Tag Archives: swiss fondue

Daytripping from Madison

28 Jan

Come with me on a daytrip to New Glarus, Wisconsin!  

We moved to Madison, Wisconsin in May of 2017 from Dallas, Texas and I have to say I love living in Wisconsin.  I loved Dallas too and one isn’t better than the other – just very different.

First, we found a great place to live.  I think ROF and I say daily to each other “I LOVE OUR PLACE!”  It’s a condo inside a subdivision with rolling hills and while close to everything – still feel like we are in the country (a little!)  One of the best things about our place was our real estate agents – the Lessing Team!  Being a new build, it wasn’t the simplest of things to navigate and while I’m a believer in the “do-it-yourself on-line” mentality – buying this was not something we could have ever done it alone.  Better yet, Amy Lessing has become a great friend and certainly made the transition to Madison smooth.  In fact, ROF and I both use her hairdresser, have met a ton of new people via her summer party and favorite things party, use her recommended dog boarding and daycare place.

You’re going to see a lot more blog posts on living in beautiful Madison, Wisconsin but today I want you to come with me to New Glarus. Not only is it the home of the famous SPOTTED COW brewery but it is America’s Little Switzerland and is modeled after Glarus, Switzerland (hence, NEW Glarus.) However, New Glarus is SO DECEIVING!

Why do I say deceiving, you ask?  Because in and among the historic buildings which are over 150 years old, is some of the best food I’ve ever had.  Friends of ours actually just got back from Switzerland and said that actually, the food in New Glarus was BETTER.

So did I tempt you enough to take a scenic drive to New Glarus? 

Here’s where you should go:

First, take the scenic route which looks like this:

You must eat at Cow & Quince.  This is our favorite restaurant possibly in the entire Madison area.

The food is amazing!  Full disclosure – we’ve only been there for breakfast.  To give you an example of their locally-sourced menu, check out my favorite breakfast sandwich:

Breakfast Sammie* 

Fox Heritage Farm bacon, sweet chili cream cheese, arugula, Edelweiss grass-fed Gouda, aioli, 1 egg, MSCo country sourdough bread, choice of side add pickled jalapeños $0.50

but i’ve heard throught the grapevine that their savory french toast is not-to-be-missed:

Savory French Toast*

Thick cut MSCo brioche, gouda, apple-onion jam, Lacinato kale, Door County cherries, pork belly, sunny side duck egg, maple roasted garlic vinaigrette

They also have fun pizza nights and guest chefs.  Cow & Quince also has plenty of options for my vegan friends.  Check out their menu here.

Check out their website for a brief video and full menu!

Another outstanding place to eat is at Glarner Stube.  

This place is the shizzle.  I’m not joking.  Sunday nights is a special night with a Swiss flank steak specialty (can’t remember the name!) and there is typically ALWAYS a wait to get into this tiny restaurant with a big bar.  The service is so friendly and if you have to wait at the bar and sip on water (read: brandy old-fashioned sweet) and wait a bit, there are worse things you could be doing.

the cheese fondue is to die for!  If you and your S.O. get just this – you’ll be good!  Typically, cheese fondue, to me, is kind of flat.  This has multi-dimensional flavors going on and is not super heavy like it will just re-form in your stomach.  The rest of the food here is fantastic.  Being from Dallas and a foodie – I found myself scratching my head several times in New Glarus thinking – I don’t think I’ve had better food!  PS.  The rosti potatoes are epic!  One order for a table of eight works!

Plus look at how cute this darn town is:

One more place to eat.  So yesterday, we took some friends of ours to Cow & Quince for breakfast and they were closed for a winter retreat!  Snap!  But lo and behold, we found another incredibly cute and delicious breakfast place: Fat Cat Coffee Works!


this place was so cute!  In a little house with casual order at the counter, pick any place to sit was really quaint.  We sat at the beautiful oak bar and watched the cook make our breakfast.  I had a yummy fig, goat cheese, and bacon quiche.  My maple spice latte was delicious!  This is a great place for breakfast or lunch.

On this unseasonably warm day, it was fun to walk across the street after breakfast to a 118 year old tavern called Puempel’s Tavern.  Complete with a bloody mary bar and big windows letting the sun stream in, it was a perfect place for us to play a friendly game of Euchre.  Which, I have to say, if you’re not into cards, you’re missing out!  There is nothing more fun to pass the time and indulge in some healthy competition than a good mid-morning game of Euchre.  We had so much fun!  And we even lost at cards.

