Gstaad Palace The Journal - Issue 2019-20

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THE JOURNAL ISSUE 9, 2019/20 — CHF 12, EUR 12

Breguet La Marine Chronograph 5527

B R E G U E T B O U T I Q U E S – B A H N H O F S T R A S S E 1 G S TA A D + 4 1 3 3 7 4 4 3 0 8 8 – B A H N H O F S T R A S S E 3 1 Z U R I C H + 4 1 4 4 2 15 11 8 8 4 0 , R U E D U R H Ô N E G E N E V A + 4 1 2 2 3 1 7 4 9 2 0 – W W W. B R E G U E T. C O M

Cover: Our florist Christine Stalder in 3D, staged and photographed by Yannick Andrea. IMPRINT THE JOURNAL Issue 9, 2019/20 ― PUBLISHER Gstaad Palace, ― CONCEPT & EDITING Andrea Scherz, Reto Wilhelm (rw), Panta Rhei PR Zurich ASSISTANT Barbara Kernen ― GUEST CONTRIBUTIONS Taki Theodoracopulos, Luzia Schoeck (ls) ― DESIGN & LAYOUT Sonja Studer Grafik AG, Zurich ― PHOTOGRAPHY Yannick Andrea; Gstaad Palace archive; Pilatus Flugzeugwerke, p. 34/35 and 43; Yannick Andrea/Orell Füssli Verlag, p. 52 to 57; Fondation Le Petit Coeur, p. 58; Boghossian, Thinkstock, p. 65; p. 66/67; Gerrard Gethings,, p. 68 to 77; Realtrue, p. 78 to 81; ArtGenève, p. 86/87; Thinkstock, p. 92/93; Liechtenstein Marketing, Sven Beham, Roland Korner, Paul Trummer, p. 94 to 97; Elounda Beach Resort, p. 98 to 101; Illustrations Gstaad Palace/Charles Blunier, S. 102 to 105; Molton Brown, p. 106/107; ― ENDNOTE ILLUSTRATION Oliver Preston ― PROOFREADING Esther Hürlimann ― TRANSLATION Astrid Freuler ― PRINTING Kromer Print, printed on Planojet paper, white, offset, FSC© ― PRINT RUN 6500 copies ― NOMINAL PRICE CHF 12, EUR 12


This magazine is made possible by the substantial support of our partners. Together we award the most beautiful elements of our region the space they deserve. United in our commitment, we champion the Saanenland.

Hidden gems, personal insights, aspects and prospects, we celebrate them with passion and absolute perfection ― for stories with real substance.

Andrea Scherz

Look again – the Palace family has never been seen quite like this before. Playing with scale, we offer a glance at our staff and what they get up to, in public and behind the scenes. Chuckle at our head chef stuck in the soup pan, the maître of the Lobby Bar enjoying a dip in the mixer glass, and the vice director checking in with our general manager. Weʼve created a real virtual world, in 3D and in the original settings – staged and photographed by JOURNAL photographer Yannick Andrea.


3D Double take on the Palace Family CARS Controlled skidding at Gstaad Airport LOBBY BAR Espresso Martini ― the energy bomb REPORTAGE A birdʼs eye view of Gstaad SWISS MADE Bright star in the sky ― the PC-24 by Pilatus RECIPE Franz W. Faeh and his solar oven CRAFTS A visit to Brienz Wood Carving School INTERVIEW Open heart surgery: Professor René Prêtre FOREVER YOUNG New look for the Fromagerie GAME Hounds and their humans OUTDOOR Quietly, quietly through the snow CLASSICAL MUSIC Renaud Capuçon at the Sommets Musicaux TAKI TALK The mystery of room 606 ABROAD 300 years Principality of Liechtenstein LES NOUVELLES DE GSTAAD In-house, local news, shopping, suggestions

04 21 27 28 34 46 52 58 65 68 88 82 92 94 102




ear friends of the Palace,

The world around us in unspoilt Gstaad is changing ― and itʼs doing so at a rapid pace. On the one hand thatʼs good, as it prevents us from getting stuck. Via TripAdvisor and the rating platforms of large online providers we hire out rooms and find out what you like, and in what regards you expect more from a host. Thus we learn something new every day. On the other hand, we are increasingly competing with the giants of the World Wide Web. and the booking engines charge us hefty commissions. Competition has always been a part of our business and thereʼs nothing wrong with that. But thereʼs another matter that does irritate me a little. While we hoteliers are continuously confronted with increasing requirements regarding occupational safety, fire protection, food waste and more, these providers, who arenʼt based in Switzerland, get off scot-free so to speak. More specifically, they arenʼt bound by the legal obligations that we Swiss hoteliers must meet! As a result, we are fighting with unequal weapons ― and that is unfair. The rules of play must apply to all. Why do the hosts that let rooms via AirBnB not have to pay visitorʼs tax? And how do these providers protect their guests from the risks of fire or natural hazards? It doesnʼt add up. And this is where I ― an advocate of the unrestricted free market ― for once would welcome a clear interjection from politics. In any case, these are certainly exciting times ... We also have some entirely different kinds of excitement in store for you. Allow us to guide you across the black ice at Gstaad Airport, where the Gstaad Automobile Club carries out regular driver training events ― for greater safety on slippery surfaces. Another sector where zero fault tolerance applies is aviation ― Swiss made. Join us for an exclusive visit behind the scenes at Pilatus Aircraft in Central Switzerland, where the latest business jet PC-24 is taking shape. Extreme accuracy is also required when Professor René Prêtre carries out an open heart operation. The senior consultant and paediatrician at Lausanne University Hospital CHUV tells us in our rendezvous how relaxing in the mountains gives him new energy for his high-precision work.

Andrea Scherz loves barbecuing, be it sausage or steak. Here we’ve caught him beside the open fire in the Lobby Bar — though his favourite barbecuing spot is at home, on his terrace at Chalet Bärglimatt.

Welcome to Gstaad and to 7th holiday heaven! Andrea Scherz




3D 4

Master of the turntable — DJ Jim Leblanc stirs it up at the GreenGo.



Say it with flowers — florist Christine Stalder scales her own arrangement for once.


Your room number? Oh dear! Concierge Stefano Bertalli is in a bit of a pickle right now.


Always lavishly well-groomed. Spa manager Estelle Gomes knows the secret to everlasting youth.


”Time for a well-deserved drink.“ Mario Guzzetti, Maître de Lobby Bar, afloat in one of his creations.



Command or Control? Or both? Barbara Kernen, right-hand woman of General Manager Andrea Scherz, knows exactly what her weapons are.


”Boss — I urgently need your advice!“ Vice Director Vittorio Di Carlo and General Manager Andrea Scherz, thick as thieves.


”I just hope nothing gets burnt …“ Culinary Director Franz W. Faeh in extremis.


The bed is made! Up on the 3rd floor, chambermaid Ana Gabriela PĂŠrez Henriquez tackles countless tasks every day.


Among friends ‌ Head Sommelier Andrea Maffei puts his feet up in the wine cellar.







arolin Bartel likes to rely on her gut feeling, which has served her well as HR manager at the Palace. She recruits around 300 staff per year, 73 of which are hired for full time positions. Originally from Hamburg, she attended the hotel management school in Montreux and immediately fell in love with Switzerland. Her work has taken her far and wide, but today sheʼs travelling privately. Sheʼs heading to the Auberge du Raisin in Cully, a village of the Lavaux region, nestled on the shores of Lake Geneva. She didnʼt discover this gem by chance. As a 5-star hotel, the Auberge du Raisin is known among its kind. For the past four years, the bijoux establishment has been under the management of Jean-Jacques Gauer. He was previously general manager of the Lausanne Palace for many years: “Iʼve down-sized, so to speak, which has enabled me to fully pursue my passions.” Together with head chef Julien Ostertag, the Gauer family welcomes guests to their atmospheric brasserie ― and in this case the word atmospheric can be taken quite literally. Suspended in the blazing heat of the enormous open fire hangs a line of spring chickens. Le maître bastes them with a delicate herb and oil marinade every ten minutes, causing them to sizzle and spit, and sending a divine aroma across the room. Carolin Bartel doesnʼt have to think long about her choice of main. For starters, Monsieur Gauer recommends Coquilles Saint-Jacques with truffles and champagne, served on kohlrabi spaghetti. Alternatively, the choices also include marinated salmon on blinis and caviar, or a carpaccio of Féra, a native whitefish from Lake Geneva. Any questions? The starter is served with a superb Chasselas from the village vineyards. Interestingly, the village also owns the Auberge du Raisin. It has done for 60 years now and the building is non-sellable. The red wine that accompanies the main is also local ― a grande cuvée by Louis Bovard of Dézaley Rouge, Merlot and Syrah. Our time in the Gauer familyʼs paradise flies by. We enjoy a final ristretto and some bite-sized desserts, including the best madeleine au pistache of the northern hemisphere. Then we glide back to Gstaad ― though our thoughts ― AUBERGEDURAISIN.CH are still floating on the shores of Lake Geneva. (rw)


Vier weitere gute Gründe

für den Audi e-tron:

quattro. Der rein elektrische Audi e-tron ist da.

20 audi. ch

Audi e-tron 55, 265 kW, 24,6 kWh/100 km (Benzinäquivalent: 2.7 l/100 km), 0 g CO₂/km (Durchschnitt aller erstmals immatrikulierten Personenwagen: 137 g CO₂/km), CO₂-Emissionen aus Treibstoff- und/ oder Strombereitstellung: 34 g/km, Energieeffizienzkategorie A.


