Monday, December 31, 2012

Wishing you "ALL"

                          " Happy New Year"

            2013 with lots Success and
            happiness to the heart


Thursday, December 27, 2012

History of Belgium

Belgium has been a land of conflict throughout the turbulent history of Europe. Initially settled by migrating tribes from Eastern Europe and then thrown into conflict by the Roman invaders, the Visigoths, then the Spaniards. Then it became the battle ground between the Kings of France and England in the hundred years wars and the Napoleonic wars; then, between Prussian and German forces and the Allies in WWI and WWII. Since WWII Belgium has had a period of peace.

The word “Belgium” has its origin in the name “Belgica” which the Romans gave to the northern part of Gaul, which Julius Cesar conquered a few decades before the Common Era. It is based on the name of the fierce tribes which they had to subdue there.

A quick synopsis

In the Middle Ages, Belgium was divided in fiefdoms: 
  • Flanders by the sea, 
  • The Duchy of Brabant, 
  • The Principality of Liège along the Meuse river
Trade created the base for Merchant Barons to extract independence from those feudal lords. 

Then, during the Hundred Years War, several battles were fought in present day Belgium, like the one at Sluis, where the French King lost his fleet. 

Late in the Middle Ages, the area was unified with Holland and Luxemburg under the rule of the Dukes of Burgundy, a family related to the Kings of France, then the Habsburg Emperors, and finally the Kings of Spain. It's ironic that during this period of external rule, the sponsorship of royalty led to the world renown of the Flemish painting school with Van Eyck, Breughel, Memling and others. Later Antwerp became a center of arts, where Rubens, Jordanians and Van Dyck worked.

In 1792, following the French Revolution, France invaded the Netherlands, which were annexed and became part of Napoleon’s Empire. This rule culminated at the end of the Napoleonic Wars where Napoleon met his Waterloo, where else but the battlefield of Europe, Belgium.

Then in 1830 the Belgians revolted against Dutch rule and became independent and adopted its first Constitution with a limited monarchy.

The second half of the 19th Century was a period of dynamic industrial and economic development ranking among the leading economies of the world, its GDP roughly equal to that of the United States.

Then here we go again. In 1914, the German Empire invaded neutral Belgium in order to outflank the defenses of the French army. Unexpectedly, the Belgian army resisted and fought on, holding a small part of unoccupied Belgian territory north of Ypres, alongside the British and French armies, until the Armistice of 1918. Because of their heroic defense Belgium and its King, Albert I, enjoyed enormous international prestige after the war.

The battle of the Bulge was fought under very tough weather conditionsIn 1940, Germany again invaded neutral Belgium, which became one the few European countries to have been occupied twice in a century. This time the Belgian army had to surrender after about two weeks, like the French army a few weeks later. In the years after World War II Belgium became one of the pioneers of European unification and Brussels is the seat of the EU and NATO.

Belgium’s internal politics are largely dominated by the disagreements between the Flemish in the North and the Walloons in the South. However creative constitutional arrangements have been developed over the years, giving the two communities a large degree of autonomy and bloodshed has always been avoided. The main constitutional reform which transformed Belgium into a federal state was introduced in 1980, 25 years ago.

Happy ending to this story

Today the economy ranks amongst the 15 largest GDP's in the world and is largely based on manufacturing, the mechanical and chemical industries and trade, the port of Antwerp being one of the ten largest in the world and the second in Europe.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

How careful should you be going to Belgium

Crime in Belgium

The most common crimes that occur in Belgium are petty thefts - purse snatching and pick pocketing is common in the bigger cities and is usually directed at foreign tourists. Prime pick pocketing areas include busy tourist attractions in all of the major towns as well as train and bus stations. In Brussels particularly notable areas where pick pocketing and snatch crimes occur frequently:
  1. North Station (Noordstation or Gare du Nord),
  2. Central Station (Central Station or Gare Central);
  3. South Station (Zuidstation or Gare du Midi)

Protect yourself against crime

Be especially careful during the tourist season and in high traffic areas such as festivals and other places that attract large crowds. Late night trains where tired passengers often fall asleep are a favorite of pick pockets.The rules are the same in Belgium as elsewhere.

