This wildflower grew on the Casa Merogusto, in Malvaglia, Switzerland. Inside this house, culinary wonders are created that pay tribute to wildflowers and weeds in the same way as my WEEDS project does, but through the pleasure of the palate rather than that of sight.
Swiss chef Meret Bissegger, who resides and works here, is renowned in Switzerland for her fine cooking using wild plants that she forages herself on epic hikes through meadows and forests and the margins of urbanity.
Her culinary palette includes not just endemic wild plants, but also invasive weeds, along with local wildflowers like the one I painted, a Phyteuma betonicifolium, or mountain rapunzel.
This plant's leaves and inflorescence taste like raw hazelnut, and Meret serves them in certain sautées, and in a delicately spiced salad in combination with another "weed", the precious medicinal and tasty shepherd's purse. The recipes are included in her best selling and award winning cookbook, available in Italian and German.
Meret chose my painting's subject on a foraging hike we took together up a nearby hill.
I painted the mural secured by a rope tied to the top floor corner windows, with my palette and brushes in a bucket alongside me, dangling from a rope as well. I was served wild foraged snacks several times a day, the deliciousness of which hopefully reflected well on the painting.
With thanks to Meret Bissegger and Roger Staub, in Malvaglia, Switzerland.