Cycle 3 – Item 340
10 (Mon) December 2012
Baguette Sandwich with Emmental Cheese & Pork Pastrami
-Oksu, Seongdong, Seoul, Republic of Korea-
Project 30/30/30: 40 of 45 (see also 45/45/45)
Throughout the past November, I challenged myself to eat 30 dishes from 30 countries over the course of 30 consecutive days – and succeeded. I will continue the project until I run out of dishes or countries or restaurants or steam or money, aiming for 50.
Switzerland is the 40th country.
For the Swiss episode of this project, cheese of some sort was the key. In fact, the initial concept had been to feature nothing but the cheese. It would’ve been a reasonable representation, given the country’s obsessive pride for their cows and dairy products – by comparison, clocks and banks rank distantly behind. On this, I speak from direct and extensive experience in Geneva, maybe close to 2 months total, more than any city other than one where I’ve maintained a residence. The thought of cheese naturally led to fondue, perhaps the only dish that Switzerland is internationally known for. Despite owning a brand-spanking-new 7-year-old fondue kit, purchased with actual CHF within the borders of CHE, I didn’t feel like getting it out and washing it and setting it up for me alone. Besides, I don’t like fondue. As a compromise, I decided on a simple sandwich containing cheese, which seemed just as authentically Swiss, having consumed an abundance of cheese-with-bread combinations during my time there.
Without question, Emmental is the most visually iconic of cheeses, famous for being riddled with holes, as seen on Tom & Jerry, for example. Cliché notwithstanding, its balanced nature – medium-hard in texture; not too mild, not too sharp in flavor – makes it a versatile and popular product. Originating in the Emmental region of Switzerland, the cheese has come to represent the notion of “Swiss cheese” worldwide.
At my go-to deli, I picked up a wedge of Emmental as the basis of my Swiss meal. It wasn’t cheap at 26,000 won (7,000 won per 100 grams).
I also got a chunk of Korean-made pork pastrami. Also not cheap at 20,000 won (5,000 won per 100 grams).
I bought a baguette at a separate bakery. 2,500 won.
At home, I cut the baguette in half and then again down the middle, slathered the inside with dijon mustard, sliced the cheese and meat into thin slices and layered them between the halves of bread. Not the greatest sandwich ever, but not too bad – at least it was Swiss in simplicity.
Unable to acquire Swiss booze as an accompaniment, I went with Swiss chocolate as a dessert.
(See also GLOBAL FOOD GLOSSARY)
(See also RESTAURANTS IN KOREA)