I always cook up a big pot of this delicious barley soup for Swiss National Day (1 August). It’s one of my husband, Franz’s, favourite childhood memories – a sustaining dish full of vegetables and cured meat, that’s more a meal than a soup, and perfect for that time of year. This version, called Bündner Gerstensuppe, is from the canton of Grisons (also called Graubünden) in Switzerland’s far east, a remote mountainous area bordering Italy and Austria. As it’s almost impossible to get Swiss wine in Australia, with it we drink the deliciously elegant Patrizi Nebbiolo d’Alba from Piedmont, just across the Swiss-Italian border. Raw speck (cured pork belly), schweinenacken (smoked pork, similar to German kassler) and air-dried beef (which is close enough to smoked) are available from specialist European shops such as Brot & Wurst on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.
Serves 8 as a substantial starter
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