Posts Tagged ‘fondue’

up, down, and up again

February 18, 2008

Last November I got a gift certificate from these guys, a late but welcome ripple in the wake of the defence of my dissertation. Someone had found out about my interest in cooking: it was from the Swedish kitchenware chain Verner&Verner, issued at their first-ever store in the Nordstan mall of Gothenburg. Gratefully, I went to V&V’s website and picked out one of these things I always wanted to have but refused to pay for.

Verner&Verner, which began in 1986, has a profile that attracts the Glass-Door-Pantry and See-Me-Cooking types, with a lot of colorful Le Creuset’s assorted pots and pans, a selection of expensive knives, a sharpening service, shelves full of gleaming espresso machines, kitchen-aid mixers in green and red, piles of design accessories, pasta in fancy glass tubes, herbs and specialty coffee. They used to be quite alone with this concept in Sweden. It always was a pleasure to walk through their shops. But competition has caught up. Both V&V shops in Borås closed last year, and a week after I had chosen my gift-certificate-item, the newspaper announced that Verner&Verner had gone out of business altogether.

Darn. As soon as there was time, I stuffed my coupon into my backpack and we went to Nordstan in Gothenburg. Yes! The shop was still open. It was still called Verner&Verner. I went to the shelf, grabbed my box and lined up at the desk.

A young shop assistant, all towering regret, “I’m so sorry, but we are not accepting these coupons any longer. We have been selling their certificates as a service, but they’ve gone bankrupt, and we cannot, at this point…I am really sorry but there’s nothing I can do about the matter.” (more…)


the benefits of cheese nationalism

January 30, 2008

A friend from Switzerland, about to introduce our party to Eating In Paris, was astonished when I told him that even Holland was famous for its cheese. It belongs to this story that I have to tell the French and Dutch readers at this point that Switzerland is famous for its cheese. Cheese nationalism is universal.

(As an aside, Sweden is not at all the same as Switzerland. Look at the map. The Swedish and The Swiss have different approaches to language as well. I keep repeating these things when abroad. The problem reminds somewhat of the old Boston joke “where do you come from?” “Iowa.” “In these parts it’s actually pronounced Ohio.” [sorry, folks from Idaho, there’s only one way to tell this joke at a time])

Sweden, I wanted to tell, has no specific international cheese reputation. That doesn’t mean that some Swedish cheese isn’t good. Well, okay, some isn’t. Whatever the case, even in Sweden, one tends to become a bit vague when it comes to understanding other nation’s cheeses. (more…)