ART ON ICE — IN THE CAR On an icy cold February morning, a very worldly little crowd has gathered between the landing strips of Gstaad Airport. What follows could best be described as a form of “art on ice”. It’s driver training with a difference, Gstaad Automobile Club style — on ice and snow.






ansueli Brand, club chairman and owner of the LEDI Garage in Feutersoey, is pressing home his message to the 15 participants ― in German and English, precise and to the point. ”Take a leaf out of Marcel Hirscherʼs book, who has won countless world championships in the downhill, slalom and giant slalom. He once said: ʼAny technique that hasnʼt been faultlessly repeated at least six hundred times, isnʼt properly stored in our brain.ʼ Driving on snow requires practice, just like skiing.” The group consists of seasoned drivers, many of those present even have their own racing license, but cars behave very differently on a slippery surface as opposed to a dry road. Thatʼs why todayʼs training course places great emphasis on practising tricky sequences and the appropriate responses. ”These have to become part of your muscle memory. In hairy situations, the driver doesnʼt have time to think, he has to take the right action automatically. Thatʼs the aim.” Founded in 2005, the Gstaad Automobile Club holds these events on the ice field in Saanen around four times throughout winter. Up to 25 club members generally come to the training. ”Participants have to register. We hire the field from AZ-Gstaad GmbH because itʼs ideal. Here, in the valley basin, weʼre in the Saanenlandʼs version of Siberia.” This guarantees ideal driving conditions between mid December and March each year. Everyone present, including Andrea Scherz who is here as a guest, had to arrange additional liability insurance for today — especially as theyʼve all come in their own cars. Itʼs a colourful mix of vehicles that assembled here shortly after 10 a.m. in temperatures of minus 5 degrees. The first lesson is all about steering techniques. ”This aspect is often overlooked, yet itʼs very important in critical moments.” Theyʼre under way, and already the drivers are trying to outdo each other with spins and whirls. Hansueli Brand stops them all and briefs his charges again. 2nd round, and the drivers are starting to get the hang of steering on ice. The next step is to practise braking skills. After all, braking and steering — more specifically over-steering and understeering — are very interdependent. In preparation,

the motorists are asked to guess the stopping distance on snow at a harmless 30 km/h. Not as easy as it seems. ”Under normal conditions, itʼs about 9 metres, including reaction time. On a snowcovered road, deceleration due to braking falls to around 2 to 3 metres per second.” On black ice, the stopping distance can increase up to seven-fold compared to dry conditions. In general, less powerful cars perform better on ice than those with a lot of HP, the group is told. The rule is, the sportier the suspension, the harder it is to control the vehicle under extreme weather conditions. Time for a first test. The drivers position their cars in a large oval ― the aim is to shorten the distance to the car in front, each of them is competing with the one ahead and behind. ”Good driving is all about whatʼs going on in the personʼs head, itʼs psychology. The most important differentiation is between fear and respect.” Fear is known to be paralysing and counter-productive, respect on the other hand engenders safety — and being better informed tends to encourage respect. ”The car behaves like a carving ski,” Brand explains. ”If I work neatly with weight and its displacement when skiing, I can make positive use of the effects, such as the acceleration and centrifugal forces. This makes it much easier to negotiate bends.” A car responds exactly the same when braking — a fact the participants are set to put to the test in this afternoonʼs giant slalom. Thatʼs why gentle braking is better than abrupt action. Daredevils and alpha males — itʼs mostly the men, says instructor Hansueli Brand — are at a disadvantage in this respect, women often intervene more gently and with more respect. But by the evening, after around four hours of training, everyone has a similarly good grasp of how to respond, regardless of gender. (rw) Gstaad Automobile Club: The youngest member is 16, the oldest 91. Joining the club is only possible by invitation and following recommendation. The club consists of a select group of men — a gentlemen's driving club — which has resulted in strong friendships based on a shared passion for cars and pleasure.





ome reach for a Red Bull, others try it with Coca Cola, and some make time for a power nap. But if you really need to tank up on energy for a long night, you may be better served by trying host Andrea Scherzʼs formula ― or more precisely that of bartender Michelangelo Martucci. It’s a drink by the name of Espresso Martini and it certainly packs a punch: Four parts vodka ― ideally a classic such as Absolut or Belvedere ― mixed with two parts Kahlua and an espresso, strong and smooth. This is sweetened with a little sugar syrup and a hint of dark chocolate flavouring. All ingredients are poured onto ice cubes and thoroughly combined in a shaker. The resulting emulsion is then whipped to a froth in a mixer. And there you have your energy bomb. But hang on ― the finishing touch is yet to come and requires a pair of tweezers and a steady hand. With utmost care, Michelangelo places two chocolate coated coffee beans on the expanse of alcohol and espresso. Itʼs important the two flavour carriers donʼt sink, but remain suspended on top to add a visually pleasing touch to the drink. And then the magic starts to happen. Slowly, slowly the alcohol sinks to the bottom and takes on a rich dark brown hue, while the cream-coloured froth with its coffee bean garnish gathers in the upper third of the glass.

According to the International Bartenders Association, the Espresso Martini is classed as a ’New Era Drink’ developed in the 1980’s. It is often enjoyed following lunch, or as an after-dinner cocktail before heading over to the ’GreenGo’ to dance the night away. “This type of drink is equally popular with men and women,” notes Michelangelo. Though not one of the classic Martinis, the Espresso Martini is nevertheless most commonly served in the eponymous glass. A tale originating from Fred’s Bar in London, if weʼre inclined to believe it, tells us that the drink was created in response to a somewhat risqué request from a tipsy party-goer. Apparently she asked the bar keeper for something that would “wake me up, and then fuck me up”. The ever-discreet Michelangelo Martucci simply smiles and comments: “Se non è vero, è ben trovato”. (rw)


Pour 4 cl vodka, 2 cl Kahlua (coffee liqueur) and 1 fresh espresso (warm) into a shaker filled with ice. Add a few drops of dark chocolate flavouring and 1 cl sugar syrup. Thoroughly shake all components, strain to separate from ice and whisk to a froth in a mixer. Now pour the cocktail into a chilled Martini glass, use tweezers to carefully place two or three chocolate coated coffee beans (bittersweet) on top and serve immediately.







hereʼs a queue on the mountain, but itʼs a peaceful one. Weʼre high up on a slope by Wispile and in front of us seven enormous expanses of fabric are spread out across the ground. People greet each other. Theyʼre of the same ilk, all paragliders waiting to depart. Most of them are on first-name terms. We are kindly given priority for our tandem flight. Pilot Fabrice Bielmann of ParaGstaad will be taking his nephew Loïc into the air. For the second round, heʼll be joined by his sister Chantal, who first taught him to paraglide many years ago. Fabrice Bielmann has acquired plenty of experience in navigating the skies above Gstaad since taking up up paragliding in 1993. Once heʼd gained his license, he turned pleasure into business, offering tandem flights to guests from all over the world. He now has at least 7000 flights under his belt. Everything he needs ― the paraglider and safety equipment ― is stowed in the rucksack on his back. “We currently have a lot of Arab and Indian clients who want to experience the mountains from a different perspective. A tandem flight has become one of the must-dos of when visiting the Alps,” Fabrice tells me. In summer, the most popular time for flying is in the late afternoon and before nightfall. Thatʼs when the mountain panorama presents itself from its most spectacular side ― and the thermals are ideal too. In winter you can fly throughout the day. “Thereʼs generally a better thermal lift in summer, but seeing the winter landscape all cloaked in white is an amazing experience. Even now, after years of flying, it sends shivers down my spine,” Fabrice admits. Fortunately no other shivering goes on during winter flights, thanks to thermal underwear and excellent equipment. Thermal clothing is definitely not required today. At 10 am it was already 29 degrees down in the valley. Now, on the Wispile, at 1800 metres, itʼs still a balmy 20 degrees. The paraglider is now neatly spread out on the mountain meadow, complete with around 200 strings, of which each can carry 200 kilos. Most modern paragliders are fabricated in the Far East, specifically Vietnam, where the canopy is stitched by hand in a painstaking process that takes 80 to 100 hours. Final equipment is then added in Switzerland.



Time to brief the passenger, who will be positioned in a second seat in front of Fabrice: “At the start, you have to run with me. Only for about five seconds, then weʼre in the air. When we come to land, please do exactly as I tell you, so we can touch down gently and donʼt stumble over each other.” Fabrice issues instructions, short and to the point, and then itʼs helmets on. He double-checks the harnesses, they pause, and then theyʼre off. The two are up in the air in no time at all. To the surprise of the fliers gathered here on the hill, the updraught is excellent, even for this morning flight. “Thereʼs no guarantee,” they tell me. “The thermals are here one day and elsewhere the next. We have to search for the warm air currents every day anew.” The paraglider with its two passengers climbs higher and higher in wide circles. “We get up to 10 metres lift per second,” Iʼm informed. “And on good days we can rise to an altitude of up to 4200 metres.” The paraglider drifts away, growing smaller in the steel-blue sky. Eventually it flies over the Palace, where gliders must take care to avoid the private aeroplanes that are coming in to land at Saanen airport. The pilot also has to keep an eye out for other paragliders at all times. Paragliding rules dictate that the person on the right has priority ― more specifically, the person whoʼs closer to a mountainside on the right. Many have taken to the air with Fabrice, from Gunter Sachs through to aristocrats. Heʼs also taken the offspring of famous film stars “under his wing”. Who exactly, he wonʼt say. Heʼs too discreet to tell. His oldest passenger was 90 ― a Frenchwoman who always came here to fly on her birthday ― and the youngest was just three years old. “I think I have the coolest job in the world,” he says as he prepares to take off again. This time heʼs joined by his sister, who hasnʼt flown for several years! The two siblings from Rougemont whoop in unison as they ― PARAGSTAAD.CH take to the air. (rw)


The flying “off-roader” can land on gravel, grass and snow.



THE SKY’S THE LIMIT The Pilatus PC-24 is the rising star among business jets. It’s the pride of the nation, but orders are flying in from all around the globe for this first ever Swiss-made jet plane. Over 30 PC-24s have already been delivered since February 2018, and the first machine — with series number 101 — has already clocked up 1100 flying hours. We are treated to a rare glimpse behind the scenes at the Pilatus manufacturing site in Stans.


Pilatus assembly plant in Stans, 15 minutesĘź drive from Lucerne.



