As I am writing this, sipping coffee and blocking out madness of the outside world, I am looking forward to my breakfast. I have never been much of a breakfast person, not because I don’t like to eat in the morning (there is truly no time of day or night when I will turn down good food) but rather because morning is the only time of the day when I am just too lazy to cook. Well, now I have a solution to the problem and it came, like they often do for me, from a trip. Did I get your attention? Keep reading.
Last winter Joe and I went on a multi-country trip to Europe. We flew to the UK, then traveled by rail to through France, Switzerland and into Italy, with stops in several cities. You can read about the London-Paris portion of the trip and learn about ways to save money on this route here. Well, to make this long story short, one of our stops was in Zurich, where we stayed at the amazing Park Hyatt Zurich, the best hotel I have ever stayed at. If I had unlimited resources ($$$), I think I would live at that hotel permanently. Everything was perfect: service, room, bed, shower and FOOD.
We arrived late in the evening and since the hotel provided chocolate and champagne as a welcome gift, skipped dinner. In the morning we ordered room service, something they call Swiss Farmer’s breakfast. It was delicious and, just like anything else in Switzerland, of the highest quality. It consisted of fresh orange juice, choice of hot beverage, Birchermuesli, Swiss cheese and cold cuts plate, a bakery basket, butter, jam, honey and 2 eggs prepared in the style of your choice.
The item I was especially looking forward to was Birchermuesli. I tried it a couple of times before (never in Switzerland) and I wanted to see how it tasted when properly done. It was one of the tastiest things I have ever had for breakfast!
When we got home, Joe asked if I could re-create it. After some research and a couple of attempts, I think I can safely claim that the end result is close to what we had in Zurich. Here is what Birchermuesli is and how to make it.
Birchermuesli is a mix of oats, apple, yogurt, dried or fresh fruit and nuts. It was first created by a Swiss doctor Maximillian Bircher-Benner in late 19th century as part of a healing diet for his patients. It was very revolutionary and even scandalous in those days, since most of doctors believed that eating raw food was bad for you. Well, the good doctor was vindicated, his creation lives on and is very popular in Switzerland, Germany, Austria and other countries.
Here is how I make it. All amounts are for one person:
1/2 cup of rolled oats. I use Bob’s Red Mill organic rolled oats
1/2 cup of apple juice or apple cider
1/4 cup of Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon of honey
Any nuts, dried fruit that you like and any berries or fresh fruit that are in season. Right now I use toasted hazelnuts, walnuts, strawberry and banana. The original recipe also had shredded apple.
Put the oats and juice in a jar or a bowl, mix well and leave overnight in the fridge. In the morning, top with yogurt, honey, nuts and fruit. You can either eat it there and then or take with you to have in the office as breakfast or even afternoon snack.
A couple of tips:
- do NOT use quick cook oats.
- I squeeze juice from Michigan Honey Crisp or other apples that are not very tart. Squeezing your own apple juice does not take a lot of time, the juice lasts 3-4 days in the fridge and you avoid all the garbage store bought juices are filled with (read the label).
- I use Fage whole milk or 2% milk yogurts. Do NOT use low fat yogurt. It either has unpleasant consistency or has additional ingredients to mask that consistency. A plain yogurt should only have two ingredients: milk and bacterial culture. If it has anything else, do not buy it. While I am on this subject – do not drink skim or low fat milk. Anything below 2% will do you more harm than good. If you are worried about fat consumption, skip those fries or a burger.
- just like most other things – local honey is the best honey. By buying from a local beekeeper or farmer you are not only supporting them, you are helping yourself to avoid seasonal allergies.