Summer in Switzerland is a very special time. Thousands of festivals, al fresco dining and lounging by the lake. Last summer I missed every music festival to be had in Switzerland. I vowed this year would be different. Oh, how different it would be! This summer, I attended Paleo. Not once, but twice!
Can you feel the difference?
Ahhh...this is more like it.
Jersey, JiJi and I all went up on Wednesday and experienced the snail paced regional train that takes you from the station proper to the giant field that houses the festival. Wandering around and eavesdropping from stage to stage and tent to tent is a fantastic feeling. Lying in the grass as the sun goes down and being serenaded by Goldfrapp is immeasurably better. This year we managed to take in The Who, Depeche Mode, arrived too late to catch the Dandy Warhols, Dionysus, Louise Attaque, and last but not least the always eccentricly brilliant Gogol Bordello.
This year's Paleo 'village du monde' was focused on Eastern Europa. If I figure out how to paste the wicked video I took of a giant tinker toy like metal bird wearing a pilot's cap moving sculpture I most certainly will. Promise. Up in the Eastern Europa village we were pulling in a thousand different directions. Between the gypsy like storyteller's caravan to the crazyquilt covered tent reeling out minor key laments and floorstomping raftershaking country dance numbers to...of course....the food. Let me begin by saying, there's only so much two or even three normal sized bellies can hold. That evening we pushed ours to the limit. We began with a variety of what I would call Croatian pizza. Flat, thin as a 10 franc note and covered with crumbled meat and onions and some cheese. A good appetizer and just a warm up. Clouds of concert goers passed us by with exquisite shishkabob looking things. Sadly, when we finally found the tent the meat turned out to be something wild and wood dwelling. It smelled heavenly but I just couldn't make myself buy one.
As we passed by another tent I noticed a charcoal burning rectangular pit. Something was rotating above it and curiously, it didn't look like any sort of game animal. In fact, it was rotisserie style Transylvanian bread called Kurtoskalacs, also known as 'chimney sweet'. Samples were being passed out still warm from the spit and as we all can surmise, I am a sample tastin' kinda girl. Aaaand I was hooked. Sweet but not cloying, chewy but yielding and oh so comfortingly yeasty and bread like. In fact it was almost like a very thin hollow soft pretzel, the surface area of the 'crust' is just multiplied, then rolled through sugar and crushed nuts. Jersey and I decided to be magnanimous and bring back a taste of Eastern Europe for our work colleagues the next day. The only thing tube shaped bread is not meant for is carrying in a large sack. It was more ovoid tube shaped when we got back into Geneva in the wee hours.
Note- This bread was not made by a bunch of bakers but rather by a bunch of artists. They belong to the Fonderie D'Art Geya in Ogens. After a bit of googling I found that they are one of the stops (and make a Transylvanian meal and do tours of the sculpture foundry) on the Chemin Des Bles between Lausanne, Neuchatel and Fribourg. I hope to go this summer and perhaps learn how to make my own Kurtoskalacs. I have found a recipe for an oven baked variation on a Japanese Hungarian exchange website (don't ask, I don't know either!) and after I try it out I'll be sure to post it, my dear little bloglings.
Let me continue. When we last saw our hungry protagonists they were wandering around with a haunted famished look in their eyes...Well, not really but we hadn't yet had our fill. We followed a stream of people carrying around steaming baguette halves, curiously intrigued....And we ran smack into the Swiss food courtyard. Jersey downed a large glass of moo juice from the Lait stand and got a collectors cup with a 3D sticker of a cow on it. We also passed pans of tartiflette big enough to feed a village. We split a rosti and kept wandering.
Really, you think you know a country and then it does something like this...
What is 'this' you might be wondering. Go ahead. Wonder. What 'it' is is a portable fondue. Yes, much like it's (in)famous cousin, the Walking Taco, Portable Fondue is a non messy festival oriented version of a nationally famous dish. What 'it' also is, is me stopping in my tracks with my jaw hanging open. 'It' is what every Genevois will turn up their nose in disdain at and call those who partake 'tourists' and yet now are enjoying with abandon, despite the unrelenting heat even late in the evening. Unbelievable. 'It' also happens to be delicious. By this time it is getting to be o'dark hundred and the crowds are getting a bit rowdy. With work the next day and bellies filled to bursting it was time to return home and dream of alkaselzer and tums....and also next year's festival and myriad of delectables on offer.