Cows at the Mont Cenis pass (10)

This past weekend thousands of Swiss cows participated in La Poya, the annual ascent to their high summer pastures in the Alps and once again mountain alpage meadows are, to quote that famous song, alive with the sound of music. The music of cowbells and mooing. In the Swiss-Romande, or French-speaking part of Swtizerland, this age-old transhumance procession is cause for celebration after a long winter…

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  One of the exciting things about my new home in the Swiss Chablais is the mind-boggling array of world-famous cheese produced all around me. This is where raclette, Switzerland’s most iconic melting cheese comes from and I have recently discovered a beautiful mountain farm I can hike to that produces an excellent version of it. The regions of Emmental, Gruyere, Abondance, Beaufort,…

enjoy!

For the first time in 15 years I don’t have a vegetable garden to tend. Instead I have two small planters filled with some fresh herbs I can’t live without (lovage, parsley, chives, basil and coriander). While I miss Petraia’s amazing orto, to be honest I don’t miss all the work that went with it. The organic produce I can…

Look at the intricate woodwork on this one, I would like to move in .

It’s ironic the Emmental Valley is one of Switzerland’s least visited regions. Not only does it possess some of the country’s most iconic landscape, it is the homeland of the famous and oft-imitated “Swiss cheese” as Emmental is called by so many of us. The region, and its famous cheese, are named after the Emme River and you can arrive here in…

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  Hello Everyone! This is a long overdue update to let you know I am alive and well and living in Switzerland. I’m sorry I have not posted much since the big move from La Petraia, but alas I lost my muse. Petraia was the inspiration for so many of my posts and after leaving her I have needed some time to…

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  I was never much of a fruit cake fan until I started drying the figs, grapes, mulberries, hazelnuts and almonds we harvested at Petraia. Then I began researching traditional European holiday fruit breads in an effort to find easy and delicious ways to preserve them. There are probably hundreds, if not thousands, of these breads…

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  At this time of the year in Northern Europe the Belgian endive is making its annual appearance, and it stays most of the winter.  It is one of my winter go-to vegetables because it is locally grown, a good keeper and extremely versatile. It can be used in salads but is also lovely braised, grilled, roasted…

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    Fifteen years ago Michael and I followed a 3km mule track into the Chianti Mountains through a tangled oak forest and past an alley of four hundred year old mulberry trees to arrive at the door of a thousand year old casa colonica. La Petraia’s expanse lay before us, abandoned as a working farm for over…

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