Tasty Goods: A Half-Baked Post
Shopping, cooking, and eating in Lausanne has come with a fair share of adventures and surprises. I live a few minutes’ walk away from a Costco-size supermarket which has an entire section, not just for cheese from Switzerland, but for Gruyere-style cheese from Switzerland. Europe is famous for its coffee roasting skills and there is a good roaster in downtown Lausanne, and an excellent one called “Criperco/Pappy John” in Renens close to where I live (info below) where the roaster is in full sight. (Update: their 2nd location in the foody-friendly Chailly is just as excellent: av. de Chailly 10. Pictured at left, info below.)
There are some things here which are easier to find than back home in Canada. For example, most of the cinnamon sold in North America is actually cassia, a different plant from the same family. Here, maybe half of the stores I have visited sell true cinnamon and the other half cassia. A distinctive feature of true cinnamon sticks is that they are very flaky looking, as shown on the right (cassia sticks have just one thick layer). True cinnamon can also be identified by its botanical names Cinnamomum verum or C. zeylanicum, and as far as I can tell from online information, it is usually from Sri Lanka.
On the other hand, there are some things here which are much harder to find than in Canada. For example, back home it is easy to buy brown sugar (why do you taste so good!) and it usually is sold in both “light” and “dark” varieties. This was much harder to find here and typical supermarkets have only ordinary white sugar and “raw/cane sugar” (1st in the picture at left). It took me some time but I found a supermarket which had “cassonade” (2nd) which I remember as being the French title on brown sugar back home. But upon buying it seems to denote the same as raw/cane sugar; it has the same taste as white sugar (no molasses). There is exactly one store in the Lausanne area selling real brown sugar (on Place de la Palud). Or, you can make brown sugar yourself by buying molasses (which seems only available at pharmacies here!) and mixing with white sugar. Or do you instead want vergeoise, demerara, turbinado, or muscovado brown sugar? Aaaah!
One other ubiquituous ingredient in my baking is vanilla extract. Having little luck finding this in stores, I decided to follow the approach espoused by various TV cooks: make my own. A little jar, 200 ml of vodka, and 3 vanilla beans later, delicious vanilla extract is safely ensconced in my pantry. The floating bits in the picture are the vanilla seeds. While reading about how to make this extract, I found that in most situations, imitation vanilla extract is as good as the real thing in blind taste-tests. (The underlying chemical, vanillin, resides in oak trees and other places.) But I have to say that a photo of the artificial stuff would not look as nice!
Criperco/Pappy John Renens
Rue de la Mèbre 1, Renens
021 634 48 80
Criperco/Pappy John Chailly
Av de Chailly 10, Lausanne
021 653 42 26
There is a 3rd location “Le Coffea” in Pontarlier, France: 4 rue Tissot, 00 33 381 46 47 82, 9h-18h:30 Tues-Sat except closes early at 18h Sat
Filed under: food, Lausanne, photos, stores, Switzerland | 4 Comments