Category Archives: Food Outings

Alert! Moelleux au Chocolat Tasting – Thursday 9 October!

You’ve heard before my musings and particularities about the moelleux versus fondant au chocolat.

If like me you love judging one moelleux against another (mainly as an excuse to eat a whole lot of excellent quality chocolat) you should absolutely not be missing this event! Rather than show-casing the work of various chocolatiers, all the moelleux will be prepared by Philippe Pascoet of chocolate-covered caramelized pistachios fame (a household favorite).

So what’s the taste test for? Each moelleux will be prepared using a different type of cocoa bean, including varieties from Africa, Asia and Latin America. that’s right, this event is for the truly refined palate – or for anyone who just wants to eat many delicious moelleux. Same same as they say.

Here are the details:

  • Thursday 9 October, 6:30pm SHARP
  • Chocolaterie Stettler
  • 69, rue du Rhône
  • Free for members of the Passionés du chocolat club, 15chf for Slow Food members, 20chf for everyone else.
  • Email j.haenggi@passionnes-chocolat.ch with your name and membership status to reserve your spot!

PS- become a Slow Food member to get these announcements straight from the horse’s mouth!

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Springtime with Slow Food: Disco Soups, Slow Mobiles, Eating ALL the goat, and a visit to an organic farm

Slow Food Switzerland has got a lot going on these days! Sadly for Genevans, most of it seems to be happening in parts of the country that are further away than most of us would like to go (scroll down to 1 June for a day-long farm excursion a little closer to home). Nonetheless, their initiatives are inspiring and make me wish there was a more active community of responsible foodies in Geneva. For instance, they’ve finally launched the Slow Mobile, a kitchen on wheels that tours the country to teach kids how to cook using fresh, local products. In April, Slow Food Vaud organized a DISCO SOUP in Lausanne to remind people not to waste food. Now, I don’t know what a Disco Soup is exactly, but I want it!  So consider joining Slow Food Geneva….. so we can have our own disco soup!

23-25 May

Seems worth noting that Slow Food chefs around the country will each be taking up the challenge of cooking an entire goat. Why, you ask? Well that’s the point isn’t it. Today most chefs rely only on the better, easier to cook cuts of the meat, leaving many other edible, but harder to cook, parts of the animal to waste. This Slow Food event attempts to counter this culinary lazy streak by trying to revive the spirit of the Bouchon Lyonnais, a snout-to-tail cooking tradition that has also been taken up over the last couple of years in trendier big-city restaurants. (Corner Room in London by the way is a great place to try exquisitely prepared cheaper parts of various animals).

Details: If you’re interested in partaking, check out the Slow Food CH agenda for a location near you.

June 1, 10am-3pm

Pack up the kids, spend the day at an organic farm near Lausanne! 

Slow Food Vaud invites you to visit Marché Bio Kalt, an organic farm that truly does it all: Cheese addict? Check-out their cheese production, made from the milk of their own cows and goats. Lactose intolerant? They also have a bakery with a wood-burning oven that churns out a variety of traditional breads. Gluten intolerant? They have a permaculture vegetable garden and a solarium where they dry out aromatic plants. Not convinced by the flora? Well they have fauna too, naturally: beehives, cows, goats, pigs, chickens, you name it. Don’t leave without stopping by their market, where you can purchase their products (including tofu).

Details: 40chf for Slow Food members, 50chf for non-members. Kids up to 10 years old enter free. Kids over 10 and up to 20 enter at a fee of 1chf per year of age above 10 (ie, 11 years old = 1chf, 12 = 2chf, etc.)

Sign up by 25 May by contacting the Slow Food organizers: Marie-Claire Pecoud : 077 474 84 45 or Brigitte Streiff : 078 601 81 10

Marché Bio Kalt  –  Les Eterpis 2 1124 Gollion

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A Chocoholic’s Agenda: 2014

Copyright 2007 Whey-Out Chocolate Inc

Missed me?

Well, I certainly missed you.

