Yesterday was a beautiful Sunday with moderate temperatures but a bitingly cold wind that rushed down the snowy slopes south of me in Val Ferret. I had travelled to the bottom of this valley to catch the last colors of autumn at altitude. The problems shooting trees in the Alps is that they are either below you or above you on the steep slopes. I ended up at the lake side in Champex Lac just before sunset. Enjoy the beautiful rusty colors that were on display and stay tuned for more adventures!!
October is chestnut season when people get out to harvest these delicious high-hanging nuts in the forests on the alpine slopes. Chestnuts constitute one of the dishes served in a Brisolée, a "national" dish in the canton of Valais south of us. Dad had never tasted a Brisolée despite having lived in Switzerland for the past 26 years, so off he went last Saturday to one of his favorite "restaurants", actually a farm, run by the Arnold family where they also serve one of the top röstis in this part of the country. Although the order in and around the farmhouse is somewhat questionable, the setting is fabulous and the way you. are received and taken care of is beyond expectation. A large variety of animals live in and around the houses and supply most of what you are served.
The four basic ingredients in a Brisolée are chestnuts, fresh local fruits of the season, different varieties of Swiss cheese and thinly sliced dried meat and speck. There is clearly more to eat than you can manage and it's all washed down with a local red wine, preferably a Gamay or a Pinot Noir from one of the vinyards far below the valley where the farm is situated.
The sun was about to set this last day of daylight saving time when the dishes were finished along with the bottles of wine. It was time for a hike to have a chat with the easels and geese before returning home. Stay tuned for more autumn adventures!!
Last Wednesday, Dad took the day off to check out the status of the fall. He first drove up to La Vallée de la Brévine also called Siberia of Switzerland high in the Jura mountains, where the temperature may drop to -40 during the winter. This Wednesday it was just -1 and the cows were still grazing on then vast meadows. The lake Taillère above is where you can skate, usually from mid November-early December. He then drove back downhill to the Areuse river valley to catch the beautiful autumn colors reflected in the slowly running water. A mistletoe decorated the old stone bridge across the river.
In the early afternoon he was back in the Grand St Bernard in pass at 2450 m altitude in the Alps to check out the status before the pass was definitely. closed for the winter. From the pass you could clearly see where autumn ended and winter started.
Two Indian nuns were visiting the monastery and the last geese for the season were plucking their feathers before continuing to warmed latitudes. Stay tuned for what will happen next!!