introduction into these precious Spanish drops the attention was all for the culinary creativity. We got spoiled with four parallel courses of the three-star chefs Andreas Caminada and Jordi Cruz. The culinary interpretation of both Chefs was a pure delight. High quality seasonal products as for example cheeses, herbs and fruits common in the Graubünden region combined with Spanish delicacies as Jamon Ibérico, sea food as the carabinero or the turbot as well as premium quality olive oil. Every course was accompanied by Spanish wines selected by David Schwarzwälder.

The menu at a glance

Appetizer:

White cabbage bowl by Andreas Caminada – Wine pairing: Sálvora 2011, Bodega Rodrigo Méndez

Starters:

Fals egg yolk with Iberian textures and parmentier by Jordi Cruz – Wine pairing: Tras da Viña 2015, Adegas Zárate

Carabineros 2 plates: Cold carpaccio with pickeld cepes and kalamansi. Warm Carabineros with nage and pumpkin crème and lemon confit and chili sauce by Andreas Caminada – Wine pairing: Escalada 2016, Adega Algueira

First course:

Swiss cheese dish and 12 fermented vegetables by Jordi Cruz – Wine pairing: Trossos Tros Blanc 2011 Magnum, Portal del Priorat – Alfredo Arribas

Milken coliflower by Andreas Caminada – Wine pairing: Pairal 2014, Can Ràfols dels Caus

Second course:

Turbot suquet & picada with romesco sauce by Jordi Cruz – Wine pairing: El Caribe 2016, Bodega Luis Pérez

Gams pear drypear beetrote by Andreas Caminada – Wine pairing: Rumbo al Norte 2015, Comando G

The resourcefulness and creativity of generations of Spanish mothers transformed scarcity or monotony of ingredients into culinary combinations that fed bodies and warmed souls

Dessert:

Fermented wind fritter with frozen vanilla by Jordi Cruz – Wine pairing: Moscatel No 2 Victoria 2016 Moscatel No 3 Old Vines 2014, Bodegas Jorge Ordóñez

Friandise by Andreas Caminada – Wine pairing: Brandy Single Barrel No 7, Ximénez-Spínola

I will always remember!

The highlight prepared by Andreas Caminada was the Gams pear drypear beetroot. The plate reflects purity and harmony. I love the way ingredients as the sea ​​buckthorn or the beetroot are integrated a pleasure for all senses.

The dish prepared from Jordi Cruz which absolutely amazed me: Pearls filled with different liquid cheeses. It is high level molecular gastronomy! This modernist dish consists of spherified liquid cheeses that remind of gruyere or a local mountain cheese for example. He used an infusion lightly acidulated with fermented veggies. This menu according to Chef Cruz is the sweet transition to the dessert.

My take home message from this Swiss Spanish experience

Food brings people together. It feeds our social connections and provides a space to discuss, to share and live. No matter if we do this at home with friends or in the restaurant or in a Tapas Bar. Experiencing it through skilled and creative Chefs opens even more the horizon of the varieties that can be created in a kitchen.

A warm thank you to Foods & Wines from Spain and Woehrle Pirola for the perfect organization of this event.

Foods & Wines from Spain is a brand created by Spanish Trade & Investment government agency www.icex.es to promote Spanish foods and Spanish wines in the international markets. Find more about it here.

Foto credits: Foods and Wines from Spain

read more
EuropeSTORIESTravelZurich Blogging

How to plan your own wine tour in Piedmont – Barolo

My personal highlights: 48 hours wine trip in the UNESCO heritage Barolo discovering wine rarities & meditative landscapes in Langhe

When you hear the word Italy, the chances of being surrounded by good food & drinks are very high. I am very thankful of my Italian origins, they thaught me to appreciate and recognize a pure taste. There are several facts about True Italian Taste and its provenience that need to be known.

In occasion of a campaign promoted from the Italian Chamber in Zurich I got in touch with the topic “True Italian Taste” and “Italian Sounding”. This is how the Barolo Trip in Piedmont organized by “Strada del Barolo e grandi vini di Langa” came along.

What means Italian Sounding?

Italians sounding is the marketing of food and beverage produced worldwide, often labelled with Italian names and misleading Italian words and pictures. This misleading information is extremely dangerous for our Italian heritage! Reason enough why the Italian Government realized a unique mark against fakes. The project considers a brand to print on the product’s labels to fight forgery, starting from the food industry.

