Epiphany/Three Kings Day

We Three Kings

We Three Kings (Photo credit: pixieclipx)

Once again, I’m ashamed to say that I was in my late twenties before I ever even know this holiday existed (commemorating the day when the three kings presented their gifts to the baby Jesus).  Here’s how they celebrate it here.

P1060042

P1060042 (Photo credit: keepps)

You knew it. You knew there had to be one. You were right; they have a special pastry.   Every holiday here seems to have its own special pastry and this is not exception.  It is a ring of buns, one of which contains small plastic kings.  If you get that roll, you win a crown and the right to tell everyone what to do for the rest of the day.  Carolers dressed as three kings also roam the streets singing (known as Star Singing).

The bread ...

The bread … (Photo credit: pedro_cerqueira)

Who doesn’t love a great loaf of bread?  Before we moved, we would sometimes go to our neighborhood’s French bakery and buy a nice loaf of fresh bread.

Swiss bread and chocolate

Swiss bread and chocolate (Photo credit: ellengwallace)

Since we moved, we have been buying great bread at local patisseries.  It is made fresh each morning and we buy a loaf to eat over the next 2-3 days while  while it is still fresh.  Ymmmm.  This is dangerous because you have to go there several times a week (only a block away).  When it’s no longer really fresh, we feed it to the ducks on Lake Geneva (except for when our niece visited when we bought loaves to feed to them).

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Saluhall

We like to eat and who doesn’t love drooling over food while on vacation.  As a result, we’ve been to some famous food halls (London’s Harrod’s, Boston’s Faneuil Hall, New York’s Fulton Fish Market, Madrid’s Mercado de San Miguel).   Saluhallen, is a historic indoor food market in the heart of Stockholm’s old Ostermalm neighborhood.  Saluhall has around 17 small businesses, most have been run by the same family for generations. Here are some of the things we liked about it:

  • It is located in a magnificent building that dates from 1888.   The exterior is neo-gothic.  It looks a bit like a medieval castle and it’s iron framework give allow it the inside to have a high ceiling and enormous windows.
  • The stallholders are very nice and happy to share their extensive knowledge and experience.  They are a wealth of information about the food, how to cook it, etc.

  • The incredible displays of wonderful food are a treat for the eyes.
  • It is a market for locals.  They seem to want both nice quality Swedish food and more exotic foods from other countries.  Therefore, it has a nice variety of foods.

  • It is a great place to grab a wonderful, but reasonably priced bite.
  • Great people watching.
  • Something about it seems to put people in a good mood.  It has a warm, cheery atmosphere.  Maybe it’s the moose heads…

Don’t take our word for it, Bon Appétit Magazine named it the world’s seventh best food market.

We stopped there for coffee and smoked salmon smørrobrød (an open face sandwich).  I would probably have chosen something less smelly if I had known that I would be speaking with royalty.   Never mind, it was so good that I stand by my choice.

Les Incompetents Vol. 4 – Five Hours of Grocery Shopping!

When I returned from Belgium, we had no food.  I had to go grocery shopping and stock up.  What does this mean for normal Swiss?  A trip to France. What did it mean for me? Five hours of driving around traffic circles lost and searching for a specific grocery store. D’Oh.

“Hey look kids, there’s Big Ben and there’s parliament!” I didn’t take photos as I was driving, so enjoy Clark Griswold. Here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iAgX6qlJEMc

 

 

 

Gruyeres

We went to Gruyeres. It is adorable. They have a castle and the Geiger Museum there.  The star attraction is the Gruyere cheese and the cheesemaking.  We were most excited about heading to the beautiful mountains that surround the town. After a tour around the adorable town, we hiked the “Sentier des Frommageries”, the Cheesemaker’s Path (which starts in town and heads up into the mountains).
We needed sustenance for the hike so we bought wonderful sugary waffles in the town to take with us.
The hike was steep, but stunningly beautiful.  We saw cows grazing at the high altitude.  The Swiss believe that cows that spend the Summer grazing at high altitudes produce a special quality milk.*
  
When we reached the top, we were rewarded with meringues in fresh cream. Yum.  
 
 
*We bought the alpine milk to put it our coffee and it was delicious. It is so good that it will make your leg shake. It definitely deserves its own special post.