February 1, 2014

Traditional Swiss Dining Experience And A Missing Plug

Our tour guide Roos was a wealth of information, Grand Circle Tour guides, are from the general area where your tour is taking place, so they are knowledgeable of the history, culture, folklore, and politics. Roos, age thirty, she willingly told us her age, was from the Netherlands had a pleasant and bubbly personality, with a booming voice that could be heard even if you were standing in the back of the group.

I was determined to experience the foods from different countries, I am known to be a picky eater. While I was in Switzerland, I wanted to dine in a traditional Swiss restaurant. Roos recommended Walliser Kanne, which was located, in the Gebergasse pedestrian area, in the heart of Basel's old city, and within walking distance from our hotel.

The restaurant was small, perhaps intimate, would describe it better with accommodations for fifty diners. A banquet hall was located upstairs.

Tables were placed close to each other, which I imagine didn't allow for private conversations. Roos explained to us that when you made a reservation at a restaurant, you booked the table for the entire evening. No waiter/waitress to rush you along so the next patron could be seated. Nope, eating at a Swiss restaurant was a social event that often lasted late into the night, it was an event filled with eating, drinking, and socializing.

This is the tiny kitchen area, where you were able to watch the chef prepare the food.

Something very interesting to me about tipping. The waiters/waitress in Switzerland make a good wage, not like in our restaurants, in the United States, so tipping is a little different. They don't go by the rule of 15 - 20%  of your bill for a tip. If you have received good service during your meal, you round up your bill.  For example, your bill was $19.37 you leave $20.00.  Poor service, just pay the bill.

A group of twenty-one people participated in the optional land tour visiting Switzerland before we boarded the boat for our river cruise. We were a small friendly group and friendships were formed quickly. We became friendly with a group of four women who were from Virginia, and from the first day to the last day we ate, toured and laughed together.  A friendship was formed with these four amazing women, but I will have more about these ladies in a different post.

Our friends from Virginia seated next to the wall, with my friend of forty three years Joyce, whom I was traveling with, and I am in the bright green fleece.

The menu was in written, in many different languages, thank goodness English was one of them. 

The first dish we ordered was a cheese fondue, this cheese was smooth, salty, and coated the bread chunks to make a small bite of goodness. I am not a big cheese lover, but I did enjoy this fondue.

That whole piece of goodness, all of it, went right into my mouth. Yummy!

Raclette is indigenous to parts of Switzerland, the Raclette cheese is heated in front of a fire, or a special machine, and scraped onto a plate, toasted side up. It is accompanied with small potatoes, gherkins, and baby pickled onions. 

A bite of Raclette, cheese, potaot, pickled onion, and gherkin, very tasty mouthful.

After the fact, which is when I always learn new lessons, I was told that you should drink white wine while eating your Raclette, other drinks, for example, water will cause the cheese to harden in your tummy causing indigestion. Yep, I drank water, but I was fortunate that no tummy issues occurred.

My Swiss dining experience wouldn't be complete without dessert, and so we all ordered Crepes Suzette that was prepared table side.

A beautiful tray filled with the crepes along with the burner were brought out near our table so we could watch as our dessert was being made. 
It's a miracle that our waiter didn't go blind from our cameras flash as he cooked our crepes. Here, he is pouring sugar into the pan.

The liqueur is poured on top of sugar, and the flame is ignited.

The waiters step back as the flame burns off the alcohol.

Preparing our desserts plates.

I must admit this was my favorite part of the meal.

And just so you know I was a member of the clean plate club!

On the wall, just above my friend Joyce's head, was this picture. I looked at this picture of a curvaceous woman in a reclining position with food draped on various parts. Oh how I wish I knew what the words under the picture were! 

Remember I told you earlier, that I seem to learn lessons after the fact, well here is a great example. When you are told to bring a converter for your American electronics. That means to bring all of the plugs included in the pouch.

If you don't you will have to go to the front desk and see if they have any converter parts so you can charge your electronics.

I just brought the red and black part, but I needed the correct plug for Switzerland, this is what the front desk came up with so I could charge my iPad and iPhone. A whole lot of plugs to get some power, but it worked!



  1. Hehehehehe! I couldn't help but laugh at your "connection" solution. 35 years ago when I toured Europe for the first time, I blew out the electricity fuses in my hotel when I tried to use my American hair dryer. Travel agencies are STILL not preparing tourists! I am enjoying your travel stories. Linda@Wetcreek Blog

  2. That's one of the fun parts of travelling, trying the native food!! Fun post!

  3. How lovely to have the table for the entire evening rather than feeling like you have to rush - that's a very civilized idea!
    That's a lot of cheese on the plate - I guess the gherkins and onions are to cut through the fattiness of it? The crepes look wonderful!
    I agree with Linda - I'm loving hearing about your travels too. x

  4. I remember fondue way back years ago. It was all the rage and it has come back again although I have not had any this time around. Those crepes look divine!