April 18, 2012

A little bit of nature

Scenes from the countryside of Germany!

After the hustle and bustle of some rather metropolitan European cities, I managed to escape to some peace and quiet in the Black Forrest of Germany (erm plus a detour in Zurich). Specifically, I got to see the quaint town of Titisee along with the "mini" city of Freiburg. 

But first, a few quick eats in Zurich: 

Macarons!!! I was so excited to see a Laduree in Zurich. I had no idea these places existed outside of Paris. Granted this one was much tinier and only sold the mini versions of macarons but still...I told my friend to get the caramel (best flavor!) while I opted for two more adventurous ones: chestnut pear and plum. 

We had lunch in Zurich at HITL, apparently a very popular lunch destination. There is option of a buffet downstairs or a sit down upstairs. I kind of hate buffets so it was a good thing we had made a reservation. I had the brown rice with wild mushrooms which was pretty fantastic.  After lunch, we were in a food coma for the rest of the day and could barely muster the energy to explore the rest of the city...but I did manage to accomplish my main mission: buy chocolate.

With my remaining 20 something Swiss francs, I went and bought about 10 bars of chocolate. Needless to say, it is some AMAZING chocolate. Don't worry dad, I'm saving you like 6 bars.

In Freiburg, I also got to try the delicious looking concoction on the right called a "flame cake" or tarte flambee (not sure what its called in German). It comes from the Northern part of France, specifically the Lorraine region. Its very thin bread dough covered in creme fraiche, lardons aka bacon and thinly sliced onions. It was fantastic. And according to wikipedia, "it is one of the most famous gastronomical specialties of the region". Nice. There's a nice recipe for it here. I'm hoping to try making it when I get back to the states. 
Ok so the pictures aren't very good, blame it on the awkward lighting but doesn't that cake LOOK good?
Apple cake on the left and an original Black Forrest Cake in the Black Forrest. Whaat. So yea my mind was blown as this cake pretty much destroyed all previous conceptions of a black forest cake. I've never ever ever ever liked any desserts with cherries on it but who knew it would taste so good when it was made with fresh cherries?? And the normal icky icing was replaced by a light, creamy mousse that rounded out the darkness of the chocolate perfectly. So ok maybe I didn't eat Swiss cheese in Switzerland, but this is a lot cooler :)
+snowballs in vanilla sauce with caramel
+...erm another rendition of a snowball?
+ onion soup with homemade croutons
+ not shown because I devoured it too quickly: trout mousse on rye bread and a liver/apple dish

Apparently my step-sister's friend is a total foodie and I was super lucky enough to be in town when he was hosting one of his famous dinner parties. Four (and a half) courses of authentic German cuisine (unique to the Titisee region?) plus loads of delicious wine and I was full to the brim by the time the 3 hour affair ended. Sadly, I was too busy eating to take pictures of all of the dishes but I did remember to get a picture of the soup and the dessert.

German snowballs are a culinary treat consisting of whipped egg whites (among other ingredients) and they are quite difficult to make so I was extremely impressed  by the dish along with the homemade caramel sauce and vanilla sauce.  Have I even had homemade vanilla sauce with real vanilla beans? don't think so...

All in all, a quite satisfying foodie weekend. For those who are confused about where Titisee, Germany actually located is (like I was), you can check it out here and see that it is about 1.5 hours north of Zurich and right by a GORGEOUS man-made lake.  And because the entire place is just too pretty, I had to post a  picture or two.

So much pretty in one picture.

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