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TEL: +41 33 744 97 00 TEL: +41 33 744 74 80

W W W. G R A F F D I A M O N D S . C O M


November 29, 2013 - Issue 7 – CHF 3.50 excl VAT

Homayra Sellier Saves the Children Warsaw Calling

Samichlaus & Schmutzli

Parkhaus Saanen

Love Diamonds

Di Meo & Friends Have a Ball

Dynamic Duo Strikes Again

Tall, Dark & Handsome

M. Theodoracopulos Muses




handmade gifts



Kirchstrasse 7

Tue – Fri 2–6pm Sat 10am – 4pm 3780 Gstaad T 033 744 89 66 atelier@mdruck.ch

BASTA is the unusual Italian restaurant at the Bernerhof. As of December 2013 it will be known as BASTA by Dalsass. Chefs trained by Martin Dalsass at Talvo by Dalsass in St. Moritz will cook according to the philosophy of the star chef from the South Tyrol. That means back to nature to reect the symbiosis between the lightness and simplicity of Mediterranean cuisine. The philosophy of his style of cooking is based ďŹ rst and foremost on the quality of the ingredients, authentic methods to preserve the original avours and the use of the purest olive oils. Bernerhof Gstaad ¡ Phone +41 33 748 88 44 ¡ www.bernerhof-gstaad.ch



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11th Annual Charity Dinner Venue: Gstaad Palace Hotel, GreenGo Lounge Date: 1st February 2014 at 7.30 pm Innocence in Danger is committed to protecting children against all forms of sexual abuse. The proceeds of our dinner go towards our annual summer camp for sexually abused children and our aftercare programme.

For ticket enquiries please contact: tesslarosse@alpinetrading.ch www.innocencenindanger.ch

Photo: Photocase.com

Letter from the Editor

Making the Most of What We’ve Got Congratulations! We’ve made it through that tricky in-between time of year again: November. Too late for most hiking, too early for most skiing. Too cold for that delicious Gstaad Mountain ice cream, too warm for fondue. Too empty for people-watching, yet still too many people in line at Coop. But even in this middling month, there was a lot to celebrate here in the Saanenland. Everything old Is news again The off-season did prove especially busy for local news. We have two full pages dedicated to helping you catch up on any bulletins that you may have missed out, including Canton Bern’s approval of Le Rosey’s campus site in Schönried and new innovation prize. The Prix de Gessenay will be given to local projects which boost the Saanenland’s economy. Be sure to enter – thousands in prize money will be given out at a luxurious ceremony at the Gstaad Palace next spring. I am pleased to welcome talented artist DANO to GSTAADLIFE. DANO’s work is shown in L’Hebdo magazine and newspaper Le Régional, in addition to drawing live caricatures at events and seminars. Each issue he’ll provide a caricature of a well-known Gstaad personality; I personally thank those of you who will be mocked in advance for your excellent sense of humour.


Feast your eyes on Gstaad Speaking of the Palace, don’t forget to wish a very happy birthday to the 100-year-old hotel. This grand dame, high on the hillside, welcomes readers to her open days December 7th and 8th. I hope to see you there for the gourmet food, fun and festivities. But that’s not all the food news in this issue. We visit the Saanenland “Gourmet Zone” label, in hommage to its stellar results on this year’s Gault Millau listings. Just when you thought he’d gone for good, chef extraordinaire Martin Dalsass teams with the Bernerhof to welcome a brand-new concept restaurant, Basta by Dalsass. Handsome is as handsome does I’m especially proud that our cover and Profile interview feature my idea of superwoman – Homayra Sellier. The fascinating, passionate founder and director of Innocence in Danger, Sellier has woven the non-governmental organisation closely into the hearts of Saanenland residents. The charity works tirelessly with sexually abused children in six countries, in addition to doing high-level advocacy work for political and social change. Sellier took time out of her busy schedule to sit with GSTAADLIFE, hoping her in-

terview might inspire you to get involved in the cause. And if you do, your acts of kindness might be rewarded handsomely – Santa Claus, er, Samichlaus is coming to town. See our quick guide to celebrating the December 6th holiday of St Nicholas Day, where good behaviour earns you a gift, and bad behaviour a spanking. Parents, this is your last chance to use idle threats without guilt before Christmas rolls around. You don’t even have to do the spanking – there’s Schmutzli for that! A sparkling finish Last Word columnist Mandolyna Theodoracopulos gives us a glimpse at why diamonds are a girl’s best friend. Just in time for the holiday season in Gstaad, where sparklers are sure to grace the necks of guests and Gstaaderinnen alike. But diamonds aren’t the only sparklers around here. As grey November winds to a close and this issue goes off to the printers, I’m happy to report that it’s finally snowing. Not just a fine dusting but fat, wet snowflakes. Quick, somebody fire up the cacquelon and grate the Gruyère. Fondue? Why certainly! Best regards, Alexis Munier – Editor in Chief

at www.gstaadlife.com

Twitter: @GSTAADLIFE · Facebook: Gstaad Life · Youtube: GstaadLife GSTAADLIFE, Anzeiger von Saanen, Kirchstrasse 7, P.O. Box 201, 3780 Gstaad, Phone: 033 748 88 74, Fax: 033 748 88 84, info@gstaadlife.ch, www.gstaadlife.com, www.gstaadlife.ch Management Board: Frank Müller Publisher: Frank Müller, frank.mueller@gstaadlife.ch Editor in Chief: Alexis Munier Contributors: Mandolyna Theodoracopulos, Januaria Piromallo Layout: Arlette Bütschi Printing: Müller Marketing & Druck AG, Gstaad Advertising: Peter Kuntze-Schneider, peter.kuntze@gstaadlife.ch, Phone: 033 744 46 64 Subscriptions: Flurina Mutzner, flurina.mutzner@mdruck.ch, Phone: 033 748 88 74


