Last week I had the pleasure of being invited to a soirée by Sel des Alpes with Rebecca Clopath and Dominik Flammer. Before having received some products from Sel des Alpes, I wasn’t even aware of the fact that Switzerland produced it’s own salt. Or the fact that the history of the Swiss salt dates back 200 million years and is now one of the few raw materials Switzerland has.
The theme of the dinner cooked by Rebecca Clopath was “Salt from the Alpes and dwarf world”.
(I am translating a lot from German hence, why it may not sound quite as nice as it did when it was in German). It was a show kitchen so we got to watch Rebecca and her mother, Fontana, create all the beautiful and artistic dishes.
Her passion and love for food was so evident when she talked about it, that you couldn’t help but smile.
All of the products she used were from Switzerland and most of them sourced locally from her garden or from neighbours and friends. And everything was enhanced by the salts from Sel des Alpes.
The evening started with sparkling wine with the juice from wild raspberries and elderberry wood marshmallows lightly turned in a Sel des Alpes, salted elderflower panade, frozen red elderberries, green berry granulate and black elderberries that had been cooked for a long time.
So as you might have been able to tell from the previous explanation each dish was carefully thought out and contains lots of small components. We were told by Rebecca at the beginning that the first bite of any of her dishes had to include a bit of everything on the plate. Only this way you could really understand why she combined what she did. And after you’re allowed to try each of the components separately.
Next up with the theme of the elves was this beautiful creation:
Puréed carrots, blossom chips made from beets, celery powder, carrot skin crumble, chips made from the top of the carrot with Sel à l’Ancienne and pesto made from carrot seeds.
Throughout the evening Dominik Flammer, a specialist in the history of nutrition and a foodscout, talked to us about the history of salt in Switzerland. Absolutely fascinating and I could’ve listened for hours. For example, did you know that the first hard cheeses were produced around the time that salt was discovered in Switzerland?
Next up was a char (Saibling) from South Tyrol steamed in a ricotta whey fond and charged with vitamin D in a sun grill, sea buckthorn (Sanddorn) jelly, farce spiced with sea buckthorn leaves, fried river moss, ricotta smoked in sea buckthorn, edible river rocks and spiced with salt won from the Lärchenbecken.
The dish was served on a marble slate which I would’ve loved to take home! Along with all the other handmade plates they used to serve the food.
The third course focused on the element of metal.
We had an apple braised with sage, caramelised apple fond/stock mixed with butter, porcini tartare, wild farce covered in porcini powder, grated wild dry meat and frosted barberry.
The third course was served with a beer instead of wine as it complemented the metal undertones of the dish.
I think this may have been my favourite dish of the evening. This coming from someone who rarely eats red meat, I even had seconds it was that good.
The pumpkin had been cooked in a handmade grill with beech tree coals, beef with a dark sauce, coarse salt from Bex, beech coal with sour cream creme, croquant, pumpkin seed oil and a beech mustard.
For dessert we shared quinces that had been cooked in salt, quince wood ice cream with quince marmelade and streusels made with sugar and Sel l’Ancienne.
Along with a fantastic dessert wine from Bex: L’accroche-Cœur, Domaine le Luissalet.
Thank you Sel des Alpes for the invitation and the absolutely amazing dinner.
It was so fascinating to have such a special meal all prepared from locally sourced products, everything we had, including the plates, comes from Switzerland.
The entire evening the quote by K.V.H. was in my mind “People are prettiest when they talk about something they really love with passion in their eyes.”
Both Rebecca and Dominik are so passionate about what they do, that you’re almost put under a spell when they’re talking. You can’t help but get all excited and inspired by their love for what they do.