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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Kade

Michael is batting a thousand today

September 15, 2019

Today is Michael's birthday. Instead of letting him sleep late, I had him up at 6 A M so we could catch the 7 AM train to Maison de Cailler. Even though this is the quick way it took us two and a half hours from Interlaken with changes in Bern and Bulle to get to Broc Fabrique. I signed us up for a chocolate making class. We learned how to make pralines.

This is how the class is described.

"At our chocolate workshop, our chocolatiers will introduce you to the art of tempering and ganache-making and learn to make your own chocolate works of art. You’ll be able to take your special creations home with you, along with some unforgettable memories."

Our instructor was Patrick, whom we have had before. It is funny that he recognized us immediately. He usually teaches the class where you need to temper the chocolate. This is not my favorite thing to do.

There were 14 in our class today. We each had our own station.

Patrick would demonstrate what he wanted us to do and then he sent us back to our own station to recreate what he had just showed us.

We first ground almonds, then we added powdered sugar and finally we added chocolate to make a paste which was to be one of the two fillings.

Next came the making of the ganache. We boiled the cream. We broke up the chocolate and put it in a bowl over a bain marie. Mix, mix, mix, then add the butter and mix, mix, mix. Finally, we put in a pear syrup (pears with some sugar that has been reduced down for hours). We put this ganache aside. It will be used in the filling along with the almond paste.

Next, Patrick showed us how to temper chocolate. We have taken three classes with him and I find this the most difficult thing to successfully achieve. He told me if I stayed with him for a week, I could master tempering.

We melted 300 grams of chocolate in a bain marie.

Tempered the chocolate and then, using a small brush, put some on the bottom and sides of the mold.

We put in some Bretzeli for crunch.

Then, we added the almond paste. Let it set up.

Added the ganache. Let it set up.

Finally, we sealed the praline with the remaining tempered chocolate.

Well, Michael ran out off chocolate. Could it have been all the tasting he did while he was stirring? Michael ran out of sealing chocolate so he had to use some off Patrick's. Strike one!

For the finale, we coated the top with gold fleck to highlight the design on the top, a cow.

We boxed our pralines to take home along with our apron and hat. We even received a diploma indicating we successfully completed the praline course.

If you would like the recipe, I will email to you when I get home in Scottsdale.

While at Cailler, we always buy chocolate bars to bring back home. We filled up two carry on bags. Heavy!!!!!!!!!!!!

Chocolate fondue????

Michael loves Raclette so we headed to Gruyères for a late lunch/early dinner. The Raclette is served with potatoes, bread, pickled onions and gerkins.

This was the first day for our waitress. Michael thought she gave us the wrong cheese as this one was extremely creamy and did not brown when put under the burner. Michael questioned her about the cheese. She became flustered and stressed. We told her it was not something she did. We had questions about the cheese as it tasted different from what we usually have (Sundays are always extremely busy in Gruyères.) Since the girl didn't know the answer, Michael asked to speak with the manager to determine if we received the correct cheese. He was polite and not demanding. Well, the waitress started crying and walked out. The manager said she wasn't surprised she walked out. We were only questioning the cheese. Strike two!!

His favorite wine.

Strike three happened when we talked to two women from India. They were staying in Luzern for another day before going on to Paris. The 76 year old was a retired doctor specializing in blood diseases. The other lady worked in the insurance business.

They were looking for a restaurant recommendation in Luzern at which point Michael mentioned the Old Swiss House which specializes in wienerschnitzel. Well, they are Hindu.

Hindus advocate the practice of ahiṃsā (non-violence) and respect for all life because divinity is believed to permeate all beings, including plants and non-human animals.

In accordance with ahiṃsā, many Hindus embrace vegetarianism to respect higher forms of life. Estimates of strict lacto vegetarians in India (includes adherents of all religions) who never eat any meat, fish or eggs vary between 20% and 42%, while others are either less strict vegetarians or non-vegetarians. Those who eat meat seek Jhatka (quick death) method of meat production, and dislike Halal (slow bled death) method, believing that quick death method reduces suffering to the animal. The food habits vary with region, with Bengali Hindus and Hindus living in Himalayan regions, or river delta regions, regularly eating meat and fish. Some avoid meat on specific festivals or occasions. Observant Hindus who do eat meat almost always abstain from beef. The cow in Hindu society is traditionally identified as a caretaker and a maternal figure, and Hindu society honors the cow as a symbol of unselfish giving.

Strike three!!!

Sundays in Gruyères are exciting. Many tourists. Nothing like alpen horn players and a flag thrower to draw a crowd.

The bells made a soft dinga, dinga, dinga sound.

The castle is high on the hill.

One the way back to Unterseen, we took the Golden Pass Route. I love this route going through the mountains.

Gorgeous chalets in this area!

Main street in Gstadd

Another wonderful day comes to a close.

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