Important quality products have their origins in Piedmont. The world knows Barolo, the white Alba Truffle or Fiat. All of these brands have been created in this region.

Let’s mention Fiat first, since I had the pleasure to travel with a cozy Fiat500 Cabrio, Anniversario edition all the way to Alba. FIAT was founded in Turin in 1888. The Anniversario edition is dedicated to the 60th birthday of the Fiat 500. It comes in a fresh Riviera green! This retro model caught much attention all around the Langhe Piomentesi! We cruised through the valleys feeling safe. What a fun having the wind blowing through the hair listening to legendary Italian songs. The car trunk offers enough space to bring back home exquisite wine bottles! Thanks FCA Switzerland for this great opportunity! Get more information and facts about the Fiat500 Anniversario Model here.

Let’s dive into the culinary part of my travels.

Discovering Barolo & Barbaresco – UNESCO World Heritage since 2014

UNESCO rewards this region of Italy not only for being a land of vineyards, castles and medieval towers, but also for the labor of men and women down the ages. The soil of Langa has always been difficult and demanding to work: the malora, a term used by Beppe Fenoglio to describe a painful condition, reminds that the farmers who used to live in Langhe in the 1950s, had a lot of difficulties working the land.

The UNESCO site comprises the Barolo DOCG communes of Barolo, Castiglione Falletto, Grinzane Cavour, La Morra, Monforte d’Alba, Novello & Serralunga d’Alba, including the Barbaresco DOCG communes of Barbaresco and Neive.

The charm of the landscape and the geographical viticulture add ideal circumstances and incredible value to this travel experience.

During every wine tasting I appreciated much the way all the winemakers presented and shared their precious knowledge. The sparkles in their eyes can not be overseen while they explain the history of their winery. Some of the history goes back hundreds of years.

Standing between the yards, absorbing the smell and colors with all senses allows a whole picture on what wine making means.

On our Barolo trip we visited 5 wine yards in 48 hours!
That was a real challenge. Thanks to the perfect organization of  “Strada del Barolo” we managed to absorb all the facets offered by this region.

Piedmont red wine: appreciated and popular in the whole world –
What means DOC and DOCG?

It lays down the rules for its production and for admission to the market, that it has this fame. Barolo and Barolo Riserva wines have obtained the DOC with DPR 04.23.1966 and subsequently the DOCG with the DPR 07/01/1980 (Italian law). These laws and the subsequent amendments define the Production Regulation of Barolo wine.

Important characteristics of Barolo DOCG wine:

  • It’s made exclusively from Nebbiolo grapes, grown in the territory of 11 municipalities  designated by the mentioned Production Regulations.
  • It must be bottled and can age only in the defined municipalities.
  • The minimum aging of the Barolo wine is 38 months and 62 months for Barolo Riserva wine. 18 month must follow in a wooden barrel.
  • The release for consumption is permitted from 1 January of the fourth year following the harvest for Barolo wine and from 1 January of the sixth year following the harvest for the Barolo Riserva wine.
  • The grape yield must not exceed 8 tonnes per hectare.
  • The yield of wine per hectare must not exceed 5,600 liters.

The Barolo and Barolo Riserva wines must also have the following characteristics:

  • minimum alcohol content 12.5% by volume
  • They must have a ruby red color
  • The taste must be dry taste and full, elegant and harmonious.

This regulation may explain, why so much hand work is put into the production of these wines.

Piedmont Food delicacies

Everyone know, the famous White Truffle of Alba or hazelnuts, (one of the best quality hazelnuts in the world and main ingredient of many handmade sweets of the local tradition). What about Dop cheeses, hand made pasta or any kind of salumi? Gastronomy in Langa is robust and tasty. The dishes are simple and genuine.

How to plan your Piedmont tour in Barolo – Langhe – Roero and Monferrato

This blog article shall inspire to offer a good mix in term of size and region of the wineries. It can be used as a help to book a wine trip on your own. Find all the coordinates below.

Important: Absolutely schedule tasting appointments in advance, you will be grateful to all the attention and precious knowledge the winemakers can share with you. If they know about a visit, they can plan and organize this accordingly.