It was recently pointed out to me that I am not eating as much chocolate as I used to. After a brief show of raging indignation, it occurred to me that it was true, and that the reduction of my chocolate intake was actually directly inversely proportional to my experimentation in making chocolates! First came the chocolate truffles (super easy, you really should try it), and then truffles stuffed with caramelized pistachios (UGH!, if I may say so myself), and finally the homemade dark chocolate peanut butter cups (an adultified childhood favorite that still needs some tweaking but that is certainly promising).

Then I remembered why I so rarely indulge in my favorites: they are not so easy to find! The Maison Cartier’s nougatines are found only in their home shop in Versoix, the Hochstrasser pavé glacé Genevois found only at seasonal or specialized markets (or bought directly from the home basement where they are made in Meinier). A bit easier to acquire are Philippe Pascoet‘s chocolate covered raisins macerated in Sauterne, and their chocolate covered, crispy caramelized pistachios – a common fixture in our kitchen.

All in all, a good selection, but it does feel like it’s time to explore and expand the list of favorites. So, for me, for you, here is a listing of chocolate salons in and around Geneva in 2014.  For now, only a few dates have been announced. The Geneva expo for instance has not yet set its dates, but usually happens in October each year. As new info comes in, I will add it to this post, so check back in from time to time!

 

MARCH 2014

Salon du Chocolat, 14-16 March, Parc des Expositions de Nantes, Francehttp://nantes.salon-du-chocolat.com

Salon du Chocolat, 21-23 March, Parc des Expositions de Toulouse, France www.salonduchocolat-toulouse.com

 

APRIL 2014

Salon du Chocolat: 4-5 April, Zurich, Switzerland –  http://zurich.salon-du-chocolat.com

FestiChoc Versoix: 5-6 April, Versoix, Switzerland – http://www.versoix.ch/fdc.php

Chocolat Patrimoine Universel, 17-21 April, Grand Palais, Paris, France

 

 

 

 

 

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3 November, 2013: Traditional monk head faces extinction

Sounds like a Monty Python line, but it is true indeed. A traditional method to make tete de moine cheese au feu de bois seems to be nearly out of fashion, with Bernard Froidevaux and his wife among the last remaining producers who heat their raw milk in a copper pot to make the AOC cheese. And as if that wasn’t heroic enough, this couple’s farm runs entirely on renewable energy!

Slow Food, always with it’s ear to the ground, picked up on this couple’s mission to keep the monk’s head alive.  They invite you to join them at the Lafleur Farm in Montfaucon, Jura on Sunday 3 November from 9:30am to noon to learn more about how the cheese is produced and have a taste of the four varieties produced at this farm.

Email ne-ju@slowfood.ch to sign up. Better move fast though – only 15 spots, and at 28chf, they will go fast.

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Les Automnales, 2013

It may not be the most exciting event around town, but it’s one of the only times and places where you can undoubtedly score some of the best chocolates in town.

Les Automnales – a bizarre showing of vendors of all types – is at Palexpo again from 8-17 November. Here are some of the foodie oriented highlights!

Atelier du chocolat

Each day you can sign up for a chocolate workshop led by no other than Gilles Desplanches, one of the most successful chocolate and pastry shop owners in town. What can you get out of it? Well, you won’t be making chocolate, but you’ll still have some fun with it:

– Finishing and decorating a piggy bank (shaped like a real pig….)

– Assembling and decorating a chocolate marmite.

– Customizing a 14cm chocolate biscuit

– Assembling and decorating a plane and its pilot with chocolate and marzipan

– Preparing and tasting diverse chocolate drinks.

– Assembling and decorating a 12cm chocolate flower pot

Not so into chocolate? 

Ecole Club Migros will be offering cooking demonstrations on everything from how to make a verrine, to sushi, pizette, pad thai, Japchae, or mezze. And you thought local Geneva didn’t do international…

But you ARE into chocolate, so…. 

Don’t forget to stop by the Hochstrasser family to buy your chocolates for the season. Chocolate butter squares with chocolate powder on top is what they are. Simply out of this world, simply awesome.

