Climb my Swiss Mountain… bathe in Fondue, scrape off the Raclete, but did you ever hear of the Mighty Malakoff?

I couldn’t wait to taste the cheesy loveliness that is the Malakoff. A fried cheese dough ball that is golden crispy on the outside and all gooey goodness on the inside. A treat to some and indigestion to others.

After racking up nearly 600 miles on my bicycle this body of mine wrecked and weary from five days on the road was in need of serious sustenance from something that packed a mean grease-ball of a punch. Food on the road had consisted of cold meats , bread and the odd freeze dried ration packs, all swallowed down with a guzzle from a can of beer.That is all you need then but this is now. When you are putting yourself through any kind of endurance there is always some kind of talisman, something to keep you going, an iconic symbol , mine was the malakoff.

This symbol was born from a love hate relationship with the very ritual of being dragged to places you never wanted to go when you were younger. Growing up in Geneva with parents that were ever the adventurous for the quaint and peculiar, would take me to the Canton de Vaud to eat at a place called the Auberge de Luins.The air hung heavy with grease and smoke, the tables were draped in paper cloths, on the walls hung antlers and whimsical paintings of the surrounding vineyards and mountains. For the kids i.e. me they had a few arcades and bottles of Fantas Swiss cousin Sinalco. Eating was not part of the fun, sitting still a bit of a bore.

The malakoffs were not long coming. First there was rösti,viande séchée, cornichons and silver onions. These were easily consumed but then you had to wait for another course to come, sit still and wait , maybe kids should be kept to a one course maximum.Here they came, big balls of fried stinky doughy cheese, The exterior with its accessible crunch and slight chewiness. Then the follow up and fatal bite, the one with that stinky cheese. So this was it I couldn’t handle the cheese. Years of cheddar and baby bells had left me weak to the attack of this potent Swiss treat.

Though at the time I could barely manage these things, the taste memory was there catalogued and filed under ‘more mature palate needed’. So all these years later I had conquered France , the Jura and now I had come to conquer the malakoff. The restaurant still looked and smelled the same. The arcades were slightly more modern but still on the verge of being retro. This time round I sat at the table like a good boy, had my starters and with an eager appetite awaited the main event.

Along came the waitress , holding the plate so high I could not sneek a peek at past and present until there it sat right in front of me. Like many things that we remember from our past , they now appear smaller. The malakoff was no exception. Preparing to tuck in , I thought of all the fondues and tete de moine that were consumed in preparedness for this event. There was the familiar crunch and chew and then there came the secondary bite. That bite which was always a struggle, now a blessing as the gruyere an enemy for so long now became a friend.
Such a good friend I had one more for the road.



Categories: Travel


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2 Comments on “Malakoff”

  1. Natasha
    April 12, 2011 at 10:19 am #

    I am soooo hungry now..need to go and get some lunch 🙂

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