Food & Wine Tasting Masterclass, Chartres, France

By Wednesday, July 30, 2014 Permalink 1

Food and Wine Tasting Masterclass in Chartres, France

18 – 21 SEPTEMBER 2014

Exploring the Food and Wine of the  Beauce and the Loire Valley

with James Flewellen and Jonell Galloway

Through a series of tutored workshops, this 4-day weekend workshop will help unlock your tastebuds and introduce the richness of aromas, flavors and textures present in food and wine. Our exploration is enabled through local food from the Beauce and wine from the Loire Valley and coincides with the Chartres Festival of Lights and the Autumnal Equinox.

For course details click here and to make your reservation click here.



Tackling Obesity through Food Relationships

By Thursday, April 10, 2014 Permalink 0

Jonell Galloway, Writer, Editor and Translator

Swiss Food











by Jonell Galloway

I was recently interviewed for a Swiss Info documentary called “Finding the Right Food Formula.” In the context of recent childhood obesity figures in Switzerland, Veronica De Vore is exploring the Swiss relationship to food and how that might have changed, how it might be related to the rise in childhood obesity.

Click here to listen to the show. I cooked a Kentucky Fried Chicken feast for Veronica, while discussing the more serious matter of relationships to food in the context of my work in mindful eating. (The article also includes an abridged recipe for my grandmothers’ traditional Kentucky Fried Chicken.)


Potatoes: Endless Varieties in Switzerland

By Sunday, September 29, 2013 Permalink 0

Potatoes: Endless Varieties in Switzerland

by Jonell Galloway

Potatoes: an essential part of the traditional Swiss diet

If there’s one thing we have plenty of in Switzerland, it’s potatoes. I didn’t even like potatoes before I came here and discovered all the subtle differences of texture, taste and all the ways of using them in cooking.

Potatoes are an essential ingredient in almost any traditional Swiss meal. This year’s crop is already starting to show up in local markets.

Large Number of Varieties of Potatoes in Switzerland

The official 2007 Swisspatat list (provided by Agridea, the Swiss agricultural research station) includes 31 different varieties, along with lists for various seasons and types of potatoes, as well as recipes for everyday use as well as for special occasions.

You can take a look at the 31 varieties in the table at the bottom right on the last page of the Swisspatat article to get an idea of which potatoes to look for at what time of the year.

Different Types of Potatoes for Different Uses

There are basically 4 types of potatoes, according to Swisspatat:

  1. Firm or “salad” potatoes. These potatoes do not burst open when cooking. They are moist, fine-grained and not mealy, and can be used in most dishes, with the exception of mashed potatoes and purées.
  2. All-purpose medium-firm potatoes. The skin on these potatoes opens only slightly on cooking. They are somewhat mealy, on the dry side, and have a fine, grainy texture. They are tasty and can be used for most all purposes.
  3. Mealy potatoes. These potatoes burst when cooked, but they are tender, mealy and rather dry. They have a large grain and strong taste and are used mostly for industrial purposes.
  4. Extra-mealy potatoes. These are basically not for cooking and are used for feeding livestock or to make starch, due to their dryness and hard texture.


Switzerland: Antique Apples at Les Vergers d’Aigle et d’Yvorne, a Photo Essay

By Tuesday, September 10, 2013 Permalink 0

Jonell Galloway, Editor, The Rambling EpicureSwitzerland: Antique Apples at Les Vergers d’Aigle et d’Yvorne, a Photo Essay

The Renaissance of Antique Apples in Switzerland, a Photo Essay

by Jonell Galloway

The Vergers d”Aigle et d’Yvorne is tucked into the heart of the Chablais region in French-speaking Switzerland. For more than 40 years now, they have been growing a wide range of fruit, grown under strict environmentally-friendly conditions. This fruit expresses the true terroir of the Chablais region.

Their fruit, including more than 40 varieties of apples both antique and modern, are available at producer prices, much fresher than store-bought apples, with more than 20 varieties available. The website lists the expected dates for each fruit grown.

In September, they also sell the cherished Fellenberg plums.

In season, you can pick your own cherries, with a choice of over 10 varieties.

