Friday, February 7, 2020

Introducing the Swiss Food & Nutrition Valley

Did you know that the Swiss Canton of Vaud, the EPFL University, the Ecole Hoteliere Lausanne and Nestlé have joined forces to develop an innovation ecosystem regarding food and nutrition?

Launched on January 23, 2020 at the World Economic Forum in Davos, the Swiss Food & Nutrition Valley aims to address the challenges of a sustainable and high-quality nutrition by attracting talent, start-ups and investments to Switzerland.

Ranging from production and nutrition to waste management and recycling, the world is facing major challenges. Switzerland therefore decided to take up these challenges by being home to a unique food and nutrition innovation ecosystem comprising of high-quality gastronomy and agriculture, a high density of scientific institutions and start-ups in the field of robotics.

Joint forces of local stakeholders enabled to create the “Swiss Food & Nutrition Valley” (SFNV) brand, making Switzerland a world reference in the mentioned fields. By joining their forces and fields of expertise, the four founding members will allow the SFNV to focus on various areas: nutrition, life sciences, alternative proteins, packaging science, waste management and precision agriculture.

An international conference dedicated to the future of food will be held in Lausanne on September 25 and 26, 2020, so stay tuned as Switzerland aims to be the Silicon Valley for food.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

The art of tidying up

The Swiss are often stereotyped as an orderly people, unstinting in their commitment to the application of rules but Ursus Wehrli has taken order to a different level.

The idea for his project "The Art of Clean Up" first took shape in a museum. "I found myself standing in front of a piece by the very messy Swiss artist Jean Tinguely. He's famous for putting all sorts of colours, material and objects on a canvas, like Jackson Pollock. So I tried to imagine what a cleaning lady would do if she had to clean up his studio. How far would she go? I imagined his workshop would be filled with all those different objects, paint and material, scattered on tables, on the floor and on the walls. How would she know where the mess ends and art begins? I enjoyed the idea that the cleaning lady would clean up everything – even the artworks – and would leave the room neat and tidy."

Ursus Wehrli has been "tidying up" art for 15 years rearranging our chaotic world and its everyday objects into neat rows, sorted by colour, size, shape, or type.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

World Nutella Day

On World Nutella Day, the best way to celebrate is to break out that jar of your favorite spread and have a sweet treat. In 1964, the first jar of what we now call Nutella was sold from a bakery in Alba, Piedmont. Not long after, the chocolate-hazelnut spread would conquer the entire world.

When Michele Ferrero, the son of a small town pastry maker, decided to follow in his father's footsteps, he started from humble beginnings. Nutella is sometimes called an "austerity recipe", as at the time, in the 1950's, the Second World War and rationing had left chocolate in short supply in Italy.

Adding hazelnuts, which were cheaper and more readily available than cocoa, made the spread much more affordable. But it wasn't all the idea of Ferrero, the Turin-based makers of Nutella. In fact, the city has been known for producing hazlenut-infused chocolate since the times of Napeleon.

Hazelnut chocolate cream, or crema gianduia, was invented in the city in 1806, when Napoleon's wars in South America made cocoa beans so astronomically expensive in the Savoy kingdom that local chocolatiers were going out of business - until they hit on the idea of using local hazelnuts to make their chocolate go further. Ferrero products are now found in 170 countries.

The amount of Nutella produced in a year weighs as much as the Empire State building, and the hazelnuts used to make the spread over a two-year period could fill a basket of the size of the Colosseum.

World Nutella Day, first held in 2007, was the brainchild of Nutella enthusiast and blogger Sara Rosso. Fans love it. Each year Ferrero selects one Nutella lover to lead the celebration. On February 5, Nutella fans post pictures, recipes, and messages declaring their love and loyalty to the popular spread. So let's see your contribution?

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Decluttering the easy way...

Usually January is my declutter month when I reorganize draws, cupboards, shelves... none of this has happened this year and we are already into February.

So, here is a cheat sheet for all of you that would like to but have not yet... jumpstart your decluttering and of course, make sure to donate or recycle the things you can.

Old magazines
Old couch pillows
Movies you don’t watch
Movies that are scratched/don’t work
Burnt out candles
Extra cords
Games with missing pieces
Old books

Broken makeup
Old makeup
Old nail polish
Old perfume
Old toothbrushes
Half empty bottles
Towels with holes
Anything you haven’t used in the last 3 months

Socks without a match
Socks with holes
Underwear with holes
Clothes you haven’t worn in at least 6 months
Clothes that don’t fit
Earrings without a match
Old ties
Old belts
Old purses
Old hats and gloves
Worn out shoes
Worn out blankets
Old pillows

Expired food
Take out menus
Restaurant sauce packets
Old coupons
Old cleaning supplies
Cups with missing pieces
Anything you have too many of
Excess tupperware
Rags with holes
Expired medication
Old mail
Old manuals
Old receipts
Old paperwork
Birthday cards

Broken toys
Happy meal toys
Anything with missing pieces
Things they never play with
Puzzles with missing pieces

Friday, January 31, 2020

A Swiss take on today's event...

The UK's 47 years of membership in the European Union officially end at midnight on January 31, 2020. The European Union’s 27 remaining member nations signed off on Britain's departure in a typically low-key and bureaucratic style.

At the end of 2015 (latest available data) there were 41,766 British citizens living in Switzerland (out of some 1.3 million in Europe), and 34,000 Swiss living in the UK.

Following is a link to the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affaires covering Frequently Asked Questions in regards to Brexit: FDFA - Brexit FAQ

Last year, the Swiss came up with their own farewell video... here's wishing for an Au Revoir rather than an Adieu!

Thursday, January 30, 2020

January 30th is Croissant Day!

