The days are getting shorter and the temperature is falling. It is hard for the citizens of Lausanne to forget the joys of summer: summer bathing in Lake Geneva and aperitifs on sun-kissed terraces. Fortunately, autumn serves up further delights with delights of the plate and the fondue dish to the fore.
All the Swiss will tell you: “autumn is hunting season.” To that end, we find ourselves in a classic Lausanne restaurant: the Pinte Besson with its traditional menu.
Barely have we entered this bistro with the look of a cellar used for social gatherings than our senses are awakened: the scent of fondue mingles with that of game and accompanying dishes – and, yes, the preparation of game is a precise art:
Spaetzle, Brussels sprouts, red cabbage, candied chestnuts, stewed fruit (apples, pears) and jam (to spread on the fruit, of course!). When it comes to meat, there is some to suit every taste. Venison stew, filet mignon of wild boar or rack of venison. Then, to wash it all down, a good red wine such as Gamaret Vaudois.
The verdict? It is delicious!
Where can you eat game in Lausanne?
In the autumn, game pops up on the seasonal menus of many Lausanne restaurants. The one that you really must try? The game at La Croix d’Ouchy.
Of course, you do not have to eat meat in autumn: there is Brisolée, for example. This strange name conceals a very simple recipe: chestnuts cooked and served with Alpine cheese. It is also possible to try all this with a little dried meat. As well as being a dish, Brisolée is also a festival, one that is mainly celebrated in Valais.
As a potted history, the dish was created with the tradition of the grape harvest. It is an inter-seasonal dish that blends fresh produce (grapes and chestnuts) with “old” produce (cheese, dried meat and wine).
Where can you eat Brisolée?
Many groups and a few restaurants organise brisolée parties during months of October and November. Note also that local wine-growers regularly stage such events in their cellars.
Meanwhile, for those who love warm cheese, there is fondue. Once the autumn (and the cold weather) arrive, the citizens of Lausanne rush out to enjoy a good fondue.
You should also know that, for the Swiss, REAL fondue is half-and-half Gruyère and Vacherin cheese. Even if there are many varieties (with tomatoes, mushrooms, 100% Vacherin or goat’s cheese), half-and-half is to the fondue what Federer is to tennis: the undisputed benchmark. Try some (nicely chilled) white wine to accompany it, of course.
Fondue is on the menu of most restaurants in Lausanne. For example, the Café des Avenues organises fondue nights every Sunday evening from September through to April.
The result is very creamy and light for a dish whose basic ingredients do not necessarily meet that description. So, it is to be consumed without too much moderation.
Where can you eat fondue in Lausanne?
The La Riviera in Ouchy to enjoy its proximity to the lake, the Evêché for its view of the cathedral and for the range of fondues on offer, or how about Café Romand as one of the city’s flagship bistros.
Even if you already knew all there is to know about fondue, at least you will be able to boast that you know the origins of the Brisolée. Above all, you will know how to fill your belly so as to cope with the autumnal temperatures.