Travel Blogger Likes The Swiss Wines & Cheeses, Even In Los Angeles
One wine was a Chasselas white with the outline of the Matterhorn on the label and the other a Dole Balavaud from the Valais Region. Both were light but tasteful, ideal for this warm afternoon.
I was not at some resort in the Alps, fresh off some adventure like bungee jumping in Interlaken or at a fine hotel in one of Switzerland’s fine cities such as Bern, Bael or Lucerne.
Rather, I was in Los Angeles. Specifically, the residence of the Consulate General of Switzerland in Hancock Park (this is the part of the city where President Obama stays when he’s in Los Angeles, and where Kate Middleton and Prince William stayed while on their visit to the U.S.) for a Tourism Switzerland luncheon for L.A.-basted travel media.
This is one of the perks of being a travel writer – getting to experience a destination’s culture without leaving town.
Drinking Swiss wines anywhere, anytime is nice, and it’s a real treat to get them here in Los Angeles because they are so rare outside of Switzerland. The white was light – but certainly not too light to where it didn’t have any taste; it had plenty – while the red was smooth, like a gentle Pinot Noir.
A bit later, I was also having some of those fantastic cheeses from Switzerland with the wine. Swiss cheeses have so much taste the flavors dance around inside the mouth for a few moments before you chew and swallow. Fantastic! And not all Swiss cheeses have holes in them, by the way.
The wines and cheeses alone are worth making a trip to Switzerland, and you can’t really get them outside of the country.
I’m pretty sure the sausage was also from Switzerland; it was plump, juicy and delicious but not overwhelming, different than the sausages we have here in the States.
The event featured representatives of various parts of Switzerland: Basel, Bern, Interlaken Jungfrau & Lake Geneva, Lucerne and the Lake Lucerne Region, and Lake Geneva and the Matterhorn Region.
Also present were representatives for the Swiss Travel System (the trains that whisk travelers so efficiently around the country) and Swiss airlines.
It provided the opportunity to learn what’s new for the summer of 2016 and to ask questions that we can use for upcoming story ideas. For example, I learned this is the 125th anniversary of the Sherlock Holmes home in Haslital (who even knew Sherlock Holmes had a home in Switzerland!?) and that there is a ginger liquor – “Ingwerer” in Bern.
I also had the opportunity to ask the Lucerne representative about the 2016 Blue Balls Festival (it’s a big outdoor music festival July 22-30 that one year featured Billy Idol and this year has Seal), and mention to the Interlaken representative how I would like to post a story on top 10 things for college backpackers to do in that area.
They also emphasized the social media hashtag for all things Switzerland: #InLoveWithSwitzerland.
The event was also the final event for the much-loved Los Angeles representative of Tourism Switzerland, Maja Gartman, whom all the travel media adore for her fun-loving approach to pitching and promoting Switzerland.
I met Maja at a Tourism Europe exchange in which European PR representatives meet with media on a single day. Maja saw the martini glass on my card and had also done her research on PubClub.com.
She vowed to send me to Switzerland on a press trip if I would write about the nightlife as well as the other adventures in the country. So while most others on that press trip slept, I was researching the bars of Sass-Fee, Bern and Zurich.
I’ve since done the same thing in Basel (twice), Zermatt and the Lake Geneva wine region, as well as a lively little town outside of Zurich called Winterthur.
Plus, I get to go to these cool Swiss press events in L.A., where my appreciation for the country is rekindled. A little Swiss wine and cheese helps in that area, too.