A Swiss Boxing Day Supper

Beef Consommé with Fino Sherry





Tian of Braised Beef with Celeriac Purée and Marsala Jus





We arrived in Zermatt on Christmas Eve just as twilight was giving way to night. High cloud and darkening skies obscured the towering Matterhorn from view, but, ‘tomorrow,’ we said, looking out the window, ‘we’ll be able see it then, just like on the Tolberone, rising there to the right, or is it maybe just to the left?’ ‘Well, we’ll see, tomorrow.’ And then the first flakes of snow started to fall…

On Christmas morning the valley was white and the sky thick with low cloud. The snow continued to pater down, gently at first, and then, just as we decided to venture up the slopes, a little more enthusiastically. There was nothing for it but to eat, and drink, and so first there was tuna carpaccio, and foie gras with brioche, and Valais meats, and cheeses, and white wine, and then red, with roast lamb, and pastas, and rösti and some more cheese (because it’s only polite), and then apfelstrudel and custard, and sachertorte and whipped cream, all finished off with a round of strong fruity Grog served in a circular vessel made from wood with four drinking spouts and the strict instruction that it be passed from person to person until finished without being put down if the coming year is to bring good luck.

But evidently the luck was to be some time away, as on Boxing Day the snow was heavier again. Great drifts had fallen overnight, blanketing the roofs and the trees like freshly whipped meringue, the air a zillion-flaked blur of white driven gently downwards by the wind. We Google-image search ‘the Matterhorn,’ click to enlarge, and prop the result up in what we think is the representative position in the window, ('to the left? No, to the right!')… ‘Maybe tomorrow,’ we repeat again, before bundling up in clothing and trundling up the mountain for another very long lunch of cheese and wine, but very little in the way of skiing.

That evening though, twinkling through a hole in the heightening cloud, a tiny first star, and then finally, the next morning, through the ice-tinged windows, the rosily sun-lit face of the Matterhorn – rising up to the right, (where I thought it was all along!).


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