Year: 2015

Christmas bauble

Tis the season to make merry at Swiss Christmas Markets 2015

I can’t imagine anything that puts me more in the mood for seasonal merrymaking than a good, old fashioned Christmas market filled with handmade arts and crafts and delectable seasonal biscuits, cakes and chocolate confections. What with myriad neighbourhood markets and larger affairs in cities including Montreux and Basel, opportunities to shop, mingle and make merry with a glass or two of steaming mulled wine (or spicy chai tea) are coming at me faster than I can write up a Christmas list and check it twice. Château de Coppet Christmas Market I’m lucky to have the Market at the Château de Coppet just down the street from me. I stopped in yesterday for its first day and as usual, there’s an excellent selection of artisans and small businesses offering their high-quality wares. The food market housed in the caves, where jazz concerts are held throughout the year, features homemade honey, cakes, pannetone, spices, gourmet nuts, and of course, excellent chocolate confections from Phillipe Pascoet and Coppet-based chocolatier Guillaume Bichet. Meanwhile, children are entertained with baking and crafts courses in the caves’ kitchens (unless they prefer to enjoy the nearby …

artisans salon

Creativity at its best: UniCréa ed. 20: Art, Fashion, & Deco at the Château de La Sarraz from 5-8 November 2015

The biannual creative extravaganza that is the UniCréa Art, Fashion and Deco Salon opens for its 20th edition this weekend at the beautiful renaissance-era Château de la Sarraz at La Sarraz, located between Lausanne and Yverdon-les-Bains and easily accessible by car or train. More than 100 artisans participate at UniCréa and offer for sale unique, largely handmade pieces of art (paintings, sculpture), fashion (clothes, shoes and jewellery) and decor (furniture, lamps) celebrating the seven “Universes” of Wood, Metal, Earth, Glass, Textiles, Stone and Paint. Every year the artists are challenged to create artworks on a given theme and the one chosen for the 20th edition is “Like a new Life” (Comme une nouvelle vie). During the salon, visitors can vote for the artisan who they believe best fulfills the brief; the winner will be invited free of charge to the next edition of UniCréa. You can see some of the designs submitted so far on UniCréa’s Facebook page. Needless to say, you’ll find creations that are unlike any found elsewhere and it’s especially satisfying to know that purchasing an …

Tarte-tatin-2-on-creative-living-geneva

Recipe: From tree to table — Tarte Tatin made with juicy, sweet, self-picked Vaudois Gala apples

  Whether you choose to handpick your apples straight off the branch or from the grocer’s shelf, harvest time is the moment to indulge in your favorite apple recipes. For me, that’s a deep and delicious tarte tatin made with local Vaudois Gala apples. Typically, Galas are recommended for eating not cooking because they’re ultra-sweet and juicy. But given that I enjoy the hot caramelised apple syrup as much as the fruit and because Galas hold their shape nicely when cooked, they suit me just fine. I also use brown sugar instead of the usually recommended white (some recipes call for plain white sugar and others for caster) and I add a dash of cinnamon. While some chefs use a heavy-based, oven-proof pan both to cook their apples on the stove and then bake them in the oven (which must be very handy) I first cook the apples in a big Le Creuset enamel pot and then carefully transfer them to a tin-lined, copper tarte tatin mould (diameter 24 cm, height 5cm) that I picked up in London some years back. It’s a deep mould so I can …

hiking through Swiss vineyards

Walking Switzerland’s breathtaking Lavaux terraced vineyards. + Discover Swiss Heritage’s “Loveliest Walks”.

The terraced vineyards of the Lavaux region, stretching from Lausanne to Montreux, offer breathtaking views over land and lake that can be enjoyed on foot with relative ease. First terraced by monks in the 11th century, the region received UNESCO World Heritage-site status in 2007 and doubtless is one of the country’s most beautiful to explore. Together with my friends in the Internation Women’s Club of Nyon (IWCN) I walked the very popular portion through the vineyards that stretch from St. Saphorin to Cully. The journey took approximately two-and-a-half-hours at a leisurely pace and offered only a  few steep but shortlived inclines. Meandering paths cut through charming medieval villages and took us through vineyards where day-workers picked grapes and wine was available to sample and purchase. Easy to reach by public transport The Lavaux walks are easily reached by train: we boarded in Nyon, changed trains in Lausanne and uncamped at St. Saphorin, a one-hour journey in total. We descended to lake level shortly before Cully and walked along the beach towards the village, where we headed for …

self-serve apple picking

Does anything taste better than self-picked apples (and veg)? Answer: nope!

Although the days are growing shorter and the heat of summer has been replaced with chilly mornings and evenings, there’s much to be grateful for with the coming of autumn. Not least of which is the abundance of seasonal fruit and vegetables on our grocery store shelves. Or better yet, waiting to be picked by hand at farms throughout the Geneva-area and Vaud countryside. All summer long I’ve cycled past expansive fields of ripening apples, rose hips, sunflowers, wheat, and pears. Last week, as I headed towards the Bois de Marcagnou just off the Route de Sauerney above Versoix (heading towards the Jura mountain range) a sign caught my eye that made me stop and take note. There was not a moment to spare as doubtless the apples had been flying off the branches since early September — it was time that I added apple picking to my “been there, done that” checklist. And I knew I’d have a willing partner in my husband, who has often spoken happily of the weeks he spent as a young teenager helping out Swiss farmers with their …

paintings on the streets

Coming to a neighborhood near you: faces from artworks of Geneva’s Art & History Museum take up residence thanks to the “Outings” global project

From the 10th of this month until 10 January 2016, keep your eyes open for 60 famous faces usually found only on the walls of Geneva’s venerable Art and History Museum. They’ll be there thanks to “Outings”, a global project by French visual artist Julien de Casabianca to bring masterpieces out of museums and into communities with the help of local students. The streets of Plainpalais, Jonction, Saint-Jean, les Grottes, Pâquis and Eaux-Vives will be playing host to 60 new (yet old) faces that up till now were exposed on an entirely different set of walls, those of the city’s Art and History Museum (MAH). They will be there because a posse of local 8th graders, working under the guidance of French visual artist and filmmaker Julien de Casabianca, have been let loose with their smartphones and invited to snap the likenesses of people featured in some of the Museum’s finest artworks. Add high-quality printing on a human scale and lots of snipping and pasting from 6-9 October and the young protégé(e)s and their Svengali will gradually unveil the fruit of their labors for all to admire (or innocently …

Recipes from your herb garden: Earthy, powerful Sage & Walnut Pestos

When it comes to sage, I think people either love it or hate it. Its powerful, musty scent and flavor is not for middle-of-the-roaders. We have lots of it growing in our herb garden so we went on the search for some pesto recipes for stuffing mushroom caps that we love to grill and serve alongside meat or fish or just on their own with crusty bread. Each of these recipes includes parsley to lighten the intensity of the sage and walnuts for added depth. Pesto no. 1 is for purists and unadulterated sage lovers. The addition of parmesan (pestos nos. 2 and 3) adds creaminess and subtlety whereas adding lemon (pesto no. 3) inserts a bit of punchiness. Our favorite is No. 2. Let me know which one is yours… Sage Pesto No. 1 D.I.Y. Sage Pesto from thekitchn.com Makes about 1 cup Ingredients 3 cloves garlic, chopped 1/2 cup roasted walnuts 1 cup fresh sage, loosely packed 1 cup fresh Italian parsley 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 1/4 cup olive oil Preparation: Mince the garlic and the walnuts in a …