23/07/2013

Italian Cuisine

The love of Italian food has spread throughout the world, pizza, pasta and Co. are now readily available almost everywhere. Besides the classics, Italy of course has a lot more culinary discoveries to offer. The cuisine is heavily dependent on the region – coastal areas serve a lot of fish dishes, the heart of the country offers vegetables, cheese and meat and the mountain area enjoys sausage specialties. Tuscany’s cuisine blooms in its simplicity. Legumes, venison, bread, mushrooms, fruits, vegetables and cheese are the main components of the region’s diet and are still processed into delicious dishes following rural tradition today. An important part of the menu is of course the Tuscan wine. Venice and its surrounding areas inspire the appetite with various kinds of risotto and Rome features all kinds of pasta specialties.

Eating is considered a social affair in Italy. A family dinner can take over several hours. A typical meal consists of appetisers, anti pasti, the primo piatto (a rice or pasta dish), the segondo piatto (a fish or meat dish) and the Dolce, a delicious dessert. And to top it all off, a nice cup of Italian coffee perfects the dining experience.

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23/07/2013

Florence

Florence – the capital and the heart of Tuscany, a city of such beauty, words fail to do it just.

Like two closely entwined lovers, the city of Florence and the River Arno lay beside each other. Several bridges of impressive architectural grace invite visitors on a journey of discovery – and there is much to discover! Numerous art galleries, hidden boutiques presenting unusual fashion, quiet streets, quaint buildings and world-famous works of art await admiring travellers on a daily basis. Michelangelo Buonarroti’s Davide, along with interesting works by Botticelli, Titian, Rubens and Leonardo da Vinci can all be found in Florence. The cathedral, the largest church in Italy, is Florence’ pride and joy. Florence is flawless, even the most hidden streets tempt visitors to whip out the camera or just take in the environment. So much sightseeing sparks the appetite!

Tuscan cuisine is surprisingly straightforward, rather than focusing on sophistication it places much more value in the essentials of each ingredient. The basic elements of Tuscan dishes come in the form of unsalted Tuscan bread and extra virgin olive oil. In order to awaken your culinary interest, here’s a little insight into a few typical dishes: Tonno e fagioli, a salad made up of white beans, tuna and fine herbs (one of Tuscany’s favourites); pappa al pomodoro, a wonderful way of “recycling” bread, tomatoes, garlic and olive oil; Pinzimonio, fresh vegetables with olive oil and Bistecca Fiorentina and a unforgettably tasty grilled T-bone steak. Another important feature is the quality of the region’s wines, here you will come to taste the elegant drops of the Chianti and Montepulciano region. The best way of bringing a long, tranquil day of taking in Florence’s impressive landmarks to a close is by getting comfortable in a cosy tavern near the placidly flowing Arnos and greet the night with a fine aperitif. Florence is (almost) too good to be true…

 

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23/07/2013

Rome

A visit to Rome promises a packed itinerary full of excursions to palaces, museums, parks, churches, gardens, basilicas, temples, piazzas and theatres in what is considered to be one of the world’s most beautiful ancient cities.

Spend an afternoon in the famous Coliseum the entrance of which is free for EU citizens under eighteen or over sixty-five years old. The upper floor of the outer wall of the building now houses a museum entirely dedicated to Eros. Since the summer of 2010, a network of subterranean passageways which was once used to transport gladiators and wild animals, has opened to the public. The Trevi district in Rome takes you to the Trevi fountain, the largest Baroque fountain in the city. Legend has it that a coin thrown over your shoulder and into the fountain, guarantees a return to Rome. It is estimated that around €3000 are thrown into the fountain on a daily basis. An absolute must-see is the Sistine Chapel, home to the infamous works of Renaissance artists such as Sandro Botticelli, Michelangelo, Domenico Ghirlandaio and Pinturichio amongst others. After having dedicated an entire day to feasting the eyes, the evening calls for a feast for the stomach!

Roman cuisine is deeply rooted in the past which is reflected by the many old traditions and culinary offerings. Classic dishes are centered around fresh vegetables (the artichoke is definitely a favourite!), cuts of meat and deep fried, tasty appetisers such as salted cod and filled zucchini blossoms and pecorino cheese which is prepared in the countryside using sheep’s milk. An all-time Roman favourite are the pasta variations such as carbonara, spaghetti bolognese, aglio e olio, rigatoni and the fragrant soup, pasta e ceci. One of the best desserts in Rome is the ricotta cake which is prepared with fresh ricotta cheese, lemon, sugar, candied fruits  vanilla, pine nuts and raisins. Buon appetito!

 

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23/07/2013

Venice

Venice – the floating pearl of the Adriatic attracts visitors from all over the world time and time again and is considered one of the most visited cities in the world.

