The stature of the legendary Pavé Stettler chocolate is enthusiastically impressed upon me inside minutes of touchdown in Geneva. “This metropolis is filled with chocolatiers claiming the Pavé as their very own, however Stettler did it first,” my new acquaintance whispers fervently upon studying of my candy mission.
These small cubes of chocolate – actually translated as “the cobblestone” – are dusted with probably the most refined cocoa powder to create an unforgettably decadent flavour bomb. Stored in refrigerated circumstances designed to retain its form, Stettler & Castrischer’s flagship confection melts within the mouth and makes collective eyes roll to the heavens. In terms of chocolate, it’s removed from my first rodeo, however this exquisitely fudgey creation has continued to torment me because it first handed my lips.
“Chocolate is each an business and a sensation.” So stated a clever man – American economist Herman A. Berliner, to be precise – and nowhere is that this more true than in Switzerland. Whereas the delectable deal with has its origins in historical Mexico, the revered meals stuff is now as synonymous with this central European nation as luxurious timepieces and fondue. The Swiss product that we all know and love right this moment has its roots way back to the seventeenth century, with the nation’s Alpine cows producing the creamiest milk for its chocolate.
Now, Geneva Tourism has developed a brand new “Choco Go”, enabling guests to pattern a few of the greatest chocolate from its most revered chocolatiers. It’s legitimate for a 24-hour interval solely – so I pull on my loosest becoming trousers and get to work.
The primary cease is Favarger. Based in Geneva in 1826, the corporate is without doubt one of the metropolis’s longest-established chocolate factories. Our tasting plate is predictably mouth-watering, but it surely’s their signature Avelines which actually hit the spot. Created in 1922, this delicate brick combines milk and darkish chocolate with praline, almonds and Madagascan vanilla.
Subsequent up is Du Rhône Chocolatier. Jostling for elbow house with locals sourcing their candy treats for the weekend, we’re introduced with a choice of completely pleasant pralines and truffles on this boutique retailer.
Confining one’s chocolate ardour to the mere stable kind is for amateurs. Happily, La Bonbonnière Chocolaterie et Chocolate Bar takes our infatuation to the following stage. In addition to producing a blinding array of candies, this 101-year-old establishment additionally boasts a menu that includes greater than 30 completely different scorching candies, one in every of which is included with our chocolate tasting plate.
Our dedication to the cocoa bean is starting to waver barely, however fortuitously all the taking part shops will be present in straightforward strolling distance from each other. Larger minds than ours could select to stagger their chocolate feast over two days, however we’re on a decent schedule and uncover that almost all retailers in Geneva are shut on a Sunday. We press on.
Zeller’s states that its most important goal is “to fulfill your candy tooth”. I’m blissful to report that this diminutive outlet understood the project. Established in 1959, Zeller serves up a choice of treats together with a milk-chocolate Florentine, chocolate almonds, a candied-orange confection and a scrumptious shell-shaped speciality studded with nougat and crammed with mousse. Divine.
Our final cease at Stettler & Castrischer is a frankly magnificent conclusion to our saccharine banquet. However, at this stage, our inevitable sugar crash is looming.
Satiated, we wobble alongside the Promenade du Lac to take a look at the Geneva Water Fountain, a landmark water jet on the lake, and ponder our gluttonous existence. We proceed in a northeasterly course across the lake, which is populated by a profusion of crusing vessels, giant and small. Sandy “seashores” are crammed with all ages having fun with the clement climate. Neglect preventing off the advances of hungry seagulls – right here you’ll be sharing precise beach-space with the flock of swans who’ve made the lake their dwelling.
Our salubrious stroll continues in Parc de La Grange, the place we admire the rose and alpine gardens, 18th-century villa and gaze on the view of the mountains surrounding this worldwide metropolis. Within the distance, town’s imposing Cathédrale Saint-Pierre will be seen within the coronary heart of the Previous City, whose neoclassical facade belies its austere inside.
Waistbands straining, we put them to the check as soon as extra by ending up with a plate of risotto at Restaurant de la Plage, housed in an ethereal, up to date glass construction fashionable with the locals that gives great views over the lake, earlier than taking a dip within the designated swimming spot adjoining and sleeping all of it off on the seashore. Our work right here is finished.
Attempting to fly much less?
Geneva is definitely accessible from the UK by practice: journey from London to Paris on the Eurostar, earlier than catching the TGV-Lyria high-speed practice from Paris’s Gare de Lyon.
Wonderful with flying?
British Airways, Swiss and easyJet all fly direct from the UK to Geneva.
The Geneva Choco Go prices 30 CHF (£25) for adults or 6 CHF (£5) for youngsters.