10 for starters
|Beer in Brigantes, York|
- Switzerland used to boast the strongest beer in the world - Hürlimann ‘Samichlaus’ (‘Santa Claus’) - but the brewery closed some 15 years ago, and since then far stronger beers have come along, making the 14% ABV Samichlaus look almost like a very weak beverage, suitable only for girls and gays.
- In general, beer in Switzerland is pretty boring – imagine a limited subset of the beers of Germany, and then imagine a limited subset of that, and you’ll get the idea. Bland, weak lager, malty stronger lager and the occasional wheat beer. It's all over-carbonated of course, but look out for the unfiltered Zwickelbier, which is a bit more interesting.
- Beer in York is actually rather good. I managed pints of 18 different ales over a two-day period and almost every pub we went into had something new and interesting to try. The good pubs include Brigantes on Micklegate and Ye Olde Starre Inne by the Minster which, unusually for a tourist-trap pub, actually has a great range. The best beer of the trip was Great Heck 'Citra' - light, hoppy and a very drinkable gallon-completer, but then I have a weakness for Citra hops.
- If you order a hot chocolate in Zurich, you might possibly be expecting something rich, luxurious and a bit special. After all, it’s Switzerland. It’s famous for chocolate, right? But what you’ll probably be given is a cup of hot milk and a sachet of instant chocolate. And they’ll charge about four quid for this! Fuck that.
- Switzerland might be the home of suicide tourism, but Liechtenstein is a country that has built its economy entirely around ‘country-grabbing’ tourism. Yeah, I’m sure there are the ‘real’ parts of this tiny nation up in the mountains that few people ever get to see, but for most people a visit will consist of a 45 minute coach stop in Vaduz where you can by postage stamps and other souvenirs, get your passport stamped and then get the fuck out.
- York City FC must have the humblest toilet and catering facilities in the league. The less said about the 'outhouse' the better, and the pies weren't bad (but not outstanding) and only available in a Steak-and-kidney-with-not-very-much-kidney variety. Actually there wasn't much steak either. Nice gravy though.
- Swiss cheesecake (‘Käsekuchen’) is quite unlike any cheesecake I’d had before. Firstly, it’s savoury, secondly, it’s served piping hot, and thirdly it’s actually more like a thick, floppy slice of a very pungently cheesy pizza. Not unpleasant, but a bit weird, especially if you ordered it expecting a sweet snack for your elevenses.
- The chips in York were proper Northern bastards - well thick and cooked in beef dripping – but the batter (at Micklegate Fisheries) was just weird – very dark, dense and oily, and crumbled into dust in my mouth. It was like eating tiny pieces of burnt gravel.
- Raclette - just as dull and pointless as it is in this country, frankly. (There are some tasty sausages and pork to be had in Teutonic-influenced restaurants though, and if you're having a Rösti, go for the full-on version with bacon and egg on top, rather than settling for a fairly bland side dish.)
- If you get to try Timothy Taylor's 'Havercake', cast all notions of blandness from your mind. This is nothing like Landlord or their other beers, and actually tastes just like Yorkshire Parkin! forget about the everyday bland
|Sausagey meals in Zurich's Zeughauskeller|
Animal rights violation?
|Stop annoying that rooster!|