I have a new favorite food of Switzerland – meringues and double crème. My discovery of this awesome naturally gluten free dessert is quite timely too, because I need some little pleasures to take joy in here, and the expat blues have set in after the holiday season. Sometimes, living abroad is like being stuck, only able to watch your friends and family as if in a far-off novel and all you can do is observe, say you miss them, but never be able to really participate. And it’s hard.
I know I whine a lot about being away from loved ones on this blog. I’m sure you all are thinking “get over it already, you get to live in freaking Switzerland!” And this is true, to a point. But the fact of the matter is that being an expat is lonely. You have to miss weddings. Babies being born. Funerals. Job promotions. Needed hugs. Stupid fun times with your friends. All of those life experiences suddenly are relegated to only video chats, emails, and facebook status updates. Meanwhile, we put parts of our own lives on hold as well, unsure of whether our arrangement will be temporary or permanent. Do we let ourselves “nest” and actually buy pretty things to put on the walls to breathe a little more life into our 50 m2 of sacred space, or does trying to turn our rather minimalist apartment into a “home” present a deeper psychological barrier that I am not yet ready to cross?
We are constantly trying to make a “new start” by coming up with”new traditions” to help us deal with the fact that the old ones are just not the same without those we care about nearby. We went to a new country to spend Christmas in Venetian splendor and then walked around on top of the world. We started new birthday traditions, and while we’ve been having a great time, one cannot ignore that each new tradition started is also an extension of the acknowledgement of the familiar realization that we have come to know well over the past year – that Atlantic ocean is more than a mere physical barrier that separates us from those we love. Not being able to share in certain moments, whether they be abundant with joy or filled with anguish, takes its toll on everyone.
Maybe that’s why I treasure the few times that we have started to make new friends here, but have also met them with mixed feelings. I love that we are starting to become a bit more social, actually hang out with Swiss people, and sometimes the conversation isn’t totally in English either It’s hard to balance that I might really be enjoying life here with the fact that I so terribly miss so many people back home. I feel happy and sad and conflicted that I feel either of those things all at once, and it’s quite complicated to deal with.
Thank goodness this dessert is anything but complicated. It does not struggle with living in one country while friends and family are an ocean away, literally. All it cares about is that crunchy meringue goodness is met with rich thick cream, a synergistic blend of flavors and textures that causes you to wonder how such simplicity can become such art. A couple weeks ago, I was with some coworkers at a fondue restaurant in the canton of Fribourg here en Suisse. I had the opportunity to enjoy a different variation of fondue from what we typically would order here in Vaud – no mixture of cheeses, all vacherin fribourgeois. I also had the opportunity to try meringues and double crème. I only tasted a few bites, but this sent me to gluten free heaven and back.
So many wonderful things in the world are naturally gluten free, but the Swiss might have captured the best of it with meringues and double crème. There are only two elements needed to make this dish:
In fact, I was so excited about this dessert I just had to make it for my husband after he returned from skiing that weekend. And I had to show my mom on Skype the delicious concoction that instantly made her ask if I could make it for her. And then, we sadly both realized that no matter how awesome it is that such technology exists for us to chat and catch-up, one just can’t send meringues & double crème over the internet. Darn that Atlantic Ocean and its vast blue waters. Sometimes I just wanna see my family on a whim on the weekends.
This doesn’t even really need a recipe, but here it is…
Prep Time: really nonexistent…
Total Time: 2 minutes
- Meringues de la Gruyère (or your own favorite meringue cookies)
- Double Crème de la Gruyère
- Place meringues on a plate and generously spoon over double crème
- Use your spoon to break up the meringues and stir together with the cream.