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This part of Switzerland is home to the highest mountains in the Alps. The climb up to the myriad of mountain huts and towering peaks throughout the Alps is frequently both long and arduous. Climbers have to bring their own snack to eat once they have reached the summit.
This snack, or “Brotzeit”, traditionally consists of a large piece of “Speck” (bacon), a slice of cheese, some “Schwarzbrot” (dark rye bread) and a salted radish, all washed down with a bottle of beer. Many mountain huts still expect visitors to bring their provisions with them. To that end, the traditional “Kraxe” – a type of rucksack with a wooden frame – is still in use today. The oldest archaeological discovery of a “Kraxe” dates from the Neolithic period, more than 5,000 years ago.
This Alpine region lies between Lyon in the west and Turin and Milan in the southeast and is an area that prides itself on its wonderful risotto. The key to a good risotto is to ensure that the rice is cooked “al dente,” so that it is neither too hard nor too soft.
This dish owes its existence to the artist Valerio di Fiandra. On 8th September 1574, on the occasion of his daughter’s wedding, he served guests bowls of golden-yellow rice, richly seasoned with saffron. In those days people liked to sprinkle dishes with gold dust in the firm belief that this would bring a glow first to the soul and then to the face.
This beautiful section of Mediterranean coast, which runs all the way from the Gulf of Lyon and the Côte d’Azur to the Italian Riviera, revels in a wealth of wonderful seafood.
One of the signature dishes of this coastal region is “Bouillabaisse,” a soup created by fishermen in the old port district of Marseille as a way of using up all the fish that had not been sold. Once considered a dish for the poor, it has over the years become a prized delicacy. At least four different types of fish are added to a boiling fish stock containing garlic, fennel, tomatoes, saffron and olive oil. These may include scorpion fish, gurnard, John Dory, monkfish and conger eel.