Chocolate Snails & Skating with Mozart

Well, it’s time to leave Salzburg and head home to California for Christmas…

It’s been a wonderful autumn in Austria! And I finished my last performances yesterday, so I was free to wander through the Christmas Market today.

I also indulged myself by eating a chocolate snail.  No, not a real snail. Die Shokoschnecke is a favorite pastry of mine.

I need to board my plane in just a few short hours, so let me leave you with a quick video clip of kids having fun on the ice skating rink in Mozartplatz. Skating under the shadow of Amadeus!

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Zurich for Chocolate Lovers

Gruezi miteinand!  (Hello everybody!)

It’s time to tackle a subject that is close to everyone’s heart: Swiss chocolate.  After all, one of the great things about singing opera in Europe is having access to high quality chocolate, right?

Chocolate — or “Schoggi,” as it’s called in Swiss German — is seriously delicious. Switzerland is famous for its chocolate. Ever heard of Sprüngli and Lindt? I have recently discovered an entire blog devoted to swiss chocolate — if you speak German, check out their yummy episodes of Chocolate TV!

Today I enjoyed a tasty slice of Schoggikuchen at Café Odeon.  I usually advise people NOT to eat at the riverside cafés in Zurich because it’s so incredibly expensive, but if you’re going to splurge, do it at Café Odeon.   This legendary cafe has been frequented by some very famous patrons; when you slide into a booth, you may be sitting on the same red leather banquette used by Vladimir Lenin, Leon Trotsky, Franz Kafka, Mata Hari, Thornton Wilder, Benito Mussolini, Stefan Zweig, Bertolt Brecht, James Joyce or Albert Einstein! So you can contemplate all of that history while eating your chocolate cake. My Schoggikuchen cost me CHF 9, but it was worth it.

Of course, not everyone is passionate about chocolate. If you’re more of a savory person, you’ll enjoy Tibits, a fantastic vegetarian restaurant near the opera house!

But if you’re serious about sweets, you’ll appreciate Switzerland’s commitment to chocolate tourism. For a real taste of the chocolate empire, take the “Sweet Zürich” tour!