St. Gallen – bustling city of sharp, edgy, motion

Finally made it to St. Gallen, the city of industrial textile manufacturing, a basic resource that gave rise to important chemical and mechanical engineering capabilities. This city is small for its activities: capital of its canton, education center in Eastern Switzerland, in addition to these business activities.

As I crossed a random street in front of bus and tram stops (a typical transportation setup in Switzerland), a clutch of well-dressed, slender young businessmen rushed past me, chattering in a friendly way in the St. Gallen dialect. They seemed happy. Unusual for Europe.

As I searched for late lunch, I saw a small place on an out-of-the-way corner. The sign said, “Traditional Swiss food.” Usually that is the kind of place to stay away from – touristy, kitschy, expensive.

What made me decide to try it were: three steps up to a door on the left, only a few tables inside including one with and three men casually playing Jass, the Swiss card game that resembles whist.

Was I ever right. I chose to try the raclette, a French-Swiss dish that very few people can get right, including me. Typical of the French, there are few ingredients, but they must be the right ingredients in the right proportion:  Raclette cheese, small boiled potatoes, pickles – slightly sweet/slightly sour, and pickled cocktail onions. Ground pepper on top.

Authentic raclette

Normally, the host holds a half wheel of the cheese held horizontally to a heating element at the dining table. As the cheese melts, the host scraps of the melted part onto a plate already loaded with the other ingredients.

Guests begin to eat immediately before the cheese cools and hardens into a plastic-y substance.

My DDH and I had this one time in 1963, when a French-Swiss grad student at the ZPG invited us to dinner. We were shocked and intrigued. No salad? No meat? No ‘real’ vegetables? No bread?

The St. Gallen restaurant couldn’t use a cheese wheel and big melting apparatus. They solved the problem by arranging halved potatoes around a heavy, heated skillet, putting the cheese on top, and running the skillet under the broiler.

When the cheese was just right, the plate was topped with pickles and little onions, and a wedge of tomato and some nussli salat, a small, dark, lettuce-like green. The dish tasted perfect!

The waitress gave me a city map and museum guide. All I had time for, among the many museums, was the textile museum, which fortunately, was one of my two top picks. More in the next post.


About InvestingforOne

I've been investing in various assets by myself using a discount broker for many years. Over that time, I've developed some theories that others might find useful. Plus, there is more to investing than money. Time, talent, work, friends, family all go into developing a good and satisfactory strategy.
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