The Don't to avoid

  1. Don't become alone at night in dark places
  2. Don't carry your wallet in the open
  3. Don't carry more cash that you need that day
  4. Don't flaunt your high tech toys such as iPads, iPhones and other snazzy tech tools
  5. Don't tempt the thief with unlocked doors and and expensive items in plain sight
  6. Don't use ATMs in poorly lit areas 

When travelling on public transport be mindful that thieves often loiter in transportation hubs, such as the Metro and train stations, to prey on travellers in unfamiliar surroundings.

Thieves often work together and a common scam is for one thief to ask for directions while their accomplice steals your luggage. They also look out for people who store their luggage in overhead racks, so it is best to avoid these, keeping your luggage with you.

Be alert to fraud

Everyone is at risk of fraud, but travelers especially have to be on guard at all times. As a traveler, you will be pulling out your wallet or credit cards more than the locals and you will be in places where crooks are watching for a victim.

The Do's to avoid fraud

  1. Do be alert when you are getting change for a purchase. Some unscrupulous vendors will try to short change you or even give you worthless currency. Pay attention.
  2. Do make sure the item you are buying is the "Real McCoy" not a cheap knock off that will break within a week.
  3. Do keep your credit /Debit cards in your possession. If you give it to a waiter, do so where you can observe them running the card so that a copy doesn't inadvertently go into their pocket.
  4. Do prefer credit over debit for purchases. If you must give your card to someone like a waiter, use a credit card not a debit card and keep your receipts to compare to actual charges. It is a lot easier to deal with a maxed out credit line than a drained checking account.

In case of emergency

Police emergency in Belgium is 101- ask for Police Fédérale or Federale politie support. In the event of other emergencies, call 112 - the pan-European emergency number. Calls to this number are free from both mobile and fixed-line telephones.

If your passport has been stolen report to the local police immediately and fill in a police report, explaining how and where it happened. You will then need to visit your embassy to arrange for a new passport or temporary identification.

Please watch this video on YouTube about crime in Belgium:
and be careful if you decide to go.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Wishing you all of you a beautiful Holiday

                 Wonderful  Christmas and 2013 full of great                                                    "surprises"

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Religion and Weather in Belgium


The people of Belgium predominant identify with Catholicism; however, actual church attendance was less than 5% in 2009 and there is no reason to suspect that it has increased. Belgium is predominately Roman Catholic (60 %) with over 30% non-believers. The rest profess to be Muslim (4%), Protestant (2%), Jewish, (1%) and another 2 percent as belonging to other religious groups. Belgium has a separation between the Church and State, and freedom of religion. Consequently, the State cannot force someone to adhere to a certain religion nor can it ask someone to which he or she adheres. Religious groups can practice freely in Belgium.

Roman Catholicism gained its predominance during the Spanish Inquisition and continued to play an important role in Belgian politics through to the late 20th Century.
In 2002, the then officially recognized Protestant denomination, the United Protestant Church of Belgium, formed the Administrative Council of the Protestant and Evangelical Religion (ARPEE in Dutch, CACPE in French), which is now the accepted mouthpiece of Protestantism in all three linguistic communities. Based on a 2001 survey conducted by evangelical sources, charismatic and evangelical associations claim a membership of 4% of the Belgian population while independent sources report 2% membership.


Belgium's climate is temperate. Mild winters and cool summers are typically rainy, humid, and cloudy. This consistency in climate means you can visit Belgium anytime and expect similar weather. However, the best time to visit is April to September when you will find it slightly warmer and perhaps even a little sunshine.

With NATO and EU headquarters in Brussels, Belgium has  international flavor so the best time to visit is during one of the many festivals. Be warned the hotel rates are up during those times as well.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Language & Currency in Belgium


Belgium has three official languages: French, Dutch and German. German is only spoken by a small minority of the population, who live along the German border. The form of Dutch spoken in Belgium is known as Flemish, and is the official language in Flanders, to the north of the country.