Venice is unique, no other city in this world is as closely connected to the ancient element of water. Visitors from across the globe are delighted by the architecture, culinary delights and unique artworks of this city, year after year. Venice’s historic centre is made up of 118 islands which are interconnected with 400 bridges. Canals of different widths flow through different districts – the pulsating veins of the city. The city is divided into six ancient districts, each of which longs to be discovered for its charm and magic. To get around, gondolas and boats are considered the main form of public transport: Parts of the city are within walking distance, which is manifested by the busy water traffic of the Grand Canal. Popular sights include the Piazza di San Marco and its unusual trapezoidal structure, the island of Murano where visitors witness the production of the infamous Murano Glasses and the Ponte dei Sospiri (Bridge of Sighs) which got its name from the many lovers who frequented this bridge late at night.

Venice turns into a paradise of culinary discovery whilst visiting the typical bacari, a wine bar, which owes its name to Bacchus. Delicacies here include sardines marinated in onion, vinegar, oil and pine nuts; Risi e Bisi, a cross between soup and risotto with peas; Caparossoi a scota deo, mussels cooked in lemon and pepper – these are so delicious, many an impatient guest has burned their fingers reaching for them a tad too soon, hence the name “a scota deo”: hot fingers. Whether you are opting for the sunny piazzas or a romantic garden far from the tourist’s trail or one of the many quaint wine bars to find your culinary satisfaction, one thing is certain: Venice will melt in your mouth.

 

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16/07/2013

Summer Orange Cinema

The popular Summer OrangeCinema on the Münsterplatz in Basel is back with a new look this summer. “Piazza is the magic word” – a southern flair for warm summer evenings in Switzerland.

The new Münsterplatz (Cathedral Square) is more tangible thanks to creative innovations and invites visitors to enjoy a charming Piazza-feeling reminiscent of Italy. The result of the transformation is impressive, the architectures as well as the entire concept were adapted to the “stile italiano”. The cinema has thus opted against the high tribunes and the hospitality tent has found a lower placement, allowing for a better view. The safety fences surrounding the cinema create a spacious feeling and the storage containers of gastronomic infrastructure have been kept out of sight.

Thanks to the integration of the restaurant “Zum Isaak“, the appetite of attendees is also catered for. Take a seat in the “Piazza” and feast on all time classics and delicious food.

In the spirit of the new concept, a variety of Italian favourites are shown this year such as “La Strada” (1954) by Federico Fellini and “Cinema Paradiso” (1988) by Giuseppe Tornatore. “The Sapphires” is a true feel-good-movie whilst “The Look of Love” promises a marriage of drama and eroticism. The brilliant thriller “Disconnect” is in charge of nail-biting moments. A highlight of the program is Charlie Chaplin’s masterpiece “The Circus”, orchestrated by the Basel Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Dirk Brossé. The various theme nights bring great surprises: Children under 12 years are invited free of charge on Family Night, Ladie’s Night bedazzles viewers with the infamous “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and Orange Cinema presents the Oscar-penned “Argo” from and with Ben Affleck.

The prices are fair: Regular screenings are 5 francs, exclusive previews are 15 francs. Get into the groove of Basel’s summer!

16/07/2013

Gourmet City Basel

Thanks to its unique location bordering three countries, Basel literally serves a culinary journey of discovery on a silver platter!

The people of Basel really value pleasure. Local chefs are open to inspiration and love and often look beyond the rim of their cooking pots. Therefore, variety and top quality come naturally.

The fact that more than 20 restaurants in Basel have been rated with Gault Millau or Michelin points, speaks for itself. Whether you are lusting after exotic dishes, or would just like to enjoy a gourmet meal or local specialities – Basel leaves no wishes open.

A walk along Basel’s promenade – the sunny banks of the Rhine – can be combined with a wonderful cultural trip through the town and a well-deserved coffee break in one of the many beautiful outdoor cafés. There are over 40 museums to explore in Basel and a variety of events are hosted here. The romantic streets of the Spalenberg, a well preserved part of the old town, encourage dreamy strolls and unique boutiques tempt shoppers. So much sightseeing sparks the appetite!

A great start to the day begins with a hearty breakfast in the Restaurant Brasserie of the Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois. For a market-fresh lunch in the form of refined creations, the Filou Ramada Plaza at the Trade Fair Centre is recommended. To round off the evening, the Gifthüttli offers a typical Basel atmosphere with an open fire place and wood features, enchanting guests with its Swiss charm. The various cordon bleu creations on the card, make a visit to the Gifthüttli an exciting culinary experience.

 

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16/07/2013

Dive into Basel’s water world!

As temperatures in Basel rise high this summer, you may choose to work up a sweat whilst shopping and sight seeing only to immerse yourself in the unique Basilea water world for a refreshing dip afterwards.

