We teamed up with our foodservice partner Hiltl on 21 October to hold a Tasting Table, a chance for Swiss-based food bloggers, journalists and further guests from the online community to sample new vegetarian and vegan creations that are bound for our long-haul flights, and to do so in truly authentic surrounds. Alongside knives and forks, smartphones were clearly the evening’s ‘tools of the trade’.
Vegan aubergine tatar, avial from South India, jain mango mousse… SWISS travellers who prefer their inflight food vegetarian or vegan can now enjoy an even wider range of meals created by the chefs at Zurich’s legendary Hiltl Restaurant. And to mark the development, Hiltl and our SWISS Social Media team invited selected guests to a very special event.
Food bloggers, journalists and invitees from the SWISS and Hiltl Facebook communities answered the call and came to try out the new special meals, which can be booked in any class of travel on any long-haul flight from Switzerland. But the tasty new Hiltl delights weren’t the only highlight at this Friday evening event…
The proceedings kicked off with drinks in the SWISS Terminal E Senator Lounge, where the invitees could try their skills at whisky tasting, too. What they didn’t know, though, was what awaited them next: for the main part of the event, the food tasting, they were taken not to some airport room or restaurant but into far more authentic surrounds – the Business Class cabin of our ‘Faces of SWISS’ Boeing 777!
Also on board was Hiltl chef Alain Pinto, who was actively involved in the creation of the new special meals. And it was with evident passion and commitment that Alain served his products on board. It was the first time he’d worked on an aircraft. “There’s certainly a lot less space here than I have in my kitchen!” he observed. “But the team work so well together that it seems to be no problem at all,” he added as he prepared an amuse-bouche of vegan aubergine tatar.
The starter, served by the excellent cabin crew, consisted of a vegan saffron-and-vegetable mousse, a vadai from Asia and a pine nut-and-spinach roll. Anna of Anna’s Healthy Vegan Food (@annashealthyveganfood) had a clear favourite. “All the starters were really tasty,” she said, “but I loved the pine nut-and-spinach roll.” Blogger Anna grew up vegan, but she learnt something at our Tasting Table, too. “I thought I’d read and heard everything there was about vegan and vegetarian food,” she said. “But the vegetarian jain diet was new to me. And it’s fascinating what you can make here,” she added, as she placed the #healthyfood hashtag under a freshly-posted Instagram image.
For the main course the invitees were treated to a wonderful South Indian avial, vegan gnocchi and jalfrezi vegetables. Katharina Henz was attending with her mother Agnes, having won the tickets on Facebook. “I’m just happy to be here,” she explained. “I’m a vegetarian, and I can really see the Hiltl style and signature in SWISS’s meals, too – totally fresh, totally tasty.” The gnocchi were a particular hit with mother and daughter alike. And Fräulein Laktosefrei Olivia (@fraeulein_laktosefrei) of Winterthur was equally impressed. “They have a real bite to them,” she said. “Not as stodgy as they often are on board: super!”
The meal was concluded with some dessert delights: a vegan tiramisù, an Indian kheer and a sweet mango mousse. For food blogger Zoé Klaus (@healthyfoodproduction) it was the perfect trio to round off the culinary evening. “I will definitely have these three desserts on my table the next time I’m entertaining!” she confirmed.
The foods on offer were clearly the stars of the Tasting Table event. But the invitees were well occupied with another activity, too. All three courses were accompanied by a further trio: an iPhone, a Samsung and an SLR camera. So the bloggers and the SWISS and Hiltl teams were constantly updating their social media walls, photographing for Instagram & co and even livestreaming from the event to keep their followers up to date. As one has to nowadays, of course…
Great food, unique surroundings and totally happy guests: the SWISS/Hiltl Tasting Table was a clear success, and its hosts were more than satisfied. Annina Speich of our SWISS Social Media team, who was instrumental in planning and conducting the event, is particularly pleased. “It’s overwhelming what came out of a spontaneous and slightly wacky Monday morning coffee chat idea,” she says. “I feel that this event has really underlined the very special partnership between our SWISS and Hiltl brands, which share the same commitment to quality, innovation and Swiss hospitality. And we’re truly delighted at the reverberations it has had and the fabulous feedback it’s generated, from our guests and throughout our – and their – communities.”
Text: Vinzenz van den Berg/Photos: Hiltl