French is the official language in Wallonia in the south. Brussels has both Dutch and French as its official languages, but in practice more than three quarters of its inhabitants speak French as their main or only language. It is sometimes said that English is the 4th unofficial language, as it is widely spoken in Belgium, and many Belgians learn English from an early age. If living in Belgium, however, it will be helpful to be able to understand and speak at least one of the official languages.


The Euro is now the official currency of 12 EU member states including Belgium. The first Euro coins and notes were introduced in January 2002.

Until 2002 the Belgian Franc was still in circulation; but, not any more. Make sure you don't have Belgian Franc's given to you for change.  They are now worthless..

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Let's go to Belgium

Introduction to Belgium

Belgium is a nation located in Northwestern Europe, between the Netherlands to the north, Germany and Luxembourg to the east, France to the south, and the North Sea to the west. Belgium is about the size of Maryland with an area of 11,780 square miles. It also has 108 square miles of inland waterways that are used for tourists and travel. It has 41 miles of coastline and its borders total 861 miles.  It's language is Flemish, though the majority of its residents are multilingual, speaking Flemish, French, German and English. It is also the headquarters home for the European Union and NATO. The total population in Belgium was last recorded at 11.0 million people in 2011 from 9.1 million in 1960, changing 21 percent during the last 50 years.

Brussels is the capitol of Belgium

Brussels, the capital of Belgium is compact with:
  • A small European feel, 
  • An extensive military history spanning from the Napoleonic Wars to today's NATO, 
  • A leader in international commerce as exhibited by the World Fairs in 1897, 1910, 1935 and 1959
  • World renown for its 800+ flavors of beer, more than any country in the world
  • Provincial dishes such as Mussels from Brussels
  • The inventive home of the Saxophone, "President Clinton, eat your heart out."
  • And perhaps the most famous little boy in all of statuedom - Mannekan Pis
Brussels has some grandeur. There’s the hexagonal system of boulevards that surround the centre which were laid out in the late 19th century. There’s the EU quarter around Place Schuman, and the grand boulevard Avenue de Tervuren/Tervurenlaan that leads out of the city eastwards for miles from the Cinquantenaire Arch. This is what remains of the influence of Belgium’s Imperial past.


Why did the EU Capital locate in Brussels? 

When it came top selecting the capital for Europe, the founders realized they had to avoid the rivalries between France, Germany, Italy and Spain; so, none of the big capitals of the largest founding countries of the EU could be Europe’s new capital. This immediately ruled out Paris, Berlin and Rome. Instead, to ensure the location would be acceptable to all, the relatively innocuous Brussels in tiny Belgium was chosen. Brussels was selected precisely because it was small, modest and didn’t brag about itself.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Where should you stay in Switzerland

Where to stay?


Hotel Bellevue Palace Bern (5 stars)
An Art Nouveau jewel, the Bellevue Palace is situated in the heart of Berne next to the Federal Parliament.

Bellevue Palace has 130 rooms with free wired internet access an fresh decorations. Some rooms offer views of Berne’s historic quarter, or the distant Alpine peaks, while others face the quiet inner courtyard or the Houses of Parliament.

The Bellevue Palace offers Old-World charm with modern comforts.

Address: Kochergasse 3 - 5, 3001 Bern
Phone: +44 (0)843 2894805
Price: starts at $544 dollars.

Novotel Bern Expo, Berne ( 3 stars)

The Novotel Bern Expo offers 112 non smoking rooms located opposite the BEA Bern Expo exhibition center, the ice hockey stadium, the national horse riding center and 200 m from the Stade de Suisse and the Zentrum Paul Klee. The tram makes the trip from in front of the hotel to the old city in 7 minutes.

Address: Am Guisanplatz 2, Berne 3014
Phone: (+41) 31/3390909 
Price: starts at $142/night



Since Chur is the oldest city in Switzerland- first settled 5000 years ago, it doesn't have a well developed tourist infrastructure. I search the web for a long time and could not find a 5 stars hotel there so this Hotel was the best I could find for you.

City West Hotel & Restaurant

City West has a designer ambiance throughout. It offers complimentary wireless Internet access and a  pet-friendly policy. The restaurant offers a lovely rooftop terrace. 

