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Switzerland Grand Chapitre

Geneva, May 15-17, 2015

Great moments in Geneva

Travelling along the shores of Lake Geneva with its famous vineyards such as La Côte and Dézaley is certainly worth doing. Exactly 200 years ago Geneva joined the Swiss Federation, the territory being partly ceded from France at the congress of Vienna.

Settling in ready for the opening event
I started my first day in Geneva with a walk through the historic town to the water fountain in the middle of the lake – which gives great photo opportunities. Some of the best hotels and restaurants are located near the shore such as The Mandarin Oriental where we had our opening evening.

Friday evening – the best of Indian cuisine
Friday evening dinner saw an excursion to taste the best of Indian cuisine. London-based star chef Vineet Bhatia and his team created a light and absolutely fabulous dinner to bring the international flavour of Geneva to the table. Lobster on coconut with sesame chutney is to mention just one of the wonderful menu items. One course was even accompanied by an Indian 2012 Sauvignon Blanc from Sula Vineyards: truly a rare experience for us. With inspiring enthusiasm restaurateur Nicolas Meylan, Vice-Échanson of the Bailliage of Geneva, gave us an insight into the tastes and wines of this Grand Chapitre.

Saturday at the Mövenpick Hotel & Casino
The General Assembly is the highlight of the year for the National Bailliage. Bailli Délégué René Kamber gave an overview of the past twelve months, always full of interesting facts charmingly presented. We honoured the long-term membership of 56 Commandeurs of which some go back as much as 40 years.

Vincent Godereaux and his brigade are true magicians. The delightful Japanese three course lunch was a great success. The menu items were accompanied by wine from the oldest vineyard of the nearby village of Russin – La Domaine des Molards having been established by Michel Desbaillet back in 1352. Madame Claire-Lise Desbaillet, a 21st generation descendant, attended the lunch and answered my many questions about this remarkable heritage. The local grapes of Gamaret and Garanoir make a balanced and joyful assembly of taste.

Sunshine by the pool in the gardens of the Hotel President Wilson
The Induction Ceremony was presided over by Karim Henein, Member of the Conseil d’Administration from Egypt. The delights of the Gala Dinner were in competition with the big band inviting everyone to dance. The king crab on spring vegetables was my personal favourite especially with the elegant accompaniment of Champagne Laurent-Perrier Brut Rosé. However at midnight nothing could stop the guests from dancing until early morning!

Sunday at the fabulous Swissôtel Metropole
The Déjeuner d’au revoir is always a moment of relaxed camaraderie and pleasure. The fabulous Swissôtel Metropole is the only 5-star hotel on the Rive Gauche of Lake Geneva. A very long cocktail on the sunny roof terrace overlooking the whole city reminded me that the Chaîne is not only about excellent cuisine but also about meeting friends. The young Executive Chef Philippe Pourias served absolutely delightful delicacies such as his famous risotto al tartuffo and tarte de crevette mi-cuite – both hard to top. Smoked fish and the well-known Swiss beef from Simmental were followed by an extraordinary cheese buffet and dessert.

We will come again to Geneva and certainly to the Hotel President Wilson, the Swissôtel Metropole and the other fine establishments which hosted events during this spring Grand Chapitre.

Renata Cavegn, Chargée de Presse