18 September 2008

Geneva

I went to Geneva with my cousin for a short little two day trip back in August. As excited as I was to go there... i was so disappointed! It was definitely my least favorite place in all of Italy, France, and Switzerland. Out of my entire 7 weeks spent in Europe, the only two rude people I encountered were in Geneva. In the span of 1 day, I ran into two mean people in the same city! Hmph! However, I still had a good time, because I had good company with my cousin! So today I will share some of the things I did enjoy about Geneva :)

Waiting for the tram.
Geneva is rather small (well, actually, everything about Switzerland is small) so it has an above ground tram system to get around. Wait. I may have just lied. I just noticed that the billboard is in German. So maybe this photo was taken in Zurich, on the way to Geneva. Oops. Who knows! Anyway, it is at some sort of station... somewhere! But I definitely enjoyed the transit system in Switzerland - well organized, on time, clean, just so nice to use!


Pizza
Molino. A pizza chain in Switzerland. I don't know German, so I don't know if they are a Swiss company or not, but I am going to assume they are since all their locations are only in Switzerland. This was bad Geneva moment #1. The service was terrible... nobody came to us after we were seated for about twenty minutes, and the waiter was so busy/rushed that he didn't greet us and barely paid any attention to us :(. All my dining experiences in Europe had been pure joy... until now! However, it was also good Geneva moment #1 as well - the pizza was delicious. Oh my gosh! Is good food worth bad service? Maybe, but what's done is done, and it's in the past.

I had the Pizza Regina - which consisted of Tomates San Marzano, mozzarella de bufflonne, ou de Fior di Latte, bolets, saucisse et jambon de Parme. And in English, that means tomatoes from San Marzano, mozzarella cheese from buffalo or cows, boletus mushrooms, and sausage and ham of Parme, Italy? (I'm not fluent in French...) I'm pretty sure the ingredients made this pizza. I googled the San Marzano tomatoes, and apparently they are so good that like certain cheese and wines in France, there are lots of imitiations and the Italian government has a special label for real San Marzano tomatoes to separate it from the rest. They've also designated it as the only tomato that can be used in a true Neapolitan pizza. Now what is so special about them? This type of plum tomato is grown in a small area near Naples in volcanic soil which is believed to filter out water impurities which gives it a less acidic and stronger taste. If you would like to know more, good article that talks more in depth about this tomato can be found here.


Chili oil?
In America, we use chili pepper flakes to top our pizzas. In Switzerland, they use this. I'm going to assume it's chilli pepper oil. But I'm not sure. Any help?


Laduree box
I know, Ladurée should be in France. But it exists in Geneva as well! I was happy to have one last taste of a Laduree macaron :) (Don't worry, I will write about Ladurée in France later!)


Le six macarons!
Vanille, chocolat, framboise (raspberry), vanille, café, et... réglisse. Régliss? It's licorice.
My body cringed and my face turned disgust when I first realized what that macaron was. But the nice guy at Ladurée told me, "No, no, it is not what you expect. It is much sweeter and tastes nothing like what you are used to. The licorice is a very subtle flavor and not overpowering at all. You should at least try it." Okay, he sold me on that. I had to try it now, and I'm glad I did! It didn't have the usual gross taste of the licorice that I expected, it just tasted... good! It's still not my favorite, but it definitely wasn't horrible. So if you go to Ladurée, don't automatically rule out that black macaron :)

Boxes.
Yes, these are boxes. Boxes for chocolate truffles, that's what! They are amazing little folded paper boxes that hold delicious swiss chocolates. Teuscher is my cousin's favorite brand for chocolates. And their store is a visual wonderland. It's bursting with color and filled with the most adorable ways of packaging chocolate. Do step in if you are ever in Switzerland! I think they have a location New York as well.


Champagne Truffles
Aside from their adorable packaging, champagne truffles are the specialty of Teuscher.

Notre spécialité maison, mondialement connue, la truffe au Champagne est confectionnée à base de crème fraîche, de beurre et de chocolat. Sans oublier la touche délicate de Champagne français qui agrémente ce subtil mélange.


Our house specialty, known worldwide, the champagne truffle is made with fresh cream, butter, and chocolate. And not forgetting the delicate touch of French champagne that embellishes this subtle blend. (Again, i'm not fluent in French, so this is just an attempt.)


The actual truffles... yum yum YUM!


Geneva did have a very nice sunset.


Raclette
Raclette - from the French word racler, which means to scrape. Also a traditional Swiss dish in the winter where one eats cheese that is scraped onto your plate. Raclette comes from the southwest of Switzerland in the Valais canton. Essentially, a big semi-circle chunk of cheese is placed in a machine that heats it from the top, and when it begins to get soft and melty, it's taken off and quicky scraped onto your plate accompanied by lots black pepper, boiled potatoes, and small pickles called gherkins. The cheese used is, well, Raclette cheese!


A blurry shot, but at least you can see the scraping in action!


Raclette up close
Although it was delicious, I do have to mention that this was bought at a festival - i'm sure having raclette at a restaurant at home would be much tastier! But yum, a definite must if you like cheese!

A little more info for those cheese lovers out there from Raclette Australia:
"Raclette cheese is made on both the Swiss and French sides of the Alps but the cheese bearing the name Valais Raclette is the most famous .The Valais Raclette (namely cheese made in the Valleys of Bagnes, Goms, Les Haudères and Orsières) is made according to ancestral methods. There is no denying that the unique climate and alpine meadows in the area have an effect on the quality of the milk produced there. A semi-hard cheese made from unpasturised cow's milk Valais Ralette cheese has a distinctive aromatic flavour, brushed brown/orange coloured rind, light-yellow coloured body, fragrant creamy texture, with scattered holes and has an ideal fat and moisture ratio that prevents the cheese from separating when melted. "


Part of a door
And we move on from food to... Organisation des Nations Unies! Or, in English, the United Nations. They are situated in the Palais des Nations in Geneva. You can tour the headquarters and learn more about them, their history, as well as see all the buildings where meetings are held! The design on this door was appealing to me because of how subtle and clever it was. Before the UN was formed, there was an attempt to form a League of Nations or Société des Nations. It fell apart for WWII, but, the buildings still exist today, which are now part of the UN. But look closely! You can see the L and N for League of Nations, and a giant S and N for Société des Nations. Such a clever way to reference the title of the organization while still maintaining good design!


Ceiling
The gorgeous ceiling in one of the conference rooms. Patterns are my weakness...

Main Conference room. And our tour guide.
For kicks, I looked up the requirements for being a tour guide at the Palais des Nations. You must be absolutely fluent in English, French, and one of the following: Arabic, Chinese, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian, or Spanish. Doesn't that sound fun? I think my tour guide knew German and Spanish as his additional languages, so he knows at least 4 - what a skill!
As you can see, i'm very intrigued by languages and impressed by those who can speak lots of them.

In conclusion - Geneva was fun, but I don't ever plan on going back! I saw what I really wanted to see, so I'm good! No prochaine fois Geneva, so this will probably be the last time I speak about Geneva.

1 comment:

Love for Food and Photography said...

Hallo, I like your blog very much. You're a great photographer!

I'm Swiss, from Ticino, the italian speaking part of Switzerland (south).
Pizza oil here is made with vegetable oil (sunflower for example) with dried red hot peppers (with the seeds) left inside.

feel free to visit my blog and discover some nice parts of South Switzerland :-)