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A VISIT TO BERN - DOC

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					A VISIT TO B ERN

The capital city of Switzerland, Bern not only houses the country’s legislative body, but also affords some great food
experiences to the traveler. Just about equidistant from Zurich or Geneva, Bern is about a 1 ½ -hour train ride fro m
either. A stroll through the arcaded streets of the center of the city will take you past chocolate shops, stores selling
beautiful embro idered linens and of course, dozens of restaurants. Don’t miss the famous clock tower or Zyttglocke,
where figures hammer bells, d ials move and things get pretty lively about every quarter of an hour. And of course, a
visit to Bern would not be comp lete without a visit to see the town’s mascots. The bear pits are located just a short
walk fro m the center of the city and are guaranteed to take your mind off anything more serious than these large, burly
pets. My favorites are the cubs that waddle around in their endearingly bottom-heavy way.

If seeing the bears get all that exercise gives you an appetite, you can stop in for a beer, a meal or a quick bite at the
ALTES TRAMDEPOT. Bu ilt on the former site of the terminus of the city’s trams, the restaurant houses a boutique
brewery and restaurant serving traditional and up-to-date Bernese fare. And as is true with many of the more casual
restaurants in Switzerland, there is always a section of tables available if you just want a coffee or a mineral water. I
sampled an excellent Berner Teller – a co mb ination of sauerkraut and various cured meats that is a specialty of the city
there. There are also soups, salads, simp le grilled meats and a couple of adventurous stir-fries – literally so mething for
everyone. The restaurant’s manager, Tho mas Bau mann, exp lained that the micro -brewery produces light, amber, and
wheat based unfiltered beers. Don’t neglect to stop at this traditional, but sleekly modern renovation if you are seeing
the bears.

Altes Tramdepot
Am Baerngraben
Gr. Muristalden 6
CH-3006 Bern
Telephone fro m the US: 011 4131 368 1415
Fax fro m the US: 011 4131 368 1416
Website: www.altestramdepot.ch

If you like unique specialty hotels, then the HOTEL INNERE ENGE is just right for you. The hotel houses Berne’s
best jazz club and every roo m is named for a filled with framed memo rabilia of the world’s great jazz stars. Privately
owned by Hans Zurbruegg and Marianne Gauer, the hotel has a charming round dining roo m at the back o f the build ing
that commands a great view of the lower city.
Though the hotel is a little outside the center of the city, a bus passes about every 15 minutes that makes the few-
minute descent to the lower town, or you can grab a cab and be anywhere you need to be in Berne in 5 to 10 minutes.
The rooms are spacious and comfortable -- I stayed in the Lionel Hampton room and there was a comfortable couch, a
desk and a table, plus a king-size bed. Prices range fro m 210 to 410 Swiss Francs for roo ms, higher for suites.

Hotel Innere Enge
Engestrasse 54
CH-3012 Berne
Telephone fro m the US: 011 4131 309 6111
Fax fro m the US: 011 4131 309 6112
E-mail: info@zghotels.ch
Website: www.zghotels.ch

A GREAT WINE SHOP
One of my favorite p laces to pick up a bottle of wine in Bern is Tredicipercento, a fun wine shop is a takeoff on the
Italian for 13%, the alcohol content of some wines. The helpful, friendly staff makes it easy to make a choice, whether
you are picking up a bottle to bring to friends or want some wine for a picn ic or an impro mptu celebrat ion. There is an
interesting selection of fine quality German Rieslings as well as the cream of the crop of Piemontese wines, for my
money the best in Italy (no I don’t want to fight it out with the Ch ianti lovers). You’ll also find some bottlings of
small-batch artisanally d istilled grappa, not to be missed.
Tredicipercento (opens at noon)
Rathausgasse 25
CH-3011 Bern
Phone fro m the US: 011 4131 311 8031
Website: www.tred icipercento.ch

GOING TO THE EMM ENTA L
No more than a twenty-minute drive fro m Bern, the Emmental region – the valley of the river Emme – is picture-
postcard countryside dotted with tiny villages, each with its own little guest -house restaurant and a store or two. The
Emmental also is the home of Swit zerland’s best known cheese, though Americans seldom call it Emmental – we just
refer to it as Swiss cheese. A day trip to the area should definitely include a stop at the Emmental show dairy in
Affoltern where you can see the actual cheese in production as well as have a glimpse, in the compound’s various
buildings, of dairy systems dating fro m the last century, right through to the present. There is a great gift shop where I
always load up on all my Swiss -cheese-abilia, and there are quite a few cow-shaped and cow-patterned items for the
collector.
One of my favorite restaurants in the Emmental is the GASTHOF ZUR SONNE in Grosshoechstetten. Run by Heinz
Stucki, the build ing that houses the restaurant has been in his family since the nineteenth century. Aside fro m the
restaurant, there is a spacious wine cellar where groups or individuals can meet fo r an aperit if before a meal of Stucki’s
well-p repared Emmental specialties. Stucki has also started experimenting with dis tilling and liqueur making and has
developed an apple brandy which he calls Emmegnac (the name is a take-off on the French Armagnac) as well as
several other fruit-spirit specialties. A traditionalist and regionalist, Stucki is doing his part to preserve the rich
culinary heritage of the Emmental. On the day I had lunch there, dessert -- a cru mbly meringue slathered with rich
Emmental cream was served on a bleached wooden cheese spatula. Though it looks suspiciously like a dust pan, the
spatula is used by the cheese maker to turn over the slightly clotted top of the milk in the earliest stages of the cheese
making process. The dessert was accompanied by thin wafers (the black wafer iron is also pictured) that shattered to
buttery crumbs on sight. If you’re in Bern and have a day to spare, don’t neglect to visit the Emmental, one of the
world ’s greatest rural agricultural areas.

Pro Emmental (Tourist Informat ion)
Schlossstrasse 3
CH-3550 Langnau im Emmental
Telephone fro m the US: 011 4134 402 4252
Fax fro m the US: 011 4134 402 5667
Website: www.emmental.ch
E-mail: info@emmental.ch

Emmental Show Dairy
CH-3416 Affoltern
Phone fro m the US: 011 4134 435 1611
Fax fro m the US: 011 4134 435 0151
Website: www.showdairy.co m
E-mail: info@showdairy.co m

Gasthof zur Sonne
Dorfstrasse 7
CH-3056 Grosshoechstetten
Telephone fro m the US: 011 4131 170 2030
Fax fro m the US: 011 4131 710 2039
Websites: www.stuckispirit.ch
www.sonnegrosshoechstetten.ch

RECIPE: POTATO AND CHEES E SALAD FROM THE EMMENTAL

This is a great main course salad for the warm weather headed our way pretty soon.

Salad
2 pounds small new potatoes, boiled in their skins, drained, cooled and sliced (you can leave the skin on)
2 large cucu mbers, peeled, halved, seeded and sliced
1 bunch radishes, stemmed, rinsed and sliced
1 bunch scallions, white part and a little green, sliced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
4 large eggs, started in cold water and boiled for 5 minutes, cooled, peeled and sliced
10 ounces Emmental, rind removed, sliced about1/4-inch thick and cut into 1-inch squares

Dressing
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
7 tablespoons salad oil o r mild olive oil

      1.   For the salad, co mbine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and use a rubber spatula to gently fold them
           together.
      2.   For the dressing, place all the ingredients but the oil in a s mall bowl and whisk to mix. Whisk in the oil a little
           at a time until added.
      3.   Pour the dressing over the salad and fold it in with a rubber spatula.
      4.   Cover bowl and keep the salad in a cool place until serving time. Mound the salad on a platter and serve.
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