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A gallery of pictures from Canton Lucerne, Switzerland by Momo Ritschard. This is the third and last part of the series of Canton Lucerne.
This would be the most popular Swiss national dish. Originally, it is a dish of melted cheese from the Western Alps, the french speaking part of Switzerland. Fondue is a french word and it literally means “to melt”, although no one is really sure if this dish is originally from Switzerland or France. But the fact is that it has existed for a very long time. In 1699, it was published for the first time in Canton Zurich as a recipe called: “Cook cheese with wine”. It has been a Swiss national dish since 1875, but it wasn’t that popular yet. It started to get popular in the 1930s when the Swiss Cheese Union started to promote it.
There are now various kind of Fondue:
1. Cheese Fondue
This is the oldest variation of all Fondue. It contains a mix of cheese, white wine, garlic, some spices such as pepper or nutmeg, those fit quite well and mostly with a shot of Kirsch added. Some cornstarch is also added to prevent seperation.
Of course there’s also another variety without alcohol, so instead of white wine and kirsch, some apple juice or a broth containing lemon juice would do.
Essential for the flavour of the Fondue is the cheese mixture used, which varies from region to region.
Worth mentioning is the Appenzeller Fondue which is only made of Appenzeller cheese with cream added. Or the Fribourgeoise Fondue which is made of Vacherin cheese and is mostly eaten with potato instead of bread. Or the Moitié-moitié which is half Gruyere and half Vacherin.
Some people add tomato sauce, but this is rather for the color and not the flavour. Others add lots of different herbs, or a lot more onion than normally. Also curry can be added or instead of white wine, champagne can be used.
The cheese Fondue is mostly eaten with small cut pieces of bread and sometimes with cooked small pieces of potato.
The cheese gets cooked in a pot called caquelon, which is over a spirit lamp on the rechaud. After the cheese is melted, it’s used to keep it warm. Warm enough to keep the cheese smooth and liquid but not too hot to burn it.
This is where Wilhem Tell used to live as a hard-working mountain farmer, on his piece of land, which was up in the Alps. He had inherited the land from his father. To have enough food on the table for him and his family, he was often seen hunting with his crossbow, and thus was an excellent shooter (said to be the best and most accurate). This was also well known far beyond the village he lived in.
Even though he had a tough life, he was happy and satisfied with himself and with the world. He was married to his wife Hedwig and had two sons, Walter and Wilhelm. One day, he and his son Walter were heading down to the valley of Altdorf to go shopping.
King Albrecht of Austria wanted to rule the cantons of Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden. He sent his reeve Hermann Gessler into the country. Gessler was known as a tyrant; he loved to torture his subordinate folk.
On this day, Tell heard from his neighbours that this tyrant is gaining power, and is increasingly more fierce and brutal against the folk of Canton Uri. Upon arrival at the market place, Wilhelm notices that the people are quite stirred up. There are also quite a few soldiers seen, which belong to Gessler.
In the middle of the square, stands a pole with a hat. The hat belongs to Gessler and everyone passing should greet the hat as if it is him in person. Tell isn’t impressed at all and just passes by. He is then grabbed by some soldiers, which tell him to greet Gessler. Tell replies: “I only see a hat“. The soldiers are not happy about his reply and grab him. Tell does not struggle one bit. Meanwhile, a lot of people have gathered around Tell.
After a while, Gessler appears. Gessler recognizes Tell and knows that he is a good shooter with the crossbow. Wanting to know from Tell why he does not cooperate with the laws. Tell answers again: “I will not greet a pole with a hat, that is ridiculous“. This makes Gessler very angry and he orders the soldiers to arrest Tell. Tell endures this without defending himself, which makes Gessler even more angry.
Gessler notices that Tell’s son is also there, and so a malicious idea creeps into his mind. He tells Wilhelm: “You can win back your freedom with a good shot by your crossbow“. Gessler reaches into his saddle bag and takes out an apple saying: “All you have to do is hit this apple with an arrow“. Of course, Tell does not realise Gessler’s ulterior motives, and thinks that this will be a piece of cake.Gessler commands Tell’s son Walter to stand in front of a tree, which is 80 meters away. Gessler puts the apple on Walter’s head and speaks out loud: “This apple on the head of your son is the target. If you miss, your son will die, but if you aim true, you and your son will get back your freedom“. Tell has no other choice but to do as he commands. He takes his bow into his hands and prepares two arrows. One he puts by his side and the other he aims at the apple on Walter’s head. Of course he trembles and it takes him a while before letting the arrow go. As he finally does, the arrow draws a straight path towards the apple. It hits the apple and splits it into two. A true master shot. The people all around cheer and are proud of him. Tell grabs the arrow which he had put beside him and goes to put it back into his quiver. Gessler, who does not want to lose face, congratulates him: “Well done, you are back to being a free man“. But he notices the second arrow and wants to know: “What did you have in mind with the second arrow“? Tell replies with: “If i would have missed my shot and had taken my son’s life, the second arrow would have hit you for sure“. Gessler goes into a rage and gets Tell arrested for the second time: “You can think about what you just said, and for this you have all the time in your life, in my castle in Küssnacht“. Gessler wants to leave Altdorf now as fast as possible, even though a storm warning has been raised. He knows that he isn’t welcome here any longer. With his prisoner and his soldiers, they sail back on Lake Vierwaldstätter (Lake Lucerne), on the way to Küssnacht. The storm is getting stronger and stronger. The ship is close to being capsized. Gessler and the soldiers are scared and are trembling, unlike Tell. Tell is as calm as usual. So Gessler orders Tell to steer the boat. Of course, this is a big advantage for Tell and he starts steering without argument. He heads for a cliff, jumps ashore, pushes the boat back into the lake and flees as fast he can over the hills. Luckily he knows this place quite well as he went hunting in this region several times. Tell knows exactly what he has got to do now. The only way to get to the Castle through Küssnacht is a ravine called Hohlen Gasse. So this is where Tell hides waiting for Gessler to pass. After hours of waiting, Gessler and his soldiers finally walk through the Hohlen Gasse. Tell prepares his crossbow and his second arrow. He aims and shoots the arrow which goes right through Gessler’s heart. This marks the end of the tyrant. Tell’s heroic deeds spread rapidly across the country.
This heroic deed by Tell led, on the 1st of August 1291, to the “Rütlischwur”, on Rütli (a meadow above “Lake Vierwaldstätter), which is an oath by the so-called three Urkantone (primal cantons): Uri, Schwyz and Obwalden. One man from each of the Cantons comes and vows to unite against foreign powers as a nation of brothers. This ritual of vows leads to the term “confederation”, and eventually leads to the so-called birth of Switzerland.
Written by: Momo Ritschard
Canton Zurich at a glance:
- Name : Swiss German: Züri; German: Zürich; French: Zurich ; Italian Zurigo; Romansh: Turitg
- Capital: Zurich
- Size: 1729km²
- Population : 1.39 million
- Language: German is the official language. But spoken is Swiss German. To be exact, it’s the dialect Züridütsch, which by its own is divided into six sub dialects.
- Location/Geography : northeast of Switzerland, Situated mostly on Swiss Plateau (one of the three major landscapes in Switzerland) dominated south east by the Swiss Prealps (mountain range). Main lakes are Lake Zurich (88.17 km²) , Pfäffikersee (3.3 km²) Greifensee (8.4 km²) and also contains eight smaller lakes. Has got over 10 Rivers, most important is River Limmat. Highest Mountain is the Schnebelhorn (1292m/4239ft).