I’ve just spent my first full day in Ticino, the Italian province of Switzerland, at my Uncle Phil’s house up in the tiny mountain village of Bruzella, situated between Como, in Italy, and Lugano, in Switzerland. A funny thing happens when you cross the border…everything kinda smooths out. The roads, the language, the wild gesticulating, and strangely, the food does too.
If anything, Ticino, much like the rest of Switzerland, is a place of perfect beauty taken for granted. Look at the above photo of the provincidl capital Bellinzona, snapped from a recently restored castle. It’s kinda perfect, right? It’s also a place of secrets, Ticino being the best kept one of all, where a well known architect can build a perfect little museum in the middle of an empty field just because he can. It’s some secret, the key to it must be picked up from a local bar – I think the only patron in recent memory has been my Uncle, because the proprietor went directly into the bar to fetch the key as soon as she saw us coming. There’s perfection in that system as well!
And no post would be worthwhile without mentioning some food…which is refined, fresh, local and delicious. Dinners at Phil and Rosella’s consist of the bread made by the lady up the road, local organic wine obtained through the barter of a painting or two, and the “50 meter” cheese from the guy (presumably 50m) down the road. I hear (more) cowbells each morning and I can only conclude those are some happy cows – just look at these two perfect nuggets!
The knock on the Swiss is that they are too precise, too efficient and too devoid of soul and character. I ain’t gonna lie, there is some truth to the stereotype, even in Ticino. But in our imperfect world, it’s still comforting to know there is a place where quality control is a point of pride and a crucial component of the national character. And with cheese like this, who needs personality???