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Homegrown: Mushroom Picking in the Enchanted Forest

Once upon a time, in a land of mythical beauty, there was a little village, nestled in acres of vineyards, atop a little hill in the countryside. The village might have been the quaintest of the land, but oh what a view! Most spectacular it was after a summer storm, when the clouds would part, and the first rays of sun would sweep over the fields, revealing thousands of shades of green and gold as far as the eyes could see.

“Anywhere in the Geneva Country Side” Courtesy of myswitzerland.com

The village was also the tiniest of the land, with only a handful of houses and a local restaurant  to serve the few families that lived there.  Unlike many other such restaurants in small villages, this one was no longer run by the family that originally opened it. Uncharacteristically, three dopey elves from a neighboring land had visited the restaurant one day and, noting the need for new management and taken by the quaint village and its beautiful scenery, decided to settle and run the restaurant.

One day, a slightly neurotic but usually fun-loving girl who called herself the Green Gourmande (GG)  wandered into the restaurant. She did not just stumble in by chance of course, but she was fortunate enough to know one of the villagers who happened to dine there frequently, and who had kindly invited her and some friends to taste the local flavor.

When they arrived, GG and her friends were greeted with big smiles and teasing jokes by the slightly punch-drunk owners, who were peculiar indeed, but warm and kind and performed their duties with joy. An extensive, delicious lunch of slightly sweet and smokey grilled meats was followed by even more extensive tasting of the regional wines.

In fact we had a very pleasant red from Dardagny (Domaine de Chafalet, by producer Guy Ramu) called Le Mephisto (www.domainedechafalet.ch for more info!)

Suddenly, the chef bounded out of the kitchen, eagerly urging us to come see what he had just picked in the forest behind the restaurant.  GG and her friends were dumbfounded to see, sprawled across the kitchen counter, a pile of turgid porcini mushrooms. “Come back for dinner” said the chef “and I will serve you a little taste of these!”

photo

Sure enough, a few bottles of wine later, GG and company found themselves sitting once again to eat at the little village restaurant. As promised, the porcini came out as a little amuse-bouche, fried and served in a warm butter sauce with garlic and parsley. The mushrooms were devastatingly good. Porcini, fresh from the forest and onto the plate, now this was a thing of fairy tales!

The Enchanted Forest in question

The Enchanted Forest in question

The following day, GG and her favorite foodie retraced the chef’s indications to the enchanted forest on a mission to find the plump porcini. The forest was drenched in rainwater, its soil flooded by enormous puddles. They slopped through the muddy sand, using a stick to peer beneath the ferns. And there, under a leaf, growing out of the moist sandy soil were the porcini they had tasted the night before. Jackpot! Finding the hidden treasures felt like an Easter egg hunt for adults!

small porcini hiding in the forest

small porcini hiding in the forest

Advancing slowly and methodically, it wasn’t long before they had filled their wicker basket with precious porcini of all shapes and sizes.

photo (1)

Once satisfied with their loot, GG and her companion bid farewell to the enchanted forest and made their way back home…. to make an awesome porcini risotto. Seriously, I just tried one of these babies fried in butter and it tastes nothing short of delicately seared foie gras!

Porcini risotto

Porcini risotto

The morel (I mean, moral) to the story

Now, there is an unspoken understanding among mushroom pickers that they do not reveal the location of their treasure troves. So this little village and its enchanted forest, Genevan though they may be, will remain mythical to you dear reader. Let it be a lesson though: go off the beaten path, make friends with the locals, break bread and drink their wine, and they might just point you straight to an enchanted forest.

