After the 12-hour flight from Bangkok I cabbed right to the Hotel Storchen, my Zurich home for the past 25 years.  I’m not the first to fall in love with the Storchen though – a hostelry by the same name and in the same spot started welcoming travelers to Zurich more than 600 years ago.  The only Zurich hotel right on the bank of the Limmat River, the Storchen enjoys a beautiful location in the heart of old Zurich, just steps away from the Lindenhof, the original first-century Roman fortress.  The Storchen is also famed for its fine food and beautiful first floor terrace over the river.  Chef Fredy Nussbaum has been manning the kitchens for over 15 years and a meal at the Storchen is always memorable.  Watch this space in the next week or so for his sublime chocolate cake, a perfect Easter dessert.

Head Concierge Gennaro welcomed me and miraculously had a room ready by 9 am – though I only had a minute to set down my things before leaving on a chocolate mission with my friend Kerrin of My Kugelhopf.  By the way, Kerrin has started doing chocolate and sweets tours of Zurich – read about her Sweet Zurich, especially if you’re going to find yourself there soon.

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Andrea and Roger Von Rotz

Next stop, Von Rotz Chocolatier in Baar, a suburb of Zug, about half an hour from Zurich by train.  We met with Roger Von Rotz for a visit and tasting of some on his equally delicious and appealing looking chocolates.  We also tasted some terrific truffles made with the newly rediscovered Fortunato #4 chocolate from Peru.  Roger is one of a handful of chocolatiers using the rare chocolate which you’ll be hearing more and more about in the coming months, I’m sure. 

Back in Zurich, I was just in time to hear about the latest chocolate bunny controversy, a lawsuit between Lindt and an Austrian chocolate manufacturer about the brand identity of the former’s gold foil-wrapped chocolate bunnies.  Read about it here

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Marc Doehring in the Backstube

That afternoon Kerrin and I dropped by Peclard at Café Schober, a Zurich institution since the 19th century.   The Schober’s quaint interiors were entirely refurbished after being taken over a couple of years ago by Peclard.  Today pastry chef Marc Doehring mans the ovens there and produces a variety of beautiful and delicious pastries, including those macarons that everyone is so crazy about these days.

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Before heading home, a bright spot in the weekend was a performance of Verdi’s Falstaff, my all-time favorite, at the impressively gilded Zurich Opera.  Ambrogio Maestri as the rotund knight headed a stellar cast that also included Eva Liebau as Nanetta, the Ford family’s young daughter. 

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As the entire cast gathered on stage for the opera’s finale I realized it was also the finale of a wonderful month of travel.

Next stop, Baltimore