Now here is a random fact: today is National Croissant Day in the US. Not even the French have a day to celebrate this truly iconic French product!!!

French bakery-pastry is increasingly popular all over the world, and the croissant is one of the stars.
Between 2012 and 2017 the turnover for the industry has increased twofold to reach 2 billion Euros. According to a February 2019 survey by Echos Etudes ‘made in France’ plays a major role in this market growth.

Contrary to popular belief, however, croissants are not French in origin. Food historians believe that the Austrian kipferl is the ancestor of the present-day croissant. Legend has it that kipeferl, which is the German word for crescent, was created by some Viennese bakers as a way to celebrate the defeat of Ottoman invaders by the soldiers of Vienna. The bakers according to the story, fashioned their new creation in the form of the crescent they saw on the enemies flag.

It is thought that the pastry was popularized in France by Marie Antionette, the last queen of France.

In the US the success of croissants is undeniable. Imported in the 1980s by the famous American brand Sara Lee, the crescent-shaped pastry has become a cult product. Its popularity is still strong and growing in America: in 2018, 138 million consumers enjoyed croissants and the figure should reach 142 million in 2020, according to polling institute The Statistical Portal.

So, did you have your croissant for breakfast this morning?

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Raviöö and Turtei

Carnevale is definitely the best-known festivity celebrated in the winter period. In Ticino some would argue Carnevale is just as important as the celebration of the Christmas festivities. There are processions in mask, bingo games, greasy poles, jokes, confetti, and it goes without saying, an abundance of food.

In occasion of the Carnival, eating in abundance was mandatory: the term stems from "carne levare" (take away meat), which refers to the fasting period or Lent, which starts on the Ash Wednesday, the first day following Mardi Gras, which closes the Roman Carnival.

The typical items of this winter celebration are luganighe (pork sausages), risotto, polenta, and chiacchiere (fritters). But have you ever heard of raviöö da San Provin (San Provino sweet ravioli) or turtei da San Giüsèpp (San Giuseppe tortelli)? These are sweets cooked in a generous amounts of oil, butter or lard and are eaten in February/March (March 19th is San Giuseppe) on festive occasions, both in Tesserete and Sorengo and in many other region of Ticino. Let us know how you like them.

Friday, January 24, 2020

International Day of Education

Today the world celebrates the International Day of Education, a day proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly to honour education and its centrality to human well-being and sustainable development.

The adoption of the "International Day of Education" in 2018, co-authored by Nigeria and 58 other Member States, demonstrated the unwavering political will to support transformative actions for inclusive, equitable and quality education for all.

Today, 258 million children and youth still do not attend school; 617 million children and adolescents cannot read and do basic math; less than 40% of girls in sub-Saharan Africa complete lower secondary school and some four million children and youth refugees are out of school. Their right to education is being violated and it is unacceptable.

The 2020 celebration positions education and the learning it enables as humanity’s greatest renewable resource and reaffirms the role of education as a fundamental right and a public good. It celebrates the many ways learning can empower people, preserve the planet, build shared prosperity and foster peace.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Carnevale is coming to Ticino...

Bellinzona's carnival is Ticino's most famous celebration. Following the Roman-rite, the party starts on Thursday night (Feb 20th) when the keys of the city are handed over to King Rabadan, who will rule the happy crowds until the following Tuesday.

But not only Rabadan: many more carnivals are warming up the cold winter days in the Canton starting as early as mid-January. In Locarno, the "Stranociada" is an appointment not to be missed on Friday night (Feb 21st), where the old town is invaded by masks, little tents, Guggen, music and pure fun until early in the morning.

The Nebiopoli Carnival in Chiasso is the most important Roman-rite carnival in the Sottoceneri region, and its peculiarity is the absence of a king: in fact, the hand-over of power during the carnival goes to a Prime Minister, who transforms the town into the "Free Republic of Nebiopoli"'. From Thursday, Feb 6th to Sunday, Feb 9th masked groups and Guggen transform the streets of the centre into a place of all-round fun. Don't miss the children's parade, the Guggen night parade and the 60th masked parade, which takes place for the first time on Saturday and in which many floats, groups, bands and Guggen participate.

In many different locations throughout the Canton, celebrations take place only at the end of the Carnival week, following the Ambrosian rite. Biasca, Brissago and Tesserete can pride themselves with some of the busiest Carnivals, with their Saturday parades featuring masked groups, floats and Guggen. The large masked parties in public spaces all over the town centres start on Thursday night, with games, risotto for everybody, many confetti and bands performing live music.

A wild world of colours, masks and sounds is not to be missed so download the list of Ticino's carnevals here and mark your agendas.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Time to register for US citizens - Vote from Abroad

Calling all American citizens – it's time to register!

Franklin University's Office of Student Life and Vote From Abroad will be coordinating a voter registration drive for American citizens this coming Monday.

In order to vote in primaries in the spring or in the general election in November, voters must register in the same calendar year as the election in which they would like to vote. It only takes a few minutes, so stop by and register to vote!

Please bring your US Passport and your last address in the US – even if it was decades ago.
If you've never lived in the States, your voting address is the last place your parent lived in the US.

Friendly and knowledgeable registration assistants will be on hand to help and answer your questions. However, if you aren't available to stop by Franklin University on January 20th, you can also register online by visiting

And remember, even if you're already registered, you'll still need to submit your FPCA (Federal post card application) to receive an absentee ballot.

Venue: US Voter Registration Drive
Where: Franklin University Switzerland
Date: Monday, January 20, 2020
Time: 13.30 – 16.00 in the Lowerre Academic Center Lobby, North Campus (parking is limited)
and from 17:00-19:00 at Ben's Den, Kaletsch Campus, (entrance Via Paradiso across from Tamoil)

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