The standard issue PC-24 costs 17 million dollars — everywhere in the world.



55 different nationalities work at Pilatus, including 125 apprentices learning 13 trades.



he PC-24 is the first jet aeroplane to be manufactured in Switzerland ― to enthusiastic response. The Swiss Federal Council is fully on board and took receipt of its T-786 in February 2019. On the other side of the world, the Royal Flying Doctor Service is counting on the new plane to overcome the vast distances of Australia. And here in Gstaad, Jetfly regularly lands its PC-24 in Philippe Starck design.

dollars, the standard issue version costs the same anywhere in the world. According to schedule, 40 PC-24s are taking to the air in 2019, from 2020 this is set to increase to 50 per year. We are given exclusive access to the assembly plant in Stans, 15 minutesʼ drive from Lucerne. Accompanying us are Ignaz Gretener, Vice President General Aviation, and Matthias Luder, Head of Sales and Marketing. Normally, visitors arenʼt allowed access to the workshop.

Pilatus Flugzeugwerke was founded in 1939 and their planes have travelled the skies for 80 years. For the past ten years, the renowned firm has been planning the launch of the PC-24. Roll-out day was on 1 August 2014, Swiss National Day. Within one-and-a-half days, 84 orders had come in. Demand for their latest aircraft was so high that the company had to close to new orders until summer 2019 ― a necessary step to ensure they could deliver what they had promised: Quality. Swiss made. Now the aircraft is available again. At 10.7 million

So here it is, the first real life PC-24 I get to see. At first glance, itʼs an unusual craft. Streamlined and elegant, this particular issue is finished in a matt dark grey, giving it a very discreet overall appearance. This one, Iʼm told, will be taking off for Denmark in a few daysʼ time. “The customers choose the design. We have a range of classic patterns which have proved popular,” Ignaz Gretener explains. Pilatus works with the best in the sector, including Designworks, a subsidiary of BMW in California.


THE PC-24 IN NUMBERS Shortest landing distance: 839 m Maximum climbing performance: 20.7 m/s Maximum speed: 815 km/h Range (with 4 people): 3704 km Maximum cruising altitude: 13,716 m Basic weight: 5.315 t Maximum take-off weight: 8.3 t Maximum landing weight: 7.665 t

And the variety of existing designs is certainly broad. One craft, used for private safaris in South Africa, is covered in tribal art. Another customer wanted the night sky with all the constellations of the universe painted across the entire fuselage. One plane is sporting a zebra outfit, another is covered in Leopard spots, and one is crossing the skies with windmills decorating body and wings. The same applies to the interior of the craft. Recently, they had a request for strictly vegan interior furnishings. So no leather, everything is made of cotton instead. “Anything is possible with us, as long as the authorities grant approval. Safety always comes first, of course,“ says sales director Matthias Luder. We walk past a PC-24 carcass. Inside, wires and panels hang from the largely unclad ceiling. Workers are currently fitting the insulation. Under the aircraft, an employee rolls around the landing gear on something


akin to a recliner on wheels while he fits screws. Fiftyfive different nationalities work at Pilatus, illustrating the international nature of aeronautics. Thereʼs no shortage of skilled staff and trainees ― 125 apprentices across 13 trades are currently employed here. “The PC-24 is fully assembled and made flight-ready in Switzerland. It is then granted preliminary Swiss registration, before being taken to another site, usually our site in the US, for final fitting. The craft is then also certified by the US Federal Aviation Administration,” Gretener explains. The plane we are currently standing in front of is rather special. It was ordered by an Inuit community in the far north of Alaska. The communityʼs chief personally flew to Stans to sign the contract ― with live connection to his tribal elders per FaceTime. “For the community, which lives far from any amenities, the aeroplane will be a lifeline of sorts. Rescue plane, supply plane, connection to the wider world.”

Since February 2019, the Swiss government has also been travelling in a PC-24.



In charge of PC-24 sales: Ignaz Gretener, Vice President General Aviation, and Matthias Luder, Head of Sales and Marketing (left).

The client list goes on and on. Staff at Pilatus are particularly proud of the order from the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia. The service has long used the PC12 Pilatus plane with turboprop drive, traditionally the strongest workhorse in the fleet. But now the private aid organisation is changing over to the PC-24. The service has already ordered three ambulance aeroplanes, the first of which has been in use since November 2018. “The new model is very versatile. Itʼs the first business jet equipped with a large cargo door, which is hugely helpful for patient transport. Itʼs also able to start and land on very short runways. And even more importantly: The PC-24 is a flying off-roader that can land on gravel, grass and snow,” Gretener enthuses. Although this tiny country is hardly known around the world as one of the big aeronautical players, the typically Swiss qualities have helped the company establish itself as a niche player in the private aircraft

sector ― qualities such as leadership in technology, precision, reliability and a continuously available service in the field. “When youʼve bought a plane, thatʼs not the end of it, itʼs the beginning. We have teams in all the important foreign markets, so that tradespeople can immediately assist when required, be it for maintenance or training.” Hardly surprising then, that many of the companyʼs clients have a life-long relationship with Pilatus. Several have even ordered the new plane without coming to view it personally on site. Some of the new ownersʼ names are public knowledge: Former Nestlé boss Peter Brabeck had ordered a PC-24, and Bernie Ecclestone is a long-standing customer. Who else has ordered one, we ask. But this, Gretener wonʼt tell me. Discretion is guaranteed ― typically Swiss. (rw) ― PILATUS-AIRCRAFT.COM






eʼs travelled the length and breadth of the globe and has cooked in grand establishments for the most renowned clientele, but Franz W. Faeh is as down to earth as ever. The Culinary Director of the Gstaad Palace is a local, albeit from down in the valley, and in his youth he regularly helped out on a nearby alp. “As a lad, I spent every summer looking after cows. I was at the Hintere Walig, beyond Hasenegg, less than five kilometres from here. Thatʼs where I helped my godfather, Hans Zingre.” Raking up hay, driving home the cows and milking them, cleaning the stable ― Franz W. Faeh didnʼt shy away from manual labour, and still doesnʼt today. Thatʼs why he likes spending time outdoors, at the Vordere Walig, far from the steamy humdrum of the Palace kitchen. Here, 1700 metres above sea, is his home territory. Here he has the space and time to reflect and tinker ― for example with the rather curious and unwieldy wooden chest that his predecessor Peter Wyss left behind for him. Faeh was unsure what to do with the thing at first, but on closer inspection the 1.5 by 0.5 metre box turned out to be a solar oven. Weighing around 20 kilos, it can be carried around by means of two handles. Solar ovens are more commonly used in Africa, in places where thereʼs a shortage of everything, especially electricity. The box is cleverly equipped with a fitted glass cover and a flap lined with reflecting foil. This catches the sunʼs rays, guiding them through the glass and onto the pizza stone that forms the base of the mobile oven. In order to absorb as much heat as possible, the inside of the box is painted black. The oven we have with us here is an heirloom originating from the former vicar of Lauenen. He had come across solar ovens during his aid work in Africa and shared his discovery with Palace head chef Peter Wyss.



As we soon learn, the captured solar energy is surprisingly effective. After an hour in the sun, the box has already reached the desired 100 to 120 degrees. “Step one is to let the heat build up. For this, the oven must always be positioned to face the sun, to ensure the pizza stone absorbs as much heat as possible,” Franz W. Faeh explains. While the oven warms up, he is already busy preparing the dishes. He seasons the langoustines with olive oil, pepper and salt. On a second baking sheet, he nestles some fresh fillets of trout onto a bed of celery, adds seasoning and pours over a generous amount of white wine. The third course of the Walig menu is a local speciality ― meringues made of egg white and sugar. “The secret is to add the sugar to the egg whites in three steps.” With a swift but precise flourish ― another indication of his expertise ― Faeh applies the mixture onto a sheet of baking parchment. Two identical serpentine meringues are now also ready to be placed in the oven. All three courses are then exposed to the solar heat simultaneously, while we wait with great anticipation ... Does he himself own a little alpine hut, we want to know. Faeh shakes his head. Heʼs from “the lowland”, from down in the valley. And although he grew up in Gstaad, he has more relatives abroad than round here. His mother is originally from Norway, from a place around 300 kilometres south of Oslo, and thatʼs where he likes to spend his time when he isnʼt working at the Palace. Itʼs not surprising then that some aspects of Nordic Cuisine have travelled back here with him and have found their way into his ʼbox of tricksʼ. Does he like camping when heʼs holidaying privately, we ask. Franz W. Faeh shakes his head once more. Thatʼs not his cup of tea at all, even though his wife keeps suggesting it ...