Bertrand et Martine Cheseaux also offer a wide range of local artisanal products, including oils, vinegars, apple juice, eggs (great quality!), honey and fresh vegetables.

This year, in the context of the Semaine du Goût, or “tasting week”, which runs from September 13 to 23, 2013, they will be offering guided tours of their orchard of some 10 varieties of antique apples, along with tasting. This will take place on Saturday, September 21, with visits at 10 A.M. and 2:00 P.M. It is advisable to reserve a place. To reserve, call 41 (0)79 397 59 72 send an e-mail to

Les Vergers d’Aigle et d’Yvorne
Bertrand & Martine Cheseaux
Route d’Evian 32
CH – 1860 AIGLE


Switzerland: Bénichon Mustard, A Fribourg Specialty to Welcome the Cows Coming Home

By Tuesday, September 3, 2013 Permalink 0

Switzerland: Bénichon Mustard, A Fribourg Specialty to Welcome the Descent of the Cows

by Jonell Galloway


Bénichon mustard is quintessentially Swiss. It is a specialty of the canton of Fribourg.

It is more like a spicy jam than a mustard, in the traditional sense of the word. Its ingredients give it a sweet and sour taste.

It is traditionally eaten with another Fribourg specialty, cuchaule, a light brioche-like sweet saffron bread, during an annual village fair to celebrate and “bless” the autumn harvest and bringing down the herds of cattle from the mountains. This is now held the second week in September.

There are numerous recipes, but they traditionally include mustard flour (or powder), extra-white flour, white wine, fortified wine, rock candy and water, to which cinnamon, star anise and whole cloves are added.

It’s really quite easy to make. I’ve translated the Bénichon recipe and adapted it.

Suggestion: Do this on a day when you’ll be at home all day, or soak the mustard powder over night and finish off the recipe the next day.


The Mindful Eating Series: Interview with Geneva Farmer David John Kong-Hug

By Friday, August 23, 2013 Permalink 0

The Mindful Eating Series: Interview with Geneva Farmer David John Kong-Hug

by Jonell Galloway

In the context of the concept of Mindful Eating, I plan on posting a series of articles that show people who are already practicing this in one way or another, without necessarily calling it by that name.

I’d like to start with an article about Geneva farmer, foodie and ecologist, David John Kong-Hug, whose family’s fruit and vegetables have given my family and me endless satisfaction and nourishment.

I see in the Hugs the same integrity and pride in what they do as I saw in the land of Wendell Berry. There is a mutual satisfaction when he puts an organic red pear into my hands and tells me exactly how to make my rissole. We form a mutual appreciation society; we have a mutual “affection” for the product and awareness of the hard work and care that went in to producing it.

David is a linguist and speaks so many languages I couldn’t possibly name them all. He has traveled extensively, and lived in South America, Asia, the Middle East and Europe.

He grew up on the family farm in Vandœuvres, right outside Geneva, and has never lost his love and respect for the land. He started working on the family farm from a young age, where he remained while studying agriculture and later doing a Ph.D. in environmental management.

Like the Swiss, like Wendell Berry, the love of land and soil is in his blood. With this personal history, need we ask what he thinks about Mindful Eating?

Interview with David John Kong-Hug

We are one of the last Genevan families who sell organic vegetables and fruits grown in our little one-hectare farm in Vandoeuvres (GE) along the Seymaz river. We have been working at the Rive and Carouge farmers market since 1946. For us, eating organic is a misnomer. Food is organic by its very nature! But since the green revolution in the seventies, food has become partly chemical. We have always refused to use chemicals on our land. How could we poison our land and water, add sulfites to the food we eat, feed our animals and serve to people?

Until the seventies, people took seasonal crops as a given. They knew that tomatoes with irregular shapes and apples with flaws were actually natural and tasty. They did not ask for strawberries in winter. Our tomatoes are not calibrated and cannot be kept for two months in the fridge. In winter, eating soups made of seasonal vegetables such as pumpkin, cabbage, leek, radish bring all the nutrients the body needs. Winter salads, such as bitter chicory or endive, are bitter in order to compensate for the extra fat people add by eating more meat when it’s cold.

