Fat Dinner part 2

By | Fat, Switzerland | No Comments
Well after all that fat, dinner began with lean duck breast and salad, although it did have a healthy layer of fatty skin, I’m happy to say. Neumarkt chef Rene Zimmermann followed my recipe, using figs, which were in season, rather than blackberries that weren’t. This is exactly how recipes should be approached, smart alternatives rather than following them to the letter.
The main course was braised oxtail with suet dumplings. Cooking for over 50 guests and making my recipe for 6 are very different exercises. Chefs are good at scaling up recipes, but Rene made a small mistake, which he explained at the end of the meal. He used dry not fresh breadcrumbs to make the dumplings thinking it would be fine. It wasn’t and he was the first to admit it, the usually light dumplings were unfortunately dense.
We began with pork fat,  then duck fat followed by suet and now it was butter’s turn to star. Every fat covered in the meal – perfect. The final course was my pepper and orange pound cake, a rather Germanic choice, I thought as I never serve this type of cake for dessert. We washed all this down with a delicious Swiss red wine and then Rene introduced my husband to Alpwhisk.
This is a unique product and it’s history is here with a photo of chef Rene, he’s the taller one. If, like me, your German is very weak run the page through the translator, it is not great, but you’ll get the sense. Alpwhisk was the idea of Rene and Stefan Keller, an alcohol based on a mash of smoked chestnuts. The distilled alcohol is then aged in wine barrels. The production is small, a hundred or so bottles, and I bet we have the only bottle in North America. If you want to taste it you’ll probably have to go to Switzerland, we only have a couple of shots left.

Fat Dinner

By | Fat, Switzerland | 7 Comments
This plate of fat, was my snack before the fat dinner! I knew there was going to be lardo, that is what is filling my plate, but I didn’t know there would be such a choice. Chef Rene from Neumarkt restaurant, had been to Salone del Gusto and returned with six different types. He created lardo heaven.

You might recognize the most famous lardo Lardo di Colonnata, it’s the thick pale creamy back fat  on the right hand side of the photograph.  You can also see lardo made from cheek fat and one with a little meat attached.

Behind each plate of thinly sliced lardo was the whole piece of lardo and a photograph of the producer. It was interesting to discover just how different each piece of pork fat could taste, the result of the cure and how the pig was raised.
The odd man out in this lardo feast was a bowl of porcini butter, a recipe from my Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, with Recipes. All this fabulous fat was offered with a delicious, yes delicious, glass of lambrusco. What impressed me most, after all the tasty fat, was the way the guests were enjoying it, I was definitely not in North America. Everybody, young and old, male and female was piling their plates high with fat, and not one person was looking for crudités or something without fat. Never have I been amongst so many unabashed fat lovers, it almost made me want to move to Zurich.

London Notes

By | Fat, La Fromagerie, London, Marleybone High Street | One Comment

I was in London this week doing some promotion for Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, with Recipes and I spent a lot of time on Marylebone High Street. This is a great street that feels Parisian, it’s a popular London location for many French or French-style stores.
La Fromagerie is my favourite, a treasure of a store. If I lived in London it would have to be with in walking distance asit has everything I love, raw milk butter, cheese, charcuterie, wine, coffee and fresh fruit and vegetables. Next door is the Ginger Pig where I could shop for meat…. ahh perfect.

Also on the street is Daunt Books a wonderful Edwardian bookshop filled with natural light from graceful skylights and with oak galleries perfect for browsing. Although they specialize in travel books they have a good selection of all subjects including cookery. When I wasn’t eating I’d be here.

So if you happen to find yourself in London you must simply put aside time to walk along the high street. Start at La Fromagerie with some breakfast and plan to return for lunch with a glass of wine then you can wander further afield and explore Regent’s Park.
After all that exercise you’ll have the perfect excuse to return to La Fromagerie for a spot of afternoon tea.