The Lake Geneva region has a worldwide reputation for being a gourmet hotspot, with a combined 1314 Michelin stars and 96 Gault Millau chef's hats. Thanks to the deeply rooted tradition in hospitality, the Lavaux area and Vevey in particular feature many prestigious restaurants.
Included are two restaurants at the Grand Hôtel du Lac in Vevey. The renowned hotel is part of the Relais & Châteaux label.
These unique hotels and restaurants all around the world come with a quality seal of their own. Since all members are handpicked, guests can expect the highest level of service and the most exquisite dining experiences.
On this mild October night, we are greeted by the hotel's concierge as we enter the Grand Hôtel du Lac. The majestic lobby features lots of marble, an explosion of freshly cut flowers, and a mystical oriental lounge. The nearby hotel bar is bustling with live piano music as we progress to the restaurants.
The hotel's highly acclaimed Les Saisons restaurant is rated with one star in the Michelin Guide 2014. Chef Thomas Neeser and his talented team are proud to using ingredients from local gardens, lakes, fields and forests.
Outside the kitchen with 16 Gault Millau chef’s hats and one Michelin star, hungry guests in elegant dresses meet up for a gourmet night at Les Saisons. We are here to meet its more casual sister restaurant, La Véranda.
In order to make its world class gourmet kitchen available to more of their guests, La Véranda was established. The hotel's General Manager, Mr. Luc Califano, describes La Véranda as a modern brasserie.
The atmosphere is inviting and the staff is approachable. After a while, we realize that La Véranda is more casual than we imagined and so we start chatting with the couple next to us. (They are locals, which is nice to see.)
Inside this gourmet temple, our table is waiting for us:
The host's wine recommendations are solid: Excellent whites and reds from the La Côte and Lavaux regions are carefully selected for each course. We start with a local white, Arôme blanc from Daniel Dufaux of Chernex, Montreux. Thanks to the rich soil of the region, Arôme blanc is very crisp, with a pleasant mineral finesse. What a way to enjoy a local taste!
Amuse-Bouche of White Tuna
Duck Foie Gras Terrine and Rabbit Rillette, Confit Ceps, Celery and Walnut Ravioli
This tranche of fois gras and lapin is wrapped with a fine band of celery jelly. At the initial bite of the soft mushroom, something unexpected happens: A pleasant yet ever so slight hint of lavender appears.
Confit Salmon with Olive Oil, Spinach Cream, Risotto with Pumpkin Fritter and Mascarpone White Truffle from Alba Emulsion
Fawn Rib Steak Medallion with a Cranberry Crust and Sichuan Pepper; Colrave with Parsley and Berny Potatoes
For the most tender fawn rib steak, a glass of Cave St. Mathieu Valais Humagne Rouge (2013) is offered. Bingo! The fruity blackberry aroma goes hand in hand with the cranberry crust. An amazing combination, enhancing the wilderness of the fawn...
Chapeau to the chef - and to the sommelier!
Madeleine Biscuit with Chestnut Brightness, Blond Chocolate Mousse and Pear Sorbet with Elder Flower Liquor
The sheer complexity of this dessert menu really hits us when the process of making blonde chocolate is explained to us: White chocolate is left in a water bath for up to ten hours, at which point it turns blond and takes on a taste of caramelized milk and biscuit!
Thus, combined with a madeleine biscuit, the blonde chocolate mousse feels right at home and unfolds an intense experience for our taste buds.
Variety of Miniature Desserts
The presentation is targeting our various senses: A feast for the eyes as well as remarkably refined aromas and textures for the taste buds. Chef Thomas Neeser's Menu d'Automne has surely left a lasting impression on us.
What will the next season bring? We can only imagine...