It is always a struggle for me to decide whether to travel to Europe in the fall-it is the most fantastic time to go, when the tourists have abated and the festivals of wine, harvests and the “hunt” for game and mushrooms are beginning. But, it is always hard for me to leave my beloved northern Wisconsin which has amazing color and weather this time of year. So I usually wait for the last moment and go in October to catch the best of both. Some of my best memories of fall in Europe are the visits with my husband Stephan to his home town of Schaffhausen, a beautiful city in northern Switzerland. We stay at the Park Villa Hotel. I cannot compare this place to anywhere else I have ever stayed. The proprietor Max is a true gentleman, the ultimate host, and let me add, quirky and entertaining. The entire hotel, including the guest rooms, are stuffed with amazing antiques…not your usual antiques, but truly amazing one-of-a-kind. His kitchen is wonderful. During the fall, the truffles and other mushrooms are on the menu along with incredible game dishes that Max has worked his magic on. Swiss wine is always a treat. You rarely see it here in the states because they do not export very much, so that light, wonderful, local wine of Schaffhausen made from Pinot Noir grapes is something I always look forward to. All around Shaffhausen in the country villages there are the festivals for the fall, usually centered around the wine harvest. And we always find room for a lovely sausage and beer. Also, one cannot miss a trip to the Rhinefalls- the biggest waterfall in Europe.
One of the things I love most is that life changes season to season and always there is something to look forward to. I think when I am home I get caught up in the day to day activities, but over there, the seasons and harvest bring out such different tones. I think it is the traditional vs our modern world. They retain the traditions and keep them alive for future generations. My kind of world.
For the season at our Ann Marie shop I have brought in some special dinnerware -Forest Walk, new from Juliska of Portugal. Also, our vintage pewter pieces from Arte Italica are a handsome addition to any celebration and add a luxury element to your Forest Feast. It is a time to start thinking feasts and platters and wine and celebrations and creating a lovely table for the upcoming celebrations.
For food and drink I am stocking my pantry with Ann Marie fall gourmet foods like Chestnut Egg Tagliatelle, Truffle Salt, Truffle Oil, Truffle and Olive Pate, Polenta, and Risotto. For a delicious warm up try our Pumpkin Spice, Cinnamon Cranberry, and our special Harvest Fall Blend Coffee. More inspirations include Cherry Bitters for a hot toddy and Hazelnut Cranberry Crisps to serve with goat cheese.
Happy Fall Celebrations,
Inspired by fall in Shaffhausen, enjoy this pasta with mushrooms along with your favorite Pinot Noir and a simple salad of bitter greens with a classic vinaigrette. The town of Shaffhausen owns a vineyard around the Munot Castle that sits in the center of town overlooking the River Rhein. The wine they produce is named Munoetler.
Pasta with Fall Mushrooms
2 packages 8.8 oz. Chestnut Egg Tagliatelle
1/2 pound assorted wild mushrooms (golden chanterelle, shiitake, cremini, oyster, porcini, etc.), trimmed and sliced
2 cloves garlic minced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup heavy cream
freshly ground pepper
Grated Pecorino Cheese to taste
Handful of chopped Italian parsley
In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil.
In a large saute pan, over medium high heat, heat the butter and olive oil. Add the garlic and saute for just until it becomes aromatic and careful not to burn. Add the mushrooms and saute until they begin to brown and release their liquid, about 5 minutes. Add the white wine and let reduce about 5 minutes. Add the cream and reduce about 5 minutes, or until the sauce begins to thicken. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
Cook pasta until al dente. Drain and quickly toss with mushroom sauce. Finish with a drizzle of truffle oil, a sprinkle (or more) of delicious sheep’s milk Pecorino cheese and parsley.