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G R A N D H O T E L PA R K · 2 9 W I S P I L E N S T R A S S E · C H 3 7 8 0 · T H E A L P I N A G S TA A D · 2 3 A L P I N A S T R A S S E · C H 3 7 8 0 · W W W. G R A F F D I A M O N D S . C O M

August 8, 2014 - Issue 5 – CHF 3.50 excl VAT

FIVE-STAR FAVRE New Director for The Alpina Gstaad

FARMER & THE BELLE Beauty Pageants for Bovines

ALL THE PRETTY HORSES A Roundup of Polo Ponies

DOMINIK MATTI (Cheese)Wheeler & Dealer

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








K L E I N E S L A N D H A U S , D O R F S T R A S S E   , C H -     S A A N E N / G S TA A D P H O N E +   ( )         , G A L L E R Y@ U R S V O N U N G E R . C O M , W W W. U R S V O N U N G E R . C O M

Photo: Gstaad Saanenland Tourismus

A Hick at Heart In our family, when you “get up on your high horse” my grandfather is apt to bring you right down to earth by saying: “Don’t you ever forget that you come from a long line of hicks.” That’s what Colonel Munier told me when I announced that I’d earned my Master’s degree years ago, in the hope that I would remain humble, regardless of my accomplishments. My grandfather, despite his education and decidedly non-agricultural career path, spent summers on the family farm in rural Indiana. He still happily considers himself a hick, a word he uses with a certain pride. To the Colonel, a hick is a farmer. And a farmer is a good and honest and hard-working thing to be. Dairy Farmers of the Saanenland Here in the Saanenland, many small- to medium-sized dairy farms have been passed down from father to son for generations. All in all, the more than 300 family farms that dot this mountainous region are prime examples of keeping tradition alive. What would Switzerland be without its milk and cheese? Just try to imagine this country without Alpkäse, Bergkäse, Gruyère, and Emmentaler … not to mention the famous dishes of fondue and raclette. This month GSTAADLIFE features an interview with Dominik Matti, a local dairy farmer and cheese maker. This young man has dedicated his life to preserving traditional farming and methods, helping his father Ernst raise their modest herd of cows. It’s not just about money, although making enough to survive has him work-

ing as a ski-instructor each winter as well. Matti’s love for his cows, as well as the farming way of life, makes him a hick of the first order. A Bounty of Bovine Beauties A dairy farmer knows a captivating cow when he sees one. But if all you know about cows falls into the Ogden Nash “one end is moo, the other is milk” category, you’ll want to check out our great story on bovine beauty contests. You’ll learn all the secrets to winning the judges’ hearts at the Saanenland’s prettiest cow competition, Topschau. From taut skin to perky udders to nice legs, the criteria for competing belles are as exacting as for cows as they are for our own human beauty contestants – minus the ridiculous pageant Q&A. We don’t know what moo means, but we can assume it’s got nothing to do with world peace. Cows and Horses – But No Cars Every self-respecting hick loves a good horse – and we’ll see some of the most magnificent ponies in the 2014 Hublot Gold Cup Polo Gstaad. In this edition of GSTAADLIFE, we take an up close and personal look at these equine athletes. The renaissance of Saanen continues with the opening of the new “Jewel of the Saanenland” – the redesigned village centre. After several years of improvement projects, the heart of town is now a hotspot for relaxing and enjoying life car-free, thanks to the pedestrian-only main street that is

