What a beautiful, sunny morning. It makes you happy to be alive, doesn't it?
We can't let the sun outshine us! We have to beam, too!
- Takayuki Ikkaku
Every year in May, Geneva celebrates its wines during one very busy day. This bucolic event was launched in 1987 by independent winegrowers (back then, a first in Switzerland) and has been successfully carried out since then.
In the heart of our beautiful countryside, numerous wineries (90+) will be opening their doors to showcase their 2015 vintage and latest creations. Upon buying a souvenir glass for 5 CHF (a kind of pass which you'll have to keep as long as you plan on drinking), you will have the possibility to taste wines at every cellar and for no additional charge. Furthermore, most vintners will also sell food (sometimes graciously offered) and supply entertainment (live music or animations), so you won’t go hungry or be bored.
Greatly prized by locals and foreigners alike, the “Caves Ouvertes” (“Day Of Open Wineries”) is a must for any self-respecting amateur and expert vino drinkers. So, all of you fine wine connaisseurs and lovers of our quaint campagne genevoise save the date, as under no circumstance should you miss out on such a unique experience!
Date & Schedule:
Saturday 28th May 2016, 10am-5pm (note that certain wineries will also be open on Friday and Sunday).
Wine is usually served until 5pm, nonetheless, at the end of the afternoon, it is not unusual for people to settle down to have supper together and to buy their own bottles of wine to drink while they dine.
The "Caves Ouvertes" takes place canton-wide.
On the Rive Droite, Dardagny, Russin and Satigny are quite famous for their wines and attract the largest crowds (each time, their streets are literally swarming with visitors and it can be a little oppressing at moments). But in case you prefer to avoid the masses and you find the idea of savouring your wine in total peace more appealing, then I recommend you to venture to calmer villages like Lully, Bernex and Laconnex (on the Rive Droite too) or Jussy, Gy, Anières and Hermances which stand on the other side of the lake (on the Rive Gauche).
For a detailed list of the wineries that will be open for tastings, follow this link: www.geneveterroir.ch/en/news.
As a rule, there is always ample parking space provided wherever you decide to go, though I suggest that you use the bus or tram to get around as it’s less troublesome. Besides a complementary shuttle bus service will be put at your disposal (check out the TPG site: www.tpg.ch). Otherwise, walking or biking between the various locations is a good option too.
Travelling by public transport is awesome, however don’t forget to bring a trolley or backpack to carry your purchases home; when you visit so many fantastic wineries things can easily get out of hand and it isn't rare to end up acquiring more bottles than initially planned.
For Further Information:
Contact The Geneva Office For The Promotion Of Agricultural Products - tel.: +41(0)22 388 71 55 / firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit Geneva's Tourist Information Center.
And if alcoholic beverages aren't your cup of tea and you have a ravenous penchant for tasty grub, then "The Geneva Street Food Fest" (second edition) might be something for you…
This totally rad and en vogue event will occur on the very same weekend as the "Caves Ouvertes", in the old town of Geneva, on a promenade located near the Art & History Museum, and will feature a profusion of food trucks and stalls, a myriad of caterers and delicatessens as well as countless coffee and beer bars. In addition, DJs will also be of the party, so a terrific atmosphere is guaranteed.
During two and a half days, gustative bliss and culinary discoveries will be on the menu. Whether you cultivate a fondness for Japanese ramen, healthy vegetarian dishes, US-style burgers, artisan pizzas, natural ice creams, chic sandwiches, local fish & chips, creative salads or funky burritos, your insatiable palate for treats from around the world will be satisfied and your stomach will be filled.
An unparalleled opportunity for foodies of all ages and horizons to delight their taste buds and to discover what this city's and Switzerland's burgeoning street food scene has to propose in terms of trendy urban gastronomy and innovative flavours!
Dates & Schedules:
Friday 27th May: 17h-24h
Saturday 28th May: 11h-24h
Sunday 29th May: 11h-17h
Promenade de Saint-Antoine
Map: click here.
Bus 3 & 7, stop: Musée d'Art et d'Histoire
Bus 1,5 & 8, stop: Florissant (+5 few minutes walk)
Bus 36, stops: Saint-Antoine or Franz-Liszt or Petit-Palais or Eglise Russe
Tram 12, Bus 2, 6, 10, 33, A, E & G, stop: Rive (+5 minutes walk)
I strongly advise you to use the public transports or to rely on two-wheelers to get around town, however the Saint-Antoine parking is situated nearby and you'll surely find a parking space there.
Although credit cards are accepted by most food trucks, it is more convenient to pay in cash (small notes and petty cash).
