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Dinner on a 100-year-old steamship on Lake Geneva by one of Switzerland's most famous chefs - complete with my behind-the-scenes visit of the kitchens.
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Filet de veau de Simmental poêlé à la sauge Légumes du marché à l'huile d'olive, frite de polenta

Meanwhile our boat calls at Yvoire in France for a few minutes.

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Unless you unboard, no custom official comes to bother you during dinner.

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Back in the kitchen where the chef is busy plating the dessert while exchanging jokes with his staff. Very cool under the pressure indeed, as he is working directly below the air conditioner. The year we started these gastronomic cruises there was no air conditionning in the kitchen. The temperature reached 56°C / 132°F one day - that made the ice creams start to melt before they even touch the plate, the chef explained.

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The desserts are carried up by one of the athletic waiters, ...

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... then a second round comes with the post-desserts madeleine, marshmallow and the love child of a christmas tree ball and a lollipop, the only thing I didn't like in the whole meal.

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Time to see the captain. Mr Leuenberger, the young boatsman kindly escorts me across the slippery deck to the narrow ladder leading up to the command center.

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Meet Monsieur Beauval, the captain, only master after Bacchus on this boat.

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You can see the machine room from above, a very impressive machine kept well-oiled by two grease monkeys to make sure the huge paddle wheels continue to turn. My pictures do not convey the feeling of massive power in front of this hundred year old machine, but have a look at the Machine Room Panorama.

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As much as food, this trip is above the view, the breeze and the feeling of quietness you get while sitting on the upper deck, looking at the water unfold behind you.

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As we draw near to Coppet, ...

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... we see a surprising number of people waiting for the boat at this nightly hour (9PM). A bunch of kids starts to yell School is out, school is out!. Before the crew can protest, they jump into the water ...

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... and swim to the back of the boat. What is going on?

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As the boat starts heading off towards Geneva, the kids are nowhere to be seen ...

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... until they pop up, one by one, into the water. Sounds like a dangerous game to grab the back of a giant boat and let it drag you through the water, and the CGN is not really happy about it, but the paddlewheels are some 50 meters up the boat. Boys will be boys.

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No welcoming comittee at the next stop - Versoix. I have a chat with some foreign tourists on the deck - you meet all sorts of people in Geneva in the summer, mostly of the millionaire persuasion and often from very sunny countries. They just like the idea of this gigantic pool of fresh water and haven political stability. For them, a stay in Geneva in the summer is like a refreshing stop in an oasis halfway through the year.

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All is quiet as we sail back into the Geneva rade after another perfect day.

 

Lake Geneva Boat Fine Dining by Philippe Chevrier and the CGN
www.savoie-philippe-chevrier.ch
Lunch and dinner, leaving every day from Geneva around 12h00 and 18h40 (call 0848 811 848 in advance to book and verify the schedule)
You don't need to take a boat to dine at Philippe Chevrier's, nor do you need to dine to enjoy a Compagnie Générale de Navigation boat ride on Lake Geneva.


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27 Comments

A fantastic post, great shots, 10 out of 10! I love paddle steamers, I was on one on lake Lucerne. Next time when I come to Geneva I know waht to do! My daughter likes fx cuisine too.
  • #2
  • Comment by Octavian
What beautiful scenery! The food looks fantastic as well.
  • #3
  • Comment by Helena
like the dancing around salamander shot.

Great plating.

I was wondering though, are all these courses for a single meal? Sure hope so, because the portions on each plate don't look very hearthy.

Or are these pictures of all the different things people on the boat ordered?

I'm assuming the steamer is not serving one or two set types of meal like they do on most airlines.
  • #4
  • Comment by trish
This was a wonderful story and the pictures are fantastic!

Thanks,

Trish
Omaha, NE, USA
These pictures are incredible.  Thanks for allowing me to escape and travel to Lake Geneva for the last 15 minutes!    
  • #6
  • Comment by Stephani
FX, I love all of your articles and I was just telling my boyfriend that I check your site every Saturday, religiously!

I wanted to tell you, however, the posts where you've gone on an adventure, like this one and the one at Le Train Bleu for example, are my absolute favorites :)

Thanks for allowing a girl from Alabama to have fantastic vicarious adventures through you, every once in a while.
  • #7
  • Comment by don siranni
Francois, I'm finally settled here in maine,and back on line.my first stop was,of course fx.and greated with my very most favorite stuff-swissy! As always hanging on every picture.I do have an unrelated-always wanted to know but afraid to ask-question.  I'll be doing a lot of open hearth,fireplace cooking here in maine,and want to know which dutch oven open hearth preparations are better suited to the dutch oven being either suspended on the crane hook over the coals vs being pulled aside on the hearth, and covered under and over with the coals.which method,for example is better for venison stew w/ dumplings,etc.,etc.  thanks always for having patience to respond to my amaturish queries.  Don  siranni
  • #8
  • Comment by beatrice
Soooo... the american and french pilots didn't understand where the CH/FR border was??  Good Lord, didn't the Rhine give them some orientation???

