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.
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.
The Living Room, the new bar and morning-to-night restaurant unveiled on January 13th at the Ritz-Carlton Hôtel de la Paix on Geneva’s lakefront, differs from any living room that I’ve ever inhabited except that it strives to create in its patrons the same casual feeling that some might have in the comfort of their own living room. Albeit someone whose living room was the setting for negotiations to end an international dispute and which boasts decorative features dating back almost 150 years.
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.
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.
Recently, I was priveleged to be invited together with a group of fellow bloggers to participate in a series of enjoyable and informative workshops at the prestigious Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL) recognized as the world’s foremost educational institution for hospitality and hotel management. Since 1893, the EHL has pioneered managerial training for careers in the hospitality industry and its current stable of three university-level study programs is set to expand to four with the addition in February 2017 of its new Master Class in Culinary Arts. The Master Class transforms passion for culinary arts and a business mindset into a successful career. The goal of this new six-month certificate program, designed for young professionals with a post-secondary education, is to provide the perfect balance of industry and technical knowledge, practical experience, managerial skills, and an EHL alumni network that will form the foundation for a successful career in the food and beverage industry.
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, …