Happy New Year from Grindelwald, Switzerland

8 January 2013

Post image for Happy New Year from Grindelwald, Switzerland

Happy New Year everyone!

We welcomed in the New Year with our lovely neighbours over good food, wine and smelly cheese, followed by a spectacular display of fireworks over Lake Zurich. The following day, we headed to the mountains of Grindelwald for a change of scenery. Anyone who has watched the classic Clint Eastwood film, The Eiger Sanction, will be somewhat familiar with the famous Eiger mountain that dominates Grindelwald. Unfortunately, I never made it to the ski slopes on this occasion, mostly due to lethargy brought on by round-the-clock feeding and midnight partying at the Little One’s request. That said, despite our initial hesitations about travelling with such a young baby, we had such an enjoyable and relaxing time that we ended up extending our stay.

Quite often when on holidays, eating out at restaurants several times a day for several days in a row can be tiring and make one homesick and anxious for a home-cooked meal. But when you are a new parent, sleep-deprived and out of ideas for one-pot and super-quick dishes, eating out happens to be a real blessing.

Like most popular ski resorts in Switzerland, Grindelwald boasts many good restaurants featuring local fare and hearty cheese dishes to replenish your energy levels after a day in the snow. Our favourite place was the Bäckerei-Konditorei-Café Ringgenberg, a casual eatery which we frequented each morning for a late breakfast (often because we were too tired to make it on time for breakfast at the hotel) and we sometimes even lingered long enough to stay on for lunch.

The café is attached to a bakery which produces a sumptuous array of breads and pastries to satisfy a good continental breakfast, and their lunch menu is appetising to those seeking either a light meal or something more substantial. They serve a very delicious and hearty goulash soup – it was so good that I forgot to take a photo on the three separate occasions that I ordered it for lunch, greed taking priority over publishing. And their toast sandwiches were also delightful. Perhaps my foodie standards are slipping somewhat if I am suddenly critiquing toast sandwiches, but when something simple is made so well, it’s hard to be snobby.

And just look at how cute they are …

toast-sandwich-1

toast-sandwich-2

toast-sandwich-3

If you are looking for other restaurant recommendations in Grindelwald, some places to try are:

Bistro Memory A casual restaurant with lots of rustic charm. A shared fondue and a glass of Glühwein makes the world a better place.

Restaurant Barry’s Although this restaurant is located in the city centre, the interior could fool you into believing you were in some cosy ski chalet, albeit a fairly large and trendy one. Try their varied options for Cordon Bleu or perhaps something from their “light” menu if all the cheese is giving you too much speed on the slopes.

Restaurant Challibar Hubby declared their Älplermagronen to be the best pasta dish he’s ever eaten.

Restaurant Rendez-vous A bustling restaurant with a varied menu. Their veal escalopes with mushroom sauce, served with pasta, is a nice change to the more heavier dishes.

What I also love about this time of the year is the food associated with the celebration of the Epiphany. I love the Galette des Rois which is produced in abundance by the French bakeries, but I particularly enjoy the Dreikönigskuchen (or King’s Cake) which is popular in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. This particular “cake” is actually a bread made from brioche dough with a little token hidden inside one of the buns, the finder of which is crowned “King” for the day.

{A Dreikönigskuchen from Sprüngli, made with a rich brioche dough with a base filled with a paste made from ground nuts}

{A Dreikönigskuchen from Sprüngli, made with a rich brioche dough with a base filled with a paste made from ground nuts}

{A Dreikönigskuchen from Bäckerei Ringgenberg filled with raisins}

{A Dreikönigskuchen from Bäckerei Ringgenberg filled with raisins}

It’s just a shame that Dreikönigskuchen is available for such a limited time because I know I could sit down to a bun or two everyday at breakfast.

As for culinary resolutions for 2013 … I believe I still have to tick off some items from last year. Although, my short term goal is to re-enter the kitchen after a much-needed break since giving birth. My dear husband has, in the interim, been grateful to have had full command of the kitchen, churning out an amazing array of dishes that, quite frankly, puts me to shame and threatens my return to the stove. If I don’t pick up my act soon, he might even take over this blog! ;-)

Stay tuned for some new recipes as well as a further review of The Little Paris Kitchen as promised in this post.

Do you have any culinary resolutions for 2013?

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Liz Headon 8 January 2013 at 4:40 pm

The view and the food are sooo tempting ! I haven’t been to Grindelwald, or in fact to anywhere in Switzerland, since I was in my teens, and that’s rather a long time ago, but I do hope to get there again one of these days…

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eat, little bird 9 January 2013 at 5:12 pm

If you’re ever in the neighbourhood, please let me know ;-) We’re hoping to have more holidays in Switzerland this year so hopefully I will have more Swiss posts for my blog.

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Caroline 8 January 2013 at 5:00 pm

Happy new year!! What a great idea to head to beautiful Grindelwald during the holidays and escape the gray weather down here! We actually spent Christmas day in loud, colorful, exciting, delicious Ho Chi Minh City so after that, our New Year here in Zürich in the gray weather was a bit of a let down :) We should have headed to the Alps too.
Those toast sandwiches make me drool and I am not even a big sandwich fan (well except for the banh mis of course!) :) Thanks for your addresses in Grindelwald, I hope to be able to check them out this winter.

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Caroline 8 January 2013 at 5:05 pm

Oops forgot to answer your question! My culinary resolutions are to cook more often from my cookbooks, to make my own flour tortillas, to cook fish and seafood more often (we eat too much meat i think), to try Yemeni food (hopefully I will find a restaurant somewhere because I have no Yemeni recipes!), and to cook for friends more often.