Saanen’s new calling card. Socialising has officially moved outdoors, with restaurants and bars opening sprawling terraces. A vast parking garage and housing development are also part of the enhancements. Planes, Trains, Automobiles & Horseback Travelling abroad is second nature to Milagros Branca, heiress to the Fernet Branca fortune. She’s recently released a new book of photographs taken on her travels – including many shots of our own Gstaad. With the publication of Accidental Poetry, the Rosey-alum and frequent guest has brought her love of the Saanenland to the world. In hotel news, Eric Favre has become the new director of The Alpina Gstaad. Januaria Piromallo profiles the Vaud native, who is happy to be back in the region of his childhood after many years at five-star properties abroad. Home Is Where the Heart Is I grew up in the shade of skyscrapers rather than trees, and the dazzle of neon lights instead of starry skies. Yet, every childhood summer at the family farm in Indiana, I too learned what it meant to be a farmer. The early rising. The bond with the animals. The love of the land. But most importantly, the knowledge that the harvest comes only after a season of patience and hard work. In the end, I may be more city slicker than dairy farmer, but I am the Colonel’s granddaughter after all – and a hick at heart. Best regards, Alexis Munier Editor in Chief



Benedikt Schnippenkoetter Tel: 076 725 3225

Photo: Andrea Clarkson

Magazine 3 4 22

Letter from the Editor by Alexis Munier Cartoon by Benedikt Schnippenkoetter Events Calendar

Local News 6 6

Ciné-Theater Gstaad to Broadcast Live Opera & Ballet Saanen Brocante & Markt

Sports & Leisure

Photo: Hublot Polo Gold Cup Gstaad/Christian Pfahl


7 13 14

Gstaad Yacht Club Summer Update A Closer Look at Polo Ponies – Hublot Polo Gold Cup Gstaad Bobby MCFerrin at the Menuhin Festival Gstaad

Traditions 8

Farmer & The Belle

Profile 10

Dominik Matti – Dairy Farmer Extraordinaire

Gstaad Living

Photo: Milagos Branca


15 16 17

New Leadership at the Alpina Gstaad The Renaissance of Saanen Brot to You by the Müller-Fend Family

Lifestyle 18

Accidental Poet – A Snapshot of Milagos Branca

Last Word 21

A Problem Shared Is a Problem Halved by Mandolyna Theodoracopulos

18 Read

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



Photo: Johan Persson

Live Opera & Ballet Now in Gstaad The Saanenland has now added to its already plentiful selection of excellent classical music. Beginning this fall, Ciné-Theater Gstaad will broadcast live full-length opera and ballet productions from the Royal Opera House in London.

Witnessing such performances on the big screen live is uniquely thrilling – nearly as moving and dramatic as if one were seated in the Royal Opera House itself – and sometimes with a better view. No need for opera glasses; clear views of singers’ facial expressions and dancers’ pirouettes are available to all.


“As an arts lover, I’m thrilled to bring these live performances to Gstaad,” says Ciné-Theater owner Hansjörg Beck. “When the village life draws to a lull in the off-season, locals and guests will have an option for first-rate entertainment.”

Seven operas and four ballets are scheduled to be broadcast at Cine-Theater Gstaad in 2014 – 2015 including Manon, Swan Lake, Guillaume Tell, Die fliegende Holländer, Alice in Wonderland, and L’Elisir d’Amore. Star power includes Anna Netrebko in Puc-

cini’s La Bohème (June 10, 2015) and Jonas Kaufman in Giordano’s Andrea Chenier (January 29, 2015), not to mention Placido Domingo in Verdi’s I Due Foscari (October 27, 2014). Tickets may be purchased in advance at Ciné-Theater Gstaad, with prices beginning at CHF 25 for students and seniors, and ranging up to CHF 35 depending on seating. Subscriptions are available at a reduced cost. For the full schedule and more information, visit www.cine-theater.ch

The best and biggest brocante in the region will be held Saturday, August 9 from 9 am to 11 pm. BY GSTAADLIFE

Brocante & Markt Saanen will span the entire village, taking advantage of the newly pedestrianised and repaved main road. With over 130 stands, there are second-hand and antique treasures for the whole family. Peruse mountains of clothing, housewares, furniture, jewelry, collectibles, knick-knacks and more until 5 pm. Then relax on one of the many new terraces recently opened, to enjoy fun, fine food and drink, accompanied by the beat of live music.



