I am an academic and writer living in Melbourne. I love to travel and I also love writing about all the things Melbourne, regional Victoria and other parts of Australia have to offer.
If you like Swiss chocolate (and who doesn't), Swiss cheese, Swiss sausage or Swiss dogs then you would have been in your element. This was the Swiss Celebration and Family Picnic held at the Austrian Club to celebrate Swiss National Day.
Even though not held on the actual day of August 1st, but on the following weekend, the Swiss and Swiss aficionados were out in force. Having lived in Switzerland for 12 years and occasionally missing 'cervelat' sausage and raclette cheese, both very typical of Switzerland, I was in my element.
The smell of sausages and cheese permeated the air on arrival and even the rather long queue for the former was not a hindrance, but rather time spent looking forward to that first bite and thinking back to my time in Switzerland. Swiss dialect was heard everywhere and the sounds of Swiss singing and typical instruments, such as the Alphorn, were soon noticeable among the lively discussions between old and new friends. Some people had dressed up in their traditional dress and were proudly showing off their heritage.
And then, of course, there were the dogs - the St Bernard, the Bernese Mountain Dog and the Swiss Shepherd, all representing their home country with pride and the legendary barrel worn as by the St. Bernard, also known as The Chairman. A cute Border Collie named Bijou represented the Australian contingent. The dogs were a major source of attraction and all behaved impeccably, despite the enticing smells and occasional dropped sausage.
Once the sausage and cheese had been digested, it was time to explore some sweet options. It was a hard choice between the Swiss Walnut cake or the Austrian Sacher torte, but in the end a big block of dark Swiss Ragusa chocolate was the winning choice. If you have not tasted Ragusa, both milk and dark, then you should do so quickly before the whole world catches on thus causing a possible shortage of this melt-in-your-mouth delicacy. You can buy this chocolate in a few places in Melbourne, such as at the Swiss Club where you can also indulge in a Swiss Cheese Fondue and many other traditional Swiss dishes.
If you too are in search of all things Swiss, then you are in luck as on the 9th of October the Swiss Festival in Melbourne takes place at Southbank.
See you there, you will find me near the chocolate stands!