In September 2013, John and I met our friends, Michelle and Jeff, and Michelle’s parents, Gabi and Pete, in Switzerland.
We covered a lot of ground together in three short days.
One afternoon, we drove to Fribourg.
Fribourg is the capital of the Swiss canton of Fribourg and the district of Sarine. It is about a 2 hour drive from Zurich.
Fribourg is a special place for our friends.
Michelle visited every summer for as long as she can remember and even lived there her freshman year of high school:
And Gabi and Pete were married there in 1973.
But their special connection to Fribourg goes even further back and deeper than that.
Michelle’s mother, Gabi, grew up there — from elementary school to college.
Her father (Michelle’s grandfather) opened Essig Frères with his brother in 1945.
They sold fish, seafood, and specialty foods like snails, foie gras, caviar, turtle soup, etc.
Next to their store’s location is Café du Midi:
Café du Midi has been doing fondue since 1877 and our friends have been enjoying their fondue for many, many years.
That’s why one of the highlights of our trip was going to Fribourg for a special fondue lunch with them.
We started with a local wine:
And Bündnerfleisch, air-dried beef:
Bündnerfleisch originates in the canton of Graubünden, where they speak mainly German. In Fribourg, where they speak more French than German, this meat is called “Viande des Grisons”.
It is delicious!
And then, the guest of honor arrived:
Gabi added a little pepper:
Gave it a proper stir:
And then we were all free to dig-in!
Fondue Vacherin is different from most fondues because the cheese is from Fribourg and it’s heated at a low temperature.
That means you don’t have to wait for it to cool before eating it.
Or in my case, that means you don’t burn your mouth when eating it hot right out of the pot.
You just stir, twirl, and eat.
Stir, twirl, and eat.
Just make sure you don’t lose your chunk of bread in the cheese:
Or you’ll be buying the next bottle of wine!
What an amazing afternoon filled with perpetual laughter, fascinating stories, and loving friends.
And of course, Fondue Vacherin!
Someone recently asked me why we went all the way to Switzerland to see Michelle, Jeff, Gabi, and Pete when they all live right here in the States.
I said, “We went to have fondue.”
And that’s the truth.
Be sure to read about our lunch at Berggasthaus Aescher-Wildkirchli and the hike we took to get there.