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Lovefoodish in Wonderland at St. Moritz Gourmet Festival 2017

Why I had one of the best food blogger experiences enriching my view and knowledge about farm to table cuisine

St. Moritz Gourmet Festival has it all

Where to begin to summarize this unique experience in the Swiss Alps. My journey started in a cute village close to St. Moritz called Celerina. Here the Hotel Chesa Rosatsch is located with 3 different restaurants. A detailed review is available here. The rest of my time was dedicated to the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival.

What happens at the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival?

10 American Master Chefs are invited to St. Moritz for sharing culinary experiences with local Chefs of their partner hotels. Together they enthrall the festival guests with culinary delicacies one week long. Tickets are available online through the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival for everybody. Additional special events as the Kitchenparty or the Chocolate Cult at Badrutt’s Palace take place during the week. Due to my interest in the farm to table concept my choice fell for Chef Melissa Kelly located at the wonderful Nira Alpina Hotel in Silvaplana.

Sweet sensations at the Chocolate Cult, Badrutt’s Palace

My festival visit starts with a glamorous chocolate afternoon. The legendary Chocolate Cult at the Badrutt’s Palace. Can you imagine what chocolate lovers feel when entering the elegant corridor of this beautiful classy hotel? And that smell of real pure chocolate? You find chocolate art paired with lots of experience and passion. Delicious fresh made pralines, tarts, creams and pastries. Only tasting can explain!

Why Chef Melissa Kelly gathered all of my attention at NIRA Alpina in Silvaplana

The farm to table philosophy is something that surrounds me since my childhood. The idea of having an experienced Women Chef in Switzerland to share her life and cooking philosophy was reason enough for me to attend the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival. The fact that she has Italian roots was very exciting to me, too.

Melissa Kelly started cooking with the age of 5 in her grandmother’s kitchen. Her Italian roots are from the beautiful city of Bologna. It’s the one and only place where real good and traditional pasta comes from. This explains the exquisite homemade linguine she prepared for us. Her Signature dish is the Nonno Primo’s Pork Saltimbocca named by her grandfather Primo was the absolute highlight.

Chef Florian Mainzger, the home Chef at Hotel NIRA Alpina had a challenging task to gather all of the ordered ingredients to follow Chef Melissa’s farm to table “religion”.  He did a great job she compliments. There is a lot of planning and communication between the two Chefs beforehand, plus cooking on altitude is an additional challenge, confirms Chef Melissa. She brought some special herbs and even pork products all the way from the US to prepare the dishes as authentic as possible. The staff at NIRA Alpina made this unique event possible. The cozy and warm ambience in the Trattoria matched perfectly to the dinner setup. Hotel NIRA Alpina offers an outstanding service. I appreciated their help and kind availability for example by always offering me help for transfer when needed to St. Moritz.
Gioannis from Nira Alpina told me, that he drives every morning to get some fresh goat milk for one of his guests. Absolute lovely!

Diving into the 5 course dinner prepared by Chef Melissa and the team

The courses taste puristic and very fresh. Her creativity is very healthy! She integrates a variety of vegetables that make the courses light and colorful for the eyes. I love the Mediterranean flavors and Italian touch she combines in all courses.

The starter is a fig stuffed with Marcona almond and candled orange. It comes wrapped in pancetta with local chicories. The Gorgonzola filling of the fig is a real surprise.

The next plate is a perfectly spiced Brittany Scallop with a cauliflower panna cotta, caviar and a very light herb spuma.

Hand made Squid ink linguine with a spicy tomato sugo are served next with a Broccoli crema and calamari a la Plancha.

The last course is a pork saltimbocca with roasted garlic potato purée, spinach, prosciutto and a wild mushroom Madeira sauce.

My absolute preferred desert as of now is the Butterscotch budino with salted caramel and rosemary shortbread. This combination gave me such a happy belly feeling, really mouth-watering.

The micro gap still available in my belly got filled by a south Italian traditional sweet! What a surprise! Super soft and fluffy fried Zeppole. I love this fried dough turned in sugar and cinnamon. It reminds me home! In Italy you get them especially at Saint Joseph’s day that is celebrated in March.

Living farm to table as a life philosophy

“Eating and cooking healthy is not a lifestyle, it’s a life philosophy”, says Chef Melissa. This explains why she is running Restaurant Primo in Rockland, Maine since more than 18 years. Living on a farm is the way she grew up. Primo’s staff is involved in the whole gardening and farming activities. There is a lot to do on a 4 acre property. This involvement is necessary to make her life philosophy completely understandable. This is how 400 pounds of garlic come together for example. By not using chemicals and pesticides, their flowers and produce are helping to maintain rich soil without depletion and degrade for generations to come.
They frequently teach kids about farming and healthy food. I liked the story from Melissa about the kids asking if the plant is the place where the chicken come from.

