Sunday, 9 June 2013

Foodie Penpals--May Reveal

As far as I can recall, all my previous Foodie Penpals exchanges involved partners in either the UK or The Netherlands. This month, however, two more countries were added to the list: Germany, the destination of the package I mailed, and Switzerland, the origin of the parcel I received.

Luckily my parcel arrived in much better shape than the one I mailed. The original package seemingly vanished in the post, and I was on the cusp of mailing a replacement when my penpal wrote to say that the first one had finally shown up (on the reveal day itself!), looking very much the worse for wear. I was relieved to hear this news, though it's a shame that it didn't happen before I bought all new edible treats to send. I guess I know what next month's penpal is receiving (just kidding, Miriam!).

My parcel--which, as you can see, arrived on a sunny spring day--was full of Swiss goodies. The first thing that caught my attention was the home-grown bay, the scent of which came bursting from the package as soon as I opened it. The difference in leaf size between store-bought and home-grown is pretty amazing, as is the difference in the intensity of the smell and flavor. I wasted no time experimenting with the leaves, using one that evening in a homemade pasta sauce.

My penpal sent along some Swiss-style muesli, which I have been using to make a fancy version of Overnight Oats. Also included were some meringues, which I need to find a use for. I'm thinking some Eton Mess, which I might serve at the upcoming viewing of the Game of Thrones season finale?

I also received some Swiss chocolate, which is tantalizingly good. One evening after work, I went to have a couple pieces of the crunchy nougat bar, but then wound up eating the whole thing. It's hard to resist chocolate that smooth.

In addition to the fragrant bay leaves, the other "floral" component of my parcel was a bag of edelweiss tea. As someone who loves both tea and the song "Edelweiss" from The Sound of Music, I was quite excited to see this particular item. I had no idea that edelweiss ("little white flowers") were edible. I still haven't had a chance to brew a cup because I've been running around so busily over the last couple weeks. However, I am very much looking forward to finding out what this tea tastes like.

As much as I liked all the food that I was sent, I think my favorite part of the package was the accompanying card, which included a hand-drawn map of Switzerland showing me where all my different food items came from. For me, one of the most interesting things about the Foodie Penpals program is tasting regional specialties that I can't get down here in Cornwall; this map really emphasized how great these parcels are at expanding your culinary horizons and taking your taste buds on a little vacation. Thanks very much to Kadri for the enlightenment and the excellent choices for my package!

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