In the eight years since Boréal Coffee opened its first outlet the business has seen many changes, but one thing remains the same: an underlying commitment to serve the best espresso-based coffee drinks in Geneva…and now in Zurich, too. In the Spring of 2013, I met Julian Caron-Lys, co-founder and partner with Fabien Decroux of the most popular independent coffee shop in Geneva — Boréal Coffee. In the interview and blog post that followed: Cappucino gets star treatment at Geneva’s Boréal Coffee Shops, Julian explained how the quality of their coffee beans was at the root of their success. Directly sourced from small cooperatives in Latin America, Africa and Asia to ensure their provenance and quality, the coffee beans were freshly roasted using artisanal methods at Boréal’s own micro-roasting atelier in Carouge. Prepared with skill and no small measure of flair by Boréal’s own trained baristas, the resulting espresso-based coffee drinks (including my favorite cappuccino) were simply the tastiest in town.
Never one to rest on its laurels when it comes to celebrating Christmas in style, the City of Geneva has added 11 new light installations to the already impressive seven that comprised the Geneva Lux Festival in 2015.
Many medieval villages dot the landscape of Vaud Canton, but of those that lie in populous areas and withstand heavy traffic, possibly none have preserved their charm and architectural integrity more successfully than the Bourg of Coppet. Located about halfway between the cities of Geneva and Nyon, Coppet’s main street, the “Grand-Rue”, runs parallel to the Lac Leman shoreline and in summer, day-trippers disembark from paddlesteamers at the town’s quay to visit the Château de Coppet, located a five minute walk uphill along a village sidestreet.
To meet Serena Dignola-Russignan, founder and talented artisan behind La Lumière du Temps, you soon understand where the warmth and playfulness emanating from her elegant, handmade “photophores” (wax candle holders) come from. Inviting me into the kitchen of her home in Eysins, just above Nyon, Lugano-born Serena insists on preparing me a cup of coffee. Not the instant kind, of course, but the real kind that bubbles away in a stove-top espresso maker until it announces its readiness with — a musical rendition of the Italian national anthem. A first for me and admittedly, the most original introduction to an interview that I’ve ever had, but it speaks of the way in which its maker approaches her life and her métier … with joy and enthusiasm.
In its just-published brochure “Switzerland’s Loveliest Museums, vol. 2” the Swiss Heritage Society introduces us to 50 art museums from different eras and all regions of the country that give us a winning combination of architecture and fine art set in a memorable context.
Due to unanticipated, and to me at least, deeply disturbing events in our world this past year, I’m really craving some comfort and joy this Christmas time. Happily, there’s plenty on offer at Christmas markets across Switzerland this November-December, including some very special ones right on our doorstep in the Lake Geneva region. Here are a few of my highlights for you to consider, all of them within easy distance by car or public transport.