It’s my sheer attempt to share my most authentic culinary and cultural experiences in life.

Papet Vaudois (Leeks with Potatoes and Sausage)

The leek is one of the vegetables that I find generally plentiful in Europe, all year-round. Yet every time I see it when I do food shopping, I just ignore it. But, it’s not only leeks. I’m also a stranger to other regulars such as artichoke, turnips, endives…there must be even more!

You see, leeks are not very common in the Philippines – or even in Southeast Asia in general – because they just won’t thrive in hot and humid weather. Somehow I learned that it could be found in the Mountain Province, a landlocked, very mountainous, cold region at the north of the Philippines. The cool weather up there might have been conducive for growing this plant, in modest versions for the least. Due to its rarity of course, leeks aren’t part of the Filipino diet.

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My Great Taste in 2013

Good food takes time and love. It’s an art. Dining with one’s friends and beloved family is certainly one of life’s primal and most innocent delights, one that is both soul-satisfying and eternal.
– Important Food Lessons From Julia Child

My utmost desire to unleash my inner Julia Child brought Great Taste to life in 2011. Two years after, the Great Taste series has never been this good. In fact, 2013 has even been a more delightful year.

Thanks to my travel sprees, I was able to explore a lot more of new, interesting cuisines and drinks. I savored morsels of European dishes – Swiss, Lyonnaise, Burgundian, Belgian, Danish, Italian, Portuguese – to my utmost content, while I took my first sips of delectable wines – Bourgogne, Valpolicella, Amarone, Porto.

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So Swiss: The Malakoff

malakoff2

Dining in for a malakoff or two

The name sounds Russian, but malakoff is authentically Swiss. A classic cheese beignet that can be most likely found in the canton of Vaud, it is believed that the recipe was brought by the Swiss mercenaries who joined the Crimean War under the French-British forces fighting against Russia. This Swiss cheese bread was particularly named after the major battle of Malakoff that resulted in the fall of Sevastopol, thus ending the battle.

Hardly it reminds of the past war nowadays, the malakoff is typically served as a first course, and enjoyed with served cornichons (guerkins in English), pickled onions and mustard. As always, this Swiss cheese ball pairs well with a glass of Chasselas wine.

My first taste of malakoff was last spring 2010 at Café Restaurant l'Union in Bursins. The crispy outer brown bread complemented well with strong-flavored Swiss cheese oozing from the inside. To the extent that I enjoyed the malakoff so much I later found myself enjoying cornichons and mustard as well. It was also on that day, I learned to enjoy eating guerkins and mustard. I felt so proud of myself.

So Swiss: My Top Pick of Restaurants in Swiss Romandy

My top 10 list of restaurants in Swiss Romandy got published first at the Travel section in thefilipinoexpat.com.

In case you found yourself in Swiss Romandy or the French-speaking western side of Switzerland and have no clue on where to go for a lovely dinner, here are ten restaurants that are worth a try. A quick note, I know they’re all in Switzerland where dining out is not exactly affordable, but not all of them are that pricey. This list has a combination of restaurants in different price ranges.

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So Swiss: Eat Fondue & Raclette

La fondue crée la bonne humeur. Fondue isch guet und git e gueti Luune (figugegl). 'fondue creates a good mood' - a promotional slogan created for Swiss cheese fondue

Cheese fondue is more popular as a national dish of Switzerland. I've been here for more than a year so I would commit a crime only if I haven't had a taste of it.  Yet fortunately enough, it's also at this month last year when I enjoyed not only cheese fondue but also raclette, for the first time.

Fondue and raclette are both Swiss and French dishes. Nonetheless cheese fondue in particular, is claimed to be as a Swiss national food during the 1930s by the league of Swiss cheesemakers as a way to increase cheese consumption in the country.

Fondue has also been generalized to other dishes such as chocolate fondue and fondue bourguignonne, where food pieces are dipped into a shared pot of hot liquid. Both terms fondue and raclette are derived from French verbs: fondre meaning 'to melt' and racler 'to scrape.' From these words, it's already giving you an idea how these dishes are done.