As food, wine, and travel writers, Norm and I are invited to many events in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York. and occasionally Chicago. Living in Phoenix, L.A. is 6+ hours and everything else a flight. Neither Norm nor I am complaining, as we are happy to be invited to lovely events. Unfortunately, we usually have to send regrets, as it would make an extremely expensive day. We were thrilled when we got an invitation from Amade Perrig, former president of Zermatt Tourism, and Maja Gartman, West Coast media relations for Switzerland Tourism, to attend a raclette luncheon in the Greater Phoenix Area.
For 2013, Switzerland is celebrating “Living Traditions.” Our luncheon reflected them with the raclette and Toblerone mousse with strawberries. I had experienced raclette in Gruyere in the 80s. Today, the Zermatt area cheese and the lovely hospitality of Amade and Gina in their home were delightful.
We first enjoyed quiche and wine, while our group from the Greater Phoenix Area grilled Amade about the Zermatt and Matterhorn region.
As a finishing touch, we all enjoyed traditional Toblerone Chocolate Mousse with some strawberries on the side. Such a delight!
Earlier, when I visited Switzerland in the 80s, I learned a lot about traditions. But very little compared to what we discovered in 2010 when Norm and I were with Maja on an IFWTWA media trip. We were fortunate to experience many of the living traditions in the Appenzell region. We saw a parade of cows coming down from the Alps for the winter. They were spotless and decked out with huge bronze bells that have been in families for generations. The entire family and workers were dressed in traditional attire.
We were also fortunate to see one of the artisans who makes bells, brass suspenders and popular tourist bells. We each hammered key rings for our own use. We hiked, enjoyed Appenzell cheese and crafts. This region, like many in Switzerland, seems to be living with traditions of the past and yet provides WiFi.
We took trams, the bus system, and most of all traveled easily around the country via train. Swiss Rail makes everything easy.
We traveled to the Lake Geneva region and Lausanne–from wineries to the sophistication and history of Lausanne and small villages in between.
What we have discovered about Switzerland is that we want to make several trips back. Each canton, which would be similar to a state in the U.S., has its own personality.
We are longing to take the Glacier Express from the north down to the Zermatt Matterhorn region. But that is just a start, as we definitely want to visit luxury hotels, resorts and spas and write and blog about our experiences.
I’ve included the video on Living Traditions of Switzerland, as it shows more than I can cover in this post. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do.
Board Member, Co-Chair Conference & Media Trip Committee, Past President
Freelance Lifestyle Journalist
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