December 21, 2009

A wintery treat

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The temperature in Hong Kong has dropped significantly over the last week, and as I have been shivering in my apartment with typical thin walls, my thoughts have been turning to traditional winter meals.  I can always count on a few people to go for fondue, and we made a date to go to Swiss Chalet.

The restaurant is doing brisk business now that it has gotten colder, and they were very full when I arrived.  The atmosphere was warm (both literally and figuratively), and the beautiful smell of cheese filled the room.  I could hardly wait...

While I was tempted to start with a green salad, I wanted to do something a little bit more interesting.  To my dismay the restaurant ran out of puff pastry to make the lozärner chügeli pastetli, filled with veal, sweetbreads and the like.  I had to settle for warthog and mushroom sausage with mustard sauce and rösti.  This was kinda interesting, because the texture was harder and chewier than your normal German/Swiss wurst.  Unfortunately there were a lot of spices in the sausage, and together with the mustard sauce pretty much covered up any distinctive taste of the warthog meat.  The rösti was OK...I would have preferred it to be more browned.

Three of us shared a nice pot of es purre fondüü mit chnobli mit öpis filee, Härdöpfeli und gmües while my friend's wife took the raclette.  I wanted this version because of the Vacherin, and having some beef tenderloin cubes is a bit better than only getting the usual sides.  I do like raclette, but today I was in the mood to play with my food, and fondue is so much more fun!

I was happy with the cheese...especially after a while when some of the wine had evaporated and the mixture starts to thicken at the bottom of the caquelon.   We didn't manage to finish all the cheese, but were pretty stuffed already...

I brought a bottle of the 2007 De Villaine Bouzeron to go along with the fondue, as a lean wine such as Aligoté is meant to pair well with the dish.  Sure enough, the wine showed steely minerals with a good amount of acidity to cut through the richness of the cheese.  There was some degree of ripeness on the palate, and the wine tasted a little "hot".

While we all thought there was no more room for dessert, I scanned the dessert menu and found sabayon mit beereli undeme schuss cassis.  Warm sabayon has been one of my favorite desserts since my high school days in Singapore, and it's really hard to find.  Of course I wasn't gonna pass it up!  The whipped egg yolk cream arrived in a brandy snifter, and the waitress poured some crème de cassis into the glass, settling on top of different berries at the bottom.  I was smiling as I scooped spoonfuls of the stuff into my mouth.  The rich, eggy taste of it (apparently made with 2 yolks) combined with the sweet Marsala wine was just so yummy.  It's been too long since I last had a good, warm despite being really full - and past the point where I stopped enjoying each incremental spoonful - I chose to finish the whole thing.

If there was a way for me to walk back home to the Hong Kong side, I would have.  After a meal like this - and I don't want to know the calorie count - it almost seems appropriate to curl up somewhere and hibernate...  It was certainly a perfect meal for a chilly winter night.

1 comment:

Lambda said...

I rarely don't get hungry when I read your blog but this time I'm craving for something not exactly relevant. Let's get a group of people to go 打邊爐 when you are back from Shanghai. I haven't had DBL for a long tiime, maybe more than 2 years.


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