Skiing is a big draw in Chur, so it is no surprise that Obertor Chur, Arosa Ski Resort with its Gondola Lift, Ski-Club Arosa and Lenzerheide Ski Resort are widely featured in the area. .


Address: Comercialstrasse 32, Chur 7000, Switzerland
Phone: (+41) 81 256 55 00
Price: starts at $123 dollars 


Hotel Baur au Lac (5 stars)

I have spent so much time looking for 5 starts Hotels in Zurich for you and how difficult it is. Most of the Hotels are very contemporary and I  think that if I would pay to stay in a 5 star hotel, I would like to stay in a place full of charm, beautiful views, traditional, excellent services.

Fortunately I was able to find one that I really like and it is Hotel Baur au Lac.
Baur au Lac is Zurich's prestigious landmark of un-equaled hospitality, elegance, and impeccable service. The hotel has been owned by the same family for over 160 years. Only recently, every room was thoroughly renovated, each one lovingly and uniquely crafted to combine superlative creature comforts with classical elegance and every conceivable technical convenience. The unusually large and light bathrooms, an attractive blend of marble and mirrors, combine practicality with sheer luxury.

The enchanting atmosphere of the elegant winter restaurant Francais awaits the connoisseur with a superb selection of haute cuisine whose themes vary through the year. The delightful summer restaurant Le Pavillon is one of the most popular places in town with a unique atmosphere and a menu that enhances the Mediterranean ambiance. From the terrace and the adjoining park there is an enchanting view of Lake Zurich and the Alps. The Rive Gauche, a sparkling blend of chic restaurant and bar, offers Mediterranean grill room specialities for "fine casual dining." The Baur au Lac features an exclusive fitness center on the top of the hotel with magnificent views over Lake Zurich and the Alps. A personal trainer or physiotherapy may be arranged. The beauty salon and hair-dresser Vanity offers a wide range of luxury cosmetic treatments.

Address: Talstrasse 1, Zurich 8022, Switzerland
Phone: (+ 41) 44 220 50 20
Price: starts at $711 dollars

Sorell Hotel Seidenhof ( 3 stars)

The Sorell Hotel Seidenhof is found in a upscale part of Zurich that is very popular with both business and leisure travelers. This simple, down-to-earth hotel offers comfortable accommodations, a very helpful staff and a home like feeling.

It is located just in front of the Bahnhofstrasse, a very popular shopping destination because of its wide variety of shops and stores. Another popular place to walk is on the latkeside boardwalk that has a wide arrange of shops, bars, restaurants, bars and cinemas, all very close to the hotel.

Mishio Restaurant, the new, popular hang out is a chic place to have a great Asian meal in a cool surroundings. This quiet garden is the ideal place for a romantic dinner or just a peaceful getaway.

The Massage Studio at the Sorell Hotel Seidenhoff offers a wide variety of massages and wellness treatments, sure to please all tastes. Guests are sure to leave rejuvenated, relaxed and happy. Here you can choose from the classic style deep tissue or the cupping therapy; whatever your fancy…enjoy!

Address: Sihlstrasse 9, Zurich, Switzerland
Phone: +41 44 228 75 00
Price stars at $156 dollars


Hotel Beau Rivage Geneva ( 5 stars)

The Beau Rivage has been in business since 1865 and regularly plays host to some of the world's best-known celebrities. Over the past 145 years, history has played out here. Empress Elisabeth was assisinated here in 1898.

With its lake front location, guests benefit from excellent views and can marvel at the world-famous Jet d'eau. The hotel benefits from recent renovation with modern facilities, while it retains the original features of the building. The Beau Rivage hotel has fitness and business centers and high-speed Internet access. The hotel also features laundry service, spa facilities and concierge service. 

