I have just returned from an extraordinary experience in Switzerland where, in just two days, I visited Lake Thun (and in particular Sigriswil, Thun and Oberhofen am Thunersee (where I would gladly go to spend the winter...), Lake Brienz (and in particular Iseltwald) and Bern, the capital of Switzerland. On the way back I stopped at the Coop to buy a bottle of water, but I was enchanted by the regional products counter and - in particular - by a Swiss cheese... then you know that one leads to another! So today I want to tell you about an amazing tasting I had with my husband of Swiss cheeses, French cheeses, Swiss charcuterie and chasselas wine. French cheeses of course are intruders... but when I see beautiful ones I can't resist!

I am not an expert on Swiss wine and I admit that - apart from this trip where I tasted a few glasses - I rarely come across it at the tastings I attend. As a 'scholar', however, I know that the grape variety chasselas doré is the most widely cultivated and finds its home in this area, so I decided to taste mainly wines made from this grape variety in purity. I had no plans to buy wine, but on the way back I was inspired and - not knowing the wine cellars in the area - I admit that I chose the most expensive one I found at the Coop near Sion (about 15 € for the standard bottle).

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As for cold meats, I chose two from Salaison D'Anniviers which unfortunately doesn't ship outside Switzerland... but they really are two gems! I chose the herb salami with only 6 ingredients: pork, beef, bacon, sea salt, spices and fruit sugars. The herbs are local, but we don't know exactly what it contains. The aroma, however, is really intense and I admit I was worried about the wine as soon as I opened it: you really need a lot of aromaticity not to succumb to such a product! The real treat, however, is the via de séchée, or beef jerky, which - apart from the almost prohibitive price of €102/kg - is a luxurious pampering. On the nose it is intense and aromatic with hints of black pepper and on the palate it is savoury and succulent (and addictive)! I was quiet about the savouriness: in my experience, mountain wines where the heat and sun do not abound are rarely particularly savoury. So although I was not familiar with this particular Swiss wine, I was full of high hopes! 😄

Swiss cheese chasselas wine

And now we come to Swiss cheeses and French cheeses. What would the world be without cheese? I can live without many things... but I think the triad of foods I cannot give up are: raw or marinated salmon, cheese and ice cream (pistachio and salted caramel). I particularly like blue cheese and the Bleu de Brebis Roquefort Gabriel Coulet it is a real treat that I recommend you try if you find it around! I liked it because it is intense and pungent, but at the same time more delicate than other Roquefort cheeses I have tasted and the texture is almost velvety. The second French cheese that excited me was what for me is a great classic: Riblaire, a delicious goat's soft cheese. 

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There was only one Swiss cheese in my trolley, but it turned out to be a spectacle! The Vacherin Fribourgeois AOP Rustic from Fromagerie Moléson. I would call it 'an aromatic stinker' simply exquisite! This cheese also initially made me doubt the combination because of its intense aromaticity and an almost 'wild' note, but I must say that when I tasted the wine I was pleasantly surprised.

Swiss cheese, French cheese and food pairings: let's talk about chasselas wine

Les Murettes Fendant AOC Valais 2020 by Maison Gilliard is an intense, brilliant straw yellow colour with golden hues. The nose is delicate, complex and elegant with mineral, citrine, buttery and mountain herb notes. In the mouth it is a quiet, consistent, very balanced wine with a discreet structure. It has great drinkability.

 

Swiss cheese chasselas wine maison gilliard

My first taste of Switzerland ends here... and have you ever eaten Swiss cheese or drunk chasselas wine? Do you have any to recommend? 

Cheers 🍷

Chiara

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