Somewhere, someplace there is a slab of white chocolate waiting for you... Camp Lucerne

Today was the first time in ages when we spent an entire day in one city in Switzerland. We felt we had enough of traipsing around the Swiss countryide in trains and decided to stay put in Lucerne for a day.

So we got chatting with the generous and friendly Simon at the front desk of Hotel Waldstatterhof (where I blog from) his gregarious and passionate colleague Ricky last evening.

We asked Ricky about the river cruise who saved us a lot of time by saying that we should only go if the sky is clear... which it wasn't today.

Kainaz then asked her about the Lindt ad in the travel book. Ricky pooh poohed it and went into elaborate description of the dark chocolate bar at Merkur, the chocolaterie, which is apparently '60 per cent hand made' and she strongly recommended the one with caramelised hazelnut which she keeps in her fridge at home. I could see the two women, K and Ricky, reach seventh heaven as Ricky described the richness of the dark chocolate.

We then asked Ricky about a cheese shop called Chas Barmettler which was featured in the guide book. Ricky assured as that it was the best place to buy cheese here as they have every cheese possible in Switzerlanfd andthat they vaccum pack it for you.

Armed with our unoffical Lucerne guide's advise K and I hit the streets of Lucerne today. As directed by Ricky we went onto the cobbled streets of old Lucerne. There was a nip in the air and we suddenly chanced upon a local market by the river bank. Fresh vegetables, fruits, chestnuts, cheese and a selection of meats ... a riot of colours which brightened up the grey morning.

A few more winding, aimless, relaxed lanes and we ended up at Chas Barmettler.

The shop was everything that Ricky promised. A wide selection of cheeses. And, unlike the local village fair shops where we couldn't communicate, there was a very friendly young girl who explained each and every cheese to us in English here. We tasted a few and I settled on the Gruyere from the French end of Switzerland, whose grainy texture I fell in love with in Montreux. And some Frommage. They vaccum packed it for us and I look forward to nibbling on them and dream of Switzerland back home in Bandra. They were also making quiches or cheese pies and we had them fresh from the oven for the first time.

A trip to a local mall where I had ham fried rice for lunch for the second day running. Call me reactionery if you must but I am Bong and I need my rice!

We langurously headed back to the hotel. Stopped at Merkur. Had the hazelnut dark chocolate slab recommended by Ricky who had also warned us that it would be expensive. We asked for a small piece. It was a bite of heaven and lived up to her billing. K was as ecstatic as a five year old on Christmas.

Starbucks coffee (tepid in mug, hot in takeaway) and gelattos by the magical Lucerne river and we headed back to the warmth of our hotel, the lovely Waldstatterhof.

Now here is where fate had more goodies for us. Yesterday I saw a slab of white chocolate with hazelnuts in a chocolaterie by the lake. I am not much of a dark chocolate man but was gamely accompanying K in her dark chocolate trails. But my heart was set on the white chocolate slab. We passed by the chocolaterie at around 7.30 PM. I thought it would be shut like other chocolate shops which shut by 6.30 PM.

But as Madhuri Dixit said in Yash Chopra's (Switzerland's biggest ambassador in India) film 'Dil to Pagal Hai', 'somewhere, someplace there is someone for everywhere'. And true enough. This was probably the only chocolaterie in Switzerland which is open up to 1030 PM and I happily munched on a small slab of white chocolate with hazelnuts.

And the fairytale doesn't end there. We did a couple of budget dinners at places like Mac D to get some sanity to our expenses. We had reconciled ourselves to the same tonight when we suddenly saw a pretty little pizzeria beside the chocolaterie facing the lake. And it is upon till one am and seems reasonable too.

So that's where we will head after another evening of spellcheck sans blogging.
1