Address: 13, Quai du Mont-Blanc, 1201 Geneva
Phone: (+41 22 716 66 66
Price: starts at $560 dollars

Edelweiss Manotel Hotel (3 stars)

Finally found a very traditional Swiss hotel, it looks very cute for the price. Discover the Alps in the heart of Geneva. Come to the Hotel Edelweiss and delight in the warmth of an authentic Swiss chalet with just steps away from the lake and City center.
Edelweiss has 42 air-conditioned rooms, deluxe bedding, Minibar, interactive TV, Restaurant  with live  folk music, authentic Swiss cuisine, 24 h room service, laundry facilities, free public transport card and WiFi and Internet connection, free of charge.

Address: Place De La Navigation 2, Geneva Ch-1201, Swizerland
Phone: (+41) 22 544 51 51
Price stars at $162 dollars


Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois (5 stars)

Les Trois Rois is one of Europe’s oldest city hotels and exudes the charm and elegance of a historic grand hotel. This luxury establishment offers everything that a discerning guest is entitled to expect from a hotel in the five-star category. All in the heart of Basel, in the center of the Old Town and on the banks of the Rhine.

Les Trois Rois is one of Europe’s oldest city hotels, where Napoleon, Elizabeth II, Pablo Picasso, Thomas Mann and many other famous people have stayed.

Situated in the heart of Basel, in the center of the historic quarter and on the banks of the Rhine, it is an ideal base for tourists and business travelers.

Address: Blumenrain 8, 4001 Basel
Phone: (+41) 61 260 50 50
Price: starts at $784 dollars



Hotel Alexander ( 3 stars)

The Hotel Alexander is located at the Messe Basel fairgrounds and the Congress Center, a 10-minute ride from the center of Basel. The tram stop is right outside. Free Wi-Fi is available.

The Rösti-Stube Restaurant serves Swiss specialities, and live music is sometimes played at the bar.

All rooms at the Alexander Hotel have an en-suite bathroom and are equipped with cable TV and a desk.

The SBB Train Station is 7 minutes by tram from the hotel, and the Badischer Bahnhof Train Station is 3 minutes away. Basel-Mulhouse Airport can be reached in a 15-minute drive.

Address: Riehenring 83/85, 4058 Basel
Phone: (+41) 61 685 70 00
Price starts at $84 dollars

You can also try this book about Inn's in Switzerland.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Bank of the Universe

Every day, or at the very least once or twice a week, take a few minutes and focus on seeing yourself in joy. Feel yourself in joy. Imagine only joy ahead in your life and see yourself basking in it. As you do this the Universe will move all people, circumstances, and events to bring you that joy. You can't be in joy if you have money worries, or health worries, or relationship problems with friends or family. So deposit some joy in the bank of the Universe as often as you can. There isn't an investment that is more worthwhile.
May the joy be with you,

Rhonda Byrne

The Secret...

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Places to go in Switzerland

Switzerland is a traveler's paradise with several sights you should not miss. You will experience a mixed and varied culture as you travel from German influence, to French influence, to Italian influence and so on. In addition to the spectacular mountains and valleys, you will see the majestic Rhine River and several amazing lakes. Some of the most famous places in Switzerland are given below.


Bern is the ancient capital city of the country. It is spelled, "Berne" by most of the French speaking citizens. The city was reconstructed and renovated after it was destroyed by fire in 1405. The 11th century shopping plaza offers ample opportunity for you for shopping, eat, relax and photograph the amazing sights.


Chur is one of the oldest cities in Switzerland, less well known; but a must see. Chur or Coire is the capital of the Swiss canton of Graubünden and lies in the northern part of the canton. The main tourist attraction is the Rhine River and various valleys and mountains in the area. The world famous ski resorts of Davos, St. Mortiz and Arosa are situated here.

Chur is a very small city; much of it is easily walkable. There are taxis and buses, which operate on five different routes.
Driving in Chur is possible. However, the old town of Chur is car-free. Bicycles are a great choice.


Zurich is economic center and is one of the popular places in Switzerland. As a major metropolitan area, it has a wealth of places to visit. From Zoos, to Cog Railways, to swinging nightclubs, Zurick has something for kids of all ages. In addition to the city, you can visit the Swiss Alps and the largest waterfall in Europe. In Zurich you can indulge yourself in skiing, hiking and photography.


