Bernadette’s Take #20

Susanne und Hermann Ziltener from Vancouver

IMG_2571 (2)Susanne and Hermann Ziltener in a Swiss celebration mood (they are not dressed up, not at all, they walk around like this all the time, everybody in Vancouver knows this!) (Photo Hermann Ziltener)

I did not know that Hermann Ziltener would talk mainly about food.

I mean, this Swiss born man is a professor at UBC. He studied biochemistry in the Swiss town of Fribourg.

He calls himself an immunologist.

Not that I know much about immunology.
But I can tell you, this guy is NOT immune to a lot of things!

To the charms of his lovely wife Susanne, for instance. There is a lot of chemistry involved but I don`t know if it is biochemistry.
But this is another story.

Hermann is certainly not immune to food. Delicious food, for that matter.

IMG_4931 - CopyHermann Ziltener proving to his guests what a real Swiss cheese fondue is – you might think it is a laughing matter but it is deadly serious. (Photo B. Calonego)

He is prepared to go far to prove his love for the kitchen, sorry, the cuisine.

Hermann once disguised himself as Martha Stewart for a party!
His wife Susanne had to dress up as Martha`s prison warden (that was when Martha Stewart was doing her show in prison but it wasn`t shown on TV).
That is, Susanne tried hard, really tried hard to look like a prison warden. She cannot be blamed for failing miserably. She is just too glamorous.

Halloween_2005 009Hermann Ziltener dressed up as Martha Stewart, wife Susanne as his, sorry, her prison warden … or is it the other way round? She tries to look menacing but Martha does not get it. (Photo Hermann Ziltener)

Hermann knows where to find the best sausages European style in Canada. Or the best smoked bacon. Or the best Raclette cheese.

If Canadians have found the taste of melting cheese on a table grill called Raclette, I wouldn`t be surprsed if Swiss-Canadian Hermann Ziltener were behind it.

Hermann also knows where to find Chanterelles, loads of them, in the forests. He keeps his spots secret, of course. (I bribed him with Newfoundland Screetch, to no avail.)

DSC_0001Susanne Ziltener is a very talented ceramic artist. But look at that picture: It is a fish! (Photo Hermann Ziltener)

I am sure if the fish wasn’t clay, Hermann might eat it.
Or he might offer it to you because he is a very generous, gregarious man.

Hermann, listen, this fish is not edible, I know it looks delicious but it is an art work by your wife Susanne… (Photo Hermann Ziltener)

The Can-Swiss Quiz with Susanne and Hermann Ziltener from Vancouver

–   What gift do you bring home from Canada (or Switzerland)?

From Canada to Switzerland: maple syrup, smoked salmon, native art

From Switzerland to Canada: chocolate (Frigor, Ragusa, Chocmiel) Aromat (Swiss condiment), Gerspach Streuwürze (another condiment), high-quality Kirsch, Williams, Herb schnaps or any other schnaps.

–   What product(s) do you miss most in Canada (or in Switzerland)?

We miss in Canada: High quality household appliances, the wide selection of affordable but excellent wines (Swiss or other), the wonderful cheese selections and to boot in so many shops

We miss in Switzerland: Affordable and good quality meat

Bei Zilteners 002Wanted in Switzerland: the gregarious Zilteners! (Photo B. Calonego)

–   Which are the 3 qualities you cherish most in Swiss men or women?

Reliable, environmentally conscientious, well groomed

–   Which are the 3 qualities you cherish most in Canadian men or women?

Friendly, generous, sense of humour

IMG_4126Swiss-born Hermann must be Canadian: friendly, generous, sense of humour
(Photo Hermann Ziltener)

–   What triggered a culture shock for you in Switzerland or Canada (in one sentence, please)?

I was shocked when shortly after arriving in Canada I saw police confiscate beer cans from beach-goers and emptying them in the sand; the shock was doubled once I found out how expensive beer is in Canada.

–   Which Canadian or Swiss personality fascinates me?

Dr. William C. Gibson (1913-2009), was a well-known physician, scientist and medical historian and a man of integrity.

IMG_1826.JPGThese mushrooms must be really far, far away. No wonder I can never find them… Hermann und Susanne exploring the wilderness in Western Canada.
(Photo Hermann Ziltener)

P.S. If you would like to fill in a Can-Swiss Quiz yourself, you are very welcome! Please send it to

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