When you visit friends in Switzerland and their family has a chalet in the mountains, you definitely fit a trip to the chalet into your schedule. The chalet is in a small village with a handful of other homes, a church, and a couple restaurants, tucked away in a high mountain valley next to a beautiful lake, Lac De Taney.
In the summertime, we could have driven up to the town. But it was still winter in the mountains in April, so we had to park at the bottom and hike up a steep, snowy trail to our home for the night. After reaching the chalet and dropping off our bags, we explored around the area, including the frozen lake. What's a popular destination hike in the summertime was mostly deserted in the snow, and all the restaurants in town were closed.
Luckily, our amazing hosts hiked up with a bag full of cheese, wine, garlic and bread. The scent of homemade fondue on the stove is almost as good as the meal itself. We learned that fondue (basically melted cheese and bread) is somewhat of a special occasion meal in Switzerland, enjoyed about once a month.
Hanging out with a Swiss and an American who now lives in Switzerland, was the best way to learn about the local culture and food from a familiar perspective. We kept a wood fire going, shared stories and played boardgames until our eyes were heavy and our tummies and hearts full. We need more special occasion meals in our lives.
- Yuriy Manchik
YURIY MANCHIK is a photographer, based in Seattle, who enjoys being outdoors and on the move. The Pacific Northwest is the perfect playground for him. On any given day, you might find him racing down a trail on a mountain bike, pushing a sailboat to its limit, kayaking around Lake Union, or fly fishing on Yakima River.