Geneva is a city of festivals. These people like to party. From January to December you will find festivals of all types - international film in spring, sailing in summer, and wine in the fall are just a few of the good times to be shared in Geneva.

By visiting the old town of Geneva you can easily go back to the bygone era. The presence of various museums hints about the rich culture of the place. Lake Geneva, situated in the middle of the city,  gives it added beauty and dimension.

My favorite time was during an International Festival in August. It was a great time to meet the young people of Switzerland.


Basel is the largest industrial city of Switzerland and is often bypassed by tourist. But, it is one of Switzerland's underrated tourist destinations, Basel has a beautiful medieval old town center; a Carnival that ranks with those of Venice, New Orleans and Rio de Janeiro; and several world class art museums built by architects like Renzo Piano, Mario Botta and Herzog & De Meuron.

Museums and Historic Monuments

Of course, we all need a little history lesson on our trip and Switzerland offers some of the best museums from around the world. They have exhibits from the finest paintings of Paul Klee and some of the best artifacts from the heart of Egypt, on display regularly. You can visit one of the historically protected old towns of the Swiss country side to see history in motion. Here are wonderful old castles to explore along with the abbey library of St. Gallen. No matter what you decide to do make sure you have a little time to explore these little places along the way they will help make your trip that much more enjoyable.

The Swiss Alps

This is a beautiful, majestic country created by the shifting plates of two continents and the determined colonization of peoples from Europe and the Middle East. The rugged terrain than Hannibal had to cross prior to defeating the Romans in the early centuries can still be as daunting today. However, there are many things to do in the Alps - hiking, fishing, skiing, nature trails, and much more. You can also ride horseback or relax and enjoy the fresh mountain air.

The Alps are spectacular no matter what time of year you choose to visit whether it is during the summer or during the winter. Some of the world’s best ski resorts are located in its majestic peaks. They are a haven for skiers and snowboarders alike. A must one stop shop for your Swiss vacation needs.

Best Time to visit Switzerland

Switzerland has a temperate climate but generally the climate varies from one area to another. Summers are generally warm with usually chilly winters, accompanied by snow and sun.

The temperature range is about the same as in the northern United States, but without the extremes of hot and cold. Summer temperatures seldom rise above 80°F (26°C) in the cities, and humidity is low. Because of clear air and lack of wind in the high alpine regions, sunbathing is sometimes possible even in winter. In southern Switzerland the temperature remains mild year-round, allowing subtropical vegetation to grow.

Low-season airfares are usually offered from November 1 to December 14 and from December 25 to March 31. Fares are slightly higher during the skiing shoulder season (during Apr and May, and from Sept 16 to the end of Oct). High-season fares apply the rest of the year (June-Sept 15), presumably when Switzerland and its landscapes are at their most hospitable and most beautiful.

Keep in mind that it's most expensive to visit Swiss ski resorts in winter, and slightly less so during the rest of the year. Conversely, it's cheaper to visit lakeside towns in winter. Cities such as Geneva, Zurich, and Bern don't depend on tourism as a major source of capital, so prices in these cities tend to remain the same all year.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving

A beautiful Day to say "Thanks" for all we have.
Getting together with family and friends, loving, laughing, sharing moments...
Wish you all a very happy day.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A thought for today

Whether you know it or not, today you are placing an order for your tomorrows from the catalogue of the Universe. Your predominant thoughts and feelings today are creating a frequency that is automatically determining your life tomorrow.
Feel good now and for the rest of the day, and make your tomorrows magnificent.
Rhonda Byrne

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Wonderful Food in Switzerland

I love the food in Switzerland, I could live there easily if it was not so cold in the Winter. Switzerland is so extremely beautiful that its food often gets overlooked. But pay attention, you can eat very well there. If you visit Switzerland you should have a taste of Switzerland food. In fact one of the best ways to enjoy a tour to Switzerland is to know about its food and enjoy it.

Finding a great meal

Tea Rooms serve hot drinks, alcohol and pastries, and are found in most towns. Go to these places for breakfast or mid-morning or afternoon snack. They are also a nice place for a late afternoon coffee or drink. Some Tea Rooms have separate pastry counters. Go in and pick your pastry. The person behind the counter hands it to you on a plate. In some places you must pay for the pastry then, other places it is added to your bill.

