Two years ago, when we first heard about the Paleo diet (from a Swiss physio, no less!), we imagined foraging the Swiss countryside, Paleolithic-style, hunting down our dinner. The image didn’t exactly evoke elegance and style, though it sounded exciting enough!
When the alliterative “Paleo Pure” pop-up restaurant featured a dinner last Saturday, we decided to give it a go and satisfy curiosity. Zuri Girl’s April feature article about the Paleo diet phenomenon had piqued our interest, and we wanted to find out even more first-hand. As an absolute newcomer to the “Paleo” regime, we arrived with an open mind and an appetite for a full experience.
The following five discoveries about Paleo and “Paleo Pure” made the evening remarkable:
1) Paleo doesn’t have to be “rough and tough”. Honestly, the name sounds like it’s something out of a bodybuilding magazine. Combine it with the image of a Flintstones cartoon character, and the preconception is complete. Yet, this was a refined, lovely meal, replete with subtle flavorings.
2) As stated, flavor is not compromised by this diet– in fact, it’s amplified! We soon realized that the elements that a Paleo diet excludes are mostly the starches, which are blander by nature. It keeps the colorful, flavorful veggies and meats, so the punch is not lost.
3) What is lost, apparently, is a lot of extra, empty calories. At our meal, we sipped on natural flavored water (our choices were watermelon, mint, cucumber and lemon– all delicious!) and enjoyed a four-course meal that delighted every sense. The starters of tomato-basil skewers drizzled with balsamic glaze, alongside pan-fried prosciutto crisps, were lovely and flavorful. Then came a smooth gazpacho with fresh avocado, followed by the main course of burger accompanied by a variety of grilled vegetables and sweet potato fries. No flavor compromises here!
4) Life can be sweet, too, with Paleo… the dessert buffet at the end of the meal taught us that a Paleo diet need not shun sweetness… it’s all about moderation, as one might guess. Offerings of fresh fruit, flourless dark chocolate cake, and lemon custard were incredibly decadent, and the perfect completion to the meal. Naturally sweetened with honey and maple syrup, they certainly brought smiles all around.
5) The best part of the entire “Paleo Pure” experience was the team of host Verena Mumford and chef Orfeo Mettauer, and the joyful atmosphere they create. Guests are welcome to enjoy their meal while socializing, they can bring their own wine, and there are ample books available to learn even more about Paleo while dining. Verena’s daughters were helping with the cooking, so it became a family affair, and had an easy elegance about it. For now, that satisfies Verena, who hopes to someday have her own restaurant and/or offer catering services. She sees the Paleo diet as a liberating, healthy way for people to experience a range of flavors, while doing something good for the body. As she says, “You never feel over-full after from gluten. You can eat a full, flavorful meal, and feel good.”
We certainly left this meal feeling fantastic. Who knows, this Zuri Girl might be channeling her inner Wilma and going full-Flintstone soon– stay tuned to hear more Paleo adventures!
The next Paleo Pure pop-up restaurant event will be on September 4. You can book a reservation on the Paleo Pure Website.
Article & Photos created by Zuri Girl Caitlin Krause, a Bostonian by birth who writes and teaches in Zurich. Poet, photographer, and running coach, she finds inspiration outdoors, swimming in the lake and hiking in the Alps.
Having lived in Belgium for two years, she is building her credentials as a chocolate aficionado in the land of Swiss Bliss.print