The partner that organized our tour was “Strada del Barolo e grandi vini di Langa“. Mario put together a tailored wine tasting experience that led through Langhe, Roero & Monferrato. You can check for a driver that makes all of the transfers.

How many wineries to visit during your weekend trip?

I recommend 2 wineries per day, if possible focus on a one area per day. With this agenda you have time to enjoy the cultural offer around the region, too. Explore some hiking or biking. Go for a shopping afternoon in picturesque Alba.

The season to travel if you’re in love with truffles is October. Spring is recommended, too. This time is less touristy and gives you the chance to see blooming wine yards!

How to find wineries for your Barolo wine tour

In this section you get introduced to a selection of wineries I have visited personally and absolutely recommend.

The grapes cultivated at Malvirà are: Nebbiolo, Arneis, Favorita, Chardonnay and a small part of Barbera.
Malvirà cultivates 42 hectares and exports all over the world, (Switzerland included). Today the estate is run by two brothers, Massimo and Roberto Damonte and their sons.
Plenty of the wines produced are 100% organic. All of them follow the defined strict regulation of Barolo. When you walk into a cellar of such a size you understand how much work is behind that business.

My personal highlight: Enjoying a dinner with one of the founder, Roberto Damante. Exploring the pairing of precious drops with delicate ingredients as the white Alba Truffle or local beef tartar. This combination makes evolve the palate with completely new flavors!

Contact:

Azienda Agricola Malvirà dei F.lli Damonte
Via Case Sparse, 144, Loc. Canov, 12043 Canale d’Alba (CN), Tel. +39.0173.978145, e-mail: malvira@malvira.com

Accommodation:
For your first night I recommend to stay at Villa Tiboldi. It is managed by the same family of the winery. The house is surrounded by a breathtaking view over the hills of Langa and Roero. The boutique hotels offers 10 comfortable rooms around 170 Euro/night. A restaurant and a swimming pool with a view over the Langhe make your stay memorable!  Experience the ideal pairing of exquisite traditional Piemontese Food with premium wines!

  •  Josetta Saffirio, Loc. Castelletto 39, 12065 Monforte d’Alba – Langhe
    This winery is located at Monforte d’Alba on Castelletto hill, facing south east, for a total of 5 hectares of vineyards mostly planted as Nebbiolo. In the early twentieth century, Josetta’s father, Ernesto, began cultivating the vineyards inherited from his father. 1952 she creates a unique Barolo, which in the nineties amazes the Italian wine scene. Josetta is the first woman giving a label to the Barolo wine. The gnomes decorating the bottles are inspired by childhood stories she was told by her father!


    My personal highlight: Putting on boots to walk inside the wine yards gives makes you smell the earth! Marco, one of the managers, guided us through his favorite hill called “Persiera”. From here you admire the complete Langa valley. Lange means tongue (IT: Lingua).  This is the shape of the wine yards! I am taught, that the color of the leafs explain the sort of a grape.

Check their project called: adopt a row! You can buy your own row and experience onsite the huge work that lies behind winemaking. Learn all the steps of wine making as the harvesting, the aging and finally the bottling. More details here.

Contact:
Josetta Saffirio Farm, Località Castelletto, 39, 12065 Monforte d’Alba (CN), info@josettasaffirio.com,
Tel. + 39 0173 787278

  • Agricola Gian Piero Marrone, Langhe
    The Company “Agricola Gian Piero Marrone” is a Family for four generations dedicated with passion to the works in the vineyards. The business is in hand of three sisters in the 4th generation. Here you experience a friendly and honest hospitality with genuine and home made dishes at reasonable prices. This place is very authentic. Find excellent products as wine olive oil, truffles and local sweets at reasonable prices.The winery is beautifully located in the middle of the Langhe hills and has a admirable terrace facing the wine yards. The restaurant invites to take a seat at tables “between” the wine barrels.
    For those who love cooking: Attend a cooking class in the winery and learn the secrets of this typical cuisine! Get more information here.

My personal highlight: Tasting an excellent Langhe doc Chardonnay “Memundis” and learning from Marco Bertone one of the managers that sulfates (mostly in white whine) are often cause of headaches. They remove oxygen from the stomach, which in turn takes it from the brain. The lack of oxygen causes headaches! Now I know where my headaches come from: no wines with sulfates, please!