Photo: zVg

Saanen Brocante & Markt August 9

Photos: GYC

Windy Week on Mallorca Second Foreign Summer Sailing Camp of the Gstaad Yacht Club Juniors The Gstaad Yacht Club Juniors spent a week in July honing their sailing skills. From July 4 – 10, the GYC Juniors went on their annual summer sailing camp, which took place for the second time in the bay of Porto Colom, Mallorca. BY: STAFF, GYC

The trip was made possible thanks to the generous support of GYC members, who also provided a yacht for use during the camp’s lunch breaks. After the late night arrival, six children started the training in perfect weather conditions Saturday morning. Bright sunshine, temperatures around 30 degrees and a firm breeze – an auspicious start for all of the Juniors, who were very respectful of windy conditionsin the beginning.

In the evening in the children’s rooms, one could hear the wildest sailor stories – they did not last long however, as sleepy heads hit the pillows immediately after such a hard day’s work. The week passed before they knew it. With a final sailing day on Wednesday, all took part in the training’s highlight – a sailing competition called the Oreo Relay which offered rewards to the winners. Split into groups of two, each team had several missions to complete as quickly as possible. The icing on the cake was the visit to Finca Es Fangar (www.es-fangar.com) with pony

rides and a BBQ. The Juniors advanced their sailing knowledge tremendously in this week – gaining confidence in the boat and in themselves. All this progress in only one short week was made possible by those who gave the Juniors the chance to participate in such a camp. The GYC would like to say thanks for the continued support of our members. Now all Juniors will take a summer break before the course continues on Lake Thun at the end of August.

By the first afternoon, all of the kids learned how to keep their Open Bic (which is a one-person boat, developed especially for children) flat on the water even in shifty wind conditions. The programme continued in the same brilliant conditions, which facilitated the learning process and also helped automate the processes. With smiling faces proudly sailing in “their” Open Bics, the kids sailed even faster and upright through the bay during the ongoing week.



Calling All Beautiful Bovines What Makes Your Average Dairy Cow A Prizewinning Queen? Forget the big hair, plastic smiles, and silicon breasts. This isn’t your average beauty pageant. Yes, there are dozens of young, attractive females all vying to be named fairest of them all, but that’s where the similarities end. BY ALEXIS MUNIER

These contestants are fully nude, for one

thing. They may urinate on stage, for another. Last but not least, they are usually pregnant (the last time we checked, procreation was strictly forbidden by the Miss World competition). Cow beauty pageants are mother’s milk to Switzerland, where alpine villages have been holding such events for more than a centu-

ry. Here in the Saanenland, the top bovines strut their stuff at the legendary Topschau competition, held each October. More than several dozen of the region’s most attractive cows participate, led by their proud owners in front of a distinguished panel of local experts. In addition to the coveted main award of Miss Saanenland, other lesser titles are also handed out to the prettiest cows on the catwalk.

Skin, Glorious Skin Naturally Horny Firm, taut skin is preferred and sagging is frowned upon. Hair should be washed and brushed daily to ensure maximum shine.

When left to Mother Nature, cow horns will grow out sideways. To acheive the curled and front position favoured in pageants, farmers place wooden forms over a calf’s growing horns. As the horns get longer, they take the shape of the form.

Ahead of the Pack The shape of the head is very important. A narrow head and face are considered more feminine, as opposed to the thick, masculine heads of bulls. Surprisingly, the shape, beauty, or colour of the eyes are not taken into consideration at all.

From Meadow to the Runway Cows must have nice legs – muscular and graceful. They must walk with a certain elegance, without limping or an uneven gait.



Some farmers took this to an extreme worthy of Miss Texas in years past, styling their cows with gel and hairspray. In 2009, a cow was disqualified for having excessive product in her hair, a ploy which backfired, resulting in a nasty altercation between the contestants and the judges.