Don, please see William Rubel's The Magic of Fire cookbook if you want to really know how to use the open fire for everyday cooking.
Francois!! - your pictures are BREATHTAKING! Well done!  How do you do that 360 thing??

You know, I've never thought of going to Geneva for vacation, but now, I think we need to add it to the list!
I never tried eating on a steamer dining. They have a great food and presentation here. Thanks for the share!
www.foodista.com
  • #11
  • Answered by fx
Titania, thanks for your appreciation! Those paddlewheel steamers are just gorgeous, where I live two of those cross right in front of my house every day and they honk each other with that deep steam-powered horn - just incredible.
  • #12
  • Answered by fx
Octavian, if you ever visit Switzerland you absolutely need to take one these boats, we also have them on the 4-cantons Lake near Luzern.
  • #13
  • Answered by fx
Helena, they actually have a whole à la carte menu to choose from, so no, all these dishes did not go to the same table. But really with 3+2 courses you don't exit the boat feeling all that light!
  • #14
  • Answered by fx
Trish, thanks for visiting!
  • #15
  • Answered by fx
LC Neill, thanks for your comment! I also have even better pictures of a hot air balloon ride I made over the Alps, but no food alas, so I could not include it here on FXcuisine.com
  • #16
  • Answered by fx
Stephani, thanks for your kind words! I am relieved to hear that you like the 'Adventure' articles as many times I hesitated to post them by fear that all people came to FXcuisine.com for was to drool in front of food. I have one more  Paris adventure to come in the future.
  • #17
  • Answered by fx
Don, thanks for checking back! I'd love to hear about your open hearth cookery, this is one of my passion but I rarely get to do it. There are so many things you can cook in ashes or Dutch ovens. Make sure you have the book The Magic of Fire, it's the best on this topic in English. Have fun!
  • #18
  • Answered by fx
Trice, I think they understood only too well where the border was and wanted to send the Swiss a Sicilian message meaning "If you don't stop selling guns to the Krauts you will sleep with the fish".
  • #19
  • Answered by fx
Traci, thanks for your praise! The 360 panorama are done with some seriously heavy equipment, a tripod, a couple softwares and much time. I just published seven more today in an article about a Cheddar dairy in Devon, they are of a better quality probably!
  • #20
  • Comment by chris
Great photos thanks FX. I was hoping you'd mention versoix but I got better than that! a photo. I lived in versoix while I was doing my training (stage) in a hotel in geneva many years ago. it was the last house on that row in the photo. amazing. Thanks masses for taking me back there for a bit. Lovely site.
  • #21
  • Answered by fx
Chris, thanks for your comment and I hope you get to visit Lake Geneva once again, a ride on memory pier!
  • #22
  • Comment by TZ
Francois,

Love the pictures, love the romatic story even more.  My husband and I recently enjoyed dinner on another CGN steamer from Morges to Yvoire return catered by the Beau Rivage.  It was so relaxing, romantic, delicious and beautiful!

We often take the lake boats from Ouchy to Chateau Chillon with visitors, complete with a stuffed picnic basket catered by me : ).  So lovely to see the vineyards of the Lavaux from the water.
  • #23
  • Answered by fx
TZ, thanks for your email! Yes indeed the other gastrocruise is catered by the Beau Rivage, I have to try this one day. I just passed the Montreux on the road today, I nearly drove off the road so stunning was the scene. I mean a bloody James Bond movie scene would not be more striking. These boats are like floating postcards!
  • #24
  • Comment by Guy Zebert
Wow! what memories. In 1943 I was growing up in Pully, a small village between Lausanne and Montreux and as kids we love the "Savoie" ship because for some reason it made the biggest waves.I also was one of the kids in the water as the ship docked encouraging tourists to drop coins in the water for us to retrieve.I am now a retired architect living in Long Beach, California. Thanks for a great article.   
  • #25
  • Answered by fx
Guy, thanks for visiting, I actually lived in Pully. Amazing to see that these ships saw you from young boy to retiree! They are floating pieces of history really.
  • #26
  • Comment by heidi narjis
I too join the ranks in love with your work here.
I come from Basel but have lived in San Antonio Texas for the last 25 years, the journeys into memories, hearts and stomachs of Switzerland are nourishing indeed.
My parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with all the family on the 'Leu' in Basel on the Rhine, floating rather one way, then motoring back from one dam to the other with of Germany, France and Switzerland alternating on the river sides.
We had a breakfast on board that was very delicious and fine.
And loads of fun!
  • FX's answer→ Thanks Heidi, glad this brought you back pleasant memories!


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