Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Wallisser Keller - (Zurich, Switzerland)

 Cheese fondue was 1st classified in Zurich recipe books during early 1699,  with the cheese to be cooked with wine and kirsch to keep it liquid enough as a dip for bread and only bread.   There is no substantial proof as to who invented fondue first – since similar recipes exist throughout Switzerland, France and Italy,  while Beer based Cheese fondues have been found in Germany all this time.   Some older French and Swiss recipes also had eggs incorporated into the formula to give it the right consistency.   Latter variants of fondues subsequently invented,  had meats cooked in heated oil or meat broth,  both not considered  traditional,  Eg. Fondue Bourguignonne or Fondue Chinoise.   These cheese-less versions and also sweet chocolate fondues are nevertheless available in many Switzerland restaurants just to showcase the flexibility of a fondue.  Is traditional necessarily going to be the best? 

Would you order a Fondue Moitie-Moitie,  with 2 Cheeses of Vacherin fribourgeois & Gruyere?  Or in this particular restaurant’s case believes that Fondue Valaisanne, with 3 Cheeses of mild Bergkase, Wuiziger Bergkase, Raclettekase as the most original recipe and the real McCoy in Zurich?   Other fondue shops also carry a 3rd equally popular version which melts a blend of  2 to 3 different Vacherin cheeses as a base.   Zurich generally seems to be more biased towards the La Valaisanne style…   but equally the Moitie-Moitie stands just as firm in popularity.  The staff today recommended me the Valaisanne style with 3 cheeses diluted with wine and kirsch,  so be it. 



Johannisberg, Varone, Sion – 3dl 13.80 CHF
A Sion table white wine from Valais region,  Switzerland.    Made from mostly Pinot Noir and Gamay,  both normally associated with producing red wines.   This was difficult to describe in words.  I guess it just shows white and red wines are kind of relatable rather than being opposites?  It had both the Pinot and Gamay characters but was quite alcoholic upfront.  It’s in your face but ok …  ~  6.5/10



La Raclette Portion - with Boiled Potatoes and Pickles  10.50 CHF
You can easily find melty raclette cheeses anywhere in the world.  The one here was as expected,  slightly browned with a strongish Cows cheese also from Switzerland’s Valais region.  No wonder the whole package was recommended with above as a good wine pairing.  The Raclette comes with Potatoes, Gherkin pickles, Red pepper, Green Olives & Pickled Pearl Onions.  Quite the typical presentation and simple,  so do look around if you get the full deal.  ~ 8/10


Fondue La Valaisanne – CHF 27
Some in Zurich consider this to be the most original recipe and it is served with stale crusty bread only, since traditionally no cured meats, cubes of meat or potatoes are added.   The cheese fondue base was thick and gooey but not over-powered by alcohols presence. ~  8/10



Entrance -
Say Cheese? 



There are so many Restaurants offering similar dishes -
How do you pick?    This place is not particularly famous,  but the menu attracted me to walk in instead of patroning it’s more famous competitor opposite as I saw more thoughtfulness in this shop showcasing all the varieties of Fondue recipes from the most traditional to the most evolved.   It seemed like the chef was ready to make his statement:   “If you want the most original recipes,  we have it here naturally.  But we are not afraid to explore with more modernized recipes.”   Apart from the above traditional raclette dish,  they also offer an alternative Raclette with Rosti Hash-Brown potatoes.    I like it when restaurants show transitional progress but without losing track of it’s origins.



Price:  CHF Swiss Franc 27 Per Person
Ease of Access:  3.5/5  (5-10 minutes walk from Zurich Tram Central Station,  or Zurich HB Train station)
Food:  ♕♕♕♕1/2
Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri  11:30am - 14:00pm,  18:30pm - 23:00pm
Address: Best Western Hotel Zürcherhof Zahringerstrasse 21, 8001, Zurich, Switzerland.
Ph: 044 269 44 88

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