In response, the central breeding organisation banned the use of beauty products, including the popular trick of applying clear nail polish to the contestants’ hooves. The Topschau competition attracts hundreds of spectators for a full day of fun. With folk music, yodelling, and plenty of cheese and wine on hand, it’s a chance to take in some of the region’s finest bovines – and cheer on your favourite.

Photo: Sebastian Devenish

While there’s no evening gown or talent segment, participants go through the hoops to look good, just as their human counterparts do. Manicures, pedicures, and blow-drys make up the primping program for these hopefuls.

Read on for a guide on what makes that one special cow stand out for the rest.

Soaring to Great Heights A medium height, with a strong yet feminine body is best. The back and spine must be straight and devoid of any lumps or bumps from head to tail.

Womb for Improvement When pregnant, a cow must be cleaned even more often and efforts must be made to ensure she stays in good shape. The average dairy cow gives birth more than a dozen times in her life.

The More Milk the Merrier Cows are typically impregnated every year, which helps ensure their constant milk supply. They are milked twice a day, early morning and evening, and produce approximately 30 litres of milk per day. Milk quantity is an important rating factor.

Udderly Beautiful Udders are important … the perkier the better. Unfortunately some well-endowed cows can suffer the sagging effects of high milk production. Nipples must be well shaped – not too big, nor too small.



Photo: zVg

Interview with Dominik Matti Farmer, Cheesemaker & Ski Instructor Extraordinaire Local dairy farmer Dominik Matti wasn’t sure to follow in the footsteps of his father Ernst. But after an apprenticeship on a farm in the Jura, Dominik was bitten by the cheese making bug. Born and raised in Gstaad, he chose to make his career as three generations of Matti have before him. After studying at the farming school in Hornried, Matti decided to supplement his income by becoming a ski teacher. This way, he works winters for the local ski school and private clients who return year after year for Matti’s friendly smile and excellent carving skills. BY ALEXIS MUNIER

In Trom, two kilometres outside Gstaad, the Mattis run a dairy farm with more than


a dozen cows. In the summers, they make the trek up to their alpine hut at Bergma on Wispile.

the hay. It’s physically demanding work, so some afternoons I go down to help him.

GSTAADLIFE sat down with Dominik Matti at a cow sale at Gummalp, where Matti was on hand to bid on the region’s finest bovines.

GL: How many cows do you have? What breed?

GL: How many generations has your family been farming in Gstaad? Where is your farm located? Dominik Matti: I’m the fourth generation Matti dairy farmer. My father Ernst and I work together; in the summer months, I keep the cows up at our alpine hut on Wispile and focus on cheese making. My father stays down at the main farm in Trom. During this time he prepares


DM: In the winter we keep 14 cows, while in the summer this more than doubles to 32 on the mountain. As most farmers in the region, we raise cows of the Simmental breed. They are good milk producers and well adapted to the mountainous region here. Simmentalers also make tasty beef. The high season for calf producing is September to April. This way the little ones are a few months old when they go up to the alp hut, which is a half-day’s walk for the animals.

GL: What is a typical day like for you? DM: We start early. On a small to medium sized family farm, we milk by hand twice a day, in the early mornings around 5:30 and in the evenings at 5 pm. After milking, we devote several hours to cheese making. After lunch, there’s the hay to tend to, or chopping wood in the forest.

I’m not looking for fame or fortune, just to make the best cheese I can while preserving the tradition of family farming. DOMINIK MATTI

GL: How many employees do you have? DM: We have a relatively small operation so it’s just usually my father and me. In the summers we have a farm hand on staff and also get an occasional helping hand from local boys who want a bit of summer work.

GL: What type of cheese do you make? What’s your favourite part of the cheese making process? DM: We make the standard cheese available in the region, Berner Alpkäse and Hobelkäse. It’s hard to say what my favourite part is – all the steps are challenging. However it’s nice to see all the cheese wheels at the end of the summer. We normally produce 220 wheels between 10 and 12 kilos each, for a total of nearly three tonnes of Alpkäse.