Chef Melissa is as a very authentic and approachable personality. This explains the happy and relaxed faces enjoying their time in the kitchen. Chef Jenna reveals that they feel like a little family. Well done, I really like the group spirit!

Nose to tail for everybody in Rockland , Maine – Annual Pig Day extravaganza

I am happy to see how Melissa offers this tradition to her guests at Primo Restaurant. During the month of November the Pig Day extravaganza takes place at Primo restaurant. Last year more than 180 people spent their day with processing the just-slaughtered pigs raised on the Primo farm. After working everybody eats the food. 4,200 pounds of pork were processed into prosciutto or pates. It’s a unique way to feel Chef Melissa Kelly’s philosophy. Primo’s Pig Day is a focal point of the restaurant since 2009.  Special seven courses nose-to-tail tasting menu are available with exotic delicacies as pig’s ears, pig’s tails, trotters and headcheese.

Where to find Nose to tail in Switzerland

Luckily I discovered the Hotel Rosatsch and their food philosophy. They offer these delicacies, too. You do not need to travel that far! Visit the beautiful Engadine and make a stop at Restaurant Stüva Rosatsch. Try their Slowfood or Nose to tail menu!

Around Zurich you can get in touch with Slowfoodyouth. Their activities published online include interesting projects with special excursion to farms. Join their eat in every first Wednesday of the month to get in contact with local nutrition aware foodies. Or just check online and let me know by email if you find interesting places!

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EuropeTravel

Berlin Berlin – Crazy vibrant foodish

Get infected by the multicultural vibrant vibes of Berlin

I love to get inspirations about food and lifestyle in this city. Berlin has it all. The city is vibrant and full of hidden little places to eat and drink. What I admire is the multicultural vibes. They are in every angle of the city. The combination of cultural attractions, rounds off your city trip.

Honestly, I think we can let some of this colorful vibes flow into our Zurich food and coffee scene! It’s not only the atmosphere in a coffee, that makes you feel like Alice in Wonderland it’s also the way food and drinks are prepared and presented. There is no limits to creativity! The mix is fantastic, you have a high class coffeeshop with lots of luxury on one side, next to it a professional little pasta place that has it’s own manufacture in the restaurant where you can shop and eat.

Where to go and what to eat in Berlin

Getting around

  • Get a paper map or download a pdf of the map on ooohBerlin They have a selected choice of places to eat and shop divided by “Kiez” or let’s say areas of Berlin. Small places you wouldn’t find by yourself.
  • Book an airbnb, there are many! Choose Prenzlauerberg if you like a more quite area, but it’s full of great coffee shops and vintage lifestyle shops. Berlin Mitte is great, to stay, too. It’s obviously more central. But lot’s of shopping and food around here, too.
  • Go visit the East side Gallery  and the Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer and get involved into this important part of Germany’s history. Get also to the Brandenburger Tor, it’s worth.
  • Go visit die Hackeschen Höfe. They are in the historic “Scheunenviertel” or “barn district” in the Spandau suburb of Berlin-Mitte and represent the largest courtyard area of Germany. They are under a preservation order since 1972. The courtyards located across from the Hackeschen Market  a great street market. Find cool lifestyle brands and great food stores in the building complex. The famous coffee shop Ben Rahim is there, too with it’s amazing specialty coffee.

Coffee shops, drinks, food

  • Get your breakfast at Suicide Sue. Their spreads of fresh red beet or avocado peppermint are amazing. The bred is fresh and absolutely tasty. Find also a great selection of pancakes. It’s located at Prenzlauerberg.
  • An other place to have breakfast is the Bekarei also located at Prenzlauerberg. An absolute must try if you love pies and cakes and fresh bred. All is homemade and absolutely excellent.
  • For drinks in the evening I absolutely recommend the bar Chaostheorie Berlin also at Prenzlauerberg. The ambience is super fancy, colorful and crazy kitsch. Their selection of drinks has it all. Order your Pussiedrink without feeling ashamed.
  • My absolute favorite place to eat is the pasta factory and restaurant Tosatti also located at Prenzlauerberg. You can watch how pasta is made live and after 10 minutes you have it on your plate. All fresh made and with lot’s of love.  Get introduced to the many types of Italian pasta and shapes! The ambience is very cozy, you feel like eating at Mama’s house. Order a coffee and get it in a small moca pot all for yourself. Absolutely recommend it! The staff is lovely and makes your food experience unforgettable.

What else to discover…

  • Visit the Food Market Markthalle neun at Kreuzberg. On Thursdays is the street food day where you get international food from all over the world as well as a great selection of traditional German food. It’s absolutely worth exploring. Once you are there, explore the Kreuzberg area!
  • Get a currywurst! It’s a must, I love it! If there is a long queue in front of the shop it’s a good sign, go for it, there are plenty in the city.
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EuropeTravel

The best Kanelbullar ever are in Göteborg

kannelbullar

Food blogging in Göteborg – What makes a Kannelbullar unique?