Organic products are a bit more expensive than the industrial ones for two reasons. First of all, growing organic food is labor-intensive. Soils have to be weeded manually; manure spread evenly with the pitchfork; then fragile crops have to be covered with linen sheets to prevent birds from eating them. Greenhouses also protect from the cold and the predators, but field mice dig from underneath. As a result, a good deal of the production is lost, and only one third is actually brought to the market stall.

The second reason is that organic farming is not subsidized at all. Agro-industries that grow specific crops, sold to certain wholesalers, receive subsidies for mechanization, pesticides and fertilizers. The chemical and agro-industrial lobby in Switzerland is very strong. Pesticides and fertilizers are therefore indirectly sponsored by the government, that is to say the taxpayers.

These chemicals are necessary for intensive, calibrated and zero waste agriculture. Produce is harvested before it is ripe and sometimes kept a month in enormous refrigerators before being delivered to supermarkets. Local organic farmers still harvest at 4 A.M. the very day of the market. Their produce has to be sold within two or three days, or otherwise composted.

Unfortunately, selling bio or organic has become a business niche, not only for the large retail stores, but also for the government. Acquiring a green label is outrageously expensive for small independent farmers. Besides, their norms do not measure levels of pathogenic elements, but concern hedges and fallow, water conservation and soil erosion, which local farmers have been implementing for decades.

Therefore we created our own label “EKO”, for which we claim homegrown organic seasonal vegetables and fruits, aiming at eighty – ninety percent organic and chemical-free, which our customers recognize thanks to the taste and quality. Being an organic farmer is challenging. We just hope that our customers find their way to both the heart and stomach.

  • “Bringing It to the Table” by Wendell Berry
  • Wendell Berry: No technological fix to climate change
  • The Missouri Table: A Response to Ethical Foodies From a ‘Factory Farmer’
  • The Importance of Agriculture
  • Manifesto: The mad farmers liberation front

Celebrate the Chartres Festival of Lights & Autumnal Equinox with a Food & Wine Tasting Masterclass

By Monday, August 5, 2013 Permalink 0

Join us at the Chartres Festival of Lights 2013 & Autumnal Equinox for a
Food and Wine Tasting Masterclass, given by Jonell Galloway, master food taster, and James Flewellen, master wine taster

The Beauce and the Loire Valley: Taste Unlocked

19 to 22 September 2013


A romantic getaway, a tasting Masterclass, and a big dose of
Druidic and Christian history, all in one long weekend at the autumnal equinox

Chartres Cathedral Lighted, creative common license, photographer unknown


Package:A 4-day Food and Wine Tasting Masterclass in the romantic, historical setting of Chartres. Classes are held in a 1,000-year-old chapel converted into Jonell’s home, just 2 minutes’ walk from the world-renowned Chartres Cathedral and 10 minutes from the train station. The Masterclass is held during the spectacular Chartres Festival of Lights, celebrated every year since 2003 on the weekend of the autumnal equinox.

Date: 19 to 22 September 2013

12 – 14 hours of instruction and workshop tasting, including discussion periods and Q&A

Lodging is in B&Bs and hotels within walking distance of the event, but lodging is not included in our price. Click here to find accommodations in all categories.

All meals and wine are included, except breakfast.

Price per person: 750 Euros

Limited to 12 participants. Early booking strongly advised.

Down payment: 250 Euros on reservation, remainder 30 days before event.

Possibility of purchasing the wines tasted during the weekend.

See details of programme and wine below.

Click on the Paypal button at the top right of the sidebar to pay by Paypal or credit card, or the  blue Contact Us button at the top right of the home page to pay by bank transfer.

[wp_paypal_payment_box email=”” options=”Down payment 250 Euros|Full payment 750 Euros”]


Spontaneous Cuisine: Swiss Easy Fennel and Raclette Potato Salad Recipe

By Saturday, July 27, 2013 Permalink 0


Spontaneous Cuisine: Swiss Easy Fennel and Raclette Potato Salad Recipe

by Jonell Galloway

Photo courtesy of Five Prime.
Photo courtesy of Five Prime.


