Don’t you love turning the corner on a tried-and-true path only to lock eyes on something refreshingly new and unexpected. Happened to me last week as I zigzagged through town and came upon the bright and cheery shopfront window of Royaume Melazic (the Kingdom of Melazic).
Some shopowners sell to make a living. Others care about their merchandise but keep the relationship strictly professional. Then there are those who embrace the individuality and provenance of each article as if it were a child, valuing its uniqueness while creating a harmony in the family of merchandise as a whole. “There isn’t one thing here I don’t love. I can only sell what I love.” It’s obvious that Isabelle Giovenni is just such a proprietor as she introduces me to each of the product lines at her boutique Capricieuse, which opened its doors on 11 April in a luminous corner property at the intersection of rue des Eaux-Vives and rue des Vollandes in the Eaux-Vives neighborhood of Geneva.
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.
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.
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 …
A locale that’s unique in many ways Those of us who enjoy shopping in Geneva are well acquainted with the charming and spoiled-for-choice areas of the Rue du Marché, the Old Town, and the lovely enclave of Carouge. Yet there’s another budding hotspot that also offers — if perhaps in less concentrated abundance, but just as much heart and creativity — equally enticing shops, restaurant-cafés, and a smartly renovated boutique hotel, all of which makes it well worth your time exploring. Let me introduce you to the corner of rue Jean-Violette at rue Prévost-Martin, easily accessible by foot from downtown Geneva or via Tram 12 or 18, stop Pont-d’Arve. One good thing leads to another I first fell in love with this unassuming corner of Geneva last year in May when I went in search of the high-quality Canadian-made yoga and sportswear brand Lolë. I found it at a delightful boutique called the Yoga Shop, which I’ve just blogged about. Located smack on rue Jean-Violette, the Yoga Shop enticed me to explore more of this, to me anyway, largely unknown area that I’d only ever passed through while on …