Disclaimer – Mushroom picking is legal in Geneva within most of the region, except for certain protected areas. Technically, you are limited to picking 2kg of mushrooms per person per day. Also, mushroom picking can of course be very risky because many of them are toxic, and many of them look alike. Be sure you know exactly what mushrooms you are looking for, and don’t pick any that you’re not completely sure of.  For more info, check out http://etat.geneve.ch/dt/nature/champignons-274-2002.html

Thanks to one of my Facebook followers for also providing this info about a FREE service in Geneva that will check to make sure your mushrooms are safe: http://ge.ch/dares/service-consommation-affaires-veterinaires/champignons_faites_contr_ler_vos_cueillettes-1122-3570-7397.html

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Restaurant Day Lausanne Guide

Lausanne’s Restaurant Day Program(me) revealed! And yes, there will be mini-burgers. And cake pops. And waffles. And vegan Mexican fare, and, and and..! The only problem will be deciding where to start. Challenge to try it all? Accepted!

 

Beautiful Restaurant Day logo photo taken from barcelona4seasons.wordpress.com

 

August 1st: Brunch at a farm

Can you smell the bonfires yet?? August 1st is just around the corner, which means Switzerland will be celebrating (for a change)!

Aside from the outdoor parties, fire works, and Alpenhorn competitions, the day comes with its very own foodie tradition: brunch at the farm.

And this is a tradition that is very dear to my heart. I mean what better way to say  I ❤ Switzerland than by breaking bread with our farmers? In the countryside, amidst the flowing wheat fields, the smell of bacon and eggs on the grill infusing the air… what’s not to like?

Farmers sign up all around Switzerland to welcome neighbors and urbanites alike. In Geneva, you’ll recognize the increasingly popular Ferme de Merlinge that serves a lovely yard-side brunch followed by a mini train-ride through their vineyards. LIterally hundreds of others participate too, and you can find a farmer near you right here.

Better move fast though! Lots of places are already sold-out, but there are still a few spots left to grab in nearby Vaud, so on your marks – get set – reserve!

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Lausanne has taste! August Events

Did you know? Lausanne is Switzerland’s Ville du Gout this year! Which means that there is fun food stuff going on allll year. This summer has already packed in a variety of events, but it’s not too late to join in.  So if you’re boiling hot in Geneva and need a change of scenery, hop on the train to equally boiling hot Lausanne where, at the very least, you’ll get to sink your teeth into goodness.

Night Market/Tables Longues

On Thursdays in August, Lausanne brings gourmet to the streets, offering food from all over and served up Swiss style. From dishes by renowned chefs, to the best homemade gourmet burgers, it seems like you could satisfy just about any foodie style in a DJ-driven ambiance.  Pull up a chair to one of the Tables Longues on Thursday August 15, 2229 at Esplanade du Flon, Lausanne.  

Check out http://www.lemiam.fr/les-longues-tables-de-lausanne/ for more info

1 August Pic-Nic

If you’ve stuck to your international corner, you may not know that one of the traditions around here is to celebrate the Swiss National Holiday – August 1st – by having brunch at the farm. Don’t fancy a roll in the hay? Now you can also celebrate it in Lausanne at this festive pic-nic.  Except at this pic-nic, you are expected to go empty-handed!  The pic-nic area in the park is surrounded by a market selling local produce from which you can concoct your meal, from veggies and fruits, to meats to throw on your camping grill. Or you can order a freshly BBQed burger. They even have crafts for kids, and bike demos – a bit random, but can’t fault them for trying. And the day ends, of course, with the fireworks!  When? August 1st! 11am-8pm. // Where? Esplanade de Montbenon. Read more here!  PS – I even here that they will have grills at your disposal, so need need sweat bringing your own… 

Balades Gourmandes

Prefer walking before eating so it makes you feel less guilty? My first advice is to let it go and just enjoy. The Balades Gourmandes are fun in any case, taking you through the woods, tasting local products, and ancient recipes from the region. But let’s not get excited, these are all booked solid at this point anyway. Sorry!

Grand Banquet Canadien

In english, it’s the dutch that get painted as cheap (“going dutch”), while in French, a buffet Canadien means “pot-luck”, ie, bring your food/drink etc. At this event, you’re still eating, but this time you’re in a park, at night, with candles, and there is entertainment. Sounds truly delightful – if you’re willing to share of course.  The Grand Buffet starts at 7pm at Parc de Valency.