Long waiting lines are a rule at street food festivals, so you'll have to be patient. Try to eat something small before you leave home. In that way, you won't feel dizzy and nauseous because you are starving and it will be less unpleasant for you to queue. Otherwise, come early (before hordes of hungry enthusiasts have invaded the promenade).
For further information:
Check out the official GVASFF website: www.gvastreetfoodfest.ch.
When looking at things, we generally tend to only behold the big picture and as a consequence, we often forget to pay attention to the details. This is how we get derailed from our path, miss out on what’s important and end up being frustrated and miserable.
You see, I believe that by acknowledging details and perceiving them, we become open to greater dimensions and closer to the essence of the universe, or what the Chinese call “Tao” (The Principle) and the Lakota call “Wakan Tanka” (The Great Spirit, The Sacred, The Divine or Great Mystery). We stop limiting ourselves and begin feeling spiritually connected.
In life, we usually have colossal dreams, high expectations and unreasonably huge aims, yet we rarely take the time to appreciate modest achievements, tiny joys and humble acquisitions. As humans, we are invariably inclined to disregard them and consider these seemingly insignificant events as trivial and meaningless. We are never satisfied with what we have or who we are, and we always want more (“bigger and better”). If it’s not flashy or overtly blatant, then it has no worth in our eyes. Unfortunately, our modern, materialistic, egocentric, success-oriented and profane society has shaped us to think in such an unhealthy manner and that’s very sad as well as totally wrong.
Hence, we should learn to live in the moment, to be less demanding and greedy, and to exercise futility. In one word, to embrace the art of Zen (letting go) and accept our destiny. And this applies to all domains of our existence. It’s the road to fulfilment (on the spiritual level), happiness, acceptance and enlightenment.
In my journey toward wholeness, those are some the precepts I follow. It is in this spirit that I undertake everything. For example, when I’m walking outside, I like to narrow my focus and concentrate on what’s concealed. So, instead of being exclusively subjugated by the obvious beauty of the landscapes, I prefer to explore small areas of the countryside in order to discover nature’s own visual masterpiece.
By immersing yourself in the minute details that surround you, you’ll quickly realise that we all are part of a greater plan, that there’s a purpose to everything and that we are all related…
Being part English and feeling a certain pride in the fact that I am of British descent*, it is impossible for me to imagine celebrating the spring equinox without baking Simnel cake. Along with the inescapable roast leg of lamb, this marzipan-covered fruit cake is compulsory to any traditional English Easter menu and makes a wonderful centrepiece for your festive table. As a matter of fact, I cannot envision ending my Ostara feast differently.
This delicacy is quite similar to a Christmas cake, yet it is much lighter, more elegant and a lot less boozy than the latter. Its daintiness and immaculateness very much reflect the season. Simnel cake is the perfect treat to eat out in your bloom-filled garden (alternatively on your flowery balcony) while sipping on a cup of tea, sitting on a white cane chair and enjoying the mad chirp of birds. A great way to greet spring!
My late Nan, who was a WI lady (Belper branch, Derbyshire) and excellent cook, used to bake the most fabulous pastries, and Simnel cake was no mystery to her. Unfortunately, I never had the opportunity to taste hers as my family and I generally visited my grandparents during the summer holidays. And to my biggest regret, my granny didn’t pass down her recipes to me before she left this world, thus I would never be able to know how she prepared hers...
Anyway, internet is a boon for people like me who love to hunt for long-lost heirloom recipes. If you do a little research, you are most likely to find what you are looking for. Well, that’s exactly what happened two years ago when Regula Ysewjin at Miss Foodwise posted a highly interesting as well as informative in-depth article about Simnel cake. Since then, her foolproof recipe has become a favorite at my place; even if I'm not a Christian, this divine cake is now a must on Good Friday.
So, with Regula’s kind permission, I am delighted to share with you today that top-notch recipe (I’ve adapted it slightly) and I hope you’ll treasure it as much I do…
* Not in a political or monarchy-loving manner as both are not my cup of tea (I am absolutely no political enthusiast and definitely not a monarchist - I told you, I'm a non-conformist!)… It is the blood and spirit of my Pagan ancestors from the North (the Celts, Anglo-Saxons and probably the Vikings too) that I am proud of having running through my veins! Besides, I am also extremely happy to originate from a land that is undeniably beautiful and culturally rich.
250g Unsalted butter, at room temperature
230g Turbinado raw cane sugar
4 Free range eggs
320g Plain white flour
1 Tsp Mixed spice (recipe here)
1 Tsp Orange zest paste
A pinch of salt
60g Candied lemon peel, chopped
750g Marzipan (recipe here or there)
Orange marmalade, a few spoonfuls
The day before, soak the currants, sultanas and raisins in the sherry.
Preheat your oven to 160° C (320° F).
Line the bottom of a 21cm round spring form with baking parchment, butter the sides and then flour them.
