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Door number 22 reveals idyllic Switzerland, where the Alps paint the panorama, and chocolate tells sweet stories!



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An interesting Christmas tradition in Switzerland is the celebration of "Samichlaus and Schmutzli" on December 6th. Samichlaus, the Swiss version of Santa Claus, and Schmutzli, his helper, are central figures in this tradition.

Samichlaus is often portrayed as a friendly elderly man with a long white beard and a red cloak, similar to Santa Claus. Schmutzli is his assistant and typically wears dark clothing.
Together they visit children in their homes or at public events. Children prepare for their visit by reciting poems, singing songs, or performing small acts.
Much like Santa Claus, Samichlaus brings small gifts, candies, and nuts for well-behaved children. Schmutzli, responsible for the naughty ones, carries a broom, but his visit usually ends with a smile and encouragement to behave better.
In some regions of Switzerland, especially in central Switzerland and Graubünden, there are elements in the Samichlaus tradition reminiscent of the Austrian Krampus tradition, where Schmutzli takes on a scarier persona, scaring naughty children.

After the visit from Samichlaus and Schmutzli, families often enjoy a festive meal with traditional dishes like "Grittibänz" (a sweet yeast bread) and "Mandelbiber" (gingerbread).

Recipe Swiss Cheese Fondue:

Swiss cheese fondue is a popular dish in Switzerland, enjoyed on various occasions throughout the year. However, it is especially popular during the winter months, including the Christmas season. It is a social meal often enjoyed in a group of friends or family, with the fondue pot placed in the center of the table for everyone to serve themselves. This dish is a staple of Swiss culinary culture and a cozy delight on cold winter evenings.

Here's a recipe for Swiss Cheese Fondue:

•    8 ounces (about 2 cups) Emmental cheese, grated
•    8 ounces (about 2 cups) Gruyère cheese, grated
•    1 clove garlic, peeled and cut in half
•    1 cup dry white wine
•    1 tablespoon cornstarch
•    1 tablespoon Kirsch (cherry brandy), optional
•    Freshly ground black pepper
•    Freshly grated nutmeg
•    1 French baguette, cut into bite-sized cubes

1.    Rub the inside of the fondue pot or a heavy-bottomed saucepan with the cut sides of the garlic clove.
2.    Pour the white wine into the pot and heat it over medium heat. Don't let it boil; just get it hot.
3.    Gradually add the grated Emmental and Gruyère cheeses to the wine, stirring in a figure-eight pattern. Continue to stir until the cheese is fully melted and the mixture is smooth.
4.    In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch with the Kirsch to form a smooth paste. Stir this mixture into the cheese fondue and continue to cook, stirring, until the mixture thickens slightly.
5.    Season the fondue with freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg to taste. Stir to combine.
6.    Place the fondue pot on a burner at the table, with a low flame to keep the fondue warm.
7.    Serve the fondue with bite-sized cubes of French bread for dipping. Each guest can spear a piece of bread on a long fondue fork, dip it into the cheese, and enjoy.

Enjoy your Swiss Cheese Fondue, and have a wonderful meal with friends or family!

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