All posts filed under: Artisans & Entrepreneurs

Geneva’s iconic “La Halle de Rive” indoor market celebrates 45 years of passion for artisanal food and drink

Since the early 1900s, Geneva’s food hall has been a beloved feature of culinary life in the city. Many generations of the same local families — and expatriates and visitors who come and go and come back again — loyally purchase goods from the merchants whose stands line the two long corridors of the Halle de Rive. The President of the Halle’s Merchants’ Association tells me why that’s so.   One of my favorite shortcuts — whether or not I needed food — when walking to my former home in Geneva’s Eaux-Vives district from the city centre led me straight through La Halle de Rive, a culinary corridor running between Rue Pierre-Fatio and Boulevard Helvétique. The observance of quality and service, the array of beautifully presented produce, the friendly greetings of the food merchants, and the enjoyment of the locals gathering for lunch or raising un verre at the in-house Bistro des Halles left me feeling I was sharing a cherished, time-honored tradition in the life of the city. Which, of course, I was.

ethnic food shopping in geneva

Finding your taste of home at Geneva’s purveyors of ethnic food & ingredients

The diversity of foreign foodstuffs on Swiss and local French supermarket shelves has dramatically increased over the past few decades as has the number of independent suppliers offering high-quality ethnic ingredients from faraway sources. So an expat desperate for a fix of home needn’t go far to satisfy cravings for a favorite edible or to find the necessary ingredients to whip up a beloved dish in their own kitchens.

ElSalad-food-truck-in-Geneva

Food Trucks — Geneva’s all-year-round moveable feast

When I first moved to Switzerland almost 30 years ago, eating in the streets — other than a Bratwurst at festival time or an ice cream in summer — was not the done thing. Takeouts for the lunchtime crowd offered uninspiring sandwiches usually comprised of two huge slabs of bread with a thin slice each of meat and cheese atop chunks of butter and a thin wash of mustard. Foodstuffs considered exotic, such as Mexican, Thai, Chinese and even everyday North American fare could only be found at specialty shops, one-of-a-kind restaurants and possibly on Globus’s gourmet shelves for an astronomical price. Grab a takeout & head for the park How times have changed. Many “foreign” ingredients are now widely available, locally produced and much more affordable. And as far as takeout options go, things have never looked quite so good. That’s because in addition to the proliferation of good-quality sandwich, salad and sushi shops, in September 2014 the City of Geneva allocated six outdoor spots in the city center to food trucks. As of last March that number jumped to ten trucks offering a tempting array of cuisines — from Thai to BBQ, from New York deli to fresh salads and wraps, …

Mafalda brings the authentic flavours of Sicilian home cooking to Geneva

When Mafalda Tavola Calda opened its welcoming doors at 7 rue des Etuves, between Manor and Bel Air on the city’s West Bank, a refreshing breeze of Mediterranean warmth and hospitality as well as the delicious scents of Southern Italian specialities epitomizing the best of Sicilian home cooking blew through Geneva. From its conical-shaped arancini to its deep and delicious coffee from Bannafranca, a city in the Sicilian province of Enna, as well as everything in between — handmade pizza, grilled vegetables, cured meats, delicate biscuits, scented pastries and creamy ricotta-based cheesecake, everything about Mafalda is authentically Sicilian, which is why its a favorite haunt of in-the-know Italian customers and a growing number of Swiss (and expat) ones, too. Fast food in service terms only Although Mafalda labels itself a ‘fast food’ restaurant (arancini are a favourite takeout item in Calabria) that description speaks more of the courteous haste with which food is served as opposed to its obvious quality and the care with which it is prepared. Mafalda has been a labor of love as well as no small amount of moxie from the very beginning when its proprietor, Fabrizio …

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 …

Easter chocolate pastry

Guillaume Bichet in Coppet: chocolate and pastries made with a delicate, contemporary touch

When in 2011 Guillaume and Elodie Bichet opened their eponymously named Confiserie-Pâtisserie in an enticing shop near the medieval stone fountain on  Coppet’s charming Grand-Rue in Canton Vaud, clearly fine-food lovers were in for something special. In a region blessed with an abundance of gourmet chocolate shops and bakeries, it was evident from first sight and first bite that the Confiserie’s exquisite variety of chocolates and bonbons, mouthwatering macarons, temptingly beautiful pastry confections, and selection of homemade breads and croissant, together with warm and courteous service, spoke of one thing: quality of the highest order.   A delicate and contemporary approach From my own personal experience, I can vouch for the delicious fresh fruit and lemon tarts that I served at my birthday party this year; for the fig-and-nut bread and wholewheat croissant that my better half and I enjoy for Sunday brunch; for the fruity macarons that won warm approval as a thank-you gift for a friend; for the indulgent dark-chocolate truffle pastry “Mme de Stael” (named for the 18th-century owner of the nearby Château de Coppet) that I occasionally indulge in …