Sir Roger proves there’s Moore to Gstaad than meets the eye. DANO • www.dano-cartoon.com Cartoons for Newspapers, Parties, Events

Contents 5



Letter from the Editor


Caricature by DANO


Local News Parkhaus Saanen Open for Business


Launch of Innovation Prize – Prix de Gessenay


Cantonal Approval for Le Rosey’s Expansion Plan


A New Ambulance for Air Glaciers


Saanen’s Schoolhouse Midway Through Renovations


Profile Homayra Sellier – Innocence in Danger



Traditions St Nicholas Day in Switzerland


Business Basta by Dalsass Opens to Rave Reviews


Gstaad Palace Releases 100th Anniversary Commemorative Book


Saanenland Scores Big in 2013 Gault Millau Guide


Sports & Leisure Gstaad Yacht Club Summer Season Summary


Gstaad Living Thieves Menace the Saanenland’s Local Businesses



Lifestyle Calendario di Meo Ball Brings Gstaad Residents to Warsaw


Entertainment Events Calendar


Last Word M. Theodoracopulos – Keeping Up with the Diamonds


Cover Photo: Roméo Balancourt · Paris Photography 5, Avenue Rodin · 75116 Paris T +33 (0)612 954 784 · romeo@romeobalancourt.fr · www.romeobalancourt.fr


Local News

Parkhaus Saanen Finally Open for Business BY: GSTAADLIFE

They say good things come to those who wait. They also say good things come in threes. For Saanen, this is doubly true. The village celebrated the opening of its new Parkhaus, an underground parking garage, on October 8, 2013. It was the third step in a three-part transformation plan for Saanen. In the summer of 2010, the Saanen bypass was opened, which diverted through traffic through a tunnel. The main street was then closed to cars, making it a safe, traffic-free pedestrian zone.

A parking garage fit for a king Boasting more than one hundred public parking places, the Parkhaus also contains private spaces that may be rented monthly or yearly. Drivers will appreciate their large width, at 2.6 metres each, and an overhead clearance of 2.55 metres, perfect for larger SUVs and the region’s ubiquitous Range Rovers.

The big day Opening festivities drew a crowd of hundreds to the village. Emotions ran high as Heinz Brand, Gemeinderat (City Councilman), performed the ribbon-cutting ceremony with tears in his eyes. But Brand was just one of the project’s planners who were moved by the opening.

The Parkhaus is undoubtedly one of the biggest construction projects in Saanen’s history. Approximately 15,000m3 of land was excavated and 3500 tonnes of reinforced concrete were used for the garage. Costs amounted to a whopping 14.3 million francs, but this was fed back into the local economy – 80% of the contractors were from the Saanenland.

“I have been waiting eight years, four months and thirteen days for this moment,” says Aldo Kropf, Gemeindepräsident (City Council President), recalling the day the council approved the initial motion to create more public parking.

Photo: zVg

Arthur Reuteler, Heinz Brand and Manfred Weilguni celebrate the Parkhaus’ grand opening.

Still to come As of opening day, there were still a few finishing touches left to put on the Parkhaus. The restrooms, while functional, were awaiting partitions between the toilets. The display cases and windows had not yet been filled, but were offered to the merchants of Saanen at a reduced rate for the first six months. This was to make up for some of the inconvenience they suffered due to the two years construction time. But that’s not all for the ambitious village of Saanen. The next project includes a further transformation of the main street into a true public space, replete with cobblestones, fountains and greenery. Smalltown shoppers couldn’t ask for more.

Gstaad 2020+ and Partners Create First Innovation Prize BY: GSTAADLIFE

The “Innovation Working Group” of association Gstaad 2020+ has announced it will give out the region’s first Innovation Prize in March 2014. The Prix de Gessenay will honour local innovations that contribute to the positive economic development of the community. Individuals, companies, clubs, schools and other groups are eligible, under the categories of Business, Agriculture, Tourism and Society, Sports, and Culture. Projects must be completed to be considered for any of the three top prizes, which are valued at 3,000 CHF, 1,500 CHF and

Photo: zVg


1,000 CHF. However, a special “Excellent Innovative Idea” prize will also be given to projects still in the design or implementation phase. Sponsors for the prize include Saanen Bank, as well as Chaletbau Matti and Chopard. GPL Switzerland designed the logo and corporate identity, while Anzeiger von Saanen publisher Müller Marketing Druck has agreed to cover the cost of printed matter and advertising. Gstaad Palace will host the awards ceremony. Applications require a description of the innovation and may be found on www. prixdegessenay.ch. The deadline for entry is January 31, 2014.

“Innovation Working Group” of Gstaad 2020+

Local News

Le Rosey Gains Another Approval on Road to Expansion BY: GSTAADLIFE

In the latest move toward Institut Le Rosey’s campus expansion, the Canton of Bern has given long-awaited approval on the building site permit and street renovation. In April 2013, voters here in the Saanenland approved the plans for reconstructing Hubelstrasse, the street running up to the proposed campus. Hubelstrasse, which no longer meets current safety requirements, will be widened and repaved to accommodate the expected increase in pedestrian and motor traffic, including space for passing agricultural vehicles. Erli bird catches the worm At that time, Erli, the future campus location and building site, was also given the go

ahead by the public. The applications were then sent for approval by the Canton, which had to take into account the many objections filed against the project. The objections stem mostly from the households in the immediate region and large Swiss organisations which protect the environment. Many objectors would prefer that Schönried, with its small village core in the valley, be the site. Many also disapprove of the plan to transform what is now undeveloped land into commercial property. A Rosey by any other name Defenders of the project say the compound would be no different than a luxury hotel complex in size and look. Le Rosey’s new campus will also serve as the housing site for all male students, who are currently based in

Gstaad. When completed, individual chalets in a small village-like setting.will host the entire student body. Male students will continue to board in Gstaad itself at the Sportzentrum until the new campus and residences are finished. The elite boarding school has been active in Gstaad during the winter season for over 100 years, and maintains close ties with the Saanenland. Proponents say that keeping the school as a partner in the region is essential for the local economy and tourism industry. Worst case scenario The last step before construction can begin in earnest may very well be the Swiss Federal Court, if opponents wish to continue their fight to stop the project.