Around 35 minutes later, changes are becoming apparent behind the glass. The langoustines have taken on a lovely whitish-red colour. The fish is also gently cooking. And the meringues are gradually losing their glassy appearance and are turning white and firm. After another five minutes, Franz W. Faeh opens the oven and is surprised at the heat inside. He nearly burns his fingers on the hot stone. Time to dress the langoustines. The salad leaves are washed in alpine water at the fountain, as are the herbs for the garnish. Faeh drapes the seafood over a bed of mixed leaves and sliced mozzarella di bufala, which is delivered to him fresh every day directly from a producer in Campania. He finishes off the first course with a splash of sauce agrume, beautifully prepared with lemon and orange juice. While we tuck into the primo piatto, Franz W. Faeh is already removing the trout from the oven. He adds new potatoes, a sauce made with cream and red curry spices, and some freshly chopped red chillies. Again, the finished dish is an ode to his art. A globetrotter at heart, Franz W. Faeh is bringing culinary traditions from across the world to this alp high above Feutersoey. On to the meringues. These need a little longer, another 20 to 30 minutes at least. In the meantime, Faeh whips the cream. This is second nature to him. After all, he didnʼt just milk his godfatherʼs cows, he also carried the wooden pails of milk to the large cauldron and helped with the cheese making. But before the milk was heated, it always had to be skimmed. “And that is how we got our cream and butter,” he explains. What could be more delicious than freshly baked meringues with double cream and seasonal berries, ideally hand-picked blueberries from the alp, of course. But thereʼs no time for that today. Franz W. Faeh needs to get going ― he still has an event catering and a large banquet for guests of the tennis tournament on his agenda for today. Fifteen minutes later heʼs packed up all his equipment and has stowed the oven in the car. We will stay a while and hike down later, as the sun sets over the valley ― an ideal postprandial walk. (rw)





8 langoustines (size 9 ― 12), peeled and de-veined olive oil, salt, pepper, thyme 4 burrata di bufala, 125 g each 100 g mixed salad leaves and herbs aged balsamic vinegar

4 brown trout, filleted celery, in strips leek, in strips white whine salt, pepper, caviar olive oil leaf spinach boiled potatoes salt, pepper

100 g egg white 300 g sugar, added in three stages double cream, whipped

SAUCE AGRUME 15 g orange juice 8 g lemon juice 5 g honey 15 g sunflower oil 5 g olive oil 8 g avocado purée salt, pepper

various berries (blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, redcurrants) to garnish


sesame oil onions, minced ginger, peeled & minced lesser galangal, minced lemon grass, crushed Tom Kha Gai paste coconut milk red chilli, de-seeded & minced lime juice, fish sauce

Preparation, Filet de Truites Palace Tom Kha: Lightly braise the onions in the sesame oil without letting them brown. Add the ginger, galangal and lemon grass and braise for approx. 15 minutes. Next add the Tom Kha Gai paste and continue to braise for a further 15 minutes, then pour in the coconut milk and stir continuously while allowing the sauce to gently simmer at boiling point for at least one hour. Season to taste with chilli, lime juice, fish sauce and sugar. Remove the lemon grass, blend the sauce and strain to finish. If required, the sauce can be diluted with a little water or reduced until the desired consistency is achieved. All recipes are calculated for 4 persons. Bon appetit!






rienz wood carving is a global brand. The artworks created by local craftspeople are in high demand, with some figurines fetching premium prices at auction. Weʼre on our way to visit a man who knows all about making those beautiful crib figures, and who teaches others how make them: Markus Flück is head of the Brienz School of Wood Carving and himself a sculptor by profession. Itʼs about ten minutesʼ walk from Brienz station to the school. Time well spent, as the route through the picturesque chalet village leads past various shop windows. For those who love wood crafts thereʼs plenty to feast their eyes on. Maria, Joseph, the shepherds and their flock, the three kings and countless other biblical figures are all lined up. Brienz is famous for the artfully crafted figurines that feature in cribs around the world; itʼs a tradition that goes back several generations.

Where thereʼs carved wood there must be wood carvers, that much is clear. But not many know that there is a dedicated training centre for wood crafts right here in Brienz. The school is lead by Markus Flück, a young artist who inherited a talent for wood carving along with his great-grandfatherʼs tools. Flück was born here and, given that he specialises in a local traditional craft, you could be forgiven for thinking he hasnʼt seen much of the world. In fact the opposite is true. Well-educated and open-minded, Flück travelled extensively before coming back to live and work in Brienz. Many of his relatives veered towards working with metal, specifically as plumbers, but Flück was always drawn to wood ― so there was finally someone in the family who could inherit great-grandfather Stähliʼs vast collection of tools. This included no less than 200 chisels in all shapes and sizes. Cooks, surgeons and wood carvers ― they all rely on a sharp blade ― and as any professional knows, this means taking excellent care of your tools. Markus Flück was never in doubt as to what career he might pursue. From early on, he had a natural talent for the figurative and for drawing. After his time at school he went straight into a four-year apprenticeship in wood sculpting. And not just anywhere: Flück managed to get a placement at Huggler, Brienzʼs most acclaimed wood carving workshop. The Huggler family has been producing beautiful figurines for over 100 years and exports them to all corners of the globe. Markus learnt his skills the hard way, working long days for an hourly wage of



18 Swiss francs. When he became more adept at carving, he was able to choose a contract that included payment per piece. “Diligence pays. If youʼre good and fast, you can carve 30 Josephs all in a row.“ Flück was ambitious and still is today. He was determined to keep expanding his skills. As soon as he had some money saved up, he went off, across the pond, to San Diego and to Philadelphia University for advanced studies in art. “I certainly didnʼt think that this second phase of learning and experience gathering would see me ending up back in Brienz,” Flück laughs. The best laid plans of mice and men … Colleagues at home drew his attention to the job advert ― Brienz was seeking a new director for the wood carving school. Founded in 1884, the institution exerts a magical appeal like no other. And so things took their course. He came, saw and got the job. For four years now, Markus Flück has been head of Brienz Wood Carving school, where 24 registered students are training to become sculptors. Others come to the school to attend vocational courses in wood turning or white cooperage, which teaches the skills to make the traditional equipment found in alpine dairies, such as butter churns and milk pails. The school also provides training in wickerwork and basket weaving, as well as cooperage craft for wine making. Flück likes to keep his hand in: “Four fifths of my time Iʼm in the office, running the school, but ten percent I spend teaching, so I donʼt lose touch with whatʼs happening on the ground.“ That leaves another ten percent, and those are entirely his. Thatʼs when he devotes himself to his own artwork, and itʼs not the chisel and mallet he then reaches for, but a chainsaw. He likes to work on a large scale. When starting on a log, he first sets to with hatchet and axe, then the chainsaw comes into play. With an unerring eye, Markus Flück slices his way into his favourite material, a large tree trunk from the local woodland. (rw) Further reading: Schweizer Handwerkskunst, Orell Füssli Verlag, Zürich, 2016, ISBN 978-3-280-05627-1,

Schule für Holzbildhauerei, Schleegasse 1, 3855 Brienz ― HOLZBILDHAUEREI.CH

Markus Flück, Holzbildhauer, Feldstrasse 18, 3855 Brienz ― MARKUSFLUECK.COM





“A GOOD HEART IS A SMALL HEART.“ Professor René Prêtre (62) is known around the world as an expert in cardiac surgery, especially in paediatrics. Based at Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV) and part-time in Zurich, he carries out around eight operations each week. Itʼs high-precision work that requires considerable discipline and mental strength. Coupled with his extensive aid work, these qualities earned him the title “Swiss Personality of the Year 2009”. We talk to Rene Prêtre to find out how he deals with the pressure of his job. Mr Prêtre, youʼve just come out of the operating theatre. Did everything go to plan? Yes, todayʼs programme worked out OK ― aside from falling slightly behind schedule ― and the operation went well. Iʼm relieved. A banal question from a layperson: What makes a good heart? Well, I always have to laugh when I hear this question, because ― symbolically speaking ― a good heart is a big heart. It refers to a person who shows a lot of empathy and goodwill for others. We medics, however, are always dismayed when we see a big heart. The enlargement indicates that the heart is unhealthy. It is hampered in its function, either by too much water or a hole. And we are accordingly alarmed. Put differently: A good heart is a small heart ― sound, strong, pulsating and well-toned. You often work with seriously ill children. What motives you to remain optimistic, despite the frequently harsh fates you witness? Well you see, in principle itʼs a very simple equation, and I always address this when talking to the parents too. As a rule, everything goes well. Sometimes, the chances that we succeed are one to two. But without operation the chances are zero. So whenever possible, itʼs better to operate.


You are also confronted by death at times. How do you console others, especially the parents? I usually meet with the relatives around two months after the traumatic event, which makes it easier for everyone. I voice my feelings honestly and clearly, give consolation. And if there has been a mistake on my part, then I will address this. Honesty is paramount in these difficult situations. In the end, I want to be able to say that weʼve done everything we could. But sometimes the parameters we are set by nature ― for example seriously damaged lungs in a small child ― prevent us from succeeding. Do you ever experience guilt? Yes. If Iʼve judged a situation wrongly, it haunts me. I donʼt sleep well, wake up, think about it. Luckily that has “only“ happened to me twice in the past eight years. Your work demands absolute precision. How do you prepare for risky procedures? We normally have a few days to prepare for an operation. I read the medical history down to the last detail. Then I work through my check lists, almost like a pilot, step by step. We call this our “cookbook“. More recently, Iʼve also recorded the most difficult operations and cut the material into 10minute videos. These I can then study carefully, so Iʼm armed for all eventualities.

“AS A SURGEON I WANT TO BE ABLE TO SAY: WE DID EVERYTHING HUMANLY POSSIBLE.“ Were there any other dream jobs you might have pursued if you hadnʼt become a surgeon? Iʼm not sure. I came to medicine by chance, but I was fascinated by surgery right from the start. As surgeons we tackle the ailment front on, we attack it and cut it out, while many of my somatic colleagues primarily have to fight illness with medication and other therapies. At least that was my vision of this profession ... You grew up on a farm. To what extent did this shape you? It shaped me greatly, very greatly in fact. For a start, we lived very frugally ― my parents and my six siblings. We learnt to look after the things that made our life easier. The tractor for example. Already as a child, I learnt how to take a machine like that apart if it wasnʼt working ― down to the very last screw. This sense for meticulousness and the necessary fine motor skills are very useful to me still today ― as is my ability to observe natural phenomena.