Contact:
Agricola Gian Piero Marrone, Frazione Annunziata 13, 12064 La Morra (CN) Italia, tel +39 0173 509288, e-mail: marrone@agricolamarrone.com

  • Cantina Cascina Castlèt – Between Alba and Asti
    Costigliole d’Asti is one of the most enchanting centers in Alto Monferrato. From the valley of Tanora the landscape rises to gentle hills up to the 300 m above sea level. M. Frazione San Michele, from where you can enjoy a magnificent view to the Alps. The soil conditions are ideal for viticulture.
    Local grape varieties are: Barbera, Moscato, Uvalino and NebbioloCabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. This variety has been grown in Costigliole since the late 18th century. Cascina Castlèt used to belong to the Borio family for generations. Mariuccia inherited it from her father in 1970.

    My personal highlight:
    Exploring a wine cellar with a mystic touch. It reminds me of a place where the magic happens. The wine is refined until it gets to the result to be a rubin red Barbera.

    Contact:
    Cascina Castlet
    Str. Castelletto, 6, 1405 Costigliole d’Asti, Tel.: +39 0141 966651, Email: info@cascinacastlet.com

    Accommodation:
    Villa Loreto, Strada del Loreto, 33, 14055 Castigliole D’Asti – www.villa-loreto.com
    A little paradise for your relax with an amazing view managed by a Swiss couple that fell in love with this region. The stylishly furnished homes with private pools are located in a private estate of 35’000 m2. Maria introduces me into the exploration of Asti Spumante in food recipes! I love to share my favorite Piedmont Dessert with you, it’s prepared super fast and easy!

Zabaione al Moscato d’Asti

Ingredients: 1 egg, 4 egg yolk, 1dl Moscato d’Asti, 50 grams of sugar

Preparation:
In a saucepan placed in a bain-marie, add the Moscato d’Asti and the sugar to the egg yolks and the whole egg. Use a wire whip to mix slowly until it gets warm, stir until the mixture is soft and creamy. Remove from heat and immediately strain with biscuits or a hazelnut cake.

  • La Casaccia – Monferrato
    This area is somewhat overshadowed a bit by Barolo and Barbaresco. Be prepared of very exclusive and delicate wines made with the Grignolino or the Freisa grapes. At La Casaccia they produce elegant traditional drops interpreted in a modern way. Giovanni loves to experiment with the grapes and offers very intellectually wines that reflect the positive elements of the character of Giovanni and his family.
    The winery La Casaccia is located in a house from the 17th century. Today it is renovated to a jewel including a cozy B&B. Walking in the base where the wine cellar is feels like visiting an ancient museum. Some bottles are hundreds of years old. The cellar excavated in the underground is a rarity. It made this region become a World Heritage Site of UNESCO, too.

Do you know the Grignolino grape?
I did not. It’s a famous grape from the region of Monferrato. It is a wine of character and full of discoveries. With its natural spiciness it’s perfect for those who love the intriguing flavors. Grignolino is very delicate wine and difficult to cultivate. The grape is sensitive to diseases and requires a lot of care and attention.

My personal highlight: Try their wines at dinner, spend a night at their cozy B&B and get spoiled by the traditional and genuine cooking skills of Elena. I absolutely loved their La Casaccia metodo classico sparkling wine made of Chardonnay grapes.

If you are planning a longer time off from home and are interested in helping in the wine yards, this is a place to do such a project. Get in contact with them!A specialty we tried was a flan made of broccoli, a veal involtino stuffed with artichokes and some fresh cheese and salumi. Feel like eating at a family table. We shared lovely stories of life zipping on our glass. The breakfast in the morning is the cherry on the top. A lukewarm hazelnut cake made only with egg white and local hazelnuts! No butter and practically no sugar. Thank you Giovanni, Elena, Margherita and Marcello for this very hearty evening spent with you sharing our stories of life.

Contact:
Azienda Vitivinicola La Casaccia, Via Barbano Dante 10, Cella Monte, 53010, Tel. 0039 (0)142 489 986, E-Mail: vini@lacasaccia.biz

Accommodation:
Simple but very cozy and authentic rooms. It’s a very typical historical building in Cella Monte from the 17th century renovated with much love. Get more here.