Second Ambulance Now in Service for Winter 2013-2014 Season Air Glaciers has confirmed it will again operate services during the 2013 – 2014 winter season. Ambulance service last year included a second vehicle which was entirely financed by the “Friends of Saanan Hospital” group. This year, the Municipality of Saanen has been asked to contribute equally. The total of maintaining a second ambulance is expected to have fixed costs upwards of 120,000 CHF.

Hospital which ceased operations last year. This central location will cater to the large winter tourist population in the Gstaad-area. The ambulance will bring patients to Zweisimmen Hospital, the closest cantonal option.

Though only 10 kilometres from Saanen, reaching Zweisimmen Hospital in winter requires an approximately 20 – 30 minute drive over the often-treacherous Saanenmöser pass.

Photo: zVg


“We are convinced of the need for a second ambulance after going over last year’s summary report,” says Daniel Matti, Vice President of “Friends of of Saanen Hospital”. The primary ambulance will, as customary, be stationed in Saanenmöser, while the second will be stationed in the former Saanen

Air Glaciers provides helicopter and ambulance emergency service

John F Kennedy International School Moves into Saanen‘s Historic Schoolhouse BY: GSTAADLIFE

Significant parts of the renovation of Saanen’s historic schoolhouse are now complete. The John F. Kennedy International School has held its first classes in the building.

Two of the four floors are finished and currently being equipped with modern amenities. By Christmas all secondary school classes will have moved to their new classrooms. The municipality of Saanen gave the 130year old schoolhouse to the John F Kennedy

Foundation, on the condition that it was renovated and modernised. The total budget for completing the lower floors has not yet been achieved and the school is working hard to secure the funds and donations required to finance the completion of the project.





Homayra Sellier came to Paris in 1975 as a refugee, fleeing war-torn Iran with her identical twin sister Golareh. But in the magical City of Light, Sellier caught a glimpse of the dark heart of underage prostitution and child trafficking – and decided to do something about it. She married and settled down to raise a family in Switzerland. But Sellier never forgot the abused children of Paris. Her call to duty came with UNESCO’s implementation of the January 1999 Action Plan, which was designed to dismantle and disband any paedophilia-related networks identified during its “Child exploitation, pornography involving children and paedophilia on the Internet” meeting.

Sellier, who speaks four languages, put the marketing and PR skills she learned in Paris at CELSA to work to fight the exploitation of children everywhere by founding Innocence in Danger (IID). As the organisation developed throughout five countries, Switzerland, France, Germany, USA and Colombia, she pushed to make the group a non-governmental organisation (NGO) separate from UNESCO, allowing her to maintain closer control over IID’s activities. Now one of the largest privately funded NGOs worldwide, Sellier has transformed Innocence in Danger into a beacon of light for abused children and parents in their darkest hour.

GSTAADLIFE: Your personal story reads like a thriller. Tell us how you came to Paris. Homayra Sellier: My twin sister, Golareh, and I left war-torn Iran with just a suitcase in

hand. We thought we’d be away one week, but I never set foot there again. We settled at a so-called ‘safe house’ in Paris and were surprised to discover how dangerous the city was for two young women – rank with underage prostitution and drug use. We managed to avoid getting into harm’s way, but friends were not so lucky.

GL: When and how did you hear the ‘calling’ to get involved? HS: Two events changed my life and guided me to my current work. One was the suicide of a close friend who left a letter for me. She was among those sent to Paris, like I was, when martial law was implemented in Iran – but she fell into the hands of predators. The last lines of her letter read: “If only you were here now; if only I had someone to talk to. If only I could tell my story in safety, I would

Profile not do what I am going to do. I want to live but I am on my own, far from home … I am alone and scared.” The second was a wonderful gala dinner in Gstaad. When I got home I read a document that had been handed out about the rape, murder and disappearance of children in Belgium in the “affaire Dutroux”. (NDLR: Marc Dutroux is a Belgian serial killer and rapist found guilty of abducting six young girls, four of whom he murdered, from 1995 – 1996)

Once I had met a few victims of sexual abuse and their parents, I could no longer remain a silent witness – in my mind, by doing nothing, I would become an accomplice.

camp is to alleviate the shame that typically accompanies sexual abuse. The children may speak openly about their experiences if they so choose. The region provides a safe place for the children to relax and enjoy themselves without worry, which can activate self-healing. But the support doesn’t stop there: We follow the children all year long; we attend court with them; we review their treatment plans; we continue to work with them until they are no longer minors.


One I had met a few victims of sexual abuse and their parents, I could no longer remain a silent witness – in my mind, by doing nothing, I would become an accomplice. One thing led to another and my convictions and commitment to this cause only grew stronger.

HS: We use the term paedo-criminal. We aren’t talking about just a sexual preference – sexual acts with children are crimes. The wounds of abuse are both physical and psychological, and can last a lifetime. For example, the vast majority of paedo-criminals were victims of abuse themselves.

But we are equally dedicated to fostering real political change and awareness. We are very active in our advocacy and lobbying activities – recent campaigns include an effort to take away the French literary prize ‘prix Renaudot’ from Gabriel Matzneff, author of the essay “Les Moins de Seize Ans”, or “On those younger than sixteen years old”. Honouring Matzneff, who has admitted to sexual relationships with children as young as eight years old, is a disgrace. It only serves to validate his actions and could encourage others with the same beliefs to act on their desires, which are criminal under French law.

