If not obvious from the title, this blog post is about the amazing bread, cheese, and wine that I have been consuming non-stop since visiting friends in France and Switzerland. But before getting into all that, I want to start with the last thing on my list, the Swiss kiss, which I personally think is the bomb!
With different cultures come different ways to greet people. In the US, we shake hands when meeting someone for the first time and in business. We hug if we know them well, and of course, we kiss when we know them really well, yet, usually just a single kiss to the cheek. In France, there is the double kiss, which you greet everyone with for the first or fifteenth time with one kiss to both cheeks, yet in Switzerland, they go big and add in a third.
What could be better than three kisses for one hello or goodbye, which if you do the math, are actually six kisses total! That being said, the logistics can be a bit more challenging than a simple handshake or hug, and actually reminds me of ones golf swing, and if you are a golfer, you know exactly what I am referring to. A golf swing is not comprised of just placing your ball down, positioning your feet and club and swinging down on the ball. There are about fifty other things that race through your mind in order to hit the ball where you want it to go, and the same goes for the Swiss kiss. Simple right? Not so much!
Well, let’s start off with what I call the “lean-in”. You can’t lean in too close like you are going in for a hug, yet, you can’t be too far away as you will only pull off the “air-kiss”. The second is timing. There is no lingering on one cheek, this is a quick peck on the first cheek, move to the other for the second, and back to the first cheek for the third and final. Lastly, is the “lean-out”, which is making sure you started out correctly with the “lean-in”, being steady on both feet so you don’t fall out-of-balance, and Voilà!. So, there you have it… three simple steps to a successful Swiss kiss. If I add up the number of kisses to-date in both France and Switzerland, I would say I am up to at least 40 or so and feeling the love!
As for the wine, cheese, and bread, that I have been consuming like a caged animal, let me start off by saying, I will be changing my eating and exercise habits once back stateside. The breads are phenomenal, Baguette, Crêpe, Fougasse, Pane ticinese, and Zopf. And then there is the French and Swiss butter and various spreads to accompany the bread. While in the Swiss Alps, I was introduced to a biscotti-type spread by my friends’ kids that is to die-for! So much so that I had to buy a jar to share with friends back home. Yeah, right… we will see if it will last the week. Then there is the cheese… oh the cheese!!! Cow, sheep, goat, Gruyère from Switzerland, Picodon de l’Ardèche, and Saint-Félicien from the Rhône-Alpes, and, a couple amazing ways to eat cooked cheese is Raclette and Fondue, I play no favorites, (insert here… re-introduce myself to an exercise program when I return)! Lastly, the wine… any region in France and Switzerland will do, I am like a kid in a candy store, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, I have no shame, and I am not picky, I try them all!
That brings me to what I am doing now. It is Christmas Eve and I am on a train from Annemasse to Rennes, France where I will spend time exploring the area before meeting up with my cousins, who live in Brittany, which is in the northwesternmost region of France. After that, my schedule is up-in-the-air until New Years. Not sure which way the wind will blow me, I have been craving German food and beer, so Germany may be next in the queue. All I know is I will be back in the states prior to my 3-month tourist visa running out on February 11th, so until my next post, wishing you a fantastic holiday!