Interested in other travel stories? Visit my travel section here.

read more
STORIESZurich Blogging

Pizza restaurants you should not miss in Zurich City

Pizza is not equal Pizza – Have you ever tried a Neapolitan Pizza with bufala mozzarella or other quality toppings? What makes the difference? A slice of history for you!

Where everything began – the invention of Margherita Pizza

Back in time the ancient Greeks were the first one topping flatbreads with tasty ingredients. The term ‘pizza’ came up near Rome or Naples (depending on who you like to trust) around 1000 AD. This is why we differentiate between Neapolitan and Roman Pizza. Later more about this. By the 18th century, pizza had become a cost-effective way of feeding the peasantry. The Italians discovered a new fruit brought over from the New World. So easily the humble tomato made its way onto this traditional flatbread. We are all happy about this accident, since than the Pizza is desired on the whole planet. We cannot think it out of our plates.

Queen Margherita and King Umberto back in 1889 influenced their personal Chef to create a Pizza showing the Italian flag. The green comes with the basil, the red with the tomatoes and the white by using mozzarella. He named the pizza after the monarch, that is how we got today’s Margherita pizza !

What is an authentic Neapolitan Pizza

Most know a pizza with a thin-to-medium crust and soil, this is the so called Roman Pizza. It tends to be crunchier than the pizza in Naples. Roman-style dough is typically left to rise for about three or four days, then baked at 500°F-600°F — much cooler than the temperature in which Neapolitan pizza is cooked (at least 800 F°). When it comes to a thicker, soft and elastic crust that is easy to fold (also named pizza al portafoglio), we talk about the Neapolitan Pizza. There is a governing body called the True Neapolitan Pizza Association (TNPA) that keeps the standards of true Neapolitan pizza alive.

Only the Pizza Margherita and Pizza Marinara are regarded as authentic Italian pizzas. The Marinara comes with tomato, garlic, oregano, extra virgin olive oil and possibly basil. The Margherita exceptionally with certified mozzarella di bufala cheese or fior di latte mozzarella. A Place where you get delicious fior di latte Mozzarella is the Ristorante Più at Schiffbau for example.

By reading all of this Pizza knowledge you may understand, that pizza is not equal pizza. It is a real complex topic. At the end your stomach and eyes will decide. I promise you, these three spots will make it difficult for you, to return to other standards.

3 places to get Neapolitan quality pizza in Zurich

Ristorante Più Schiffbau

My recommendation: Pizza Margherita (tomato sauce, fior di latte, basil) The only place I found so far with real juicy fresh fior di latte Mozzarella. The dough they prepare at Più gets enough time to rest, at least 48 hours, this makes the dough ideal to digest. Get the whole food experience here on my food guide.

Costs: Pizzas start with CHF 17.– (Marinara) to CHF  27.–

Opening hours: Monday – Thursday:  11.30–14.30 / 17.30–23.30 , Friday: 11.30–14.30 / 17.30–24 .00, Saturday: 11.30–24.00, Sunday: 11.30–23.00

Address: Hardstrasse 259, 8005 Zürich

Ristorante & Pizzeria NA081

My recommendation: Pizza Vesuvio Gold. A combination of ingredients you can’t find somewhere else in Zurich. comes with sweet sour yellow cherry tomatoes, ricotta di bufala, provala affumicata, grana padano, pancetta and some tarallo sbriciolato. Get the whole food experience here on my food guide.

Costs: Pizzas start with CHF 19.50 for a Marinara Pizza – The Vesuvio Gold is 28.50 CHF.

Opening hours: Monday – Friday: 11:00 – 14:00 / 18:00 – 00:00, Saturday: 18:00 – 00:00, Sunday: 18:00 – 00:00

Address: Konradstrasse 71, 8005 Zürich

Pizzeria San Gennaro

My recommendation: Prosciutto & Funghi. Best selection of fresh ingredients, not overloaded with mozzarella. In summer a must do due to their marvelous terrace overlooking the river. The pizza is authentic Neapolitan style. I liked the consistency of the dough very much!

Opening hours: Monday – Friday: 11:30 – 14:00 / 17:30 to 23:00, Saturday – Sunday: 17:00 to 23:00

Address: Hönggerstrasse 43 – 8037 Zürich

read more
1 2 3 4 14
Page 2 of 14