My brother has recently moved to Geneva for work so last month we went for a long weekend before the Christmas madness starts.
I’d never been to Switzerland before but so many people I spoke to before we left seemed to know people who had lived there and really enjoyed it, despite it being notoriously expensive.
I don’t think it’s too rude to say that Geneva is not packed with cultural sites and attractions, so we spent quite a lot of time walking, eating and drinking.
It was my brother’s birthday the night we arrived and no other option could even be considered apart from fondue.
He booked Brasserie Des Halles De L’Ile which was a lovely place across a bridge in the middle of the River Rhone. It was a great, buzzing restaurant with a live jazz band and really friendly service.
Matt and I shared a steak tartare as a starter which was lovely but really only an aperitif before the star of the show.
Fondue can come in many varieties; with salami or another meat, cornichons, potatoes etc but we just went for the straight cheese and bread option.
It was a HUGE pot of boiling running Gruyere which we spent over an hour dipping the semi-stale bread into. When we got closer to the bottom we were tantalised by the formation of a cheesy crust on the bottom of the pan.
The waitress then came over with a special ‘crust removing’ tool and a raw egg. As she chipped away at the cheese she poured in the egg which then gradually cooked.
It was amazing – the burnt bits tasted amazing and it just made the meal feel even more decadent and ok, very unhealthy but we were on holiday!
The next day we did a lot of walking around the beautiful park and old town and stumbled across a fantastic bistro/cafe which we ended up going to twice.
It was a small, narrow place, crammed full of tables and one waitress running around madly but very efficiently.
Cafe Du Bourg De Four was apparently known for its rostis which we saw many people enjoying around us. I’d never had a rosti before – it’s basically a big hash brown which is served with egg, ham, or sausage on the top.
It seemed like the perfect choice for a cold Geneva day. The boys all ordered the rosti with a Schublig on the top, which is a traditional smoked Swiss sausage, while I went for one with the ham and fried eggs.
The potato and onion were grated so finely that the rosti just fell apart and felt so light, despite it being so huge that it barely fit on the plate.
I was almost defeated by mine but my Dad and Matt enjoyed theirs so much that two days later we went back for round two!
Switzerland is obviously known for its chocolate so we made sure we sampled some every day and it was hard to ignore the dozens of shops selling beautiful cocoa-creations.
We made sure we stocked up on plenty to bring home for friends and family – although I’m pretty sure I’ve eaten most of it myself.
Geneva is a great place to visit for the weekend with a lovely French cafe culture, the beautiful lake and friendly people.
Plus some harmless window shopping in the dozens of beautiful jewellery and watch shops is a must!
I would also recommend a day trip to Lausanne and the Olympic museum. The lakefront here is stunning with lots of boats and birds and cute little restaurants and cafes to dip in and out of.
In the old town we found a lovely little Christmas market where we indulged in some vin chaud and oysters.
The price of everything in Geneva can be prohibitive but with cheap flights and Airbnb options, I think it is still worth a visit for a weekend on its own or before an Alpine adventure.