3 weeks. 3 countries. 4 cities. Business and pleasure.
Fast cars in Italy and slow food in Portugal. We celebrated the first big snowfall of the season in the Swiss Alps and moments later cursed ourselves for not getting 4 wheel drive as our rental car slid to a halt on Brünig Pass.
In Portugal, we met with our manufacturer and had an amazing dinner at DOP with our consultants, Ines and José. We booked a food tour in Porto and fell in love with the city.
In Italy, we were greeted with hugs and kisses by Romina, whose family owns the tannery that crafts our leathers, and whose positive energy is palpable. Not far from there, in a tiny town outside of Verona, we visited the very large company that supplies the materials for our Gloss Wallets. Despite their size, we were welcomed as if we were one of their top clients.
Along the way, we skied, we hiked, and enjoyed the company of great friends. We survived a photo shoot on a painfully cold and rainy day. We had a few too many espressos, a few too many glasses of wine (don't get me started on the Grappa) and received our nourishment in the form of meat, cheese and chocolate. Somehow we managed to be merry and exhausted simultaneously.
Photos clockwise from top left:
1. View from our chalet in Gstaad, Switzerland. This Aspen in the Alps village is charming, stunningly gorgeous, and doesn't feel crowded even at the season's height. You can stay in town, but it will cost you, or preferably book a chalet in one of the nearby villages, like we did. Get up in the morning, drive to the local bakery, buy a bunch of yummy carbs, go back to your chalet, eat, coffee, ski, chill.
Restaurant: 16 Art, in Saanen. Tucked at the end of a dark alley, is this old chalet transformed into a hip bar/restaurant. Seasonal cooking so the menu changes daily. And, bonus, on this night, we were treated to a special sighting of the reclusive film director and local resident Roman Polanski. Just saying.
2. Me and my best bud Simona. You can check out Simona's beautiful jewelry at her online shop Vivien Frank.
3. Selecting leathers for the summer collection in a scarf and ski jacket with the lovely Romina mentioned above.
4. Photo shoot at Rote Fabrik in Zürich, an old factory turned nightclub/cultural venue. Our model Claudia was freezing. What a trooper. The day before was perfectly sunny and warm, but on our scheduled day we had sporadic showers, wind and hail. We spent a lot of time in the car with the heat on.
5. Dessert at the upscale DOP, Porto, Portugal. Bubble gum ice cream, lime pie and other assorted funky flavors from renowned Chef Rui Paula.
Also loved the more homey and trendy: Tascö where we gorged on bacalhau (salt cod) fritters, broa, the local corn bread, stewed pork with pickled veggies, and for dessert a truly decadent chocolate mousse (grandma's secret recipe).
6. Taste Porto Food Tours. Loved this exceptionally informative and fun walking/eating tour of the city of Porto. Our guide and co-owner André was a superstar. The fragrant and juicy roast pork sandwich at one of the cities oldest restaurants, Flor Dos Congregados, was worth the price of admission.
7. Schümli Pflümli (pronounced shoomli-floomli). Sugar, coffee, plum brandy and whipped cream. More than enough alcohol to warm you up with a good kick of caffeine to get you down the mountain.
8. Strolling the stylish Via Mazzini in Verona, Italy with our Gstaad Tote. Bravissimo.
9. Spa day at the lovely and historic The Dolder Grand Hotel in Zürich, Switzerland. Our massages were fabulous and lunch at the cafe was delicious, but don't push the green button in the steam room!! It's for emergencies only as I learned the hard way.