Cows, chocolate, et colocataires

I’m back from my hiatus! Two weekends ago, Charlotte and Roger joined Elvira (flatmate aka colocataire) and I on a trip to the region of Gruyère. Our first stop: Charmey, for the Désalpe. Each year, Swiss cows enjoy a summer of grazing in the Swiss Alps. In September/early October, the towns celebrate the return of their cows with a festival! And festive it was! There were plenty of vendors selling cow bells, wooden cow figurines, local honey, fondue, and all sorts of other goodies. Elvira pointed out an almond-flavored pastry she likes to eat, so we bought one to split!

Side note: an idiom we learned on this excursion is, “Il pleut comme vache qui pisse,” which literally translates to, “It rains like a cow pees.” After seeing a cow pee, the French idiom makes much more sense than our English version of, “it’s raining cats and dogs.”


From Charmey, we hiked to Broc to visit the Cailler chocolate factory, which is part of the Nestlé Corporation. We weren’t able to see any of the production facilities. Rather, the “tour” consisted of a series of rooms with slightly cheesy exhibits explaining the history of Cailler. BUT, at the end of the tour, there were chocolate samples! The trick was to bring water. They don’t provide water in the sampling room, thus making it difficult to eat large quantities of chocolate. Luckily, we came prepared with water and I ingested, easily, 12 pieces of chocolate. (No shame! See-food diet here.) I would’ve kept going, but I figured I didn’t want to become the first case of immediate-onset Type II diabetes.

Cailler Factory
Cailler Factory

This past weekend, four of Elvira’s (who is from Goldingen, CH) friends came down to visit her. They made rösti, a traditional Swiss potato dish (think giant latke) with a mushroom and veal cream sauce (veau sauté aux champignons et rösti) for dinner. It was quite a multicultural dinner, with half the table speaking Swiss-German and half the table speaking French…and me occasionally asking for a translation from German to French to English!

Finally, onto my colocataires! But first, let me back up a little bit. I like food. I appreciate homemade, hand-crafted, specialty foods. I enjoy a good meal when a good meal is placed in front of me. But I generally don’t have the patience to cook and clean. It’s just not a priority. So for dinner, I typically eat something simple. Two slices of toast, a piece of fruit, and a yogurt normally does the trick. These simple dinners are my equivalent of Silicon Valley’s solution to clothing: wear the same thing every day (eat the same thing every day) to cut down the time spent on relatively unimportant things. Well my colocataires beg to differ on what is classified as important. After watching me eat toast and yogurt for dinner for 4 weeks, THEY got sick of it. And being the kind, wonderful people that they are, made a full meal tonight! Lasagna, a proper salad, and prosciutto on buttered bread. All praise to Elvira and Paulina! So I just wanted to say how thankful I am that I have wonderful flatmates who are talented and patient enough to spend time in the kitchen!

TO BE FAIR: I tried to make brownies to make it up to them. I may or may not have forgotten to actually press the button that starts the oven pre-heat. So the brownies may or may not have sat in a room temperature oven for 30 minutes. #ITried

P.S. Char and I have decided #ITried is the hashtag anthem of Whit


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