How do you mean? As a farmer, you have know how to read nature. If thereʼs a thunder storm approaching, you have to know how to protect your crop. Otherwise youʼll be left standing there empty handed when things get tough. As a surgeon, when I watch a heart and see how the blood flow courses through this complex organ, it often takes me back to those times of observing nature, because similar phenomena can also be observed in human biology. You invest a lot of time in charitable work and youʼve founded your own trust to help children with a heart condition in Mozambique and Cambodia. Why those two countries? I travelled to Mozambique in the context of an aid project when I still worked in Paris. I must admit, before going, I seriously wondered why we should carry out heart surgery in a country where half the children arenʼt even allowed to go to school. But in the end my colleagues in Paris convinced me that itʼs important to create professional structures in an impoverished country like that. Although our primary objective is to help sick children, our aid organisation also aims to promote entrepreneurial structures. This means we create and safeguard new jobs. And how did you come to be working in Cambodia? That was down to my friend doctor Beat Richner, aka Beatocello, who passed away last year. He established his great aid organisation Kantha Bopha in Cambodia. I was hugely impressed by his commitment to the acute hospitals in Siem Reap and Phnom Phen. So I go there to train surgeons for cardiac operations on children. My team travels to underprivileged countries four times a year, I join them on two of these trips. You are clearly a man with a great deal of dedication and passion. What do you love doing when youʼre not at work? Do you even have time for hobbies? Well, itʼs true, the days in the operating theatre are intensive and long. But I do also have a life outside of hospital. I particularly enjoy going to the cinema ― it means Iʼm offline and canʼt be reached for two hours. I also read a lot, not just specialist books, but literature too. I love the cultured language of the worldʼs great writers: Shakespeare, Dostoevsky, Malraux. And Iʼve even had a go at writing a book myself, completely without ghostwriter. Iʼm quite proud of that. And itʼs actually selling. (He laughs) You visit Gstaad every now and then. What connects you to this place? Thereʼs a nice story relating to that. As a rule, I never see my patients again in their later life. If the operation was a success, they continue their life without me. But in this case itʼs different ― in Gstaad I regularly meet up with a man I was once able to operate on. He comes here with his family, and weʼve become good friends over the years. So my holidays in the Bernese Oberland, usually once a year, are a double pleasure. And do you sometimes visit the Palace too? Yes, thatʼs exactly what I do with this friend. We like going to the Palace for an aperitif. Itʼs cool when you meet famous people there. Itʼs real― LE-PETIT-COEUR.CH life big cinema... (rw) ”Le Petit Coeur“ Foundation





After Christmas is before Christmas. When it comes to gathering ideas for the most wonderful time of the year, thereʼs no holding him back. Stefan Romang ― head pâtissier at the Palace from 1986 to 1994 ― likes to come up with something extra special for the grand establishmentʼs most loyal guests. The order has been issued ― from the highest level ― time to launch operation “Chocolate Heaven”. It doesnʼt take long for an idea to form, then Stefan Romang reaches for the phone. A brief chat with Barbara Kernen, right-hand woman of Andrea Scherz, and the Christmas surprise 2020 has been agreed: A winter sledge, filled with grand crus truffles. Stefan Romang only works with the highest quality ingredients, such as Madagascan and Peruvian cocoa beans sourced through ChobaChoba. A qualified confectioner, Romang owned a tea room on the Promenade for many years. He can now be found in his boutique at Viktoriastrasse 3, in downtown Gstaad. At 50 square metres, the premises provide the ideal space for him, his wife Heidi and patissière Marina Gehret to do their magic. “Small and simple, just how we like it. Weʼve made a conscious decision not to get bigger,” Stefan Romang explains. He has a loyal fanbase, and thatʼs no wonder. When it comes to his creative skills, the skyʼs the limit ― he recently provided a rocket-shaped cake for 140 guests. His speciality are the chocolate griottes, all hand-crafted, and the Louibachsteine with honey and double cream made from local milk ― a homage to his Heidi, who grew up just around the corner in Lauenen. Then thereʼs the millefeuilles with vanilla cream and without the sticky sugar icing. But back to lifeʼs darker temptations ― Romang needs to make 120 of his chocolate sledges. Step one: the prototype. He heats the mixture to 30 degrees and then pours it onto the baking sheet lined with plastic foil. With a spatula he gently spreads the chocolate to a thin layer, so it wonʼt lose its sheen as it cools. He then cuts out the sides and runners, which he “glues“ together with dabs of melted chocolate. The creation is crowned with the Palace logo, before Romang reaches for the airbrush and sends the gold dust flying. He attaches the decorative bow and finishes the whole thing off with a sprinkling of icing sugar ― in Stefan Romangʼs boutique the snow falls by hand and ― CHOCOLATEBOUTIQUE.CH with the greatest care. (rw)




unker ― bowling alley ― gastronomic venue: There can’t be many places in the world with a history that can be summed up with these terms. “La Fromagerie”, the Gstaad Palaceʼs fashionable fondue eatery, is more than just a restaurant; it is a place of contrasts and has been a veritable institution for the past 45 years. Where the Swiss Bank Corporation once hid its bars of gold during World War II, royal personages later came to try their hand at bowling ― a not entirely risk-free form of entertainment, as it turned out. The Persian Princess Soraya once broke her left index finger during an evening game with Princess Beatrix of Holland and the Tunisian president Habib Burgiba. By the mid 1970ʼs bowling had fallen out of fashion ― a new purpose had to be found for the space. At a time when themed restaurants were an altogether unknown concept, Palace owner Ernst A. Scherz proved his visionary talent when he opened “La Fromagerie” in the winter of 1975/76. Since then, the former World War II gold bunker has played host to numerous guests who’ve come to enjoy a portion of the Saanenland’s very own gold, in the form of fondue, raclette and similar. The simple yet popular cheese dishes are served in a merrily assembled motley interior, consisting of comfortable rustic chairs, solid wood tables, chequered tablecloths and steel cutlery. In cooperation with Marina Nickels and Atelier 72, Andrea Scherz gave the snug and homely premises a facelift in 2018. “La Fromagerie” now boasts a fresh vintage look, but old and new still sit side by side in perfect harmony. (ls)




EVERY PIECE is UNIQUE Nazanine Sabbag, Vice President of Sales at high jewellery Maison Boghossian arrived at Institut Le Rosey finishing school when she was nine. Many years later, she is back at the Promenade in Gstaad. ”Itʼs still a village, thank goodness,” she comments. “A village with glamour and class. With a clientèle that values the finest quality and craftsmanship more than ever.” We are just a two-hour drive from Boghossianʼs headquarters in Geneva. The Boghossian family, originally from Armenia, has owned and managed the renowned firm for six generations. Geneva is also home to the two workshops where most of the jewellery has been produced for the past 30 years. Crafted by hand and made to measure, the larger, more complex pieces can easily take between three months and a year to make. Nazanine is also part of the family, she is the sister-in-law of the current Managing Director Albert Boghossian and has worked in the jewellery sector for many years. “Weʼve had a good start in Gstaad. Many of our clients are guests staying in the chalets and hotels. Quite a number of them are also from the Geneva area and come here to spend their holidays in the mountains.” And customers in holiday mode are Nazanineʼs favourite kind of client. They have more time, they sit down, try on different versions of a piece and compare them. “Gstaad is the perfect place for beautiful jewellery,” Nazanine reflects. “After all, they still throw proper parties here with great elegance and style.” One more reason why Boghossian isnʼt worried that its customers might drift away to the internet, making boutiques like the one in Gstaad a thing of the past. “Selecting jewellery is a tactile experience. And each piece has its own history. Some are also created in response to an event or occurrence which the clients disclose to us and our Creative Director. This then results in a very personal piece, one that is entirely unique.” The first step is to draw the initial designs, which is always done by hand. This is followed by a long and intensive period of evolution, personally monitored by Albert. Then thereʼs the big fitting event, when the client comes into the boutique and sees the finished piece. “We have established an actual ritual for that. After all, the moment when you first wear the jewellery around your neck, on your ear or your wrist should be as unique as the artwork.” And that is precisely what Boghossian is so good at, allowing the moment to become eternal. No wonder then, that most of their clients regularly return. (rw) BOGHOSSIAN , 44 PROMENADE, GSTAAD ― BOGHOSSIANJEWELS.COM




BARKING UP THE RIGHT TREE Do You Look Like Your Dog? The British photographer Gerrard Gethings is well known for his character study of humans and their hounds. We pay a visit to his studio.







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ave you heard of Twindog? The app, also known as ʼTinder for dogsʼ, enables caring dog owners to find a new local pal for their pooch ― and perhaps find true love for themselves in the process. As we all know, birds of a feather flock together. Thanks to the app, dog owners in search of company can now swipe and match their way to a cosy foursome. So is it true, that the owners tend to resemble their four-legged friends?

Researchers at the University of California have indeed found a correlation between the characteristics of pure bred dogs and the outward appearance of their owners. Unlike married couples who, according to studies, grow to physically resemble each other over decades, the similarities between humans and their hounds are already a deciding factor in the choice of a particular breed of dog. At the heart of this lies the similarity-attraction effect. We like what we know ― and what can be more familiar to us than our own face? Based on this theory, the British photographer Gerrard Gethings went out in search of colourful dogs and their lookalikes, with some surprising results. The photographic series has now been developed into an amusing memory game. And why not? After all, both in the game and in the search for (furry) love, the aim is to find the matching opposite with a combination of insight and luck. (ls) ― GERRARDGETHINGS.COM Gethings, Gerrard: Do You Look Like Your Dog? Match Dogs with Their Owners: A Memory Game.


“Sustainable products are in vogue, as they are now more important than ever.“ Caroline Hirt



IRIDESCENT CREATIONS with ADDED VALUE With a name as lustrous as its skin, the Pirarucu is a giant among fish and is known as the king of the Amazon. Since 2016, Swiss designer Caroline Hirt has been using the leather made from this exotic fish to create exclusive and sustainable luxury fashion accessories under the label REALTRUE.

The Pirarucu, also known as Arapaima gigas, can grow up to 4.5 metres long and weigh as much as 250 kilos. This makes the torpedo-shaped fish with the luminous red edges around its scales one of the largest sweet-water fish in the world. Historically a popular food source among the local population, the Pirarucu was close to becoming extinct in the 1970Ęźs and has been a protected species since 1999. While the fish population quickly recovered, the inedible skin of the Pirarucu continued to be carelessly discarded or burnt, causing environmental pollution. Then Caroline Hirt discovered the potential of this exceptional material.


