“What a quaint little town?” I thought to myself as I walk out from the Vevey train station after an hour ride from Gevena airport and an eighteen hour flight and transit from Sydney.
Mysaucepan has been on a business trip here for the last three weeks and we have decided to meet in her last week of work before heading to Italy for a short vacation.
Though it is around 5 degrees Celsius this afternoon, the air is cool and crisp. So I decide to take a stroll to our hotel about 3km away from the station.
I arrive at the hotel after a good half an hour walk with my luggage in tow. Mysaucepan is still at work at 6pm so I settle down for a drink and look out of our hotel room window.
There is a gentle breeze as I gaze at the snow-capped mountains of Saint Gingolph in France on the other side of Lake Geneva.
Lapping waves and the occasional shriek of a seagull lend tranquility to this lake.
Sunset soon arrives and the phone rings.
“Welcome to Switzerland darling! … can you meet the Charlie’s Angels for happy hour drinks?” Mysaucepan says referring to herself and two other work colleagues.
“Charlie is already having happy hour drinks on his own in the room here” I reply.
“Meet us for dinner then …” she counters.
“Only if I can have my Zurich veal since we are in Switzerland.”
“You got it, I know just the place for your favourite” she replies enthusiastically.
Dinner at Hôtel-Restaurant les Négociants
Hôtel-Restaurant les Négociants is conveniently located in Vevey town centre with a cosy bar and restaurant for hotel guests.
Emincé de veau zurichoise rösti or Zurich style veal with potato rösti is absolutely one of my favourite dishes, especially in winter.
This one comes with tender strips of seared veal and quartered mushrooms. The potato rösti is crisp and perfect for mopping up the rich and creamy white wine sauce.
I will always remember this heart-warming meal as my first in Switzerland.
Headquarters of Nestlé S.A., Vevey, Vaud, Switzerland
The next day, I go for a walk along the banks of Lake Geneva before meeting Mysaucepan for lunch at her Nestlé office in the heart of this beautiful town.
A multinational food giant, Nestlé employs over 300,000 people worldwide and is the single largest employer in Vevey.
Thousands of staff and visitors walk through Nestlé‘s main entrance every business day.
Two sets of doors open one after the other to ensure minimal heat loss.
Mysaucepan registers me as a visitor at the administrative desk in the main foyer. It is one o’clock and there are a lot of people heading to the canteen for lunch.
I am impressed by the sheer size of Nestlé‘s staff canteen. There are individual counters for juices, salads, grilled meats and of course, the most popular rösti.
Some queues are quite long but the chefs appear very efficient in dishing out lunch for the huge crowd.
According to Mysaucepan, there is a different lunch menu for each day of the week and prices are also subsidized for the employees of Nestlé.
I could not resist a medium-rare sirloin steak with a rich black pepper sauce and crispy french fries.
Notwithstanding the super-friendly prices, this meal is definitely restaurant quality and standard.
Mysaucepan tells me she has never had the steak because she finds it too heavy a meal for lunch.
Instead, she opts for a Caesar salad with crispy bacon, bread croutons and boiled egg wedges.
The canteen also enjoys a panoramic view of Lake Geneva.
After our meal, a conveyor system efficiently returns all used plates and utensils into the kitchen.
Mysaucepan has a busy schedule and heads back to work after lunch.
Although I am not a coffee drinker, I take a stroll by myself to check out some of Nescafe’s products.
There are loads of chocolates and biscuits in the Nestlé staff shop too.
A leisurely stroll along Lake Geneva
After lunch, I take a walk at the esplanade of Quai Perdonnet along the banks of Lake Geneva.
It is a beautiful day and a group of young students on an excursion appear to be studying the swans and ducks with their teacher.
The swans are frolicking in the crystal clear waters against the picturesque Rochers de Naye snow-capped mountains in the backdrop.
It is a beautiful day with a crisp cool breeze.
Though it is 5 degrees Celsius, it feels more like 10 and I shed my coat to take in the rays for the rest of the way home.
The Fork is an important landmark on the water along Lake Geneva.
Made of stainless steel, it is 8m high and was designed by Jean-Pierre Zaugg, a sculptor from Neuchâtel, Switzerland.
This sculpture was embedded in the lake in February 1995 to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the Alimentarium Museum.
The Alimentarium is a symbol of Nestlé’s development and is listed as a historical monument since its construction in 1918.
The museum is a place for learning about food, its origins, sustainability and future.
The walk from Vevey town centre to our hotel in La Tour de Peilz is about two kilometres.
The snow-capped mountains and scenery makes this one of the most beautiful and pleasant walks I have experienced anywhere in the world.
St. Valentine’s dinner at Restaurant L’Oliver
I don’t believe in the romanticism of Valentine’s Day. For me, enduring love is where you find it and I don’t need a dedicated day to remind me of such.
Mysaucepan obviously thinks differently and has booked a restaurant for dinner tonight. So for one day in a year, I accede to keep the peace and love.
I am pleasantly surprised by a 2015 Domaine du Manoir pinot noir rosé from the Valais region of Switzerland.
Better know for its white chasselas blanc varietal which is the second largest behind pinot noir, this salmon pink rosé has strawberries on the nose and a clean and crispy dry palate.
The fruity nuances of our wine elicit luscious seafood flavours from a lobster and turbot terrine with its thick shellfish vinaigrette and caviar.
A rabbit ravioli is velvety soft against creamy chunks of foie gras. The truffle consommé is light yet warming on a winter evening such as this.
Tender beef fillet medallions are accompanied by a beefy red wine jus, crisp filo parcel and an unusual creamy purple potato mash.
Dessert looks like love on a plate but we are already stuffed with so much love.
Dinner at the Scarfies
On a chilly Friday evening, we score a dinner invite from the Scarfies at their home up in the hills of Vevey.
Scarfie C being the hostess with the mostest kicks off the party with a few glasses of bubbly.
Preparing a dinner party for six people, Scarfie A looks like the next contestant on Swiss Masterchef with a blowtorch over a caramel porcini mousse.
Scarfie A is showing deft technique on the plate with his main course.
Beef eye fillet has been sous-vide then seared for that enticing caramelized texture at top steak restarants.
Fresh kale tossed with lemon juice cuts the beefy richness of the eye fillet. Pumped from an aerated silver bullet, a potato puree is delightfully creamy and luscious.
Thanks to Scarfie A, this bite is definitely one of the defining moments of my visit to Vevey.
We are spoiled by more after-dinner drinks and the Amaro Nonino is definitely on my shopping list when I get back to Sydney.
Dinner at Ze Fork on the water
Ze Fork on the water has a rather unique menu showcasing food from the sea and the land with individual tapas plates all within a main course.
The butter is wonderfully decadent with fresh sourdough.
A chunky veal medallion is tender though flavours are a little busy with beetroot infused black radish and dried apricot.
I love sweetbread but this one is a little under-cooked for my liking let alone jarringly paired with spicy lentils.
Again, flavours seem too busy because I prefer the slab of slow-cooked veal on its own without more interference from rutabaga and sweet dates.
Mysaucepan‘s suckling pork rib is a little gamey for my liking.
Sunset over Lake Geneva is a glorious view every evening during happy hour.
Stay tuned for our next blog post on yet another beautiful city in Switzerland.
Hôtel-Restaurant les Négociants
Rue du Conseil 27, 1800 Vevey
Tél : +41 21 922 70 11
Route de Saint-Maurice 18, 1814 La Tour-de-Peilz,
Tél : +41 21 977 07 07
Ze Fork on the water
Rue du Léman 2, 1800 Vevey, Switzerland
Tél : +41 21 922 18 13