Because I love food and it inspires me so, I often am snapping pictures of it just because I can’t resist. Plus, I love remembering my experiences through food. While some of these photos end up in a post for this blog, many never make it; they aren’t good enough perhaps, or more likely I just don’t get around to posting as often as I aspire to. And so as we close out the year 2012 I leave you with my leftovers, the pix that didn’t make it to the blog, but inspire me just the same.
I started this blog with a couple of friends because I heard expats complaining about cooking in Switzerland, how it wasn’t like “home.” Well, no of course not. It isn’t like wherever we came from. It is all its own, and it is amazing. Heart of Europe and all that! This blog is to celebrate what we do have instead of complain about what we don’t. Hope these pix inspire you to keep on cooking, wherever you find yourself in 2013!
Thanks and Happy New Year!
What a lovely, relaxed, beautiful afternoon. As I sat in the garden surrounded with people interested in food and each other I suddenly realized that this was a dream come true. Ever since reading about tasting olive oil in Peter Mayle’s A Year in Provence have I wanted to participate in an olive oil tasting. I read that book probably 15 or 20 years ago, never imagining that I would move to Europe and get to taste olive oil with friends old and new, sitting under the Swiss sun. And that was just the start!
I also never imagined how much of a difference I would find tasting the oils, nor how strong of a preference I would have. Fabulous to know.
Giuseppe and Maria Theresa shared many oils with us, including that from his family (which we all loved!). He educated us on the anti-inflammatory qualities and chemistry of olive oil, and taught us about how to taste the phenols. The stronger or spicier the oil the more phenols it has and the better for you it is. While many of us liked the same oils, we often had different responses to the spicy notes of the oils, demonstrating the differences in every person’s pallate. It really was fascinating.
Next came snacks with olive oil and some Italian wine. Really, a perfect afternoon. Thanks to our hostess Linda, thanks to the universe for the perfect weather, thanks to all who came, and a special thank you to Giuseppe and Maria Theresa for sharing their food, wine, information, and of course, olive oil with us. Now we all have our own olive oil man!
Giuseppe’s oil is only available in limited quantities. If you would like to buy a bottle email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will give you his contact information.
This was such a successful event that we all agreed that we would like to do it again, maybe later this fall. We’ll keep you posted, and hope you can join us next time!
||An impromptu Viognier wine tasting
||Wednesday, March 28th 2011, 7:00 pm
||Hauptstrasse 138, 4126 Bettingen
||Bring a bottle of Viognier to taste and share with the group OR pay 15 CHF
||Please send a note to email@example.com
Spring has sprung so head up the hill to Bettingen next Wednesday evening prepared for fun people, nibbles and wine tasting. We love Viognier and want to know more about the varietal, and so Viognier is the theme (Here is some info on it). Bring a bottle of your favorite or just pick one to try with us. Let us know you are coming and we will email you directions and parking instructions. Hope to see you there!
The Expat Kochen Team
Thanks to Gregory Dal Piaz of Snooth and his Global Tasting Initiative, we were inspired to hold an Expat Kochen last minute wine tasting in late August. One of the things I love about the internet is the ability to plan such an event without much time and effort. A few strokes of the keys and we had an instant party. The weather was cooperative as well, providing a lovely evening after some hot days, keeping us in the mood for Pinot Grigio.
Notice the foil wine caps? I collect them like confetti because I think they are beautiful and think that some day I will mosaic something with them (my husband thinks I am crazy, but that is nothing new. I also crochet funky bags and baskets out of plastic bags, so the foils just go along with my recycling into art thing!) In the meantime we play with their beautiful colors, shaping them into grapes, wine glasses, or countries, then see if our friends can share our vision. Oh, and check out those grapes. Besides being beautiful, they were marinated in wine. The recipe, suggested from Aunt Julie in Minneapolis, is one she found in an old magazine, a September 1997 Bon Appetit. You can find it here. Thanks Julie!
