This is the first time I am in Switzerland so closed to the Christmas season. I got lucky and it snowed on my first day in St Gallen, so I had amazing beautiful wintry photos of the Old Town.
It was a Sunday that I had a chance to explore St Gallen, and hardly anyone was on the streets. The only places opened were Starbucks and McDonald’s (and chinese take-outs which do not interest me). I tried a premium beef burger in McD and it was pretty good!
I also ended up spending my afternoon watching a Colombian documentary: “Algún Dia Es Mañana” as part of the Latin American film festival, Pantalla Latina. It was interesting that everywhere in the world, there are a lot of interests in the Latin American world. The film is about a group of villagers/farmers who were displaced by large palm plantations, and is still engaged in legal battles with these large companies. After the disastrous forest fire in Indonesia done by palm oil and paper companies, this documentary further emphasizes the urgency to increase the people’s awareness to avoid palm products in their lives or lobby the government to make obligatory “sustainable sourcing” for these palm products.
On a lighter note, closed shops mean quiet streets. St. Gallen has a very charming, beautiful Old Town and I almost had it all to myself last Sunday.
Quiet St. Gallen Old Town on a Sunday
Being in St Gallen in the third week of November has some downsides. The Christmas market was not fully opened yet and the Baroque Abbey Library was closed in the month of November. By the time they reopened, I had to rush off to my next adventure 🙂 During my week stay here, we also were occupied the whole day and we did not have time to visit Santis mountain. I had a wonderful time walking around the Old Town at night, especially when it’s Christmas decorations are all lit up. It is quite understated compared to Vienna.
So, yet again, my visit is highlighted around food! What does one do at night when there is nothing much to do (shops closed by 6.30pm) in the evening?? Focus on one’s dinner of course!
Finally, I had the proper setting to have some Swiss winter comfort Food! When we went to a friend’s wedding ages ago during the Summer, we wanted to eat fondue (being tourists and all). Of course, hardly no one served fondue in the month of July and some locals were confused that we wanted to eat fondue in such a hot weather condition. So finally, this time, there was nothing weird about craving for fondues! The weather got cold by 10 degrees on the day I arrived and I needed no further excuse to not have my cheese fondue. I went to Fondue Beizli and had the Toggenberger (alpine mountain cheese) with air dried beef fondue. It was to die for! I had it with Swiss white wine, Petite Arvine wine from Provins under the brand “Grand Metral” in Valais AOC.
On my last night in St Gallen, the food and drinks stalls in the Christmas market were also already opened. I had some gluhwine (of course) and raclette on potatoes for dinner. It cannot be yummier!
We went to one of the popular first-floor restaurants (called in German “erststockbeizli”: Weinstube zum Bäumli in the old town. I tried their speciality, which is calf’s liver with rosti. It was interesting! I liked it. They also had amazing Swiss bread. Crusty on the outside and soft on the inside. My favourite. I had such a great company that I forgot to take photos of the food! One of the charms of the restaurant is of course its historic and traditional building from the 18th or 19th century.
Another charming “erststockbeizli” that I went to is called “Zum Goldenen Leuen”, and their specialty is their cheese tart “Chäschüechli”. I tried the original version, which is made of gruyere cheese only. One can also order a cheese tart with bacon and onions. It was a nice light dinner, combined with local beer “Huus-Braui” golden pale ale.
I was also invited to dinner at Nestt restaurant in St. Gallen, which is also a micro-brewery. I had the venison fillet with cabbage and cranberry sauce. It was delicious and quite fitting on a Thanksgiving Thursday 🙂 No photos taken as it was a group dinner.
Food wise, this is another successul trip 🙂 But what is memorable is of course the people.
I really met amazing and really warm people in St. Gallen (something that I do not remember experiencing in my previous Swiss visit in Zurich, Luzerne, and Geneva). I really want to come back here! Fingers crossed it will be soon!