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eat, little bird 9 January 2013 at 5:17 pm

I hope you had a fantastic time in Vietnam in December! I’m so envious of all of the delicious food you would have eaten – yum!!

It was nice for us to be in the mountains over New Years, just for a change of scenery. Luckily, Grindelwald is such a beautiful area with great restaurants that we really enjoyed our time there.

Your culinary resolutions sound very intriguing! I tried making flour tortillas last year, using a recipe from The Little Paris Kitchen. They turned out to be too thick but it felt good, nonetheless, to make them myself. I’ve also felt the same way about eating more seafood but I still have to get around to familiarising myself with the fish on this side of the world.

With all of the great cookbooks that you have, I’m sure your friends are dying to try out your cooking more!

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Melange 8 January 2013 at 5:11 pm

Loved reading you Thanh.happy that you enjoy this motherhood.Relax and yes,this is that time to enjoy and appreciate ‘the man in your life’ for such blessings..Enjoy to the fullest and come back with a bang !

I read about this king’s cake somewhere and that’s such tempting clicks you put there..And the sandwiches,I think these are made to sit back and enjoy..Get a comfy chair,nice book,few sandwiches like that,I will make it my day !

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eat, little bird 9 January 2013 at 5:30 pm

Thank you :-) I am really enjoying motherhood so far, although I wasn’t quite prepared for the sleep deprivation! But all in all, it is a really special time for us.

All the best for you and your cooking also this year!

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Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar 8 January 2013 at 5:27 pm

They have such fabulous hiking there! I lived a short 30 minute train ride from there for 2 summers and loved checking out all of the amazing trails. You’re so lucky! I’ve never seen it in winter.

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eat, little bird 9 January 2013 at 5:32 pm

How lucky you were to live in this area! I have heard that Grindelwald is also really lovely in summer. My husband is a keen hiker so I hope we will return to the area soon. I have a feeling that we might be back again before the winter is over :-)

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Paula 8 January 2013 at 5:28 pm

Happy New Year!! :) :)
It sounds really nice how you welcomed 2013 ;)

I know Dreikönigskuchen, but never taste it. Have to try!!
Here in Spain, with Epiphany, we eat Roscón de Reyes, that is also similar to brioche ;)
We hide a little figurine, and who find it is the King; but we also hide a bean, and who find it will pay next year Roscón.

I haven’t make any culinary resolution for this year, but I should!! :P

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eat, little bird 16 January 2013 at 2:26 pm

Happy New Year, Paula!

The Roscón de Reyes sounds quite similar to the Dreikönigskuchen, and I like the sound of someone paying for it next year!

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manu 9 January 2013 at 9:28 am

These pics are stunning.
Happy New Year to you too.
xox

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eat, little bird 16 January 2013 at 2:26 pm

Thanks, Manu! Happy New Year also to you and your family :-)

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anita menon 10 January 2013 at 2:45 pm

Wishing you and your beautiful family a Happy new year. A vacation during the early days of having a baby seems likea swell idea. The food looks scrumptious!!

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eat, little bird 16 January 2013 at 2:27 pm

Happy New Year to you also, Anita! I hope you and your family have been well.

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nicola 11 January 2013 at 1:08 pm

Happy New Year to you and your family Thanh :-) Looking at these pictures make me long to visit Switzerland even more! Maybe one day I will :-) My culinary resolutions for 2013? Bake more bread and try the more complex recipes I’ve been afraid to try. I’m also going to try and stop buying so many cookery books and concentrate on the ones I already have. This was one of my 2012 resolutions but I failed miserably! X

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eat, little bird 16 January 2013 at 2:29 pm

Happy New Year, Nicola! I think my resolutions might be similar to yours. Since hubby has been doing most of the cooking lately, he’s put me to shame with all of the complex recipes he has attempted, making me feel that I ought to make more of an effort in the kitchen! First I need to muster up the energy to do some proper cooking again soon – the motivation is there, but the energy is not!

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Rushi 14 January 2013 at 8:34 am

Happy New Year to you, your hubby and your new baby boy! Hope this year brings you lots of happiness! You’re spot on, those sandwiches look so cute and now I’m dying to try out the Dreikönigskuchen.

As for my culinary resolutions would be to cook more healthy food and bake more often. Also to add a couple more new cookbooks to my collection (I figured that trying to curb my spending on cookbooks wouldn’t work) :)

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eat, little bird 16 January 2013 at 2:30 pm

Happy New Year, Rushi!

Ah you are smart … if you are likely to be adding cookbooks to your collection, may as well make it part of your resolutions ;-) I like that!

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The Patterned Plate 15 February 2013 at 12:11 pm

A bit late with this one, but Happy New Year hahahaah!!! I’ve only had time this afternoon to stop for a bit and do some well deserved catching up and your blog is always such a visual treat ;-)

That opening shot is breathtaking…how utterly spell binding! I would love to be there, for the food, to be honest, more than the skiing. I adore the fact that you guys lounged around in the cafe that breakfast moved seamlessly to lunch. I love that kind of ease, it speaks of such a relaxed time. Which, with a tootie to take care of, is desperately needed. ;-)

All the best for the rest of the year Thanh :-)

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eat, little bird 17 February 2013 at 12:54 pm

Thanks, Carrie! Hope you’ve had a good start to the year also :-)

I do enjoy skiing (although I’m not very good at it!) but it was nice to just be in the mountains, relaxing with good food and a cup of coffee nearby. It was during this trip that we discovered that our Little One sleeps very well with the background noise in cafés and restaurants – how very convenient for us ;-)

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