GL: How pervasive is the problem of child pornography?

GL: IID is one of the world’s largest private charities. How do you receive funding?

HS: Child pornography is much more present than most people realise – child pornography is a 24 billion dollar annual business worldwide. Studies in the US and Canada show one in three children has been contacted online by a paedo-criminal and there are over 800 known active networks. With the anonymous nature of the internet, sharing child pornography has never been easier. My first book published in 2000, Internet paradis pour pédophiles (Internet, Paradise for Paedophiles), explores this issue in depth.

HS: We count on personal and corporate donations to fund our many activities. We’re lucky to have such a dedicated group of volunteers and such generous donors.

GL: IID no longer uses the term ‘paedophile’. Can you explain?

GL: How does IID help? HS: Innocence in Danger (IID) is one of the largest privately funded non-governmental organisations in the world. We take care of a victim’s needs from A to Z while carrying out major prevention campaigns. IID is present in six countries – Switzerland, France, Germany, the USA, the UK and Colombia, where we provide legal, medical and social services to victims and their parents.

GL: Why Gstaad? HS: I have been coming to the Saanenland for decades now. The beauty of the landscape, the fresh air, the friendly locals – I feel very much at home here. Local partner Le Rosey is big-hearted enough to provide us with a chalet to host our Innocence in Danger summer camps. In fact the camps would not be possible without their help.

GL: Tell us about the camps you run. HS: Each year, we invite sexually abused children whose cases we follow in the courts, and their protective authority (parents, foster parents, government officials) to participate in a weeklong camp. The main goal of the

GL: Your extraordinary life has also been marked by personal tragedy, with the loss of both your husband and sister within just a few years. How do you find the strength to continue your work, even in difficult times? HS: My work for Innocence in Danger is my passion. It fuels everything I do – I sometimes work 20 hours a day. If only one child is saved because of my life’s work, then it’s all worth it. Losing my twin sister and my husband (both of whom were big supporters of my work and were committed to the cause) left an immense emptiness in my life, an immeasurable pain. My twin was the only person with whom I could share memories and cry over our losses. My husband had been my protector since the day we met. Losing them both was like losing the ground under my feet. The pain will always be there, but my work, our children, and for all whom I have become a voice – a hope, a bridge to leave their sexual assaults behind – pulled me out of my misery and forced me to move on.

GL: What projects are currently in the works? HS: I am currently working with a screenwriter in the US to develop a feature film and book that explore the topic of child trafficking and sexual abuse. While this won’t be a memoir or biography, we’ll weave in real events from my life and work. We want the film to inform, educate and inspire the audience, rather than depressing or sickening them. We hope it will encourage them to speak out about child sexual abuse and get involved in our cause. I have also been asked to consult on a TV movie based on a true story IID followed closely. IID will host its annual charity dinner in February in Gstaad. I hope to count on the support of all our loyal followers and volunteers.


Photo: Photocase.com



Lean Your Ear this Way, Kiddies – St Nick is Coming to Town BY: ALEXIS MUNIER

Carrot or stick? That’s every parent’s disciplinary dilemma – myself included. Carrots mean my kids eat too much candy. Sticks mean empty threats I usually fail to enforce. But lately I’ve found an unexpected ally in, of all people, jolly old St Nick. Thanks to our favourite saint, I’ve stumbled on a brilliant ploy for ensuring good behaviour: St Nicholas Day. As the beloved date approaches, Swiss children are on their best behaviour. My half-Swiss youngsters have now been fully indoctrinated. Any tantrums before the holiday and they could be snacking only on carrots, instead of sweets. This is stick enough – or is it? Good cop, bad Claus The holiday, held December 6th, honours the death of St Nicholas of Myra, a generous bishop known for his kindness and gift giving towards children in the 11th century. But anyone who’s ever seen Law and Order knows a little fear goes a long way. So in the last century, St Nicholas paired up with a mean-spirited companion, Schmutzli, with whom he cultivated a strategic ‘good cop, bad cop’ working relationship. This dynamic duo is known as St Nicholas and Père Fouettard (from fouet, whip) in French or Samichlaus and Schmutzli in Ger-

man. While St Nicholas does dress in red and sport a long beard, he is fit and trim, unlike his American Santa counterpart. St Nick comes bearing fruit, nuts, gingerbread, chocolate and occasionally a small gift, which he gives out to deserving children. The St Nicholas (broom)stick Those undeserving must suffer the wrath of Schmutzli, who carries a broomstick for thrashing those who misbehave. ( I am loathe to use the broomstick as leverage with my kids, as I’d rather they think highly of this excellent cleaning instrument, as I lengthen their list of chores as they grow older.) While the racist undertones are debatable, Schmutzli does wear blackface. (In his defense, his name comes from the word Schmutz, meaning dirt.) The tradition can be traced to winter festivals and processions which aimed to drive out demons and unsavoury spirits. Note to parents: Any talk of demons will terrify a toddler. Any improvements in behaviour will be offset by nocturnal bedwetting. You say St Nick, I say Santa But bi-culturalism has its advantages. Thankfully, when December 7th rolls around and the threat of Schmutzli has past, my kids’ half-American side can panic over whether their good behaviour will result in presents handmade by elves and delivered via sleigh by Santa Claus on Dec 25th.

That is, if he can find us in the Saanenland. With eyes wide as saucers, my little one asked, “But Mom, can American Santa find us in Switzerland?” “Duh,” her five-year old sister answered, “Google maps.”