The Aquabasilea is a unique water park in Pratteln near Basel, spanning over 13,000 m². The bathing area is made up of the Leisure Pool and a Vitality Pool. Whilst the Leisure Pool is slightly more adventurous, with wave machines and great water slides for all ages, the Vitality Pool calls for relaxation in the ancient, energising element of water. Sweat out all the toxins that have accumulated due to the stress and strain of every day life in Aquabasilea’s sauna world.

You can choose between various types of saunas and sauna houses located both inside and outside. The spa offers a selection of beautifying and relaxing treatments, allowing you to shine inside and out.

Should you still feel the need to exercise after hour long shopping excursions in Basel and countless laps  up and down the pool, the Aquabasilea also offers a gym with some 90 training machines and cardio equipment.

Surely, all this physical activity will wet the appetite which can be stilled in Aquabasilea’s sauna bistro, the pool bar and the summer cafe.

 

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16/07/2013

Zum Isaak

“No one man should be more miserable, than the state of nature would have been.” These are the words of Isaak Iselin, a spiritually kind man and namesake of the restaurant “Zum Isaak” in Basel.

The restaurant “Zum Isaak” is situated within the Reisacherhof where Isaak Iselin lived happily with his wife and their nine children. Born on the 3rd of July, 1728, Isaak was only fourteen years old when he enrolled with the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Basel.

Five years on, his study of Roman law made him climb the walls, seeing as he considered the circumstances surrounding justice “miserable”. His life was characterised by the study of philosophy, which lead to the founding of the “society of fine arts”, along with other academics from the University of Basel.

“The bad habits poisoning science”, were an eyesore for Iselin. As a man of justice, he was also against serfdom. He obtained his doctorate degree and became a legal town clerk in 1756, when Basel only counted twelve thousand citizens. He founded the “Society for the encouragements of promotion and charity” along with open minded friends. Thus, what is still known as the GGG today, was launched. This was his attempt to distribute responsibility and necessary social tasks amongst the merchants and manufacturers of the welfare state of Basel. His idea proved successful.

The restaurant “Zum Isaak” has stayed loyal to its namesake and has taken on the task of “encouraging society” through delicious, creative dishes. The offered Natura meat is sourced from Jenzer in the nearby city of Arlesheim. The menu is small but fine, delighting guests with pita bread with ricotta and spinach as a starter, followed by a juicy beef steak with parmesan-thyme-crust and potato-pistachios spirals and for the grand finale, the famous, irresistible “Creme Catalan”.

 

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26/06/2013

Akaraka

 

To become one, through music and joy” – and of course through authentic, fresh Korean cuisine. The Akaraka restaurant in Zurich does not only live by the philosophy of their given name, the staff makes sure guests really feel this attitude towards life and food.

Both restaurant chefs are Opera singers and have thus found the perfect way to combine their passions and mesmerise guests during their visit, with a mixture of both of their offered artistic skills.

Interested guests will learn about the careful consideration behind chosen ingredients: the Akaraka follows the Yin and Yang principle as well as the five elements, therefore even the colours of the ingredients are matched in order to achieve harmony within meals. Ingredients are combined so that the appetite is stimulated and the body can easily absorb them.

Especially popular is the Hansik, which is made up of fresh vegetables, steamed slightly in order to contain all natural vitamins. Korean food gives you energy, which according to Korean belief, not only strengthens the body but also the mind and soul. “Food and medicine grow from the same root” – these traditional beliefs clearly emphasise the importance of real nutrition for the mental and physical well-being of Koreans.

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26/06/2013

Summer Restaurants

 

Enjoy relaxing summer evenings and let the last rays of suns tickle your nose as you dig into delicious regional meals at one of Zurich’s many beautiful garden terraces.

The Pumpstation is a popular meeting point on the lakeside promenade, near Bellevue. Baba the barbecue expert is a master of the trade – here you’ll find some of the best baked potatoes with sour cream in the world!

Another superb location is the Lake Side, which offers a spacious terrace, bar and conference centre, and as the name already suggests, it is situated right next to the lake. The meals are focused on fusion cuisine but the restaurant also serves fish, seafood and regional specialities.

For those who are looking for a more peaceful and quiet setting, the Reithalle is a definite must. Housed in the building of the Gessnerallee theatre, it is only a five minute walk from the Central Station in Zurich and the Bahnhofstrasse.

One of the most beautiful gardens in the city belongs to the TAO’S restaurant, where the Euro-Asian lifestyle is celebrated in its true form.

The Romantik Seehotel Sonne offers a garden with most spectacular sunset views which can be enjoyed accompanied with organic hamburgers, bratwurst, battered fish and other culinary delights. Further restaurant highlights include the Waid, from which you have the most breath taking views over Zurich, the Adlisberg, with its wooden tables and benches inviting you to relax in true beer garden style and the Altes Klösterli, from which you can look out on to the Glatt valley and indulge in delicious traditional and local specialities.