Live a Little Switzerland

R Pallavi        Print Edition: Oct 28, 2012

For someone who belongs to concrete and enjoys cosmopolitan chaos, the idea of a quiet evening in Switzerland's countryside is both pretty and pretty boring. But, to experience 'real Switzerland' I agreed to take a short ride from downtown Geneva for dinner in the vineyards of Satigny.

After long stretches of green, a cluster of sloped roof buildings came into view. I wiped the mist off my window and noticed a castle-like facade adorned with flowers and draped in ivy: We were at Domaine de Châteauvieux. One look at this medieval-era structure and you immediately feel its history. The resort sits on a hill-top overlooking the Rhone and bears the celebrated Relais & Châteaux badge (an international fellowship of individually-owned luxury resorts and restaurants). On offer here is nouveau French fare.

Our meal began with a spinach soup that came with a small pastry cone stuffed with chestnut cream. The blend of sweet and salt did the trick, but the portion was so tiny that I was left craving for more. Next came a platter of three bite-sized vegetables; crunchy and peppered with smoked spices. Had I not put in a no-beef request ahead of my meal, I would have been served a Bavarian cream of asparagus with poached egg, bresaola and hazelnut oil.

To trust my sources, this buttery entree was nutty and hit the spot. The saffron risotto I tried subsequently was light and its cream cheese almost like velvet. For dessert, the pistachio biscuit and cherry mousse infused with green tea was refreshing and delicate. This was followed by a caramelised biscuit and milk chocolate delicately flavoured with Schinus Molle, an American pepper.

Undoubtedly, the most ingenious segment of our slow-food experience. Then again, we shouldn't have expected any less. Philip Chevrier, owner and head chef, reached for the stars while dreaming up his offerings. And he earned two, with a Michelin pre-fixed to them. Well deserved, we say.

Spinach soup with chestnut cream
Pistachio biscuit with cherry mouse
Gourmet menu CHF210 per person (Rs 12,200 with taxes)
+ 41 22 753 15 11

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