First the Four Seasons Hotel in Sydney, then known as 'The Regent Hotel, Sydney' and after a little travel, the Four Seasons Hotel Canary Wharf in London. There's something about Isadore Sharpe's Golden Rule that captured the essence of hospitality for me: "The reason for our success is no secret. It comes down to one single principle that transcends time, geography, religion and culture. It's the Golden Rule - the simple idea that if you treat people well, the way you would like to be treated, they will do the same."
In my humble (potentially very biased view) nothing surpasses the style, decor, elegance, ambiance and service of a Four Seasons Hotel. Recently my husband and I were gifted with a voucher to go to one of the top restaurants in Sydney. We held onto the voucher for five whole months to save for our wedding anniversary. With two little ones we had never had the courage to leave them with a babysitter overnight, until then.
It was worth waiting for. The evening out was like a dream. Frangelico on ice at the Opera Bar followed by a memorable meal at Aria. Returning back to the Four Seasons Hotel Sydney we had a pitstop at Grain bar downstairs for a cocktail each before retiring. A surprise personal note with congratulations on our anniversary (!) from the General Manager and a complementary bottle of sparkling wine on ice was waiting in our room on our return, very nice.
The next morning was the buffet breakfast. I must admit now, I had been very much looking forward to this. There is nothing like it. It's a feast for the eyes before you even pick up a plate. Not just what is on offer but more importantly they way it is presented. From the fresh seasonal fruit selection, individually potted yogurts French style, fresh juices, cereals and bircher muesli to cold meats, such as procuitto, salami, to smoked salmon, cheeses, capers, olives, hot selection of sausages, new potatoes, grilled tomatoes, mushrooms, eggs any style you like, pancakes, waffles, fresh petit pastries to enjoy with fresh fruit compots and preserves ... and endless espresso coffee or tea. All the while, listening to the buzz of the morning activity in the lobby and the classic and the familiar pieces of the pianist on the grand piano, the same pianist who I loved listening to as I worked all those years ago. On the huge communal table we were seated at, down the centre was the most gorgeous arrangement of fresh floral art to enjoy. So much to enjoy and take in. What a treasured experience it was.
|Poached egg, to enjoy with oven roasted tomato, potato, and |
|Sliced cured meat and cheese selection|
|Fresh fruit selection, potted yoghurt, grapefruit juice, |
and bircher muesli
|Croissant, danish and berry compost|
It was all those years ago, working in the then Kables restaurant that I was first introduced to Bircher Muesli. Below is the original recipe, as I remember it given to me by one of the chefs. Creamy, filling, healthy and delicious. You could certainly have this as a mid afternoon snack or even a dessert.
1 1/2 cups traditional oats
1 1/2 - 1 3/4 cups vanilla yoghurt or whatever you have in your fridge at the time
2 apples, skin on, grated. I prefer pink lady for their crispness and sweetness
1 tbspn honey
cinnamon or mixed spice
1/4 cup pouring cream, or to the consistency you prefer
Berries! Strawberries and/or blueberries.
In addition to the above and for a bit of crunch, flaked almonds are a perfect addition.
1 The night before, mix the oats and yoghurt, cover with cling wrap and put into fridge.
2 Mix grated apple, honey, cinnamon, sliced strawberries, whole blueberries and almonds in a bowl.
3 Mix the oat mixture and apple mixture together adjusting as necessary with cream. The oat mixture can be a little hard to mix straight after being in the fridge.
4 Serve with topped berries and sliced banana if you like.
There are many variations to Bircher Muesli, whether it be using tropical fruits, or soaking the oats in apple juice instead of yoghurt... it all comes down to personal taste and diet.
Tell me, do remember your first encounter with Bircher Muesli?
Where was it, and who made it for you?
|Fresh strawberries, grated apple, honey, cinnamon, and blueberries|
|Bircher muesli topped with fresh blueberries!|