Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Shredded cheese for our Swiss Mac n' Cheese
Cibo = Food in Italian
...and boy, do I love food.
I am going to dedicate this entry to the food of southern Switzerland, specifically the region of Ticino, which is where Lugano is located. Before I came on this trip, I researched the native food of every country we were going to visit and packaged all of this information into a folder. Sadly, this folder was abandoned somewhere in London.
Needless to say, I am starting my food adventure from scraps. Other than the popular Swiss cheeses and chocolates, I have learned that fondue is a cultural staple around here (I must have missed this somewhere in my research, but it makes sense). The fondue of the Alps and the fondue of the U.S. are quite different. Don't imagine the extremely cheesy concoctions we have. The fondue here, in my opinion, tasted more like 80% wine and 20% cheese. Sadly, I wasn't a fan. But, I'm going to give it another whirl this Friday night when Sondra and I join a local student I met to a restaurant that is off the beaten path and serves up traditional Swiss cuisine.
Tocino's region is sometimes referred to as Switaly. This term is very representative of the restaurants and food that is available here - a half and half mixture of Swiss meats and cheeses and Italian pastas and polenta...and gelato! Polenta is a very popular dish in Ticino. It is also on our grocery list for next week. I am quite familiar with Fried Mush, a form of polenta, but I have never prepared it any other way (salty, etc.).
It is very expensive to live in Switzerland. We are learning how to really stretch our budget and menu as long as we can. However, I am trying to make sure we don't eat spaghetti every day and are able to sample local favorites (dishes, veggies, fruits, etc.) With this week's grocery visit we brought home a fresh fig, two types of cheeses, and sausages (the only meat we can afford- I looked at Sondra and said, "pick out your one meat for the week").
I am looking forward to seeing what food Poland, Germany, and Austria have in store for us in the upcoming months.
Side note: There is an amazing international food conference through SlowFood in Torino, Italy in October that I am trying to weasel my way into. It's only 3 hours from here and I would realllly like to go the workshops. Wish me luck!