• Alzheimer's Association

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Bastien and Sandra at Plainpalais market on Fridays

When and why did you start The Brown_e?

I started thinking about The Brown_e in 2018. I have always liked baking and, of course, eating homemade desserts. In March last year I realized I could not find what I was looking for when I wanted something sweet and fudgy so I created the concept I would have liked to find myself.

I started The Brown_e website months later and in February 2019 I started at Plainpalais Market. At the end of September 2019 I got a place at the Marché du Leman on Sundays.

What is behind the name?

Finding the brownie recipe I was dreaming of is one of the reasons why I started this project and I wanted it to be the name. As I started as e-commerce only, I wanted to add
the underscore and replace the « i ». The « e » represents the environment. We encourage our customers to reuse our packaging and our paper bags or bring their own
containers. We do not use plastic and ingredients are locally sourced. We do not own a car, and all our orders are delivered by public transport or by bike. One of our long-term
goals is to have a carbon neutral The Brown_e shop.

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As much as we love a pain au chocolat with a juice in the morning or an eclair with un café in the afternoon, we all like to reminisce about foods from our homeland. Upon hearing about Venus and Rose in St-Triphon, near Ollon, we immediately got in touch with owner Michelle Cerusini. Michelle explained to knowitall.ch that she is South African but grew up in very colonial Zimbabwe, where her love for a proper cuppa began. We asked her a few questions so read on and bon appétit!

When and why did you open Venus et Rose English Tearoom?

Venus et Rose opened in June 2017. My work contract ended a few years earlier, I wanted to do something close to home so I could spend more time with my teenagers and didn’t want to go back to 100% IT jobs. The La Jardinerie de St-Triphon Garden Center is close to home and I had always bought my plants and other lovely things there so I approached them about the tearoom, to introduce the concept of having a place to eat/drink in a garden center, something which is common in the UK and South Africa. It took almost 4 years of changing owners of the garden center, business planning, and permissions to finally open Venus and Rose.

What is behind the name?
My formidable, legendary great Aunt was called Venus, and my daughter’s second name is now Venus. Rose is to recall our location, the garden center and flowers, and it works in both English and French.

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If you want to keep the sunshine of summer fresh in your memory, then why not try some refreshing paletas? Read on to find out what they are! Arnaud Golay and Benoît Bryand are offering a voucher for some frozen Paleta Loca popsicles to one lucky reader, read below! Here is the interview with Paleta Loca.

Can you explain your company name?
We chose Paleta Loca because paleta is the typical popsicle from Mexico. We discovered it in Mexico and wanted to develop it in Switzerland. Paleta keeps the origin of the product, and the way we produce it as well, as we produce exactly the same way as they do in Mexico. Then, we wanted to add a word that everyone can understand, and that represent who we are and what we want to do. We wanted something fun, that we could easily use to promote the product. Finally, we wanted a name that can easily stay in mind, people don't forget: Loca = crazy in Spanish.

When did you start?
We went to Mexico in January 2016 to learn with paleteros how to produce paletas, then we bought a machine from Mexico and we started the production in Switzerland in May 2016. At this time we were both still students at the Ecole Hotelière de Lausanne (EHL) and worked on it full time during our summer holidays.

Why popcicles? What is your background?
We started this project for different reasons.
Arnaud explains: First, I discovered paletas travelling in Mexico and found it good, cool and with many positive points for the Swiss market (100% natural, low sugar, no additives, real taste of the fruit, low calories, no intolerances...) so I thought it could work in Switzerland during summer. I was 18 and had no idea how to start a business.
Then I attended EHL, and during my last year I felt I was ready to start. I ask my best friend Benoît to join as it would be more fun to do together.
Finally, it was the perfect business to start as a student, as we had a very small budget. We invested Fr. 5'000.- each to buy a machine, some sticks and some packaging, and we started to sell paletas. Then the company grew. No profit was made at the beginning.

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Les Pierogi Restaurant Geneva. Photo credit: Instagram @MichalGrupa

Have you ever eaten a pierogi? This Polish dumpling is the vessel to carry a variety of meats, vegetables, or cheeses! Every country has a version it seems: The Italians have ravioli, the Indians have samosas, the Spanish have empanadas, the Portuguese have papas rellena, the Brazilians have coxinha, the Germans have Knödel, the Chinese have wontons, and the Greek have Koulakli Manti. I could go on and on with a list but my mouth is watering thinking about all these delicious stuffed dumplings!

In broad terms, dumplings consist of dough wrapped around a filling or just made one dimensional with plain dough. The dough is usually made from bread, flour, or potatoes, and can be filled with meat, fish, cheese, vegetables, fruits, or sweets. Dumplings can be baked, boiled, fried, or steamed. Don't get them mixed up when the exterior is made of rice or meat and stuffed with a contrasting food, as this is not classified as a dumpling (refering to the Italian arancini di riso or the Turkish kibbeh).

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Make sure to read on to see how you can win a copy of the book.

There must be something in the water, or wine, as there seems to be a prolific amount of English-language books being released at the moment in Switzerland! After Hester Macdonald's latest release, Gardens Schweiz/Suisse/Switzerland, Bergli books had indeed another one on the burner, as we say.

With the upcoming "Caves Ouvertes" — 25 May in Geneva and 8-9 June in Vaud — the timing is perfect! How lucky we are to live in such a beautiful area, full of history, amazing views, great food, and delectable local wines!

Sue Style has lived in Switzerland for many years before moving across the border to Alsace and has always been interested in the (many) good things to eat and drink from all around the country - as seen in her book A Taste of Switzerland, where each chapter is devoted to some delicious speciality, including wine. The book was continuously in print from the early 90s until just a couple of years ago. Together with Richard Harvell of Bergli, they considered revisiting the subject, always with a focus on gastronomy, but in the end decided that a completely new book with an exclusive focus on wine would bring something fresh to the market. And this is how The Landscape of Swiss Wine was born boasting some 50 cellars and stunning photos.

Sue recounts, "Over the years on my travels around Switzerland I had visited many cellars and tasted many wines, both professionally (I have served regularly on the jury of the final tasting of the Grand Prix Du Vin Suisse and written articles for e.g. Decanter, the British wine magazine) and for my own pleasure, so I had plenty of material to work with - the difficult part was to narrow it down to what is in the end a very personal selection of just 50 of my favourite wineries and winegrowers, each of whom has a story to tell. They're dotted all around the country in a sort of clockwise tour, starting in the Valais, all along the Rhone and up to Lake Geneva, then Lake Neuchatel, Bielersee and Murtensee, followed by selected growers in the large sprawling German-speaking region and ending up in Ticino."