The sun was shining and the city had come alive with it, especially after the freezing cold dose of the rainy reality of spring we got yesterday. (see hot chocolate post) So I decided to take advantage of my free time and Mother Nature's good mood by walking along the river from my apartment to Carouge. Fortuitous because I happen to see a sign for 'glace de la maison' along the way and was determined to stop back for some ice creamy provisions for the long hike home.
Carouge is a beautiful quartier (suburb) set in the larger scope of Geneva. Originally a haven for those not sharing of Geneva's puritanical ways (remember kiddies, Calvinism started here), Carouge was granted to the King of Sardinia in 1754. Italian ownership is abundantly obvious in the layout of the streets and the appearance of the artsy boutiques and apartments hiding small gardens in their hearts. Even the atmosphere is quite different than in the city at large, although it's just a short tram ride from the city-center.
What I didn't know when I set out, however, was that today was the Carouge community sidewalk sale (for lack of a better phrase) was going on today as well. Wow. Now THIS, this was a street festival. Row after row of edible goodies, chinese, faux-mexican, strange looking swiss sausages, sweets, and a stand devoted to nothing but monster sized potatoes. Where to begin? Among this veritable smorgasbord I even managed to fit in a bit of second hand shopping :)
One of my favorite finds of the day was a previously unknown to me and typically swiss candy, the double-creme de la Gruyere caramel. Mr. David Waser of Le Beko de la Gruyere had just finished making a batch of the melty lumps of deliciousness and I was compelled to buy a small bag...you know, to take home for later. Ha ha ha. Now understand, I am reasonably familiar with Gruyere double cream (to be eaten with meringue puffs and berries usually) and most definitely with various types of caramel as well (long story about homemade caramel for caramel apples gone awry). But this one is a whole breed unto itself. It has a homely appearance and could attempt to masquerade as a lump of brown sugar but there is no obviously grain texture. It almost looks like it could be a very dry pale fudge...but that's not quite right either.
But who cares about how it looks? It's the taste we are more interested in! In the mouth it slowly dissolves and each distinct flavor makes an individual appearance until they mellow and combine. The first flavor is the deep strong well known 'caramel' flavor followed but a low rich buttery note that is highlighted by a very dairy milk taste and wrapped up with a zing of salty/sweetness. Very special, very unique and very deliciously dangerous. I think tomorrow I need to take what's left of the bag to work. I also intend to check out the rest of Mr. Waser's artisanal offerings at the next marche, there's a 'vin cuit de poire' bottle with my name on it...and a printed recipe for gateau au vin cuit!!! I am planning on that to be my first recipe attempt in french.
Ah, ah. Let's not forget the ice cream for the way home, yes? Granted, the Italians are renowned for their gelato...but would 'glace' from the historically Italian part of Geneva measure up? More after this quick break from our sponsors.....hehe just kidding, you silly readers you. Unfortunately, I forgot to jot down the name of the shop (but it's nearby so I can and WILL always go back later) and was rather full-ish from my pseudo taco and candy sampling. I skipped the cone and restrained myself to just one flavor, pistachio. Cool, refreshing, green as it wants to be, pistachio. On my walk home I stopped to sit and reflect on the flavors of this little ball shaped frozen confection. And noticed that my lime green tanktop and the green green grass painted bench set off it's chartreuse tint rather nicely. A great photo op, even if a bit tricky to manage with all of my bags of loot.
This ice cream was more sorbet style, it had a vibrant fresh flavor and was very light. Not too sweet and with none of the usual heaviness of cream filling the mouth. It also seemed like it was spiked with amaretto or a bit of coconut. All part of the nut family to be sure. ;) It finished very cleanly and the only way you'd be able to tell I was a bit nutty would be to kiss me. Ok, perhaps not the only way. :)
I am now lusting after my ice cream machine that is sitting forgotten in a cabinet in the states. Languishing and waiting for me to fire her up again and concoct more of what my brother and I fondly refer to as 'edible experiments'. Would that make me a mad scientist? Mad, am I? MWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! Um, right. Carry on then.