It’s an age-old question. How do you get to enjoy hearty meat pie, creamy gruyère fondue, and crisp lemon gelato all in the course of a few short weeks? That’s what we set out to discover as we travel from Oxford to Zurich then twist through the Alps into the Lakes District of Italy. Here are some of the culinary treasures we uncover.
It’s hard to beat a breakfast bap stuffed with bacon. Crunchy bread loaded with crispy, salty bacon. Add in a cup of steaming black tea with just a touch of tangy lemon. That’s how they do breakfast in Oxford. No, you wouldn’t want to eat this everyday. But, let’s admit, who can resist the aroma of hot sizzling bacon?
A quick flight whisks us from the green countryside of England to the rugged mountains of Switzerland.
One afternoon we cycle up steep but immaculately well maintained bike paths, through vineyards still laden with plump red grapes. At the top of a mountain we find a little restaurant offering up crisp cold lager and smoky Cervelat, a beef and pork sausage once made from brain! (oh, how times have changed). Of course, when in Switzerland, you can’t miss trying cheese fondue. There’s something magical about dipping chunks of bread in gooey cheese. Once you start, you just can’t stop until every last drop is gone.
The most scenic way to get from Zurich to Italy is by train. But the trick is to get off well before that noisy fashion capital of Milan. That’s how we discovered Lake Como.
Dinnertime in Italy is more than just a meal. You give it at least two hours, even three. Start with some freshly baked bread, some olive oil, bruschetta with burstingly fresh red tomatoes and fragrant basil on crispy toasted bread. Then comes a platter of prosciuto and local cheeses. That’s just to get things started. The country offers up more than 650 kinds of pasta! and nearly as many kinds of sauce, not to mention the huge array of decadent desserts and pastries.
From here we head south to see what other culinary pleasures we can discover. Ravioli with a creamy sauce made from hazelnuts in Liguria? Cinghiale (wild boar) in Umbria? Freshly caught seafood in Cinque Terre and the Amalfi Coast? The adventure begins.