Hirtʼs idea to turn the skin of the Pirarucu into opalescent luxury leather products came to her during a surfing holiday in Brazil in 2013. An art director by profession, she was on the lookout for a new career challenge when she chanced upon the exotic leather. As an experienced marketing specialist, she immediately knew that she was holding something unique in her hands. “Pirarucu leather is a high grade material that is wonderfully soft and flexible as well as beautiful, yet is also extremely hard-wearing,” says Hirt. But REALTRUEʼs first products only began to take shape after she met Eduardo and Paulo, two pioneers who in 2009 started up a Pirarucu skin tannery in the mountains above Rio de Janeiro. This led to Caroline Hirt launching her first fish leather collection in 2016. “Working with the fish leather requires skilled craftsmanship, thereʼs no place for mass production at REALTRUE.”

The tannery had developed an eco-friendly process, allowing the fish skins to be made into leather using only plant-based substances, without any need for the heavy metals commonly employed in the process. All the skins are sourced from strictly controlled and certified sustainable fishing. Supplying the tannery also enables local people in the Amazon basin and around Rio de Janeiro to earn a fairly paid extra income, offering a valuable alternative to rainforest destruction. Strict rules regarding quality, sustainability and fairness also apply at the specialist workshop in northern Italy, where the products are manufactured by skilled craftspeople and the final touches are applied. In line with the motto “STAY REAL, BE TRUE”, the entire value chain of REALTRUE is ecologically sustainable, fair and transparent. High-end luxury products under the sustainability banner? For Caroline Hirt thereʼs no contradiction in this. On the contrary: “Sustainability is also a key issue in the luxury sector. Sustainable products are in vogue, as they are now more important than ever.”


Alongside ethical considerations, aesthetic concerns are at the forefront of all REALTRUE limited edition lines. Caroline Hirt flies to Brazil at least twice a year for quality checks and finds her travels serve as inspiration for the colour, structure and design of her products. More frequently still, she visits the manufacturing workshop in northern Italy, where she designs new products and defines suitable leather sections together with the cutter. "It’s the same with Pirarucu skin as with other exotic leathers ― the animal dictates the shape. Working with the fish leather requires skilled craftsmanship. There is no place for mass production at REALTRUE," she explains. The resulting items are a wonder to behold. The designs show off the unique patterning of Pirarucu skin, while the vivid colours call to mind the dazzling beaches and luminous landscapes of Brazil. As the source of inspiration, South America is also referenced in the naming of the products ― names such as Ipanema, Copacabana and Belo Horizonte link back to the creative Brazilian energy that shaped these elegant leather goods. Born in Brazil ― Designed in Switzerland ― Crafted in Italy. For Caroline Hirt, this international liaison is the essence of the brand: “Brazilian creativity and vitality meets Swiss clarity and quality, combined with Italian emotion and craftsmanship. Alongside the interpersonal exchange, the task of bringing together these facets is the most fulfilling aspect of my work.” The exclusive bags, backpacks, shoes and other accessories are sold in selected boutiques, online and at trade fairs. Like any dynamic entrepreneur, Hirt is bursting with ideas for further products, but before these can be realised, REALTRUE must establish itself on the international market. What won’t change though, is Caroline Hirt’s successful formula: She will continue to produce luxurious slow fashion that sets itself apart ― and she will be doing this ASAP: as sustainably as possible. (ls) ― REALTRUE.STORE




he snow is drifting down like a soft white veil. Large flakes dance in the air before settling on the ground. As much as half a metre has fallen in just two hours. Itʼs a little before six, night is settling in over the winter wonderland and Saanen is cloaked in a festive stillness. The church of Saanen is packed with weather-hardy culture lovers, but the key figures are still missing. Everyoneʼs chatting, the hall is full of excited babble in anticipation of whatʼs to come. But where on earth are the three performers? The brothers Renaud and Gautier Capuçon, on violin and cello, and pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet are cutting it fine. Suddenly they appear, darting through the back entrance and onto the gallery in their snow-dusted patent leather shoes. They cast off their coats, hats and scarves. Three minutes later, the vicar turns out the lights. The three men stride along the central aisle into the warm glow of the spotlights and take up their positions. Thereʼs a pause. Then they dive into their world of sound ― this evening itʼs the music of Mendelssohn and Ravel. An intense rapport lets the three master musicians perform as if one, treating the assembled crowd to 65 minutes of divine chamber music. Thereʼs no end to the applause. The three internationally acclaimed artists give two encores, then they must be on their way. Theyʼre expected back at the Palace, where a grand gala for the Sommets Musicaux awaits them and 142 guests. Renaud Capuçon, soloist and artistic director of the music festival, is in demand. He manages to down a glass of water before he enters the Salle Baccarat ― then itʼs time to shake hands, many many hands. Capuçon knows how to work a crowd, even off the stage. A long and merry evening lies ahead.



The following morning ― before he rushes off to a childrenʼs concert ― we visit the guiding light of the Sommets Musicaux in room 218. Itʼs a junior suite with view of the Wispile, the same as always. Itʼs his home for the week. ”I prefer to have a manageable sized room for myself. It just gets confusing otherwise ― I get to stay in a different beautiful hotel every three days on average.“ Itʼs clear he feels truly at home in the Palace. Thereʼs a box of Lego on the table. It belongs to his son, whoʼs already left with maman, back to Paris, back to school. Next to it stands a bottle of champagne with a note from a fan, and in a vase sits the bouquet he was presented with the previous evening. Sheet music for yesterdayʼs Ravel concert ― adorned with hand-written notes ― lies strewn across the sofa. A crumpled tailcoat hangs by the door, waiting for the room attendant to collect it. And whereʼs the violin, the 1737 Guarneri that accompanies Capuçon all around the world? ”Currently under the bed. Thatʼs where itʼs happiest,“ he replies with a laugh. Thereʼs no risk of anyone stealing it. Thereʼs no point, as itʼs completely unsellable. A humidifier runs night and day. For the violin? ”Mainly for me, I donʼt sleep well when the air is dry. But itʼs certainly good for the violin too.“ And then itʼs already time to leave. He quickly glances in the mirror, runs a comb through his hair and puts on the sunglasses ― and of course tucks the all-important violin case under his arm. Returning later, he practices for two hours. Fine-tuning he calls it. ”I love rituals. Before every concert I treat myself to a short power nap. After that I have some tea and do a mental run through of the tricky passages.“ He then shaves, takes a shower and gets himself ready for the concert. Heʼs not generally nervous, but certainly in a high state of concentration and ”keyed up“. Dinner has to wait until after the performance. He prefers to eat in his room and ideally not too much. ”I have to be pretty careful, with all the invitations I get I could easily put on weight.“ His connection to the Palace and the Sommets Musicaux goes back a long time ― 15 years in fact. Capuçon was a frequent guest at the festival when Thierry Scherz was still alive. ”Then I received the most difficult phone call of my life: The festival needed a new artistic director following Thierryʼs death. I spontaneously accepted.“ The festival is flourishing. Capuçon prefers to let it develop organically and relies on his instinct for the programme. He doesnʼt dictate an annual theme, instead he is keen for the artists and compositions to take centre stage. ”I want to share with my audience the music that touches me. I want us to experience great moments together,“ he explains. On his way home from Gstaad, the Frenchman always stops off at the Haute Ecole de Musique in Lausanne, where he teaches every two weeks. His list of pupils has now grown to 22 current students and alumni. ”Itʼs like a big family,“ Capuçon comments. Future stars for the Sommets Musicaux and elsewhere. (rw) SOMMETS MUSICAUX DE GSTAAD, 31/01/2020 — 08/02/2020 ― SOMMETSMUSICAUX.CH







or the January 2020 event, artgenève will bring new prestigious international galleries such as Lévy Gorvy, Applicat-Prazan and Salon 94 to Geneva. They will be joining a string of renowned art dealers and gallerists, including Hauser & Wirth, Gagosian, Pace, Perrotin, Capitain Petzel, Tornabuoni Art, Blain I Southern, Marlborough, Continua, Eva Presenhuber, Mitterrand, Lelong, Templon, de Jonckheere and Skopia.

The art fair’s institutional program, an essential feature of the salon d’art, is also set to grow, with new special exhibitions, captivating public and private collections, as well as curated exhibitions. Following cooperation with institutions such as the Beyeler Foundation, the Serpentine Galleries, Swiss Institute New York, Whitechapel Gallery and the V-A-C Foundation in previous years, artgenève will have the pleasure of welcoming ICA Milano and Le Consortium to the event. Once again, artgenève will be showcasing a selection of high-grade curated projects in 2020. These will include a monumental floating work by Swiss artist Urs Fischer positioned at the entrance to the exhibition, courtesy of the Ringier Collection. Tribute will be paid to the sphere of architecture with Jean Prouvé’s Demountable house, first built in 1944. The historic and rarelyseen installation served as a blueprint for providing emergency housing to World War II victims in eastern France. artgenève/estates, a series of curated exhibitions devoted to established artists, will be dedicated to Mario Merz, a key figure of the Arte Povera movement. The exhibition will bring together some of his most iconic installations in a specially designed space. Away from the main event, artgenève/musique will host an artistic soirée in Geneva’s fabled Victoria Hall to showcase contemporary artists working with music. The performance will be organized in the context of Contemporary Art as Concert, a series of events previously presented in Munich, Berlin and Venice. Looking ahead to summer 2020, Geneva will also be hosting a biennale dedicated to sculpture. Launched in 2018, the Sculpture Garden biennale will once again occupy the city’s left bank throughout summer, with a curated exhibition of around 40 works. (rw) ― ARTGENEVE.CH ARTGENÈVE, PALEXPO GENÈVE, 30/01— 02/02/2020 ARTMONTE-CARLO, GRIMALDI FORUM MONACO, 01— 03/05/2020 SCULPTURE GARDEN BIENNALE, GENF, 12/06 — 10/09/2020 Top left: Chris Burden, 40 Foot Stepped Skyscraper (2011) presented by Gagosian Top right: Studio Africa, works from the Contemporary African Art Collection of Jean Pigozzi, presented by the Centre de la Photographie Geneve Bottom: Works by Valentin Carron, presented by the Ringier Collection






ach step follows the other. Itʼs quiet all around, apart from the crunching of snow underfoot. Everybody is concentrating hard. “The idea is to shuffle your feet along,” we were told at the start. Itʼs a strange way to walk, but it does make sense in a way ― given that weʼre moving across an unsteady surface of fresh snow, up to half a metre deep in places. Our team of five leaves a small trail in the snow-covered spruce forest above Schönried. We feel like trappers in our snow shoes ― even though weʼre hiking in the Saanenland, as opposed to some vast Canadian wilderness.

staying on course. I take deep breaths and avoid talking too much, to save energy. The pace seemed quite leisurely at first, but for beginners like us itʼs challenging enough. Our guide Claude knows the way and regularly glances back at us to check. A few encouraging words and on we go. After all, no one wants to show themselves up by breaking the rhythm of the group. With me on the trail are Estelle the spa manager, Paul from reception, Massimiliano the sports instructor and Ercilia, assistant manager at the Palace Residences.

