Saturday, March 7, 2009

The night we dined on Raclette cheese and gherkins at a Swiss Chalet

It was drizzling when we left our apartment on Saturday evening, but amazingly, there was a taxi available right outside. We gave the taxi driver the address: 50 Botevgradsko Shousse Blvd. The driver knew where this street was - it was on the eastern side of Sofia where we had not been before. But as he drove up the street, we couldn't find number 50.

Finally the driver parked the car, apologized to us, and got out to find someone who could locate number 50. (Of course all of this was in Bulgarian, you see). He got back in after a few minutes, and we turned the corner. and there it was.

Chalet Suisse (http://chaletsuisse.eu/index-en.html) is an authentic Swiss restaurant which opened in Sofia three months ago. Two of the owners are authentic Swiss, and by coincidence, they found a an almost authentic wooden house in the city and refurbished it to look like a mountain chalet. The menu is very fondue - of the cheese and chocolate kind. But now, for the first time, they had imported Raclette cheese into Bulgaria.

Raclette is a traditional Swiss cheese which the Swiss cow herders used to take with them as they were moving cows to the mountain pastures. The restaurant has a special oven on which they heat half of the cheese wheel, then scrape the melted mass off and serve it with potatoes, gherkins and pickled onions. This was topped off by a bottle of white Swiss wine from Ballavaud.
The meal was expensive, together with the taxis back and forth, and the wine, it came to about 100 Levas (260 shekels).

The occasion was a get-together of an organization/website we've joined called Ex-Pat in Bulgaria (http://www.expatinbulgaria.com/), for foreigners living in Bulgaria. So at dinner we had a chance to meet with some other people new to the country. Well, one Scot was already retired in Sofia for 9 years. The organization/website is owned by the same owners as the Sofia Echo, the only English language newspaper in Bulgaria. So we ended up meeting some interesting people. And drinking some good wine.

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