Selection of St Nicholas Day Events Thursday, Dec. 5: Carols by Candlelight All are welcome to join in the fun singing Christmas favourites led by the JFK International School Choir at Saanen Church. 19:30 pm. Friday, Dec. 6: Christmas Market in Saanen This varied market is the perfect spot for finding those unique holidays gifts your friends and family will love. 3:30-8 pm Friday, Dec. 6: Santa Claus in Gstaad Santa will lead a walk from the Posthotel Rössli to the Kapälliplatz. 5 pm. Friday, Dec. 6: Santa Claus in Saanen Santa will lead a walk from the train station to the Molkereiplatz. 5 pm. Friday, Dec. 6: Santa Claus in Turbach Santa will present a small gift to every child in attendance. 6 pm. Friday, Dec. 6 to Friday, Jan. 4: The Hausweberei-Heimatwerk Saanen hosts an exhibition entitled ‘Nordic Christmas’. M – F: 8:30 – 12, 14 – 6:30 pm, Sat: 8:30 – 5 pm, Sun (from 15.12) 2 – 5 pm


Wunderchef Martin Dalsass Opens Basta! BY: GSTAADLIFE

Martin Dalsass celebrated a Saanenland homecoming Friday, November 22th with the opening of his newest culinary creation, Basta by Dalsass. Located at the Bernerhof Hotel, Basta has been serving up Italian fare for the past several years. Now, the restaurant has reopened with a brand-new concept and cuisine. While Dalsass won’t always be present, he has

trained chef Loris Meot in his techniques and together they have prepared a menu which ensures Dalsass’s signature dishes are prepared with the staff’s skilled hands. Dalsass, who originally hails from Südtirol, spent five years at Gstaad’s Grand Bellevue in the 1980’s, and then came back to run the local Chlösterli from 2006 to 2010. Since that time, he and wife Lorena have achieved further success with restaurant Talvo, located in St Moritz.

Known for his light, simple Mediterranean cuisine, Dalsass prides himself on using only the freshest ingredients and quality olive oil. The new Basta menu features such delicious offerings as those served up at Friday’s opening event – crunchy, slightly fruity Sicilian olives and grilled octopus with plum tomatoes served over tender white beans. Which just goes to prove that the Michelin-starred, Gault Millau Chef of the Year 2001 Dalsass hasn’t lost his touch.

100 Years Gstaad Palace Now Available in Hardback BY: GSTAADLIFE

The Gstaad Palace began celebrations of its 100th birthday in style, releasing a commemorative book entitled 100 Years Gstaad Palace. Revealed at the hotel Baur au Lac in Zurich for the first time, the hardcover volume contains dozens of historic photographs along with anecdotes from years past. It takes readers on a journey from the ‘grand dame’s’ opening December 8th, 1913 to today, showing the evolution of the Palace as well as the evolution of luxury hotellerie itself. Editor Esther Hürlimann worked closely with former hotel director Ernst Scherz and

his son and current director Andrea Scherz on the limited-edition book; the project took researchers over three years to complete. “The Palace played an essential role in developing Switzerland’s tourism industry,” says Hürlimann. “The biggest challenge was to keep 100 years of history to a reasonable 200 pages.” 100 Years Gstaad Palace appears in both German and English versions and is available for purchase at the hotel or on www. amazon.com. The Gstaad Palace will also host a series of events in celebration this December to hon-

Gstaad Grasps Gault Milllau 2013 Gold BY: GSTAADLIFE

High scores in the 2013 Gault Millau Switzerland rankings have earned the Saanenland billing as a true gourmet zone. Eighteen local restaurants are now on the celebrated annual list, which ranks eateries from 1 to 20, the highest score. Restaurants which earn less than 12 points do not usually appear in the guidebook. Of the 23 18-point restaurants in the nation, two are located in Gstaad. Sharing the honour with the seasoned Robert Speth’s Chesery is The Alpina Gstaad’s Sommet, led by Marcus G. Lindner. Chef Takumi Murase from The Alpina’s Megu

our its anniversary. All are invited to their Open Days December 7th and 8th which are sure to prove fun for the whole famly.

earned 16 points, while the Bernerhof’s Blun-Chi earned its first Gault Millau mention with 13 points for its modern Chinese cuisine. In total, the Saanenland now boasts two 18-point and 15-point rankings, five at 16 points, four at both 14 and 13 points and one at 12 points. Bon appetit! Gault Millau’s Gold Standard Gault Millau was created in the 1960’s by two French restaurant critics, Henri Gault and Christian Millau. Their guides rival Michelin, which favors classic haute cuisine, while Gault Millau prefers nouvelle cuisine. The original founders never gave out the top score of 20, as they claimed perfection was unattainable.

The Alpina Gstaad, Sommet Chesery Gstaad

18 18

The Alpina Gstaad, Megu Le Grand Chalet Gstaad, Bagatelle Gstaad Palace, Le Grill Hotel Sonnenhof Saanen, Sonnenhof Hotel Alpenrose Schönried, Azalée

16 16 16 16 16

Grandhotel Park Gstaad, Le Grand Restaurant 15 Wellness & Spa-Hotel Ermitage Schönried, Ermitage-Stube 15 Le Grand Bellevue Gstaad, Leonard’s Golfclub Gstaad-Saanenland Saanenmöser Golfhotel Les Hauts de Gstaad & Spa Saanenmöser, Belle Epoque Romantik Hotel Hornberg Saanenmöser

14 14 14 14

Bernerhof Gstaad, Blun-Chi Bernerhof Gstaad, Stafel Rialto Gstaad 16 Art Bar Restaurant Saanen

13 13 13 13

La Vinoteca Schönried




Sports & Leisure

Summer 2013 Gstaad Yacht Club Season Summary BY: GSTAAD YACHT CLUB PHOTO: GSTAAD YACHT CLUB

Summer weather was quite unpredictable; every condition possible – rain, hail, fog, heavy winds – was experienced. Yet GYC children’s events proved a resounding success. The Gstaad Yacht Club’s (GYC) junior Optimist program 2013 came to a fantastic close in September. Together with the juniors from the Sailing Club Neuhaus-Interlaken (SCNI) and the Yacht Club Spiez (YCSp) they joined in a junior sailing championship on Lake Thun. Of the two dozen sailors, six were GYC juniors.

to manoeuvre their boats around the course set and those more advanced improved their technical skills. With higher wind conditions, the coordination between tiller and main sail (called a boom) is important, namely ducking as it sweeps across the deck to either side during tacking or jibing (windward and leeward manoeuvres, respectively). Whether trainings took place with high winds, no winds, calm waters or big waves, the sailors learned that cooperation and respect are key at all times, in all conditions.

