Long story, but I’m the only living member of my immediate family who isn’t a Swiss citizen. My mother went to college in Leysin, leaving her with a lifelong mania for all things Alpine. She is the only person I know who regularly eats dishes like fondue and raclette alone. As a result, I grew up more familiar with vol au vent than Chicken à la King.
Why, then, did it take me so long to get to The Swiss Bakery & Pastry Shop in Springfield? I mean, a place that rents raclette grills is just the sort of necessity I’ve been missing. I don’t really have an excuse. But my negligence will have to change.
I was a little overwhelmed when I first saw the size of the bakery, which takes up two storefronts. I ordered from the small café menu of hot dishes and wandered around in an awestruck blur, taking in the varieties of Swiss cheeses, sodas, pastries, and breads. How did I miss that ficelle stuffed with Bündnerfleisch (or as I grew up knowing the air-dried beef, Viande des Grisons) and pickles in the case?, I wondered.
Not that I wasn’t pleased with the Berner Rösti I rushed to choose. The crispy potato cake at The Swiss Bakery is covered in melted Emmenthaler, well-rendered bacon, and an over-easy egg. Paired with a crusty, fluffy-centered brötchen, it made for an enjoyably excessive lunch.
But I wasn’t done yet. I brought home slices of both Black Forest and pistachio-apricot cake. The first was swimming with cherries, just the way I like it, but burned my throat with alcohol more than I prefer. The seafoam-green pistachio buttercream of the other, however, was just right, melting with buoyant layers of cake. And yes, I picked up some raclette to send to my mom.
5224 Port Royal Rd., Springfield
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