The sticks keep me steady whenever I risk tripping up, usually because Iʼve got caught on some ice or Iʼve stumbled into the tracks of the person in front. My mind is entirely taken up with keeping my balance and

"Snowshoe trekking is a sport for everyone. Itʼs easy to take up. All you need is a pair of snow shoes, some telescopic hiking sticks and winter clothing. And a bit of stamina," explains Claude Frautschi. Heʼs been a


snow sports instructor at the Alpinzentrum Gstaad for three years now. In summer, he takes visitors on bike tours, either on e-bikes or on the traditional musclepowered variety. In winter, heʼs often out and about on cross-country skis or the fatbike. Claude, whoʼs 38 and a local from Saanen, is clearly in his element outdoors. First and foremost, he is also a good observer. He can instantly tell when someone is running out of steam, when the strength in their leg muscles is waning, or when the group looses concentration and starts to get loud and chatty. Thatʼs when he announces itʼs time for a brake. After all, in his role as conscientious outdoor expert he is primarily also a host. A chef in his previous career, he held positions at the Romantik Hotel Hornberg and the Sonnenhof above Saanen, and knows all about indulging the guests. Itʼs time to whip the Swiss army mess tins out of our felt backpacks, as Claude does the rounds pouring out orange punch, followed by hot curry soup. Warmed from the inside, we have time for a chat and a laugh. “The groups I lead often spontaneously stage a snow ball fight, or else a profound conversation develops among complete strangers, on a little bench in the middle of nowhere. That always makes me happy,” comments Claude. The role clearly suits him to a tee.


He loves being outside and knows the routes like the back of his hand. “Thatʼs important,” he says and advises against going out alone. Itʼs easy to stray into a tricky situation, even down in the valley. Many a time, heʼs found snowshoe hikers on an avalanche-prone slope, with no idea of the danger they had got themselves in. There are other reasons why visitors should keep to the well-marked routes. “Together with the forest ranger and gamekeeper, we have defined socalled wildlife protection areas. These should not be entered by people. We donʼt want to scare off the animals in winter, when theyʼre already stressed in their search for food.” The ideal snowshoe trek for beginners lasts around two hours. Those who are a little more experienced can also book a day trek with Claude or one of his 15 colleagues. He has many fans among the Gstaad regulars. And where does he himself like to go in his free time? “To Sparenmoos, at the twilight hour,” he instantly replies and his eyes light up. (rw)

The Alpinzentrum Gstaad offers guided snowshoe treks with a private instructor throughout the region and for any skill level, for individuals or small groups. All equipment is included.





THE MYSTERY of ROOM 606 As previously noted here, most of the Palace Hotel guests during the Fifties and Sixties knew each other fairly well. We knew which table belonged to whom in the lobby, and where everyone was seated in the dining room. This, of course, led to many practical jokes being played on unsuspecting souls by troublemaking Greek jokesters, including yours truly. Our easiest target was young Jean Lascare, an Aristotle Onassis lookalike today, but back then a very thin Lausanne Romeo in search for romance. Jean loved new things, so my friend Zographos and I would go into town and order large TV sets and other home appliances, to be delivered to his room at the Palace. In those days, trust reigned supreme. All we had to do was to give a name for the merchandise to be delivered. George the concierge paid, and voilà, Jean would arrive in his room and find it looking like a hardware store. The concierges back then knew us better than we knew ourselves. Needless to say, they tried to protect us from ourselves each and every night. On one such occasion, my recently retired friend Andrea Gambardella did his best as usual, but to no avail. I had caught sight of Princess Caroline having dinner at a restaurant and had sent her a billet doux with a poem. She eventually spotted me and smiled back. So I followed her to the Palace and demanded that Andrea give me her room number. “Mister Taki, you know I cannot give it to you,” said Andrea, “I will be fired.” But I was so insistent that Andrea took pity on me and finally said: “606.” I went up — and found two priests parked outside her door. “I’m going in,” said I. “No you’re not, son,” said they. Well, the upshot was, I didn’t and Andrea kept his job. I’m sure it was Andrea who mobilized the priests, but the mystery remains: Where did he find them so quick? Taki Theodoracopulos (born August 11, 1936), best known as TAKI, is a Greek-born journalist and writer living in New York City, London and Gstaad.






nce upon a time in the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation there was a prince who wasnʼt content to just serenely sit in his castle ― he wanted to have a say in politics. Sadly for him, the then College of Princes only accorded those a seat and a vote who held lands directly from the Imperial throne. So the ambitious prince set out to attain a suitable estate. He acquired the Barony of Schellenberg from the impoverished Counts of Hohenems in 1699, followed a few years later by the County of Vaduz. The princely investments paid off: On 23 January 1719, Emperor Charles VI. elevated the newly formed territory along the Rhine to the state of imperial principality. And so it came that the Principality of Liechtenstein celebrated its 300th anniversary in 2019. But how much do we actually know about this tiny country sandwiched between Switzerland and Austria?

Situated in the centre of the Alpine arc, outsiders predominantly know Liechtenstein for three things: its diminutive size, its Princely House ― and its stamps. But first things first. With a total area of 160 square kilometres and around 38,000 inhabitants, Lichtenstein is a small country even by Swiss standards. It is 260 times smaller than its western neighbour and the sixth-smallest state in the world. Perhaps thatʼs why it took nearly 220 years before the first Prince of Liechtenstein actually settled in the area named for his family: Franz Josef II took up permanent residence in Liechtenstein in 1938. Itʼs impossible to imagine the country without its prince today ― he belongs to Liechtenstein like the Queen to the UK. Not surprisingly, it was the princely pate that adorned the countryʼs first postage stamp. This was issued in 1912 and heralded the miniature stateʼs evolvement into the “land of stamps“.



From the very beginning, the small rectangular envoys from Liechtenstein proved hugely popular with philatelists around the world. In Asia especially, the stamps from Europeʼs fourth-smallest country are the ultimate collectorʼs item. Issued with a value of 5, 10 and 25 heller ― a heller being the equivalent of half a pfennig ― the early stamps all depicted Prince Johann II. From 1938, the motifs became more varied. But whether they were graced with princes, composers or golden eagles, what remained unchanged was the high aesthetic value and advanced technical finesse the stamps had become known for. These tiny works of art can be admired in the Vaduz Postal Museum, which has provided insight into the history of Liechtensteinʼs famous philately and postal service since 1936. Visitors will for example learn that the production of their own stamps in the Principality served multiple purposes from the start. On the one hand, the postage stamps signalled the sovereignty of Liechtenstein to

the outside world, although the countryʼs postal service was initially handled by Austro-Hungary and from 1920 by the Swiss postal system. On the other hand, the sale of stamps represented a much required source of income in economically challenging times. Especially as the collectors never actually made use of the service they had paid for, preferring instead to gather the stamps in their albums. From the 1930ʼs to 1970ʼs, sales of stamps and postage accounted for up to 40 percent of Liechtensteinʼs state revenue. Today, the Principality benefits from a prosperous economy, though this hasnʼt diminished the countryʼs enthusiasm for stamps. To celebrate the countryʼs 300year anniversary in 2019, Philately Liechtenstein issued an embroidered stamp ― the first in history. The special stamp is self-adhesive and comes in the decorative shape of the princeʼs coronet. So let us raise our hats: Happy Birthday! Hereʼs to the next 300 years. (ls) ― PHILATELIE.LI






Ve n t a g l i o

Gstaad Palace l Gstaad l Tel. +41 (0)33 744 14 60 w w


he morning twilight above Crete blurs the line between sky and water. A pleasant breeze blows in from the sea. All that can be heard is the gentle lapping of the waves, while the rose-fingered aurora slowly but steadily draws her warm colours across the midnight-blue sky above Elounda Bay. Itʼs the high season on Greeceʼs largest island, but at Elounda Beach Hotel & Villas you wouldnʼt know. This corner of the north-east coast is an altogether different world to the thronging tourist destinations with their jostling crowds. The award winning five-star Elounda resort is an oasis of calm par excellence and invites couples, families and celebrities alike to experience the Mediterranean lifestyle in a genteel and intimate luxury setting. Itʼs not surprising then, that the picturesque complex is more akin to a Cretan village than a utilitarian beach hotel. Nestled into idyllic gardens, the buildings and elegant villas are spread across an area of more than 16 hectares ― far from the madding crowds and with not a hint of dubious plastic charm. Instead, the focus in this resort is on modern dayʼs true luxury goods ― tranquillity, space and hospitality.