Should the “Opti” capsize, the children now know how to stay calm, pull the boat upright and carry on sailing. This was the third summer that the GYC, together with the Sailing Club Neuhaus have completed a junior sailing program. The GYC team are already looking forward to the coming season and hope to welcome new children interested in sailing to the training. Those interested in taking part should contact the club secretariat at: secretary@gstaadyachtclub.com or by phone: 033 748 01 90.

Thanks to a constant light breeze in Spiez’s cove, two races could be sailed. Depending on age and ability, the juniors started in three different classes of boat; Optimists, Laser R’s and RS Tera’s. All three participating clubs sponsored prizes for each child. In the beginners Optimist category the GYC Juniors Lilyan Hählen from Gstaad won in front of Emilie Tschanz. Sophia Zeller should also be proud of her efforts, as she competed for the first time in the more advanced Optimist group. Trainers Dominic and Dominic are happy with improvement each of the children made. The children new to sailing were able

GYC Juniors celebrate summer success.

Gstaad Living

Thieves Menace the Saanenland’s Local Businesses BY: ALEXIS MUNIER

A string of robberies has swept through the Saanenland, disquieting shop owners, residents and guests. Sources have confirmed at least three breakins in November, with businesses Drogerie Jaggi in Saanen and undisclosed locations in Gstaad and Zweisimmen all victimised. (Fail) safe needed Peter Jaggi of Drogerie Jaggi says his shop was attacked during the night of November 11th. After breaking through the heavy, electric front door, the perpetrators managed to remove the 60-kilo safe through the back door. An undisclosed amount of cash was

inside, though Jaggi insists that amounts are always kept low for security reasons.

cluding companies, are not always disclosed unless there is a stong public need.

“I’m just glad they didn’t do more damage,” sighs Jaggi, the second-generation owner of the drogerie. “We’ll have to repair the door and add extra reinforcement to reduce the possibility of force entry. Still, if thieves want to get in, they’ll find a way.”

Safety in numbers The Saanenland maintains a relatively low crime rate compared to other areas in the canton. Statistics from 2012 show approximately 40 criminal incidents per 1000 inhabitants, four times less than in the city of Bern. Yet, in addition to local businesses, the many chalets that often sit empty are also at risk.

Word of the crimes spread like wildfire in the region, yet there was no mention of the acts in the media, who count on weekly Canton Bern police media bulletins for such information. The starting point for a media investigation came through an anonymous tip. According to police, Swiss privacy laws are very strict and therefore crime victims, in-

“Better safe than sorry,” says James Otigbah of Excel Security Solutions, which provides many local shops and chalets with security services of varying degrees. “We may be in Switzerland, but security cannot be taken for granted.”


Vini, Vidi, Vici – They Came, They Warsawed, They Conquered made by the costume designer of the Teatro San Carlo in Naples. That’s amore Art critic Vittorio Sgarbi presented an exhibition of Renaissance painter Guercino along with the 13th annual Calendario di Meo, featuring works by noted photographer Massimo Listri. While Cossack dancers in full costume and guards on horseback dueled it out, brilliant Neapolitan pizzaiolo Paolo Tortora stole the show.

L to R, Gstaad visitors Principessa Marina Pignatelli, Federica Balestra and Minnie Bormioli. TEXT & PHOTOS BY: JANUARIA PIROMALLO

Even in the off-season, many of the Saanenland’s close-knit residents and seasonal visitors find time to enjoy the high life together. For the Italian community, the yearly bal en tête – “Head Ball” – thrown by longtime Gstaad-lover Generoso di Meo is an autumn highlight.

were frequent Saanenland visitors Count Gelasio Gaetani Lovatelli, Italian Senator Jas Gawronski, and even H.H. Prince Pierre d’Aremberg, who flew in with all his family just for the occasion. As is customary for a bal en tête, headwear ranged from top hats replete with rabbit inside to feathery hair masks to glittering turbans. Host di Meo sported a crown of corks

Tortola greeted guests from a refrigerated truck parked at the entrance, which contained enough pizza dough to feed hungry guests upon arrival. Piping hot “mipis” – mini pizzas – were served straight from the special ovens brought in for the event. Watching guests in tuxedos and ball gowns eating pizza proved this crowd, as famous or rich as it might have been, could still get down and dirty if the right mozzarella is at hand. Same time next year Just a year to wait until the launch of the Calendario di Meo 2015 – and the next party. Plans are already being made in London, where the festivities will be held at the Royal Academy of London. But what about the Saanenland? When someone suggests Gstaad, di Meo smiles and responds, “Why not?”

One of the most respected wine producers in Italy, Di Meo presents his annual calendar at a grand party thrown in a different location each year. The Cal, as it is known, features a careful blend of historic paintings, drawings, and scenes from the designated city. The list of beautiful cities that have hosted the Cal include Paris, New York, Madrid, Rome, Palermo, Berlin and Marrakesh. This year, the celebration took place in Warsaw. Fasten your headgear, please The festivities lasted three days, taking place in several rounds. First, a gathering and cocktail reception in the heart of the city. Next, a visit and lunch at the Royal Palace, called the “Versailles of Warsaw.” Thirdly: The ball itself in the National Museum of Warsaw, a post-Soviet gem flounced by countless marbled columns. More than 800 guests were in attendance, many from the aristocracy and international jet-set. Gstaad local Libana Obayda was there, as

Count Gelasio Gaetani, right, with friends Paola and Claudio Garavaglia.



Entertainment Events Calendar Friday, November 29, 2013 through Friday, December 20, 2013 Sat., Nov 30 Zweisimmen Jazz Concert Nicole Herzog and Stewy von Wattenwyl Group perform blues, jazz and swing favourites. Catholic Church, 8:30 pm, 30 CHF www.zweisimmenjazz.ch

Wed., Dec 4


Lecture on regional snakes In Swiss German, Kultur Blankenburg, 8 pm www.blankenburg.ch Fri., Dec 6

St Stephan

Chlousemärit Dorf, 5 pm

Sat., Nov 30, Sun., Dec 1, Tues., Dec 3 Zweisimmen Concert and Theater Chörli Reichenstein Oeschseite in Swiss German. Gemeindesaal, 8:15 pm www.reichenstein.ch Sat., Nov 30 Zweisimmen Bar Festival RnB, Hip Hop, House and Elektro music Markthalle, 10 pm www.secret-events.ch Sun., Dec 1 Advent concert Saanen Church, 3 pm


www.lenk-simmental.ch Fri., Dec 6, Sat., Dec 7, Sat.,Dec 14


ForellenSee Bar Events Various concerts www.forellensee.ch Fri., Dec 6 – Sun., Dec 8


18th Annual Football Tournament Sat., Dec 7 - Sun., Dec 8 Tyrolean Evening

Wed., Dec 4 Gsteig Concert and Theater Jodler Klub Gsteig, Turnhalle, 8:15 pm www.jodlerklubgsteig.ch

Tues., Dec 10 Organ Concert Songs, dance, text, 7:45 pm


Fri., Dec 13 Community Assembly Hotel Landhaus, 8 pm


Sat., Dec 14 Talent Show Turnhalle, 7:30 pm, www.gstaad.ch Sat., Dec 14 Christmas Theater In Swiss German Dorf, 7:30 pm



Important Numbers

Die Jungen Zellberger Hotel Landhaus, 8:30 pm

Sat., Dec 7


Advent Concert Männerchor Saanen Church, 8:15 pm Sun., Dec 8




Tues., Dec 3 Zweisimmen Lecture Series – Swiss Red Cross In Swiss German Kirchgemeindehaus, 7:30 pm www.beocare.ch

Sun., Dec 8 Chirstmas Market At the Hotel Sonegg



Christmas Concert with Cantate Chor Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle Evangelical Reform Church, 7 pm

Ambulance 144, Police 117, Fire 118 Medical emergency 0900 57 67 47 Dental emergency 033 729 26 26 Dental Care Center 033 744 15 45 Police station 033 356 84 31 Car accident 033 744 88 80 Zweisimmen Hospital 033 729 26 26 Château-d’Oex Hospital 026 923 43 43 Veterinarian 033 748 08 58/ 033 744 06 61 For additional useful numbers please visit www.gstaadlife.ch/useful-numbers.html

Rotary Club Gstaad-Saanenland Meetings every Monday 12h00 Palace Hotel Gstaad (033 / 748 50 00), President: Rot. Christian Sieber (026 / 924 45 25) Program: Rot. Pascal Rey (026 / 925 10 00) Lions Club Gstaad-Saanenland Meetings each first and third week of the month on Thursdays, either at 12 pm for lunch or at 7 pm for dinner. Meetings in Ermitage, Wellness & Spa-Hotel, Schönried, Tel. 033 748 60 60. For details and program contact Philippe Werren, president, 033 748 84 00, philippe.werren@werrenag.ch, https://gstaad-saanenland.lionsclub.ch Soroptimist International President: Franziska Brändli, Tel. 079 636 13 33 Program: Gabi Thoenen, Tel. 033 748 11 11

www.gstaadlife.ch Church Services St Peter’s Anglican Church English-Speaking, Château-d’Oex Service every Sunday, 17.30 pm www.allsaints.ch/chateaudoex Contact: cliveatkinson@bluewin.ch


GSTAADLIFE is available in these Hotels **** * GSTAAD PALACE +41 (0)33 748 50 00, info@palace.ch

** * HOTEL DES ALPES BY BRUNO KERNEN +41 (0)33 748 04 50, info@desalpes.ch

**** * GRAND HOTEL PARK +41 (0)33 748 98 00, info@grandhotelpark.ch

*** HOTEL BELLERIVE +41 (0)33 748 88 33, info@bellerive-gstaad.ch

**** * LE GRAND BELLEVUE +41 (0)33 748 00 00, info@bellevue-gstaad.ch

*** HOTEL ALPENLAND +41 (0)33 765 91 34, hotel@alpenland.ch

**** * THE ALPINA GSTAAD +41 (0)33 888 98 88, info@thealpinagstaad.ch Your confidence is our highest commitment

Gstaad 033 748 77 88 · Feutersoey 033 755 19 51 www.raiffeisen.ch/saanenland

***** ERMITAGE WELLNESS & SPA HOTEL +41 (0)33 748 04 30, welcome@ermitage.ch *** * HOTEL ALPENROSE +41 (0)33 748 91 91, info@hotelalpenrose.ch *** * GOLFHOTEL LES HAUTS DE GSTAAD +41 (0)33 748 68 68, mail@golfhotel.ch


**** HOTEL LE GRAND CHALET +41 (0)33 748 76 76, hotel@grandchalet.ch **** HOTEL ARC-EN-CIEL +41 (0)33 748 43 43, info@arc-en-ciel.ch

