When I first made the decision to move to Switzerland in 2002, my greatest concern was not what you might imagine. Yes, of course, I was going to miss family and friends , the beach, the weather , the San Francisco Bay Area in general, but more specifically: the wine! Yes, California wine was something that I thought I could not live without. Loving wine as I do, I am admittedly not an expert. I did not see this as boding well for a successful life in Switzerland, especially because my husband is not a wine drinker let alone a connoisseur. To compound matters, the case of wine from my beloved home state mysteriously missed the boat – literally. Not a good start to my new life.
My first introduction to what my adopted country had to offer literally brought me to tears … it was that bad. Well, like so many things, a first bad impression is hard to shake. I am pleased to share that since these early years, I have discovered through trial and error and with the guiding hand of some locals that French and Italian wines; albeit among my favorites, are not the only options for this California girl. I discovered that Switzerland has some rather good wine! … Actually Great wine. Really! I kid you not.
Some facts: Although Swiss wine is not well know outside of Europe, its obscurity elsewhere is not related to its level of quality. According to Swiss Cellars , the production yield of Swiss wine, which is roughly 30% of the domestic consumption, as the main reason the wine stays close to home in spite of more than 37,000 acres of vineyards; 34 million gallons of wine produced. Whereas most of the vineyards are in Western Switzerland, you can find some « not to be missed » vineyards throughout the country.
Perhaps it goes without saying, but food and wine go nicely together. In addition to enjoying wine, I enjoy cooking and Switzerland supports this hobby brilliantly, but that’s another post. When the fall and winter weather arrive, my California inner child tends to quake, no-pun intended, so I head to the kitchen for some solace. This fall I came across a post somewhere discussing Macaroni & Cheese. This inspired me to create not only a variant of that childhood dish but also of the well know Swiss Speciality « Älpler Macaroni » or Alpen Macaroni. But which wine to choose?
Normally, I prefer a red wine and often disregard the experts who might suggest a white would go better with XYZ dish. Nevertheless, I was determined to follow the expert advice and find a swiss white wine to accompany my fall creation. The one I chose was truly beautiful ! It’s straw yellow color, fruity notes and crispy citrus taste was an amazing complement to my cheese inspired creation. This gem was from the Robert Gilliard cave in Valais near to the the Italian boarder. The ROBERT GILLIARD LES MURETTES FENDANT ( aka. Chasseleas) is medal winner not only in Europe but has been called out by Food&Wine as one of the « Great Swiss Wines ». I highly recommend you give this wine a try!!
I am always looking for feedback on food and wine pairings that are accessible as everyday menus items. If you have tried this lovely white wine from Robert Gilliard and have a recipe to share or have discovered other Swiss wine gems, I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas!