Fourth of July 2012: s’mores, sangria and Switzerland

Until three years ago, I could tell you exactly what I was going to be doing on the Fourth of July: we’d get up early on the 4th, help work at the 5k race, wander the festival in the park for a while, and then watch the parade, which features kids on bikes, the high school marching band and city council, later having a barbeque and watching the fireworks. In other words, a perfectly normal small-town celebration.

This is my third summer that I’ve been out of the country on the 4th, and while I never really thought about missing out on the holiday, this year I felt an extreme nostalgia. Thus, we planned to celebrate in the most American way possible: with a barbeque, bonfire, s’mores, and sangria.

Our plan was already foiled on several counts: 1) We are not allowed to bring alcohol into Mountain House, in the interest of cultural sensitivity. 2) Switzerland doesn’t really make or believe in graham crackers or marshmallows. 3) Thunderstorm.

It seemed that Switzerland was going to all lengths to ensure that this celebration not take place. While we were finally able to find a bag of marshmallows (after searching high and low in two different grocery stores) and some biscuits that were close enough to graham crackers to suffice, we found ourselves incapable of withstanding the fierce riviera weather, which can, and does, change on the dime.

We did find, however, that the burner on an electric stove heats enough to roast marshmallows, and that Swiss chocolate makes absolutely superior s’mores! Similarly, copious amounts of chocolate and sugar simulate the effects of sangria:

(Yes, those hats were made from tinfoil)

While it might not have been the most typical or patriotic Fourth of July, we celebrated in high spirits and had a fantastic time.



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