Mehlsuppe

Dear Heidi,

How do you make Mehlsuppe? I hear you’re supposed to eat it for Morgestraich.

Rose

Dear Rose,

Morgestraich © keepthebyte // Flickr.com
Morgestraich © keepthebyte // Flickr.com
I dont ever make Mehlsuppe — I can’t stand Mehlsuppe! But I can tell you how to make it, and it’s very popular for our Fasnacht festival. You can buy packets in all the grocery shops, like Coop and Migros; then just add water and when it boils, let it cook for about seven minutes. Add onions and cheese, like Gruyère or Appenzeller.

Or if you want make it from scratch, I found some links for you:

European Cuisines
www.europeancuisines.com/Basler-Mehlsuppe-Basel-Carnival-Soup
www.swissrecipes.org/basler-mehlsuppe-soup

En guete!
Heidi

A Swiss Affair to Remember: Valentine’s Day in Basel

Romance, elegance, and a table set for two–whether this is your first, fifth, or fiftieth Valentine’s Day in Basel, thriving in the breath-taking romance of historic castles and cobblestones are a variety of places to celebrate life and love. Here are just a few ideas of what you can do this February 14.

Chocolate Love

Nothing says love like Swiss chocolate! In Basel you’ll find the best Switzerland has to offer, with bakeries, patisseries, and confiseries of all kinds: Lindt-Sprüngli, Bachmann, Merkur, Schiesser. These are the ‘jewelers’ of chocolatiering, crafting each truffle a gem and every treat a treasure. Confiserie Schiesser in Markplatz sells row upon row of chocolates, ranging from homemade champagne truffles, to Patoro Truffes, Pralinés, chocolate figures, and more. 

Merkur Chocolaterie next door displays a wide variety of chocolate bark with dried fruits and nuts as well as traditional truffles and chocolates in all shapes and sizes—white, milk, dark, striped, dipped in chocolate or rolled in cocoa. Konditorei Rieder on Allschwilerstrasse is famous for its original Whisky-Truffes, as well as their Champagner- and Kirsch-Truffes. And all over the city, at any Coop or Migros, you can find melt-in-your-mouth Lindt truffles, Valentine’s Day specials, and of course chocolate hearts.
 

Reservation for Two

Lady and the Tramp // © Disney // Valentine's Day
Lady and the Tramp // © Disney // Valentine's Day
If you want to go all out, the Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois overlooking the Rhein River is one of the oldest city hotels in Europe and a beautiful tribute to Basel’s rich history, with origins dating back to 1681. Boasting a guest list that spans centuries and all avenues of culture and the arts, the hotel has served royalty, dignitaries, leaders, and artists including Monaco’s Prince Rainier, Queen Elisabeth II, the Dalai Lama, Charles Dickens, Pablo Picasso, Franz Liszt, Bob Dylan, and the Rolling Stones. 

This Valentine’s Day Les Trois Rois is hosting a deluxe five-course dinner for CHF 135.- per person, where you can savor the evening amidst chandeliers and candlelight. The hotel comprises 101 rooms and suites, reminiscent of the ‘Tales from 101 Nights,’ each with its own unique decor and ambience. A double room at the hotel can cost upwards of CHF 660.-, including breakfast, minibar service, and free use of the city’s public transportation. On a clear day, if the weather isn’t too cold, a cozy tram ride through the ins and outs of the city, taking breaks for a stroll by the Rhein or through the park, can become an extraordinary Valentine’s adventure. 
 
Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois
Blumenrain 8
CH-4001 Basel
Tel. +41 61 260 50 50
www.lestroisrois.com/Restaurants

Dinner at the Castle

Another romantic hideaway is the Schloss Bottmingen outside the city in Baselland—a charming ‘Wasserburg’ or Water Castle with roots in the 1300s, where a beautiful wooden bridge leads the way across a small pond to the front entrance. The castle’s restaurant began in the late 1800s and still stands today as a monument to yesterday’s heritage and today’s all-star dining. Specializing in French cuisine, the restaurant is also a popular spot for weddings with it’s beautiful gardens and terrace in the summer. 

Their unique winter menu for CHF 125.- includes a duo of salmon, marinated and tartare with lime sauce and a winter bouquet; grilled prawns and scallops on a bed of pearl barley risotto perfumed au curry; and an iced cinnamon cube with apple turnover for dessert. You can download the complete menu from their website.

Restaurant Schloss Bottmingen
Schlossgasse 9
4103 Bottmingen bei Basel
+41 (0)61 421 15 15
www.weiherschloss.ch/
Directions from city centre: www.bvb.ch/en/timetable-network/online-timetable
 
Basel has plenty more special locales for every occasion. You can check out some of our favorite restaurants for Valentine’s Day and any time of year in our Dining Section.
 
But of all the options and things to do in Basel, maybe one of the best-loved is dinner at…home.

A nice homemade fondue with fresh bread from any Basel bakery is hard to beat. You can choose a specialty mix of fondue cheeses from the fromageries located in grocery sections of Globus and Manor, or something simpler in any supermarket, like Migros and Coop. They all offer tons of choices and cuisines for even the most hard to please. Many department stores also have an in-house florist for your pick of expert bouquets and arrangements. 
 
What’s not to love? A very select table for two, far away from the madding crowds. Turn down the lights, but light the candles, with scattered rose petals or a bright bouquet in the center of the table. Bubbly or wine, your choice. Top it off with a warm chocolate fondue—some strawberries and cream, biscuits, candied ginger, dried apricots, fresh apple or orange slices—don’t forget your favorite music…and the food of love plays on

Ask Heidi: A Question of Pickpockets

Dear Heidi,

Is it true that you have to be careful of pickpockets in Basel? It seems such a safe city!
 
Beth

 
Dear Beth,
 

Tram Stop Panorama © oggd // Flickr.com
Tram Stop Panorama © oggd // Flickr.com
Yes, Basel is a generally a very safe city. Unfortunately, pickpocketing has increased, especially during the many Messes (fairs) it hosts throughout the year. Fasnacht and BaselWorld are perfect examples!

If you’re in a crowd, hold on to your purse. Carry long-strapped handbags across your chest. Smaller sized handbags that you can clutch under your arm are safer. Go for something that can be zipped shut — open purses are open invitations.
 
Wallets are easy to pick from your back pockets. Try keeping them in your front pocket. A rubber band tied around the wallet makes it more difficult to slide out. In a public place, don’t place your jacket on a clothes hook or around a chair without first taking out your wallet! It’s better not to take all your valuables and money with you. If possible, leave them in a safe at your hotel. If not, don’t keep all your money in the same place.
 
Watch out for pickpockets on crowded streets, restaurants, public transport, and train stations. Remember what your Mutti told you. Don’t talk to ‘needy’ strangers!
 
Above all, be alert! Know where you are going and what’s going on around you. Distracted or clueless people (especially those reading out of maps!) are easily spotted and make nice, easy targets. If you feel unsure about anything, go with your instincts. It’s better to be safe than polite!
 
Be careful, but don’t forget to have fun!
 
Heidi