Tastefully appointed and furnished with cutting edge equipment, the suites, bungalows and villas of The Waterfront Dream Line that opened in 2018 are situated right by the sea. Depending on category, they come with a private sun terrace, heated pool, hot tub or individual fitness room. The turquoise waters of the Mediterranean are just a hop and a skip away, thanks to direct access to beach or esplanade from your private terrace. Despite the wonderful view, it pays to occasionally step outside your exclusive luxury refuge. The resort provides excellent opportunities for re-energising body and soul in the light-suffused spa and wellness area Espace Vitalité Chenot and features a wide range of sport and leisure facilities across the grounds. Furthermore, the bars, lounges and restaurants such as the Dionysos or the Blue Lagoon with its Japanese Peruvian cuisine promise truly divine gourmet experiences. Even if ordinary mortals are not granted access to Mount Olympus as a rule ― at Elounda Beach Hotel & Villas heaven can be found at sea level. (ls) ― ELOUNDABEACH.GR



A DOUBLE 1ST The Gstaad Palace and its team are on a roll. Not just one, but two prestigious prizes have been awarded to us this year: In May, I had the pleasure of accepting the honorary title “Hotelier of the Year 2019“ bestowed by the hotel rating compiled by author Karl Wild in cooperation with Weber WerdVerlag and SonntagsZeitung. This was followed in July by the award of “Best Swiss Holiday Hotel 2019“ presented by expert Claus Schweitzer on behalf of the leading Swiss economic journal BILANZ. Both ratings explicitly emphasised the superb performance of the entire Palace family, which is what makes our establishment so unique. This truly is a family affair, and we are all very proud of it indeed!


NEW LOOK FOR CORNER ROOMS At the Gstaad Palace, we traditionally refurbish the rooms every 12 years. We do this even though we are only open six months a year and have an average occupancy rate of around 70 percent. This means that each room is completely renovated after only about 4.2 years of use. During the course of the autumn break, we updated the 09 rooms on each floor, in the western section of the hotel. These rooms now share the contemporary look and feel of the Palace. Even the bathrooms were completely overhauled. FOREST IN SIGHT It all started with our reforestation project around six years ago, as part of the centennial celebrations. In 1999, storm Lothar had caused immense damage in the Schafwald at Gstaad Oberbort. Financed by the Palace and under the leadership of the local forestry commission, pupils from across the region got hard to work, clearing away the dead wood and planting 1500 new saplings. Our commitment to the environment has paid off — the reforested area is thriving. Overall, we invested around 120,000 Swiss francs into the regeneration of the woodland.

A CLEAN VENTURE Since the summer season 2019, we have been involved with the international project SapoCycle ( org). The principle is straight-forward: Hand soaps, which are rarely used up in the course of a visitor’s stay, can now be channelled into a recycling process, where they are made into vital new products for people in disadvantaged regions of the world. Hygiene is essential for survival in such areas, both in daily life and in medical settings. To prevent unused soap going to waste, the NGO collects the soaps from European hotels and reprocesses them. In Switzerland, collection of the dry soaps in the blue SapoCycle containers is taken care of by the logistics firm Planzer, which supports the project. The containers are taken to Basel WohnWerk, a centre for sheltered living and employment, where the soap is then recycled. We estimate that the Palace is able to contribute around 30 kilos of soap per year.

LOCAL NEWS ALTITUDE TRAINING FOR CELLS Adults visiting our spa experience a sense of profound physical and mental well-being. Brand new, we now offer the Cellgym programme — the only spa in Gstaad to provide this. The revolutionary method is best described as modified altitude training. Guided by expert staff, the visitor completes an interval hypoxic training, without any exhausting ascents and descents. The programme spans several sessions, during which low oxygen air and high oxygen air is inhaled at alternating intervals. This benefits the entire body and leads to a phenomenal improvement in skin condition. YANNIS BAXEVANIS IS COMING BACK He’s coming back to the Palace, all the way from Greece. Star chef Yannis Baxevanis of Elounda Beach Hotel & Villas in Crete will be leading the Palace kitchen team for ten days, from late February to early March 2020. During these “Greek weeks”, Baxevanis will be celebrating his native cuisine. Repeatedly lauded as Greece’s best cook — they call him the Jamie Oliver of Greece — the acclaimed chef embodies the Cretan lifestyle in it’s most traditional sense. Inspired by the peasant women of the mountain regions, Baxevanis makes frequent use of the island’s native wild herbs. He also regularly spends time in the Cretan highlands himself, to pick what nature provides. His flour made from the ground seeds of the carob tree is legendary and frequently features as flavouring in his dishes.

BERGBAHNEN DESTINATION GSTAAD FLYING HIGH Bergbahnen Destination Gstaad (BDG) was awarded top scores in no less than seven categories in the international ski area test 2019. BDG also achieved the gold-standard piste quality seal, as well as an award for the best visitor information management. Over the past few years, there have been many positive developments in our mountains. The new Saanersloch lift cost 30 million Swiss francs, while 15 million were invested into the recently inaugurated Eggli gondola lift — incidentally now featuring a Porsche design. Six mountain inns and restaurants have been renovated and the artificial snow equipment has been significantly expanded. Come take a look! HAPPY KIDS FOR HAPPY PARENTS As many a parent will know, enticing the kids to join you for a hike is best achieved by means of a bribe. And thanks to the newly erected play49 YEARS IN THE DRIVING SEAT grounds on Rinderberg and Wispile, Everybody knows him: Manolo — our that little sweetener is now close at long-standing chauffeur who drives the hand. Slides, swings, a climbing park Gstaad Palace’s vintage Rolls Royce. and watery fun await young explorers From Maggie Thatcher to Jacques on Wispile, with the added highlights Chirac, from film stars to finance mag- of a petting zoo and discovery barn. nates, he has taken them all from Natural materials such as wood and A to B — unfailingly reliable and discreet, stone dominate both here and on the always on time and invariably spreaRinderberg playground, which is ding joy with his trademark infectious cleverly integrated into the façade of laugh. This winter season, Manolo is the mountain restaurant. The playcrowning his 49 years of dedication to ground itself spans four levels and is this establishment with a grand finale. equipped with slides, a climbing frame After that, he will steer homeward and model cows for scrambling onto. to Spain, to return to his large country The large silhouette papercut attached estate near Santiago de Compostela. to the façade probably makes this the Muito obrigado et bon voyage! region’s most eye-catching play park.



AN ERA COMES TO A CLOSE Robert Speth has been in charge of the Chesery for 35 years. Together with his wife Suzanne, he provided a unique dining experience in the Gstaad establishment built by Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan. Since taking over the helm in 1984, Robert Speth’s unwavering dedication and drive for outstanding quality has seen him attract highest commendations. He was awarded a Michelin star in 1998 and named “Cook of the Year“ by GaultMillau in 2005. With the close of the summer season 2019, the couple have decided to shift down a gear. Robert Speth will be taking on a new role in the region’s catering sector and is handing the Chesery over into Marcus G. Lindner’s capable hands. Originally from the Austrian Vorarlberg, Lindner is himself an award-winning chef and no stranger to Gstaad. He has been leading the team at Le Grand Bellevue and previously held positions at Grand Hotel Park and The Alpina Gstaad.


SUGGESTIONS STEEP OPTION FOR SLEDGING PROS An exciting new sledge run opened on the Saanerslochgrat last winter. The first section of the Saanersloch Run takes adventurous riders down from Saanersloch to Saanenwald and includes some challengingly steep parts, making it unsuitable for children. Optional pit stops can be made at the Euter Bar on the ski piste or at Restaurant Kübeli. The second part of the route runs through the Saanenwald forest down to Saanenmöser and is considerably easier. The run has an overall length of 4.1 kilometres and takes about 45 minutes to complete.

CALLING ALL TRAILRUNNERS WITH A HEAD FOR HEIGHTS Gstaad is rapidly turning into a hotspot for trail running. Practitioners of the new sport are finding an ideal setting in the Saanenland’s mountain landscape. Alongside the three Helsana Trails, the Alpness Trail and the two trail running routes launched last year, another spectacular route is now on offer. The highly demanding trail leads from Gstaad up to Wasserngrat, returning to Gstaad along a different route that includes tunnels. The exposed sections of the path are secured with ropes — nevertheless, this path is only suitable for sure-footed runners with a head for heights. The route covers 16.5 kilometres and specifies a guideline running time of 3.5 hours. OFF AND AWAY AT RÖSSLI FEUTERSOEY The recently renovated Restaurant Rössli in Feutersoey has opened its doors under the new management of Sabine Köll and Simon Richard. Their philosophy is: ”Simply good“. This applies to the cuisine, as well as the manner in which they welcome their guests in the 25-seat Rösslistube and on the garden terrace. The two young professionals already know Gstaad like the back of their hand, having worked at Restaurant Chesery under Robert Speth for the past ten years. Sought and found by Andrea Scherz





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n 1971, Caroline Burstein and Michael Collis founded Molton Brown on London’s fashionable South Molton Street; the pioneering lifestyle destination for a diverse crowd of international glitterati, city tycoons and the New Romantic underground music scene. Today, the capital’s bold attitude still shapes the brand, giving it an undeniably distinctive edge as the home of fragrance expertise. An enduring icon of uniquely British flair, their eaux de parfum and toilette, bath and body, hair and home collections blend the world’s finest natural ingredients; a formula that earned them a Royal Warrant for the supply of toiletries to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Since the company’s inception, the creators have rejected typical chemical formulas in favour of organic, botanical components. Ahead of their time, Caroline and Michael made their early products by hand, sourcing the best ingredients and developing them in the basement of their exclusive salon. “We are made in England ― a definitive stamp of quality that we never compromise on,” says President Mark Johnson. “From our first salon to our rural workshop at Motts Hall and to the present factory in Essex, we have grown by using the best professionals, ingredients and materials. Our attitude is one of adventure and authenticity. We develop fragrances by enabling our visionary perfumers to express their own creative flair and to compose the unexpected.” True to its progressive beginnings, Molton Brown works hand-in-hand with perfumers of all ages, backgrounds and experiences to conceive its distinctive scentscape; from Master Perfumer Jacques Chabert, a brand collaborator for the past 24 years, to experimental new gen perfumers like Jérôme di Marino. Imbued with daring and passion, these fragrances touch the senses and soul to carry forward Molton Brown’s unique legacy. Made by individuals, for ― MOLTONBROWN.DE individuals. (pd)


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