This European trip was organized to celebrate Mom’s 90th Birthday. The code words for the trip were “Coleman’s hungry.” The girls have discovered that if they exclaim over the hunger of my new nephew-in-law they get to eat sooner, because Rhonda, my sister-in-law, is always worried about whether he has had enough to eat. When I was growing up, our favorite restaurant in New York City was LaScala, a restaurant that served northern Italian food, so we had some preparation for what we were to encounter in Milan.
Coleman, Mom, and Anna in Bern
Aug.2– Osmate, Italy, Osteria-Jerry’s
This dish is risotto, a northern Italian food. It’s made from rice, butter, and onion. We were at our first restaurant in Osmate. I took this picture at a stranger’s table and he laughed. Although Anna didn’t want to admit it, she was the best at figuring out Italian, probably because of her background in romance languages. The proprietor kept bringing out dish after dish, causing Anna to ask him if we could please look at the menu. Although he was very friendly, we were charged for everything he had already brought out, so this was a smart move on her part.
Anna had the above dish mixed with red wine at another restaurant in Osmate, Restaurante della Zucche, and then made it for us at the Air B and B in Bern. She said that it requires a special kind of rice. I googled risotto and found that she was right. In What’s Cooking America, Linda Stradley says to “Use only Italian short-grain rice varieties such as Aroborio, Carnaroli, Vialone, Nano, and Baldo (Arborio is the most commonly found short-grain rice)” (2004). I wouldn’t mind having it again.
Pumpkin Raviola in Osmate.
This is the dish I enjoyed at Jerry’s.
Aug. 3–Milan, Italy
Cup Meringue Pistachio from ice cream/ coffee shop in Milan. Needless to say, this was my favorite food memory from the trip. Mom, whose picture appears in the background, enjoyed a parfait of mixed fresh fruit and sorbet. Most everyone else had some kind of sweet dessert.
Aug. 3–Café Sempione
Aug. 4–Intra and Osmate
The next day at Intra, Mom indulged in chocolate and raspberry gelato, while we went swimming in Lake Maggiore.
It seems strange to include smoking as part of the dining experience, but I noticed it because we are no longer allowed to smoke in restaurants in the USA. I saw one tobacco vending machine in Italy (this one was near the ferry on Lake Maggiore) and one in Switzerland. Smoking does not occur in restaurants, but often right outside it in the outdoor, café section of establishments. I used to feel protective of smokers and actually enjoyed the smell, but now it bothers me a bit. The Swiss people actually look more fit than Americans do on average. Bern, the capital, is a city of walkers like those in New York City, but there are many smokers.
August 4, 2016–Restaurante della Zucche in Osmate, Italy
Every time we went to a restaurant we would order bottled water and sparkling water and white wine. Once we arrived in Switzerland we found ourselves “ordering Wasser mit Gas und Wasser ohne Gas.” When I was checking online about ordering water in restaurants, one of the sites mentioned that Americans are known for being too fussy about tap water, and that the restaurants take advantage of this. On one of our bills, I noticed that we had been charged $4.00 for each bottle of water. That really adds up with nine people.
Barth and Rhonda
This veal was okay, not great. In Italy and Switzerland, they have fewer beef cattle than we do–hence, the veal.
A tremendous rainstorm caused us to stay on at the restaurant and order dessert. The lights blinked on and off several times. I don’t remember the dessert but I do remember the sound of the hail. This picture shows the rain shooting down the side of the restaurant like those beaded curtains from the sixties.
This restaurant is highly ranked, which may be the reason that Gwynne chose it for our reunion with Hans and Ulla Olsen. Hans was our former Rotary Exchange student and there have been various reunions over the years in Denmark and in the United States. Hans is a ship broker, while Ulla is in charge of marketing for IBM in Denmark. They were great company, which I’m sure helps them in the business world.
I had Pork Cordon Bleu, which was very good. The portions were quite large. Cordon Bleu was originally an English dish from back in the time of Henry the VIII. The Swiss use pork, which is a staple in many of their meals, while the Americans use chicken. I was able to sit next to Ulla and then to hike with her the next day.
Ulla, Rebecca, and Rhonda
Aug. 9–Interlaken, da rafmi (name of restaurant)
This dining experience’s main purpose was to meet Sean’s family, including his mother, brother, and sister-in-law. His new nephew was not present. I spent most of my time talking to his brother, Mitchell, who works in retail. Like Sean, Mitchell speaks several languages, among them Africans, because the family is from South Africa and has lived several places. Gwynne is very taken with Sean.
For dinner, I had pizza; I believe it was the third time. When the pizza comes to the table, it is not scored. The reason for this is that they do not want you picking it up. Pizza is eaten with a fork and knife in both Italy and Switzerland. Gwynne says they think Americans are gauche. I used a combination of cutting it and then lifting it with my fingers.
Rhonda, Anna, Meghan, and Rebecca after dinner in Interlaken
Aug. 10–Belle Epoque Restaurant, Lunch in Bern, Switzerland
Swiss Quiche and Salad. In Switzerland, salad items are often served separately. I had cold corn served to me in both Italy and Switzerland. I guess the closest thing we have to it is corn relish.
Aug. 10–Dinner by Sean at Air B and B in Bern, Switzerland
Sean, Gwynne’s boyfriend, made us rösti, a shredded potato dish, for dinner. The food items we have that are closest to it are hash (because of the arrangement of the eggs) and hash browns. I used to serve hash when I was a waitress and it was served with two eggs on top. Sean served each portion with an egg on top, along with spätzle topped with mushroom gravy. I couldn’t find a picture that was exactly like his version on the web. It’s a native Swiss food and used to be considered a breakfast dish. I was planning to take Rhonda and Sean’s picture cooking in the kitchen, but I managed to knock over a glass from a tall shelf and Gwynne took over with the vacuum instead.
Aug. 11 and 12-Jeizinen, Swiss Chalet in Alps
This is where the girls obtained water from a mountain spring and we finally escaped bottled water.
This is the view from the porch attached to our chalet. The stone wall and roof you see to the left are part of our chalet.
This time when I had Pork Cordon Bleu I split it with my mother. We were pretty full at this point.