Weekend in Geneva: Guyere fondue and three bottles of wine
After the afternoon nap at our big bed at Hotel Manotel Kipling, we met up with fellow Filipina blogger Grace of Coffe Chat with Perpie. We met in Holland a year ago and I called her up for dinner and drinks.
We walked around Old Town a bit, passed by the popular landmarks but our stomach were already leading the way for us. I asked Grace if we can eat local so she suggested Les Antiquaires, a no-nonsense Suisse restaurant in Gran Rue. It was a lovely spring night, the weather was warm enough to dine outside and we had a beautiful view of some old buildings in this part of Geneva.
We started with Gruyere fondue – my first time to eat cheese this way. Guyere cheese mixed with Emmentaler (another Swiss cheese) is melted on a pot called caquelon and served with chunks of baguette. This can be eaten as a full meal because of it’s heaviness of the cheese and is usually paired with white wine, cider and sometimes even tea. My husband and I did not want to order a bottle of white because we knew that we will be eating red meat for dinner. Outnumbered, Grace conceded on the cheese fondue as apettizer with a bottle of red wine. I’m sure food snobs will find that “unacceptable”.
We also went local with the wine and ordered a La Clemence Gamaret 2010 to start the night. The wine and the Gruyere fondue came almost at the same time and while we weren’t able to “tradionally” enjoy the fondue, the conversation was starting out gaily. Grace said that the fondue is better somewhere else and at first bite, I declared my distate for it. The creaminess and heavy aroma of the fondue was making me heady. To begin with I am not really fond of cheeses, especially the ones that stink.
But during the second bottle, this time a Charles Favre Hurlevent Dôle 2008, when the bowl of chopped up baguette was almost finish and the la religeuse (the thick bottom of the fondue) was already visible, I found myself liking the Guyere fondue bit by bit. It became more delicious when you have the scrape the bottom of the pot with your bread probably because I’ve gotten used to the taste already.
I guess like caviar and foie gras, cheese fondue is an acquired taste, better with a good wine and best with a great company. We asked the waitress to break the les religeuse for us and happily shared the thick, crunchy morsels which I reckon, would really had been better with a nice glass of Pinot Gris.
For the main course, my husband and I ordered two kinds of entrecote, mine is with a mushroom sauce (probably chanterelles) while Grace continued with her cheese obsessionand had cheese ravioli. We were all too full with the fondue that none of us finished our main dish. But that did not stop me from wanting a sweet finish to my dinner so I ordered a “flaming” ice cream espresso. I couldn’t recall the name but I think it was with rum and the owner personally brought it to my table for the show. He is Spanish, fat and friendly and we exchanged a few words until he lost me on a story about his friend.
For about 250 Swiss francs, we had two bottles of prime wine, three main courses, one Gruyere fondue, one unforgetable dessert and a bottle of water – I’d say that’s that’s pretty affordable for a good dinner in the Swiss capital.
It was only 11pm when we finished dinner and the night calls for one more bottle of red wine. We headed over to Place du Bourg-de-Four, a small square in the Old Town, near St. Pierre Cathedral. We had a hard time looking for a table because the place was overflowing with young people out with friends on a cosy evening. At Restaurant Angoletta, I fancied a Bordeaux 2010 which Grace and Robin shared because I was on a self-imposed 3 glasses/night limit. I ordered tea instead. Only the house music at Angoletta was playing, no loud club music and surprisingly this young crowd was very relaxed. At one point a guy living in one of the 16th century houses screamed something and everybody started chanting but that was the only excitement for the time and it only lasted a minute.
We drink the night away with conversations about cultures, dreams and our changing lifestyles now that we are living in Europe. Grace and I agreed that Europe changes you in a lot of way, ways that unfortunately not so many people back home will understand. Of course we also talked about designer bags, watches and how expensive Geneva is compared to other European cities and how we wished we can afford it. Thanks Grace for the great evening and the feature image!
In case you are wondering why there’s no photo of the popular landmarks and the beautiful buildings, I decided to ignore my blogger instincts and just focus on the people that I was with and the wonderful time that I was having. This dinner reminded me of why I enjoy travelling in the first place – meeting people and enjoying the experience and not being pre-occupied on how I will post this on my blog the next day. Hopefully this will make me a better travel blogger.