"So, how was it this time?"
It’s the question he always asks me and I’m sure he’s tired of asking me. “Umm,” I moan, “not what I was expecting.” Every time it’s so close to the idea I have in my head, but so far from it that at the same time it feels like years since I had the real thing. Maybe it has been that long and I’ve just lost track of...
As we leave the retro American diner near the river, I reminisce about all the other times I tried to find what I’m looking for. “I just don’t understand,” I tell my husband while finding our way back to the car. “This is the land of milk and chocolate. How could a milkshake go so wrong?”
Finding a Milkshake in Switzerland
Since arriving in 2009, I have been on a diligent quest to find a quality milkshake in Switzerland. The best are the ones with milk so thick, it gets stuck in the straw and you’d need a spoon just to finish it.
However, I have only found “milkshakes” made from a watery and flavorless chocolate milk powder mix or some equivalent thereof. For a country with a plethora of dairy products and exquisite hot chocolate, I’m surprised they haven’t found a way to perfect the art of the milkshake.
So, why is there an obvious absence of milkshake-making-ability in Switzerland?
“Do you think it’s how they blend the milkshake? I mean if Swiss have techniques to make outstanding watches, wouldn’t they have the right blenders too?” I tease my Swiss husband. “Yeah, of course they have blenders, but maybe it’s not the blender’s fault, but what goes into the milkshake.” I consider the suggestion for a while and give thought to what the missing “secret ingredient” for the perfect milkshake could be.
My concentration is broken when I stumble on an unruly stone in the cobble path. “Yeah,” I reply, “because the shakes here just aren’t as thick and rich as I’d like them to be. Could ice or ice cream be what’s missing?” Having now reached the car, we settle in for the ride home. “Could be. I think having more ice cream than ice is the key. Otherwise, with ice it stays like it is, which should actually be called a frappe.” I laugh because he’s right. There’s more “frap” to the dessert we just shared than “shake”.
A Matter of Definition
While taking the freeway home, I contemplate where I am, where I came from and how something so simple as a milkshake could be understood so differently. I think about the places that hold memories of my family and friends, the beach, the cloudless sky, all the types of food and shopping I have known since childhood.
Before I know it, we have parked the car and I am home. At home in Switzerland. At home because I know who I am and who I will always be.
I unlock our front door, still pondering the appeal of the Swiss milkshake, and decide I don’t need to wonder any more. The different milkshakes are what makes each of my homes individual, and rather then trying to duplicate one with the other, respecting each as unique makes my memories that much more valuable.
“There's a new burger restaurant in Kreis 2 in Zürich. Should we try the milkshakes there?” He’s still on the quest with me. “I don’t see why not. I’m open to trying new things.”
(Pictures copyright by Swissmilk)