GL: What about organic/bio farming? DM: Swiss standards are quite high when it comes to dairy farming and cattle raising. We feed our cows a mix of hay and they graze on alpine herbs, grasses, and flowers up on the alp. As far as medication is concerned, regulations are very strict. In case of any serious illness, the veterinarian is called immediately and we must obtain a certificate of his work and any medications prescribed. We don’t give special food with stimulants or energy products to speed up their growth.

GL: This is very different than in some countries … you mean you don’t inject your cows with preventative medications or antibiotics, for example? DM: Oh no. I can’t imagine farming like that. We farm for the love of it. It’s not a race to see who can produce the most milk or cheese at any price, especially at the ex-

pense of the animals’ health and safety. I love my cows and want them to thrive.

GL: How much cheese do you produce each year? DM: We produce about three tonnes of cheese per year, and about a tonne is sold privately mostly to tourists who visit the farm. The remaining two tonnes are given to the Molkerei Gstaad which sells and distributes it in the region and beyond.

GL: How has farming changed in the 21st century? DM: Some things haven’t changed much since my great-great-grandfather’s time. But technical advances have indeed helped streamline and improve our work. Tractors and riding mowers have decreased the amount of time and physical hardship involved in making hay. Mechanisation has helped with the milk treatment as well, allowing us to keepit at precisely cool temperatures until we are ready to use it in the cheese making process. And for heating the milk in that same process, we can better control the temperatures.

GL: With the ever-lower price of milk, how do you manage to stay afloat? DM: Back in the day, one kilo of bread was the same price as a litre of milk. Today, a kilo of bread costs around CHF 4, while a litre of milk now costs only 70 rappen. As a farmer, I’d like to keep milk prices higher to ensure family farms stay in business.

GL: What about the business side of farming?

DM: Farming is serious business. We have administrative controls from the cantonal authorities, and have everything computerized. We have data on each cow including her health, vital statistics, pregnancies, calves, and more. We’re required to continue our education and keep up to date on farming trends and regulations.

GL: Switzerland’s farmers, according to a 2013 report by the OECD, receive some of the highest subsidies in the world. At nearly 60% of their income, some experts say keeping such high subsidies stifles innovation. What do you have to say on the topic? DM: While it may seem a steep price to pay for maintaining traditional family farms, I believe it’s worth the effort and cost. Without subsidies, mountain and family farms would die out, leaving cheese making and cattle raising to big mechanised farms. The heart and soul of Switzerland is in its cheese – the country is known worldwide for this! Subsidies are a necessary part of keeping our culture and tradition alive.

GL: What do you think of the «gentleman farmers” in Gstaad who have sold their land and made a fortune, or turned to other businesses to make a name for themselves? DM: That’s not for me. I’m a farmer at heart and I plan to stay one. I’m not looking for fame or fortune, just to make the best cheese I can while preserving the tradition of family farming.

GL: Why is keeping traditional farming and cheese making alive important? Any farming trends that are due in the future? DM: At the moment we’d like to keep things quite traditional, but who knows, maybe if there are some big advances in the future we’d consider it. It’s difficult to develop large farms here in the mountains simply because of the varied topography. This isn’t the case in the flatlands nearer to the big cities like Bern and Zürich, for example. We alpine farmers try to make the best cheese and milk possible, that’s our goal. It’s all about quality versus quantity.




& Markt Saanen 9. August 2014 · 9 bis 17 Uhr Festwirtschaft mit Musik bis 23 Uhr Dorf- und Bahnhofstrasse · 3792 Saanen

Timeless & Easy Hotel/Restaurant in Saanenmöser broc brocante.saanen@bluewin.ch Patronat: Kulturkommission Dorf Saanen und Musikschule Saanenland-Obersimmental

(just below the Golfclub Gstaad-Saanenland) Open for Lunch & Dinner from mid June until mid September (closed for lunch Monday and Tuesday) ȫȶȽȶȷɀȿǵɈɈɈȣɀȵȸȶȴȹ