1 large fennel
3 medium-size raclette or new potatoes

Juice of one blood orange or regular orange, if not available
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons Country Potato spice* OR aniseed/fennel seeds
  1. Preheat grill or broiler.
  2. Cut stalk end of fennel out, then slice thinly in the lengthwise direction.
  3. Scrub potatoes, but do not skin. Slice thinly.
  4. Spread fennel and potatoes onto a heavy roasting tin, in a single layer. Brush both sides with olive oil.
  5. Grill under broiler until nice and brown. Remove tin from oven, and use a metal spatula to turn them, taking care to still have a single layer.
  6. Put back under broiler. When cooked but not yet brown, add spices. Stir well and put back under broiler. When golden brown, remove from oven.
  7. Put mixture into a mixing bowl. Pour juice of one blood orange over mixture. Mix gently but thoroughly, so that the vegetables absorb the juice.
  8. Set aside for 5 minutes so that all the flavors blend together.
  9. Serve warm, either as a salad or side dish. It is a perfect accompaniment to grilled cod or  salmon, and why not chicken?
*Country Potato spice is readily available in Switzerland, but if you don’t have access to it, you can make your own. It’s great on oven fries, chicken breast, and all sorts of other bland dishes you just want to liven up. It is a mixture of curcuma, cumin, coriander, ground manioc, fenugreek, garlic, salt, fennel seeds, chili powder, pepper, paprika, marjoram, ginger, garlic and a touch of sugar.
Continue Reading…


Switzerland: Valais Apricots and 10 Things You Can Do with Them

By Friday, July 19, 2013 Permalink 0

Switzerland: Valais Apricots and 10 Things You Can Do with ThemJonell Galloway, Spontaneous Cuisine, Mindful Eating, Slow Food, Editor of The Rambling Epicure

by Jonell Galloway

Height of season for Valais apricots, considered best in Switzerland

It is the height of the Valais apricot season, I thought it timely to offer you a few ideas for using them while they’re ripe and ready.

Choosing your apricots

Photo courtesy of Ellen Wallace.

The first and most important thing is to buy tree-ripened apricots. By definition, this means local ones, since ripe apricots are soft to the touch and do not travel well.

If you plan to eat them fresh, they should be soft, but not blemished or bruised. The riper they are, the more flavorful they are.

If you are using them for cooking, the riper the better, and you can even get by with blemishes as long as they are not rotten-looking. As a general rule, the softer the sweeter.

You will often see crates of extra-ripe apricots discounted in farmers markets. Look them over, and if there are not too many black or rotting ones, they are actually the best for cooking purposes, especially for jams, cakes and sauces.

Recipe ideas for apricots

Note: With all apricot recipes, the amount of sugar used depends on the acidity of the apricots. The acidity depends on the ripeness, origin and variety. With so many factors coming into play, taste tests are indispensable and the quantity of sugar should be determined by taste, using the quantities given here as a guideline.

Continue Reading…


Summertime: Best Time to Start a Diet

By Wednesday, July 17, 2013 Permalink 0

The Rambling Epicure, Editor, Jonell Galloway, food writer.Summertime: Best Time to Start a Diet

by Jonell Galloway

Summertime is diet time: an approach to changing your eating habits

A diet rich in soy and whey protein, found in ...

Summertime is the best time to start changing your eating habits. Fruits and vegetables are tastier and cheaper in summer, so your tastebuds are satisfied, but with fewer calories and more fiber. You can take advantage of this time to start a lifestyle change that will not only help you lose weight, but hopefully change your way of eating for the rest of your life.

The Swiss seem to have understood some of the basic rules better than others, according to our 27 July 2009 article on the Swiss preference for fresh fruit and milk products.

Fill the kitchen with fruit

Start getting getting as much as possible of your sugar intake from fresh fruit.

Berries of all kinds are among the highest in fiber, and can be used in a variety of ways. In the Lake Geneva region, we have the good fortune of having berries from May and sometimes until late October or the beginning of November. If you want to nibble on something, you can just pop a handful in your mouth.

Alaska wild berries from the Innoko N...


Cherries are also easy to just pop in your mouth when you want to nibble on something.

According to WebMD, tomatoes and peppers of all colors are both in the fruit family. They are rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and lycopene, and low in calories. Munch on them to prevent snacking on processed foods.

Fruit is also full of water, so it makes you feel full, without eating any fat or carbohydrates.

