Month: June 2015

Swiss swimming pools

Fancy a cool dip? Visit one of the country’s “Loveliest Swimming Spots”

A major heatwave is descending on Switzerland this week so there’s no better moment to take a cool dip in one of the country’s loveliest swimming pools or outdoor nature spots. If you’re looking for something special near you, a pocket-sized French-German booklet published by the Swiss Heritage Society entitled “Les plus beaux bains de la Suisse” (Switzerland’s Loveliest Swimming Pools) will help you locate your ideal dip, one offering architectural distinction and most probably situated in an area of outstanding natural beauty. The 51 swimming spots profiled in the 108-page, A6-sized booklet are dotted throughout the country and feature architectural styles dating from the 19th century, including sleek, streamlined Art Deco examples from the 1920s and 30s (my personal favourites) as well as heavier 1960s concrete structures. Each selection is accompanied by a brief accompanying text offering historical information about bathing culture in Switzerland since the 1800s. Plan ahead for a refreshing day away You can order the booklet in the online shop at a cost of CHF16 for non-members and CHF8 for members of Swiss Heritage. Use it to plan a family or solo excursion that could turn out to be both fun and instructive, but …


Recipes from your herb garden: Refreshing Mint Sauce

With grilling season heating up fast and furious, throwing fresh herbs into the mix makes all the difference to meat, fish or vegetable dishes. We enjoy making the change from frying/baking our lamb to putting it on a searing grill. Adding a bracing mint sauce, with mint freshly picked from our garden, adds a terrific jolt of flavor to the lamb. Here’s an easy-to-make recipe that works beautifully any time of year. Mint Sauce  Makes about 1/2 cup Ingredients 2 tbsp white, finely ground sugar 3 tbsp fresh mint leaves, young shoots only, washed and dried 1 tbsp boiling water 1/4 cup red wine vinegar 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar Preparation Sprinkle the sugar over the mint leaves to bring out their flavour. Then finely chop the shoots. Put the mint-sugar mixture in a bowl; add boiling water and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Allow to cool a little, then add the vinegar(s), cover and refrigerate. Serve the sauce cold with lamb. Enjoy!

fête-de-la-musique geneve

Break out the band! Geneva’s summer season of free concerts gets underway

  Fête de la Musique This weekend, from 19–21 June, Geneva’s most popular music festival, the Fête de la Musique, ushers in the city’s impressive Summer music season with more than 600 free concerts at some 30 locations on both banks of Lake Geneva. Not only is this the ideal moment to enjoy top-notch music (and dance) from a huge spectrum of musical genres, it’s also a chance to do so in some unique locations, a few rarely frequented by the public. I’ve listened to: flamenco (and watched wonderful dancers accompany it) in the courtyard of the Art and History Museum; Django Reinhardt jazz (à la “Chocolat”) on a hill overlooking the Vieille Ville; a harp and piano duet in a medieval chapel; and Klezmer in the shadow of Cathédrale St. Pierre. You can consult the daily programme (by day or by Commune) and check out the special events organized for young listeners here. (Both photos of Fête de la Musique by J.C. Hernandez.) Summer Concerts in the Old Town This series has a shortened season this summer with only five one-hour concerts taking place every day at 12:30 …


Recipes from your herb garden: Deep-flavoured Oregano Pesto Rosso

The herbs in our garden are growing like weeds right now, especially our sturdy oregano plants. Here’s a simple, scrumptious, red oregano pesto that has replaced the basil variety as our all-time favorite. It tastes wonderful straight out of the jar on bread, or with pasta, or stuffed in grilled/baked large mushroom caps (recipe to follow). Oregano Pesto Rosso  Makes about 2 cups Ingredients Oregano leaves, min. 4 cups 100g pine nuts, gently roasted/fried till golden brown 100g Parmesan (preferably Reggiano), finely grated 5-10 fresh garlic cloves (depending on their size and your taste), coarsley chopped 100-150g sun dried tomatoes in oil, drained and coarsley chopped 2dl Extra Virgin Olive Oil Salt and pepper Preparation Place all the ingredients in a food processor and while adding the olive oil in a steady stream, blend the mixture to a smooth, but still slightly coarse texture (or smoother if you prefer). Season with salt and pepper to taste. To store, place the pesto in a glass container and cover with a generous layer of olive oil. The pesto stays fresh in the refrigerator for at least …

play me I'm yours

“Play Me, I’m Yours!” turns Geneva into a piano playing “Happy City”

It’s that time of year again, when pianos take over the streets of Geneva and everyone gets a chance to let loose their inner Liberace. Starting today, Monday, 8 June, and ending (to coincide with the last evening of the upcoming Fête de la Musique) on 21 June, Play Me, I’m Yours! brings 60 street pianos to 24 municipalities in Greater Geneva: installed in public parks, streets and squares, the pianos are there for any member of the public to play and enjoy. A project originally conceived by English artist Luke Jerram, the project is one of numerous innovative events to come to this city thanks to Geneva-born cultural artivist Dan Acher through his Happy City Lab. Now in its fifth year, Dan believes that bringing pianos and people together encourages a creative encounter that results in something “beautiful, with people sharing experiences and transforming the city with music.” A mission to create “happy cities” It all fits in perfectly with his mission to create “happy cities” and starting with his own hometown he’s initiating a slew of participative events that offer joyful experiences and challenge people to live in the …