15 February 2013 - Issue 2 – CHF 3.50 excl VAT

Advertise in GSTAADLIFE and you’ll reach a diverse audience. No matter what your product, service or company, you‘re sure to be noticed by chalet owners, hotel guests, Anzeiger von Saanen subscribers and many more. Issue dates: Friday, December 20, 2013 Friday, January 24, 2014 Friday, February 14, 2014

Your ad here in GSTAADLIFE Further information: www.gstaadlife.ch

**** HOTEL BERNERHOF +41 (0)33 748 88 44, info@bernerhof-gstaad.ch **** HOTEL CHRISTIANIA +41 (0)33 744 51 21, info@christiania.ch **** HOTEL GSTAADERHOF: +41 (0)33 748 63 63, info@gstaaderhof.ch **** HOTEL OLDEN +41 (0)33 748 49 50, info@hotelolden.com

*** HOTEL ALPHORN +41 (0)33 748 45 45, office@gstaad-alphorn.ch *** HOTEL KERNEN +41 (0)33 748 40 20, info@hotel-kernen.ch *** HOTEL LANDHAUS +41 (0)33 748 40 40, info@landhaus-saanen.ch *** HOTEL SAANERHOF +41 (0)33 744 15 15, hotel@saanerhof.ch ** * HOTEL SOLSANA +41 (0)33 748 94 94, info@solsana.ch ** * HOTEL SPITZHORN +41 (0)33 748 41 41, spitzhorn@spitzhorn.ch *** POSTHOTEL RÖSSLI +41 (0)33 748 42 42, info@posthotelroessli.ch *** SAANEWALD LODGE +41 (0)33 744 69 69, info@saanewald-lodge.ch *** SPORTHOTEL VICTORIA +41 (0)33 748 44 22, info@victoria-gstaad.ch ** LE PETIT RELAIS +41 (0)33 744 35 65, info@lepetitrelais.ch HOTEL BÄREN +41 (0)33 755 10 33, welcome@baerengsteig.ch

**** ROMANTIK HOTEL HORNBERG +41 (0)33 748 66 88, willkommen@hotel-hornberg.ch

GASTHOF GELTENHORN +41 (0)33 765 30 22, info@gasthof-geltenhorn.ch

**** HOTEL STEIGENBERGER +41 (0)33 748 64 64, gstaad@steigenberger.ch

HOTEL VIKTORIA +41 (0)33 755 10 34, hotel_viktoria@bluewin.ch

** * HOTEL ALPINE LODGE +41 (0)33 748 41 51, info@alpinelodge.ch

HOTEL WILDHORN +41 (0)33 765 30 12, info@hotel-wildhorn.ch

Photo: Fotolia.com

Last Word

Keeping Up with the Diamonds BY: MANDOLYNA THEODORACOPULOS

Diamonds, diamonds, diamonds! Classy women love them. Bimbos love them. Jewelers love them. Warlords love them. I love them, you love them. Who doesn’t love them? Diamonds are shiny, they are pretty and they are a hot commodity. They are also a great investment – if they’re big and beautiful. This year the “Pink Star” diamond sold in Geneva for $83 million, breaking the $46-million record from 2010. A flawless white diamond sold in Hong Kong for $30.6 million. But what are diamonds? To begin with, they are a form of carbon. They take at least a billion years to develop at a very high temperature in the Earth’s mantle, brought to the surface by magma. Black diamonds come from space and can be found in South America and Africa. Both kinds are made of solid stuff. The word “diamond” comes from the Greek for “unbreakable”. Humans discovered diamonds along rivers in India more than 3,000 years ago. They

were used for engraving and to decorate religious icons. Ever since they have been coveted gifts, adornments, and tools. Today 80% of mined diamonds are for industrial use. De Beers held its first rough diamond sale in Botswana and relocated the De Beers sorting and sales facility from London to Gaborone in an effort to legitimize their partnership with Botswana. Since the De Beers monopoly ended in 2001 the market has changed. Russia, Australia and Canada have made significant diamond discoveries, and investment-grade diamonds will likely be available on the NASDAQ stock exchange in 2014. The diamond’s star would appear to be on the rise. The Cullinan diamonds belong to the British Crown, though these days it’s not only the British royal family who own the bigname diamonds. Provenances change. New diamonds come into play. One is larger or more expensive than the next, from the Taylor-Burton and the Darya-ye Noor to the Hope and the Koh-i-Noor. Like celebrated thespians, diamonds compete for top billing. In the style of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, important men give important women important diamonds. Surely Liz Taylor was a star with diamonds to match her glitter. Marilyn Monroe sang

that diamonds are a girl’s best friend – long after a relationship is over, the diamond that symbolised it still sparkles. Just ask Kim Kardashian, who has collected at least two rocks in rapid succession from ex Kris Humphries and fiancé Kanye West. Diamonds are badges in the hierarchy of monied kin and their spectacle of richesse. Some wear their bijoux better than others. For some they represent a promise. Diamonds are bequeathed by countries to heads of state. They are worn by rappers, queens and swaths of women on Park Avenue. They are worn like stardust: big diamonds, little diamonds, new diamonds, old diamonds – ornaments for all the important people. Yet there seems to be more to a diamond than meets the eye. More than Cut, Clarity, Carat and Color. More than its fiscal value. Something beyond the love or beauty it seeks to enhance. They say diamonds are forever. We know they are at least a billion years old, so perhaps they are indeed eternal. But who really cares about all that? The Kardashians love them! When their flame burns out and they disappear from television, at least their diamonds will live on.


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GstaadLife, 29.11.2013  

The exclusive monthly Publication about the good Life in Gstaad

GstaadLife, 29.11.2013  

The exclusive monthly Publication about the good Life in Gstaad

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