There are endless combinations of fruit to throw into your smoothies or that can be mixed with fiber-filled granola, muesli or oats, along with some plain, sugar-free yogurt.

Make it a goal to eat fruit in some new way every time you need a sugar fix. A bowl of berries or cherries can even replace a glass of red wine, from time to time, and your tastebuds might not even notice it.

Fill the kitchen and fridge with fresh local vegetables

Buying local ensures that vegetables are fresher and therefore more flavorful.

An emphasis should be put on vegetables that can be eaten raw, and that are easy to prepare.  If you have a little hunger pang, gnaw on a baby carrot stick, or slice a sun-ripened tomato, and add salt and a trickle of olive oil. If you can get your hands on some sun-ripened cherry tomatoes, you can pop them in your mouth like potato chips.

Cherry pepper poppers









Make a big batch of gazpacho. It keeps for a few days and the high water content makes you feel full. It is also full of fiber and vitamins.

In the Lake Geneva region, we are blessed with a plethora of wild greens. In farmers markets, you can choose your own and make your own mesclun, or mixed greens, or buy the farmers’ own mixes , which vary from one producer to another. This wide variety lets you make a different kind of salad every day. The varieties are endless. But one warning about salads: the bad fats and calories are in the dressing, so try and make your own dressings, using good oils, yogurt, tahini, crushed tomatoes, etc.

The fact that summer vegetables are full of flavor will help you get in the habit of munching on vegetables instead of fat-filled snacks like chips and sausages.

Fill the fridge with plain yogurt and cottage cheese

Yogurt is full of iodine, calcium and phosphorous, and loads of other nutrients. According to The World’s Healthiest Foods, the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found low-fat, calcium-rich foods such as yogurt, which has the same fat content as the milk in your region (this varies from place to place, but hovers around 3.8% in the Lake Geneva region), to have a negative correlation with body fat. They encourage parents to accustom children to incorporate it into their diet in light of growing problems of obesity in children.

"Eat More Cottage Cheese...You'll Need Le...


The 11 January 2005 issue of International Journal of Obesity found that obese adolescents who eat more than 3 yogurts a day in conjunction with a lower-calorie diet and an increase in physical activity lost 22% more than adolescents in a control group which only cut back on calories and had a lower calcium intake. Increased calcium intake can also help reduce weight, in particular abdominal fat.

Yogurt is also a source of low-fat protein, just like beans and cottage cheese. Both yogurt and cottage cheese open the door to endless combinations of fruit. The old-fashioned Mayo clinic diet of cottage cheese and a peach is not all that bad if your peach is ripe and juicy. Cottage cheese can also be doctored with herbs, to make it a savory dish.

Start getting your protein from low-fat sources

Gradually start replacing your sources of protein with yogurt, cottage cheese, eggs, beans, or soy-based products. Try making your smoothies with soy milk from time to time. Quark has more fat than the other options, but is still a low-fat source of protein as long as cream has not been added to it (read the label and fat content).

The more fiber the better

The more fiber-filled food you eat, the fuller you will feel. Over the long run, you will eat less fatty food.

More fiber helps you cut down on carbohydrates, and start decreasing their intake in your diet.

Water, water, water: never enough

Fiber soaks up water, making your tummy feel full. In summer, you need more water anyway, so it’s a good time to get in the habit of drinking your eight glasses of water per day.

Take another look at the food pyramid and the USFDA guidelines for healthy eating

The old food pyramid.
The old food pyramid.

The US Food and Drug Administration is full of good advice about how to intelligently read food labels and make your calories count. Print out the pyramid and tape it onto your kitchen bulletin board or refrigerator door. Print out the food guidance and diet articles, and study them from time to time. chart

MyPlate replaces the old U.S. food pyramid












Unfortunately, their new food pyramid that came out earlier this year is totally color-coded and has no words because it is intended to be interactive, so I’m showing you the old one. Disabled World has added excellent explanations to the new one (it might be better to print theirs).

Eat 5 to 6 mini-meals instead of 3 large meals per day

Dr. Sue Cunningham from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in the U.S. says that the human body is meant to be fed every 4 to 5 hours. Eating 2 or 3 mini-meals, consisting of healthy options, and 3 regular meals, in smaller portions, is therefore an ideal way to lose weight.