In the large towns, you will find traditional Swiss restaurants along with - Indian, Chinese, Thai, Italian, etc. However, In small mountain towns, you may find an Italian restaurant in the south, or a
German one in the north, but most restaurants will serve traditional Swiss food. Menus are much like what we are used to in the US. Starters (appetizers and soups) followed by main courses and then coffee and dessert. Bread is usually served with the meal.

Great Swiss Foods

Like me, the Swiss love cheese and some that I tried I have never had before. Switzerland is home to about 450 varieties of cheese Cows milk is used in about 99 percent of the cheeses produced. The remaining share is made up of sheep's milk and goat's milk. There's much more to Swiss cheese than making holes!
  • Hard cheese, 
  • Soft cheese, 
  • Local cheese made in mountain chalets, 
  • Regional cheese made in valley factories, 
  • Cheese shaved into rosettes, 
  • Cheese boxed in red pine, 
  • Cheese dusted with flour and melted in wine, 
  • Hot cheese dribbled over potatoes to make raclette 
Every chance you get, try  the local cheese favorites.


Traditional preparation requires the Raclette cheese round to be heated, either in front of a fire or by a special machine, then scraped onto diners' plates.  Traditionally, it is accompanied by small firm  potatoes, gherkins, and dried meat such as ham. “Raclette” comes from the French "racler," “to scrape.”


Fondue is Gruyeres cheese, Swiss cheese, white wine, garlic, and kirsch melted in a pot. The pot is brought to the table and put on a flame. You use a long fork to dip pieces of bread into the cheese mixture. You can ask for potatoes as well as the bread for dipping. In the Valais, tomatoes’ are added to the traditional cheese fondue. Frequently restaurant menus offer Fondue only for two people, but we found one place where you could pay a small supplement to have it for just one person - so I would ask if you want it for one only.

You are to place the bread on your fork, dip it into the kirsch, and then dip it into the cheese ... be careful, the alcohol adds up much faster than you might imagine. 


Rosti, fried potatoes, is a very popular dish at the mountain restaurants. You can get them plain, with cheese or with one or two fried eggs.


This is a open faced melted cheese sandwich. This dish is also served at most mountain restaurants.

Swiss Chocolate

Do you love chocolate? I love it!

I consider Swiss chocolate to be the BEST in the world. But it wasn't. Here is a little secret about Swiss Chocolate because I always thought that chocolate was first made in Switzerland.
In 1502, chocolate was first introduced to Spain from Christopher Columbus who returned from his forth voyage to the New World. The Spaniards learned about cocoa from the Aztecs at the time of the Spanish invasion in 1519.

Spanish explorers learned to convert the bitter cocoa into a beverage and its origin and preparation method was a secret for 100 years. The ancient Aztecs and Mayan cultures discovered the value of the cocoa plant. They believed that power and wisdom came from eating the fruit of the cacao tree.
Introduced to Europe in the 16th and 17th century, chocolate was a great success and production spread to Switzerland. However, cocoa and sugar were in short supply in the 1800's; so, an enterprising Swiss business man, M. Daniel Peter added milk to chocolate to extend the cocoa and it ended up producing a smoother chocolate.

The experimentation took 8 years to perfect before he took his product to Henry Nestle the maker of evaporated milk. Nestle had perfected the manufacture of condensed milk, he and Peter hit upon the idea of mixing sweetened condensed milk with chocolate and viola, Swiss Chocolate was born! Just a few decades later the Swiss made a successful reputation and foreign manufactures spread throughout the world using their technical genius to manufacture  sweet, smooth Swiss chocolate.

The Pig had little to do with the process, but I just had to show you this cute picture of a cow kissing a little pig!


If you are a food lover and want to learn more about Chocolate, I highly recommend this book. It will be a great conversation starter as well.  Also, while Fondue was popular in the US back in the 70's you might be hard pressed to find a good recipe for Fondue and a very authentic Fondue set. Enjoy!