I knew I was in cheese heaven when the conference I had gone to attend at Montreux had research agencies with stalls offering cheese and wine. I got my first taste of Gruyere and other Swiss cheese treasures here. Rumours that I spent all the time here and not in the auditorium are a CIA conspiracy as we used to say in Calcutta and can be blamed on the media.
Our next stop was Berne where we came across a lazy afternoon market while searching for Einstein's House. There was a cheese stall too amongst the fresh fruits, flowers and trinkets... but Einstein wasn't around to decode the types of cheese for me. Or to tell me whether the cheese would travel the distance from Berne to Zermat to Interlaken to Lucerne to Zurich to Dubai to Bandra...relatively speaking.
Lovely Lucerne, the lake and then a Saturday market. Fruits, meats, smokes salmon, wild antelopes, cheese of course. But the eternal questions remained ... what cheese should I take? Will it surivive the trip?
That's when K spotted an ad for 'vacuum packed cheese' in the local guide book. We went to Frank and Ricky, the helpful folks at Hotel Christiana. Ricky strongly directed us to the shop, Chas Barmettler, with promises of the most complete range of cheese in Switzerland.
Walk down the yellow brick road and we came upon Chas Barmettler. And what a sight to welcome us!!! Fresh cheese pies or quiches baked in a little oven by the door. A more tempting sight than even Marilyn Monroe and the billowing skirt.
There was a young lady who listened to my questions and then sagely said in English that hard cheese travel better than soft ones. She deserved a Nobel for this. After figuring out that I preferred the stronger variety she packed in Gruyere (I fell in love with its grainy, salty bite at the conference stall) and Luc Noir and my favourite racelette (which she discouraged me from tasting as she said it doens't taste good raw).
She vacuum packed the cheese. Everything survived the long journey very well. I have finished the Gruyere and am trying to stretch the Luc Noir as much as possible now. I wish i had bought more.
And the prices where the same as the departmental stores while one would have expected it to be more expensive.