Continue eating out, but change your approach

When eating out, avoid ordering dishes with pastry, cream, and butter. Give preference to dishes containing lots of vegetables. Don’t hesitate to ask the server what is served with your dishes, and don’t hesitate to ask for side orders of vegetables and salads, even if they’re not listed on the menu. Skip the French fries and chips. Ask if you can replace them with salad or another vegetable. The more vegetables and salad, the merrier.

If you really can’t pass up dessert, try and choose fruit-based puddings, or homemade sorbets made with seasonal fruit. Don’t hesitate to ask if desserts are served with cream, whether they’re really sweet or rich, or any other question that might help you maintain your healthy ways. If you ask nicely and explain why you’re asking, servers rarely mind giving you advice about which desserts are healthier than others.

Cut down on carbohydrates

Winter vegetables tend to be higher in carbohydrates, so this approach to eating should by definition cut down your carbohydrate intake. Just remember to continue along the same lines once winter vegetables start again, and keep the level of carbohydrates in your diet low.

Give preference to the farmers market

The farmers market is a great way to give emotional support to these new eating habits. Take your camera along, and glory in the beauty of all the summer colors and beautifully stacked fruit and vegetables. Take your children along, and use the occasion to teach them why it’s better to eat fruit than artificially-flavored candy and show them the glories of summer as if it were an art show.

Change your supermarket buying habits

You might want to put a copy of the articles you’ve printed out in your pocket before going to the supermarket. That way you can read the labels on everything you buy and consult your list if you’re not sure whether an ingredient is good or bad. Sometimes just reading the label will scare you away from foods that are bad for you.

Photo courtesy of









Don’t even go to the danger zones in the supermarket: chips, traditional savory cocktail accompaniments, sausage, frozen pizzas, cakes, cookies and biscuits, candy, or anything else that might be on the bad list, just waiting to tempt you.

It’s probably not advisable to take your children to the supermarket with you if you’re trying to make a true lifestyle change. They risk leading you down the candy aisle.

Avoid processed foods containing bad fats and needless additions of sugar.

If you find reading labels tedious, it’s better to stick to unprocessed foods and buy as much as possible at the farmers market or in the fresh food department of the supermarket.

Give preference to good fats

Good fats include monosaturated fats, contained in nuts and avocadoes and in canola (huile de colza) and olive oils. Polyunsaturated fats are found in fish such as salmon and fish oil, as well as in corn, soy, safflower oil and sunflower oil (huile de tournesol). Omega 3 falls into this category.

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of Adventures in Health










Bad fats include saturated fats, found in all animal products, as well as in some oils, such as coconut (huile de coco) and palm oil (huile de palme), which are to be strictly avoided. Both these oils are a big favorite of processed food manufacturers.

Trans fats do not even occur in nature. Scientists invented them to make processed foods last longer. They are the favorite fat used in fast food, and are used to make most margarine.

Check out healthier products such as soy milk and different types of sugar-free, low-fat, milk-based products such as the fresh cheese Serra, found in the Lake Geneva region, and delicious when eaten with berries, or cottage cheese, good with peaches or apricots. Herb-flavored cottage cheese is now available in almost all supermarkets. Traditional cheeses with higher fat contents are not advisable.














Stock up on olive oil. Try to replace butter with olive oil as often as possible. For example, it’s wonderful on toast with a clove of garlic run over it, and it makes a tasty fried egg. If you want a more neutral taste, give preference to canola oil.

Gradually, you will realize that you are cutting down on bad fats — the trans fatty acids and saturated fats — and fat in general. You will gradually train your stomach not to crave foods full of bad fats and carbohydrates

Towards a new way of eating

This is not a diet in the traditional sense of the word. It is just a way of improving your eating habits so that you are healthier and feel better about yourself. No matter what your current eating habits, you will almost surely lose a little weight if you follow these guidelines. In addition, you’ll feel better about yourself, because you’ll feel you’re taking good care of yourself.

If your BMI is significantly higher than the average for your age and sex, it is best to consult a doctor.

Please note that these are guidelines for healthy eating. I am NOT a dietitian. Medical advice is required for serious weight problems.