Roll out 1/3 of the marzipan and use the spring form as a guide to cut out a circle of the same size. Set aside.
Cream the butter and the sugar together, then add the eggs, one at a time.
Beat in the mixed spice, orange zest paste and salt. Then add the flour and incorporate well.
Now fold in the currants, sultanas, raisins and candied peel.
Scoop one half of the batter into the spring form and place the rolled marzipan circle on top. Now pour in the remaining batter and smooth the surface.
Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Leave to cool in the baking tin.
Meanwhile, roll out half of the remaining marzipan and cut out another round the same size as your cake, then roll the remaining marzipan into 11 equal balls.
When the cake is completely cool, smear the top with the orange marmalade, place the second rolled marzipan circle and decorate with the balls.
Egg wash your balls and use a cook's blowtorch to brown the balls (or turn the grill to a moderate heat and place the cake underneath for a few minutes, until the marzipan is lightly browned).
If possible, try to use homemade marzipan and marmelade. It is really worth the "trouble" and besides it is a lot healthier (no glucose syrup or additives) than what you can find in mainstream supermarkets.
All the ingredients I use are certified organic, fair trade and humane.
Serve with a cup of tea or a glass of sherry.
Eat mindfully and wholesomely (according to your needs and constitution):
- Sit down to dine, savor your meals and chew slowly. It's not a competition or a race, so take your time!
- Have as many meatless and low-carb meals as possible. Your cholesterol level will thank you for being reasonable.
- Serve vegetables at every meal and fill at least half of your plate with them.
- Keep your fruit consumption to three per day. Loading your diet with fruits isn’t recommended as this can impact your health (excess fructose can cause high blood sugar & will get transformed into fat).
- Integrate sufficient good proteins into your diet (seeds, eggs, all natural dairy products, poultry, fish, tofu, seitan, lentils, navy beans, quinoa, peanut butter, etc...).
- Regularly cook (a few times a week) with legumes and grains (chickpeas, buckwheat, barley, farrò, black beans, bulgur, couscous, etc...).
- Eat a handful of nuts (soaked and roasted, if possible / here's why) and dried fruits on a daily basis.
- Flavor your dishes with lots of spices and herbs as well as condiments (vinegar, mustard, hot sauce, curcuma, cilantro, cinnamon, ginger, holy basil, etc...). They are real health bombs!
- Use nutritious oils and fats in moderate quantities (that also includes animal fats).
- Drink lots of plain water (the amount varies from one person to another, depending on one's lifestyle and body's demand, but you should not ingest more than 2 litres a day or you might cause the level of salt, or sodium, in your blood to drop too low - check out this link for additional info) and reasonable amounts of green tea or coffee (2-3 cups / 2-3 cup daily, depending on the individual).
- Cut down on sugars and white flour/floury foods, and find alternatives (sugar: honey, coconut flower sugar, maple syrup, xylitol, etc... / flour: whole wheat flour, brown rice flour, coconut flour, rye flour, spelt flour, etc...).
- Steer clear of additives, MSG, glucose, trans fats, GMO's and processed food.
- And last but not least, respect our planet/Mother Earth, along with the animals and plants that populate it: go green, support local organic farmers, defend small-scale agriculture, follow seasons, and if you are not vegetarian, please eat humanely raised meat only and in small quantities. Without them we are nothing, so don't be greedy and ungrateful...
I am Rosa Jeanne Mayland, welcome to my humble abode!
For some of you, my name might ring a bell. Actually, it is totally probable that you already know me, as long before I decided to launch Reveries, Brambles & Scribbles, I was the recipe developer, photographer and writer behind Rosa’s Yummy Yums (2005-2015).
My first online diary - dedicated mainly to the culinary arts - has given and taught me a lot on many levels, and I’ve had immense joy publishing on that platform, but after 10 years of blogging under that brand I have decided to start afresh and take a different direction.
The old blog had stopped satisfying me and it was more and more becoming a constrictive burden. My inspiration declined while my frustration increased. The old happy and emancipated me felt trapped and miserable. I was craving freedom and frivolousness.
The reason for this disenchantment lies in the fact that it didn’t reflect my present personality and the individual that I had metamorphosed into anymore. Thus I had to find a solution in order to get my creative juices flowing again. And this meant reorienting myself completely, casting caution to the winds and daring to go off the beaten path.
It surely wasn’t an easy decision to make, but I had no other choice. I needed a breath of fresh air so badly.
After all, life is made of changes. It is something positive, inevitable, primordial and constant. It infuses our existence with vivid colours and gives us perspective as well as hope. Transition is life and life is all about transition.
So today I am opening a brand new chapter in the book of my life and I hope you’ll enjoy this virtual adventure into the depth of my soul and heart.