Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Amuse-Your-Bouche | Mouthwatering Pre and Post Hike Recommendations



Many of our guests travel before and after their hiking tours and they ask us for recommendations on things to do, places to stay, and good food to eat. In response to those requests, we’re starting a new series of blog posts called “Amuse-Your-Bouche.”

Amuse-Your-Bouche is a play on the French term Amuse-Bouche that, literally translated, means to entertain, or amuse, the mouth. In the culinary world, an amuse-bouche is a sort of appetizer served at the chef’s discretion. The portions are usually small, but intensly flavored, and, in the words of celebrity chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten “they’re the best way for a great chef to express his big ideas in small bites.”

In the spirit of haute expression, our pre/post trip recommendations showcase the very best that a region, village, hotel, restaurant or wine cellar has to offer. We won’t limit our Amuse-Your-Bouche posts to food, though delicious food is an important part of virtually every pre or post trip excursion. We’ll also include day hikes, tourist attractions, festivals and more.

For our first Amuse-Your-Bouche post, the spotlight falls on the La Brasserie du Grand Chêne in Lausanne, Switzerland.


An elegant, Parisian style brasserie, the Grand Chêne celebrates the art of traditional French-inspired cookery served in a refined, yet comfortable, setting.

Walk through the wood and glass doors, or enter from the adjacent Lausanne Palace Hotel, and you’ll feel as though you’ve been transported to La Belle Epoche, an era of fashionable Paris cafes at the turn of the 20th Century. Tall mirrors, and shiny brass knobs exude brilliance. The waitstaff stand up tall and straight, with crisp white shirts and black ties. The air carries an aroma of lovingly prepared stocks, aromatic sauces and seared vegetables.

The managers of La Brasserie du Grand Chêne go to great lengths to uphold the feel and tradition of the original brasseries, and they do so in a way that is decidely Swiss. The décor is fresh, the clientele young and diverse, and the food is delicious.

Have a look at the carte, and you’ll find a dish for almost every taste, from Vichyssoise and moules frites, to chicken curry and ravioli with sage butter. The fare is simple, but well prepared, and as appetizing for budget-minded locals as for the well-moneyed gourmands of the jet set crowd.

I’ve had a number of the salads, but my favorite meal is the grilled fillet of beef with peppercorn sauce and pommes frites. All the dishes are delicious. The brasserie takes particular pride in their fish, which I haven’t tried, but which friends assure me, is delectable as well.

For dessert: Try the mousse au chocolat. It’s mouthwatering.

If you’re looking for a fun, relaxed restaurant that harkens back to the glory days of joie de vivre, art, and French cuisine, then look no further than La Brasserie Du Grand Chêne in Lausanne. Just 50 minutes by train from the Geneva Airport, the brasserie makes a great stop for lunch, dinner or an apéritif. Go ahead, Amuse Your Bouche!

Price: 12-50 Euro



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