Photo: Hublot Polo Gold Cup Gstaad/Christian Pfahl

All The Pretty Horses A Round-Up of Polo Ponies Galloping into Gstaad “Playing polo is like trying to play golf during an earthquake.” – Sylvester Stallone The best part of polo – the earthquake – is the ponies. When the Hublot Polo Gold Cup Gstaad festivities begin on August 21, all the pretty polo ponies will be on display once again here in the Saanenland, for our viewing pleasure. BY ALEXIS MUNIER

Horses for Courses In polo, it’s all about the ponies. In fact, there’s an old saying in polo that 80 percent of the game is your horse. So, what makes a good polo pony? A lot of time, energy and money goes into answering that question. With the ponies typically going for anywhere from CHF 20,000 to CHF 100,000, according to President Pierre Genecand of the Hublot Polo Gold Cup Gstaad, breeding and training polo ponies is big business. There is now a new way that people in the polo game are trying to hedge their bets. Typically, producing a top polo pony is hit and miss through breeding, bloodlines, and training, yet only one in ten ponies makes the cut.

The physical demands of polo are challenging. Polo ponies have been called the triathletes of the horse world: They need to be as fast as a racehorse, as agile as a cutting horse, and as cool-headed as a trail horse. The best polo ponies come from breeders and trainers around the world. Each region has its own approach to producing great polo ponies. In England, most ponies are descended from the “foundation sire” Rosewater, a small Thoroughbred stallion. In Ireland, most ponies are Irishbred. In the United States, polo ponies are often Thoroughbreds crossed with Quarter horses. Australians train Australian Stock Horses to play polo. In India, Manipuri ponies are bred for polo; in the Arab world, the Arabian horse rules. Many of today’s most popular ponies come from Argentina, where polo ponies are Thoroughbred crossed with Criollo horses.

Cloning – Best of the Best? In a pony-driven plot straight out of a science-fiction novel, some trainers are no longer just breeding horses, they’re cloning them. The best polo ponies are now being cloned, in the hope that talent can

be cloned as well, though results are unclear. The first cloned polo pony was born in 2010, and since that virgin birth the practice has taken off – most notably in Argentina, where top polo player Adolfo Cambiaso and Alan Meeker of Crestview Genetics are cloning some of the best mounts from Cambiaso’s 1,000-strong herd. These clones don’t come cheap: An embryo from a cloned pony sold at CHF 55,000, and The Economist says a clone of Cambiaso’s Cuartetera was auctioned off in Buenos Aires for a whopping CHF 700,000 – the priciest pony sale in polo history. Whether or not this strategy will prove effective remains unclear. According to the National Geographic, only 98 percent of the cloned pony’s genes are the same as those of its original. When it comes to genes, two percent is a lot. That said, Cambiaso’s Show Me, the only cloned pony to play in a major polo tournament thus far, made a good showing in the Argentina Open last year. However, Genecand is not as impressed. “The cloning of polo ponies is mostly hype,” says the President, Hublot Polo



Gold Cup Gstaad. “For the most part, we rely on bloodlines and the excellent training methods already in place.” Perfection on Parade Whether au naturel or cloned, there’s little doubt that polo ponies are among the loveliest horses. According to Genecand, Gstaad will play host to some of the most splendid ponies in the world this month. “There are many things to celebrate this year at our event,” Genecand insists. “New owners and new teams are just part of the exciting new lineup in Gstaad.”