Restaurant Day

A VERY cool concept, started in Helsinki, and spreading across the world’s cities, FINALLY making it to Switzerland. Pop-up restaurants all over the city offering up food prepared by amateur gourmet chefs. It’ll be hit or miss, but oh the fun of critiquing it all as you go… August 16th, 11am-10pm. Watch out for the programme, released on August 1st!

 

 

 

 

 

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TFGI THF = Yay Burger Truck!

You’ve probably heard the purr of its engine as it lands in one of its favorite spots at Plainpalais’ Sunday market. The truck stops, the stove goes on, and as the sweet smell of fried beef patties and french friends fills the air, you know: The Hamburger Foundation (THF) has landed.

I’ll cut to the chase, I am a BIG fan of these bunch, if for no other reason than for their success in pushing Geneva past its comfort zone. Not only have they launched Geneva’s first official food truck though, they have also created what could just be the city’s best burger. In the words of a fellow foodie, THF serves up an American staple accompanied by Geneva’s classic fries. The result is cosmopolitan bliss.

The burger: Simple, classic, perfectly executed. Good quality, freshly ground beef, patty about 2cm thick, always fried perfectly medium rare, with a sesame seed bun that lends a beautiful hint of sweetness. If you order the cheeseburger, you get a nice, subtle gruyere, and if you’re hungry for the bacon cheeseburger, the bacon you get is crisp and tender. There is no special sauce of note – just ketchup, mayo and mustard apparently, but it is remarkable nonetheless, and the lettuce, tomato, onions and pickle are wonderfully fresh and crunchy. It’s like the best, non-barbecued, homemade burger your parents never made.

Deceptively delicious - I know the picture doesn't sell amazingness, but trust me, it's waaaay better than my camera phone was able to portray.

Deceptively delicious – I know the picture doesn’t sell amazingness, but trust me, it’s waaaay better than my camera phone was able to portray.

The fries: Then there are the fries. Also brilliant. Light, crisp, and I would put money on the fact that they infuse their oil with rosemary – or maybe mix it in with the salt they sprinkle over the fries. In any case, it makes you feel like you’re eating provence style roasted potatoes in french fry form. Unbeatable my friends.

Bacon cheeseburger and fries in the now iconic bare cardboard box

Bacon cheeseburger and fries in the now iconic bare cardboard box

The dessert: I have to admit, I have not yet tried their cheesecake. But I hear it’s classic and wonderful, and given the rest of the menu, I wouldn’t doubt it. So try it, and you tell me.

The menu: Again, THF wins it through simplicity. Hamburger, cheeseburger, bacon cheeseburger. Fries, coleslaw, cheesecake. Beer, sodas, water. It’s as simple as the Beatles once said: all you need is love.

The green factor: True to their generation, THF stands for local, organic, wherever possible. Their packaging – the quintessential, blank cardboard burger box – is even fully recyclable.  In their own words:

“We love burgers and we love the ingredients we use to make them. Our beef is 100% Swiss all natural. No hormones and no antibiotics ever. Our very own blend is ground fresh everyday. Our sweet buns are made freshly and locally. All the vegetables we use are fresh and as often as possible from local farmers.”

The setting: Surprise! It’s a food truck, so they move around, most likely according to whatever kind soul will let them squat their parking lot / side walk / courtyard. Their website will keep you posted on their whereabouts, but you can count on Sundays at the Plaine de Plainpalais (Unimail corner), more recently Saturdays in Eaux-Vives on rue des Photographes, and at lunch time in places only UBS would know of (ie, Acacias). Sign up to their newsletter and get a regular reminder that you must have burger NOW! You’ll also get some tips on their light-hearted playlist, running from reggae, to Beach Boys to hipper tunes I know almost nothing about – nice touch guys. Nice touch.

The Hamburger Foundation - coming to a street corner near you

The Hamburger Foundation – coming to a street corner near you

Price/Quality: 14chf max for the burger, 4chf for the fries, 5chf for a cheesecake, 3.50 for a drink = cheap enough not to care too much.

In sum: pledge to the Foundation immediately.

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