I met several other American transplants when I first arrived and attended a "Living in Zurich" class. One of the group suggested getting together for a monthly coffee at each others' apartments - taking turns being hostess. The group has changed as people have left and others have arrived. When I hosted, I also invited two Brits and an Irish woman to my coffee. It's my place - I choose the guests! There is often very little coffee consumed, but that's what we call these gatherings!
I should have taken pictures of the guests, but sadly did not. A friend took a picture of the table with refreshments. Since two of my guests are "gluten free" and one also eats no dairy, I made sure there was nothing there they could not eat. My menu consisted of spiced nuts, cucumbers slices topped with goat cheese and smoked salmon, fresh fruit salad, and chocolate covered strawberries. We also had a raspberry lime sparkling drink which was quite tasty, hot tea and wine. No one opted for coffee!
Here are some pictures of the group of women at some other coffees.
Farewell "high tea" for Julia (front with the big hat) since she was moving to London. That's why we are wearing silly hats or "fascinators".
Not ideal planning, but the day after I hosted the coffee, we also hosted two couples for dinner. The women were both at the coffee, but finding a time when all six of us are available can be a challenge. We took the first available opportunity. Marisel brought her famous guacamole (well only famous here among friends, I suppose) and chips. I had snack kabobs of cherry tomato, mozzarella cheese balls and basil and also the same with goat cheese. (Marisel can have goat cheese, but not dairy.) The main meal was served family style without separate courses.
chicken in a beer and prune sauce (much tastier than it sounds)
tomatoes and mushrooms filled with a chorizo stuffing
Following Marisel's dietary restrictions, Eva brought a gluten and dairy free chocolate cake that was very tasty and a fruit salad.
|Fred, Eva, Roger, me and Tom|
|Christmas dinner - photo by Alicia|
Fred, Roger and Tom all work for Zurich Insurance, but that is not why we're friends. I met Marisel the one and only time I went to the "Lunch Bunch" of the American Women's Club. It was her only time to attend too. We'd both just arrived in Zurich. Marisel introduced me to Eva and the rest is history.
Easter weekend was not made for traveling this year. Instead, we invited dear friends, Ruth and Michael, to come spend the holiday weekend with us. We met in 1997 when we both lived in Belgium. (They're in Belgium for their third time now and about to retire back to Michigan.) Since I knew they would not be with us for Friday dinner, I used the day to chop ingredients or prepare some of the dishes that I would serve later in the weekend. They arrived late on Good Friday evening and we shared some wine and (Swiss) cheese while chatting away. In the morning, I baked the breakfast casserole I had assembled the day before, serving it with English muffins and a tray of fresh fruit.
The weather was rainy and chilly on Saturday - not conducive to going up a mountain or taking a boat ride. Instead we went to the Swiss National Museum in Zurich that was hosting the paper cutting exhibit. Tom and I had seen it before, but I'd wanted to see it again. This was a perfect outing for a nasty day. We took a short tour of Zurich to see the Chagall stained glass windows in the Frauenmünster, have lunch and buy some Swiss chocolate. They brought us some of our favorite Belgian chocolates, but we also wanted them to taste our Swiss favorites.
|lunch at Zeughauskeller|
|busy in the kitchen|
Everyone slept in on Easter morning. We had more of the fruit, Swiss Easter eggs (sold already hard-boiled and dyed) and breads. The weather was nicer allowing for pretty mountain views on the way to Einsiedeln, a short drive away. We visited the abbey church there: we can say went to church on Easter, just not to a service.
|in front of the abbey|
|higher elevation = snow remaining!|
We all had vegetable "rosti" for lunch.
|Michael and Ruth|
On the way home from Einsiedeln, the mountains were out in their glory. We made a detour to an excellent spot to view "our" mountains. It is a traditional photo spot whenever we have visitors.
|photographer was in a hurry and didn't get much of the mountains behind us - darn!|
Easter dinner menu:
garlic soup with garlicky croutons
roast leg of lamb with rosemary, carrots and onions
Belgian endives (seemed an appropriate choice to me!)
Of course, there was wine involved in the meals. Tom's job was to choose the proper pairings - he made fine choices. I never got around to making any dessert. We just picked at the chocolate we bought. No one needed anything more.
|Deirde, Rowena and Helen|
Hosting Robin and Chris was the conclusion of my hospitality extravaganza. Chris does a tremendous amount of business travel (for Zurich Insurance as a matter of fact) requiring us to block dates well in advance. The plan was to go hiking first and then come back here for dinner. The weather was iffy so we waited until afternoon to start out. We walked out our door, followed the path across the farm and up into the hills behind us. It's a rather steep climb at first, but we eventually get to the "Horgenberg" or Horgen mountain. It's not really a mountain, but is higher. It's very nice to be able to take this kind of hike without traveling somewhere first. We got drizzled on, but not much more.
Here we are towards the beginning of our hike. The lake is visible behind us, but we still have more to climb.
|Robin and Chris|
|you know who!|
You never know what you'll find along the "wanderweg". Here is a contraption on the corner of a field. It is for cows to be able to scratch themselves.
|Robin pretending to be the cow|
All of these events happened between March 27 and April 11. Also in that period was Tom's birthday with his special dinner. It was a busy time, but a lot of fun too! (and I'm not getting on a scale for a while!)