They say that the best polo ponies in the world come from Argentina. But the reigning “Best Playing Pony” is an outsider from California named Chocolate. Chocolate was the surprise favorite at the Argentine Open in 2013, as ridden by Adolfo Cambiaso, one of the best polo players in the world. Cambiaso and his team, La Dolfina, won the Open. And Chocolate – a “loaner” from Bob Jornayvaz and Valitente – was awarded the Susan Townley Cup, which honors the MVP – most valuable pony – of the tournament. The bay gelding was born in June 2003 in the Santa Ynez Valley of southern California, sired by Morning Star out of Empress. He’s a Thoroughbred through and through; Morning Star is one of Joel Baker’s “homegrown” Thoroughbreds, and Empress was owned by Ken Berry, who was Chocolate’s first owner as well. Berry claims that Empress was originally bought off the race track and trained by polo players before he bought her. Berry played Empress for nearly a decade – and says she’s the best mare he’s ever played. Despite his California beginnings – or maybe because of them – Chocolate has made his mark among his Argentinian peers in the high-stakes game of high-goal polo. And if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere.

Photo: Raphaël Faux

Forget golf. Thanks to the Hublot Polo Gold Cup Gstaad, we can watch “golf during an earthquake” right here in the Saanenland. It’s heaven for horse lovers – all safely from the sidelines.

The California Horse Who Could

Me & Bobby McFerrin Audience Participation a Highlight of July Concert Menuhin Festival Gstaad favourite Bobby McFerrin returned to an adoring public for a July 19 concert. BY GSTAADLIFE

Held in Saanen Church, the singer and musician was accompanied by his diverse band, which included expert guitars, stand-up bass, keyboard, drums, and an accordion, amonst other instruments. McFerrin’s daughter Madison provided backup vocals, in addition to wowing the crowd with a soft, heartfelt solo ballad.


The concert, “spirityouall”, refers to the inventive melange of American Negro spiritual, jazz, folk and blues that represents McFerrin’s latest album. Two of the songs in particular, “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” and “Every Time I Feel the Spirit” were familiar enough to spark audience participation. McFerrin invited several listeners to join him onstage, including an energetic young American whose delightfully off-key enthusiasm was contagious.


McFerrin is a longtime guest at the Meuhin Festival Gstaad, and has been performing regularly for many years. A welcome respite from the typical chamber music that represents the festival, McFerrin’s concert sold-out not long after tickets went on sale. If McFerrin and this latest concert are any indication, classical fusion with lively audience interaction should feature even more prominently in the Festival’s future musical programming.

Photo: The Alpina Gstaad

New Leadership at The Alpina Gstaad Hotelier Eric Favre Takes Over Day-to-Day Operations There’s a new sheriff in town at The Alpina Gstaad, Gstaad’s first five-star hotel in over a century. BY: JANUARIA PIROMALLO

Eric Favre, a distinguished hotelier with 30 years of experience at luxury properties in Europe, Southeast Asia and Africa, has been just named the new Managing Director of The Alpina Gstaad, the first luxury hotel to open in the 100-year-old Swiss Alpine resort in as many years. The hotel bid farewell to former director Nik Leuenberger, who took on a new opportunity in the Bahamas late last year. Leading a Leading Hotel Favre brings a rich and impressive expertise from some of the world’s most admirble hotels to his new position. Prior to joining The Alpina Gstaad, Mr. Favre was General Manager of the Djibouti Palace Kempinski in Africa. He also spent 10 years as General Manager of Le Mirador Kempinski in Le Mont Pelerin, Switzerland. Mr. Favre has also held executive positions in such revered hotels as The Oriental in Bangkok and Al Khozama in Riyadh, both members of the prestigious Leading Hotels of the World.

Schooled in Hospitality Favre’s educational background is spot on as well. A native of the Canton of Vaud, Favre graduated from the Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne and later received a Diplôme de Chef d’Entreprise de la Société Suisse des Hôteliers. In 1998, Mr. Favre was awarded a Master of Science Degree in Training and Development from IMC in London. Favre’s Directive: Perfecting Perfection Given the fact that Favre has worked at some of the most admired hotels in the world, it’s no surprise that he would be drawn to The Alpina Gastaad. Only a perfectionist with such stellar credentials could succeed in raising the bar at a hotel such as The Alpina Gstaad. The destination’s first newly built five-star superior hotel, The Alpina Gstaad is part of a CHF 300 million luxury development that includes private apartments within the hotel and three chalets. A contemporary interpretation of traditional Swiss architecture, The Alpina Gstaad uses authentic local materials in a grand mountain style. The magnificent entrance alone looks like something out of a James Bond movie. The Alpina Gstaad has drawn raves from guests and locals alike, and has earned top reviews and awards from such prestigious