So, what did we learn? Well, who knows. But we did have fun playing! We divided the wines up into general regions, as we had bottles from Germany and Austria, Italy, and Alsace. Then we blind tasted in groups. Of course to no one’s surprise, we enjoyed them all, but found that some had much more body and color than others. Here’s what I remember. The German Grauer Burgunder was fruit then lemon, refreshing and just a bit spritzy, while the Pinot Gris from Austria had more apple and floral tones with a grapefruit finish. Funny but my notes got less specific as the evening went on! Anyway, the Italian lot were light and refreshing, lime, apple, and a bit of floral nose. The Alsatian wines were surprising in their golden color and fuller flavor. One of them tasted of honey but without sweetness, while another had full fruit, taste of grape while dry. The wine was great, the company and conversation even better. I am so looking forward to the next one!
This month Snooth is tasting Cabernet Sauvignon and we have run out of time for any last minute tastings for Expat Kochen. But I invite you to taste cabs and note your findings to Snooth via email or twitter here. I don’t know what he’ll be tasting next month but keep a lookout here in case we do another impromptu tasting. We’d love to have you join us.
Wishing you sensational sipping,
Summer has finally arrived in the Basel area and along with it an interest in warm weather wines. Pinot Grigio often fits the bill, and I am especially inspired now that Gregory Dal Piaz of Snooth.com is doing a PG “Global Tasting Initiative.” He is asking that people from all over taste Pinot Grigios throughout the month of August and report back on it.
So, we at Expat Kochen would like to invite you to taste some Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris and then join us next week for an impromptu tasting. Here’s what’s required.
1. Taste Pinot Grigio from any region. Think Alsace, Italy & beyond!
2. Pick your favorite or if you only taste one and like it that works too.
3. Bring it to Rylla’s home next week to share tastes and talk Pinot Grigo with light snacks.
That’s it. Not too taxing for a warm summer evening. Below are the specifics.
||Rylla’a Home – will email you details when you RSVP
||Thursday, 25th August 2011 from 19:00 to 21:00
||One bottle (or two) of Pinot Grigio you like
||Please do. Our inbox awaits….firstname.lastname@example.org
Who doesn’t want “beautiful” things in their life?
You can’t tell me that you don’t! Beautiful things catch our attention and it’s funny, because sometimes we can’t stop looking!
At our design event, we discussed how beauty, form and flow affects our living spaces, our homes and our lives. Have you ever been to Schöne Sache (translation: Beautiful Things) in Arisodorf yet?
There in Arisdorf lies an artist’s barn filled with artistics treasures and local yummy delights such as Wilde Weiber Wine. Sibylle Läubscher-Wehren runs the place and is a local Swiss artist/entrepreneur. She always has a freshly baked cake on hand and enjoys pop ins for coffee and cake!
This weekend Sibylle’s hosting a “Kultur Garden.”
At the Culture Garden you will find art and ceramics on display, as well as romantic musical concerts and readings. Arisdorf is only 20 minutes by car from Basel, so go! Let’s hope for some sunny weather.
Friday 22.7 – 14:00 – 18:00
Saturday 23.7 – 10:00 – 20:00, 21:00 – 22:00 by candelight
Sunday 24.7 – 10:00 – 17:00
Entry into the shop and artwork presentation is free! To attend the concerts on Saturday and Sunday, you would need to buy an entry ticket. For more details, log onto the website: http://www.kulturgarten.ch/
Sybille speaks perfect, perfect English with a lovely British accent… so no worries about the German skills.
Bed & Breakfast
Schöne Sache is not only an artist’s workshop, but also a B&B. Tucked behind the main workshop studio, you’ll find a cozy stand-alone cottage fit for a couple or for an individual who needs some space to think.
Some things from the shop...
So, let me know if you are going to go check out the Culture Garden.. so that I can catch a ride with ya
Vanessa Gatelein, Health Coach
Food Changes Everything
Discussion of design, drinking of wine, noshing of nibbles, what a great evening!
We all met at Erin & Erik’s place and began with a discussion of how to organize kitchens. What kind of cook are you? A weekend cook? One who likes company/help while cooking? And how long has it been since you really used that mandeleine pan that is taking up prime space in the front of your cabinet? Maybe this year you might consider a spring kitchen cleanup? This can be especially important for those of us with small Swiss kitchens (sSk) or small anywhere kitchens where we want to use space to its full potential. Wait a minute, maybe we all want to do that no matter the size of our kitchen!
