Recently in Europe category:

Due to demand for my Paris and Lausanne Gastronomy Tour, we’re offering a second trip this fall. We’ll begin the week in Paris, exploring chocolate shops, tasting wine, and dining at my favorite tables in Paris. Then we’ll take the high-speed TGV train to Lausanne, Switzerland, to this lovely small city perched above Lake Geneva. With the historic Lausanne Palace and Spa as our home…

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A Swiss local in Lausanne was the first to tell me about Café Romand, “It’s one of those places where – and how do you say it? – those men who are very pretty, that sometimes dress as women, go. You would like it!” I’m still trying to figure out what that means because no one’s every called me “pretty”, and my only experience wearing…

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Les françaises are justifiably proud of their chocolates and chocolatiers, but if you talk to them about Swiss chocolate, many will say – “Oh, Swiss chocolate is very, very good.” Yet when I press them on which particular brands of chocolate are “very good”, they often don’t, or can’t, pin down the specific names* of any. Folks who have been to Lausanne – French, American,…

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After my visit to the Vevey market with Chef Stéphane Décotterd, we headed back to Le Pont de Brent, his restaurant located above the lakeside Swiss town of Montreux. While he was laying out the fish for the day, which he had just sourced, I noticed the kitchen was unusually calm for pre-service and I didn’t see anyone in the usual panic that happens in…

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Everyone once in a while – and I could likely count the number of times on one hand – I’ve put something in my mouth that silenced me. Unfortunately for the people around me, it doesn’t happen all that often. But when I was told that there was a special lard made in Nyon, I changed my plans for the morning because something inside me…

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I was having a conversation a while back with someone who worked for an international hotel chain and she told me that their hotels in Europe don’t have alarm clocks in the rooms because Europeans – when they take their vacations – aren’t all that interested in keeping track of what time it is. We Americans, on the other hand, seem to have a need…

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The Malakoff

I know the Swiss are famous for their discretion and secrecy, but this is getting ridiculous. When I first saw Malakoff on a menu, I thought it was for Charlotte Malakoff, a classic (and hardly made-anymore) French dessert which is a round of chocolate mousse held together by ladyfingers. When I saw it on several menus in Switzerland, I thought it odd that it was…

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When I was at Macheret Fromage in Vevey, Switzerland, I noticed stacks of perfectly piped meringues, piled up to ceiling. I wondered why a cheese shop would have so many meringues? It wasn’t until I headed way up in the alps, to the Maison de l’Etivaz, where a Swiss traveling companion said – “Ooooh, La Gruyère double cream is very good. But very, very dangerous.”

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What’s not to like about a somewhat out-of-the-way bistrotière like Astier, serving examples of classic French cuisine, keeping the torch alive of a genre that’s become harder to find done right? The pre-fixe menu at Astier is a little gentler at €35, and you can choose from four of five selections in each category. There’s more extensive selections on the à la carte side of…

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