Swedens signature dessert

This famous cinnamon bun is my favorite sweet in winter times. Go for a cozy authentic coffee place named Café Husaren. These Kannelbullar are the most giant and soft ones I ever tasted in my life.

Göteborg is a fascinating city with many handcraft shops. The area I love to walk and stroll around is called Haga. I absolutely recommend it if you like little hand craft shops, no tourist crowds and authentic local products. I bought myself a handmade soap called HÄRLIG!

Where to go for dinner

  • The Taverna Averna, absolutely delicious good local food, fresh fish. At the bar you get great cocktails
  • For traditional food or good drinks go to the restaurant Le Pub.
    I had a tender piece of beef with smoked bacon, mashed potatoes with a tasty red wine sauce.
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EuropeTravel

Donuts hanging at the wall like design objects: Chök the chocolate kitchen

Barcelona: cultural and exquisite mediterranean pearl

Colorful stylish donuts hanging on the wall like art objects

Strolling through Barcelona without any plan, yes, this is me, but always following my nose. When I saw this colorful donuts hanging on the wall I didn’t hesitate more than five seconds and to get inside the shop.
You can present donuts as a desirable design object. I ordered a flower donut with cream inside, and eating it was a real ceremony! Me and my donut, amazing. But Chök has more to offer than just donuts. They create chocolate truffles that taste just hilarious.
After having eaten my colorful flower donut I joined the chocolate kitchen to see how the famous oreo truffles are made and of course got to taste the super fresh mixture.
The dow is a mix of sweet/salty butter and toffee and a unique oreo flavor. Loved it! But for the day I definitively had a maximum sugar boost!
Chök is available at local food events where they show up with food trucks.
Find more on their website www.choekbarcelona.com
Try it, you will love the place, the ambience and of course their donuts and chocolate truffles are outstanding!
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EuropeTravel

Waterlove: back to sealife in Greece

Sailing boosts me with energy. It opens horizons and gives me mental freedom

How easy is it to find a sailing boat without reservation?

After all of my city exploration in Asia I knew my next journey would be on a boat.
How easy is it to find a sailing boat? Very easy of course. You need positive will, fantasy and good communication skills.
I created an account on www.crewseekers.net after a few emails and a bit of research the right boat found me.
Naguib from Egypt hosted me 10 days. We were 5 people on board, the skipper, his girlfriend a friend of Naguib and an other guy from crewseeker.
The boat was a IMX 40, a racer named baraka! Looking back to my experience I have to say, that I appreciated much the time spend on that boat, it’s a school of life. Of course my main reason to be there was sailing.

I love following the wind

I love colorful sunsets, everyone seems different and particular. Cooking on board is challenging but great fun, too. You learn to mix everything that you find in your board fridge!
On such a small space you get to know people very fast, I enjoyed the great talks and philosophizing about life and made experiences.
Once in a while you also get to dance on deck or listening to someone playing the guitar.
The highlight of the morning is waking up with the sunrise and jumping into the fresh water to get awake.
Isn’t this sounding dreamful?

Some easy recipes to cook on board:

  • avocado bread
  • fresh fruit salad
  • greek salad
  • nuts as snacks in between to give you power
  • risotto
  • spaghetti à la empty the fridge

plus: dine out and explore the fresh seafood of the area!

Sailing in Greece

Greece is an astonishing destination for sailing. You are surrounded by islands with turquoise clear waters, memorable bays to anchor, lovely local people and excellent fresh seafood.
We sailed around Rhodes up to Cos, this is all around the Aegean sea. What I absolutely recommend are the Cyclades Islands and the Ionian Islands, too. Plan at least 2 weeks!
Thank you baraka and team for the safe journey!
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EuropeTravel

Juicy and green, natural power of Bilbao

My personal highlight: Getting used that every little thing you can eat will be served on a tiny piece of bread!

These are pintxos

I wish I could write this article in Spanish, so many emotions running through my mind in this place!
The first hours are kind of cold and unconnected. The city appears slow and isolated to me. Is it because it is summer?
Everything changes when I got in contact with the amazing nature, the harbor and the waterpower at the sea. The waves are loved by world wide surfers and I understand why, once I see the waves smashing at the coast.
I realize once again that people also in Bilbao have their siesta from 2-5 pm. Bilbao is located at the Bay of Biscay.

What are pintxos

From a culinary point of view the must tries are the pintxos. Everything you can imagine comes on a little piece of sliced bread. Fish, meat, eggs really everything.
They serve pintxos in every bar. It comes with your wine or a cerveza, maybe also comparable with the Italian aperitivo.
tapas & friends in Wiedikon (www.tapasandfriends.ch) serve the pinxtos, too, if you don’t like to travel so far.

What to do beside admiring surfer

Beside the beautiful beaches of Plentzia which is a great spot to surf and the touristy area of Casco Viejo, I absolutely recommend a stop at the imposant building designed by Frank Gehry. The Museum of Modern Art, the guggenheim museum. As an art lover you must experience this.
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