Then the real fun began as Mishi McCoy (Defining Design, Fuquay Varina, North Carolina) conversed with us all about design. So much to consider, so many ideas, hard goods, soft, color, shape, movement of the eye! Hmmm, of course! Now why didn’t I think of that before?
Now, moving furniture time! Erin & Erik were willing hosts as we moved tables and chairs around, creating an inviting space to hang out by the kitchen, and a lovely dining area that almost has a bistro feel to it. Who knew???
Then we gathered our belongings and wandered downstairs, walked about 5 blocks, and started all over again at Angela & Chris’s place. A completely different space with different needs, and of course more wine and appetizers. Just a bit of conversation…
Then furniture moving again! Hey, is anybody filming this for HGTV???
And viola…a warm, inviting sitting space. Everyone immediately moved into the room, sat down and made themselves at home.
A few small changes, some ideas of pieces to add, colors to consider, and the design plans are off and running. Thanks so much to Mishi for her creativity, her ideas, and her enthusiastic way of sharing them. She had many words of wisdom; here are just a few of our favorites.
- Good design organizes our visual impressions.
- Symmetry is not comfortable. Balance is.
- No one answer is right. There are always multiple solutions.
- Don’t wait for the perfect piece. Get something now, make it beautiful today. Enjoy the space now, relax, meanwhile having fun continuing your search!
- Have fun with changes. These choices aren’t life or death, they aren’t permanent. Try it for a couple of weeks and then see what you think.
At ExpatKochen – our mission statement is: inspiring you to cook, wherever home may be. What fun it was to discuss how to make that home a beautiful place to be in, now, for cooking, sharing, and living in each day. Thanks to Mishi McCoy, our designer, and to our hosts, Erin & Erik, Chris & Angela. Thanks to Joëlle Martinelli of AperoIdees.ch for sharing some of her spectacular appetizers. And thanks to all who attended for making it such a successful evening!
What role does design play your life? In your kitchen and the presentation of your food? What about your home or the way you dress and shop? Join us as we discuss design over appetizers and wine. From the stunning presentation of your food to your beautiful home, come discover your creative eye.
We are thrilled to welcome designer Mishi McCoy from Defining Design of Willow Spring, North Carolina, US, to lead our evening. Mishi has designed kitchens, baths, home interiors, outdoor spaces and more. With almost 30 years experience as a designer working in various styles, Old World, Contemporary, Modern, Transitional, and Eclectic come watch as she works her magic on two very different spaces here in Basel. Join in the fun and conversation!
||Design, Wine & Nibbles; a conversation
||Kleinbasel (Details to follow)
||Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011—6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Hope to see you there!
Whoops – forgot something so important. Thanks to the generous attendees of our Australia Day event we were able to support the flood victims there with a donation of $160 Australian dollars to:
Premier’s Disaster Relief Appeal
Thanks to all who came for your generous giving!
Today (January 26) is officially Australia Day, and seems like the perfect time to peek at some pictures from our celebration last week. We were glad to come together in the home of our Aussie friends to learn more about this Australian holiday and to celebrate it together.
Once again, terrific food, wine, and conversation did their jobs to create another sensational evening. No stuffy cocktail party here!
Australia Day, 26 January, is the anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet of 11 convict ships from Great Britain, and the raising of the Union Jack at Sydney Cove by its commander Captain Arthur Phillip, in 1788. For more information and a chance to read about Australia Day and Reconciliation with the Indigenous people, click here.
Happy Australia Day.
The Expat Kochen Team
Join us for a friendly gathering in honor of Australia Day 2011! Officially January 26, we will be celebrating a week early. Bring a bottle of your favorite Australian wine to share, and, if you wish, an Australian appetizer, too! If you’re looking for some ideas be sure to check out this fantastic article by Snooth. See you there!
||A potluck gathering in honor of Australia Day 2011.
||Hauptstrasse 138, 4126 Bettingen
||Wednesday, January 19th, 2011—6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
||Free; however, offerings will be collected and donated to benefit the victims of Australia’s recent flood crisis.
Thanks to Nick & Liz, our Aussie friends, for hosting!