In addition to all this food, New Glarus has some adorable shops including a couple of fantastic specialty food stores like butcher and cheese stores.  The New Glarus Hotel boasts authentic Swiss food and polka dancing on Friday and Saturday nights.  This.is.not.to.be.missed.  You’re not in Madison anymore!

May I suggest you and your S.O., handful of girlfriends or even escape on your own on the beautiful drive to New Glarus, Wisconsin for fab food, great shopping and even a tour of the world-famous (or Wisconsin famous…) Spotted Cow brewery.  Have fun!

swiss fondue recipe, wintry landscapes and the importance of drinking water

6 Oct

i’m alex harland

and i have my husband mark to thank for introducing me to the fabulous appreciator!

before i launch into an account of why i chose my recipe, i feel i must come clean: i am about the furthest thing from a gourmet chef there is. back in the day when i had only myself to feed, dinner would usually consist of cereal,  soups from cartons or packages of pasta i could drop in boiling water for 5 minutes. to this day, cooking for me is about ease and simplicity. if a recipe calls for more ingredients than i have fingers, i won’t go anywhere near it. ditto for tons of slicing and dicing.

ok, so clearly i’m no ina garten-

though how awesome would that be!  but over the last decade my gastronomical confidence  has increased exponentially. it helps that the aforementioned husband has always been an enthusiastic guinea pig with my experiments in the kitchen (he never was very keen on cereal dinners). i really started cooking when i took a leap of faith and left my job, flat and life in london to move in with mark in zurich, switzerland.  and my all time favourite recipe from our sojourn in zurich has to be the one we proudly inherited from our swiss friends for fondue. it brings back so many great memories of beautiful wintry landscapes, days shusshing down the slopes of the alps and lazy evenings of long dinners with good friends by the warm glow of a chalet fire.

a quick lesson in geography:

there are 26 different swiss cantons (basically their equivalent of states). each canton has its own take on the making of perfect fondue. for instance, in the canton of vaud, fondue is prepared with gruyere cheese only but at varying degrees of ripeness. in the canton of jura, on the other hand, fondue is made up with half jura cheese and enhanced with shallots. and in geneva, 3 kinds of cheese are used: gruyere, emmentaler and a vaudois cheese. then, sautéed morels (fresh or dried and pre-soaked) or diced tomatoes are added. for the sake of swiss neutrality, i’ve opted for a non-canton specific basic recipe.

fondue ingredients (for 8 people)

2 ½ lbs shredded cheese (about 5.3 oz per person)- half gruyere cheese and half emmentaler

2 cloves of garlic

2 ½ cups dry white wine

6 tsp cornstarch

6 small glasses cherry kirsch

ground pepper


couple loaves of crusty bread

rub a heavy saucepan or heat proof clay fondue pot with the split garlic cloves. dissolve the cornstarch in the kirsch. put the cheese and wine into the pan and slowly bring to a boil, stirring constantly. when the cheese is completely melted, add the cheese and cornstarch mixture, stirring vigorously. continue to cook. season with pepper and nutmeg, to taste. serve over a fondue alcohol lamp and the cooking should continue on low heat. stir constantly with small pieces of bread speared on a fondue fork. try not to boil the cheese!

with that, i have several tips i feel i must share:

1.       if you are lactose intolerant or pregnant, please abstain from this recipe.
2.       fondue is usually eaten with bite-sized pieces of bread speared on a fondue fork. however if bread is not your carb of choice, small boiled potatoes may be used instead.
3.       under no circumstances, i cannot stress this enough, drink water while eating your fondue!!!!!! we have a scottish friend who told a hysterically embarrassing story of the severe case of constipation that resulted from the breaking of this cardinal rule of fondue eating. fondue is best enjoyed with dry white wine or shots of kirsch.
4.       fondue aficionados dunk their bread in kirsch before dipping it into the cheese. not for the faint of heart!
5.       also a little fondue game- whoever loses his bread stirring in the cheese pot must pay for a round of beer or bottle of wine. if it happens to a woman, she must kiss the man sitting next to her.
6.       by far the best part of the fondue is the final crusty bit of almost charred cheese at the very bottom of the pot. make it a fondue fork fight to the finish if you must to claim that last bite of heaven!
7.       lastly, fondue is best served on a cold, wintry evening. we don’t get many of those here in texas so when they do come,  make sure to take advantage. also, best enjoyed in the company of fun, close friends and family.

as the swiss say, en guete!

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