organizations as Gault Millau, Virtuoso, and the International Hotel Association. Food, Fun, Favre Favre is also now in charge of food and fun at The Alpina Gstaad, where fine dining and health and wellness go hand in hand. The restaurant Le Sommet, serving contemporary cuisine, ranks one star by the Michelin Guide. And Megu, the famed Japanese fusion restaurant, has become the place to dine in Gstaad, thanks to such specialities as the crunchy asparagous and Kobe beef cooked on volcanic stone. Visitors enjoy not only first-rate accommodations and gastronomy, but also superior pampering, thanks to the 21,500-squarefoot Six Senses Spa. The spa includes a fitness center and an 82-foot lap pool. There’s a large outdoor swimming pool set in the blooming gardens; the perfect spot for a poolside gourmet Sunday brunch. Five-Star Favre But whether guests are indulging in a massage, taking a dip in the pool, or simply enjoying the Alpine views, Favre will most certainly be there – the man behind the scenes, orchestrating the future of The Alpina Gstaad, one five-star day at a time.



Photos: Anita Moser

Jewel of the Saanenland Saanen‘s Timely Renaissance

July 26 saw Saanen celebrate the opening of its pedestrian main street. With newly laid stones and a roomy piazza, the street has gone from dusty and behind-the-times to beautifully quaint in record time.

Saanen’s famous white goats on display.

City Councilman Heinz Brand gives the opening speech at the event.



“Today we inaugurate a further stage in Saanen’s redevelopment,”said City Councilman Heinz Brand, proudly. “In just five short months we’ve managed to completely redesign and repave the main street”.

More than Meets the Eye Saanen’s important transformation has been undertaken in several distinct steps after the necessary administrative approvals. In the summer of 2010, the Saanen bypass was opened, which diverted through traffic via a tunnel. The main street was then closed to cars, making it a safe, friendly pedestrian zone. Just half a year ago, workers began to repave the street with stones, adding to the charm and beauty of the former asphalt road.

Saanen has earned its nickname “Jewel of the Saanenland”. With a series of ambitious projects, the little village that could has blossomed into perhaps the loveliest in the region.


Next the village celebrated the opening of its new underground garage in October 2013. The Parkhaus boasts more than one hundred public parking places and is undoubtedly one of the biggest construction projects in Saanen’s history. Approximate-

ly 15,000 m3 of land was excavated and 3,500 tonnes of reinforced concrete were used for the garage. Costs amounted to a whopping CHF 14.3 million, but this was fed back into the local economy, as 80% of the contractors were from the Saanenland. Other construction projects dot the village centre as well. At the east entrance roundabout, a series of large apartment buildings are currently underway. Resembling a small village of its own, the compound will provide an additional 235 lodgings for locals and secondary residents. Just across the roundabout, a new retirement home stands not only as a convenient base for local seniors, but an example of modern chalet-style architecture. Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes But the transformation doesn’t stop there – in late summer Saanen will start work on the Hindergässli and east village entrance, followed by Bahnhofstrasse and the lower village. All work should be finished by next August 2015, and will culminate in a three-

day festival expected to attract thousands of guests. All these improvements have had a price – the past few years haven’t been easy for local shopkeepers, whose clientele was

inconvenienced during construction. Now, with ample parking and friendly terraces for eating and drinking, locals and tourists alike have reason to celebrate. If the inauguration party is any example, customers will be returning to the village in droves.


When the present-day Saanenland was occupied by the Gallo-Romans, Saanen was known as Sanon. In the Middle Ages it was a flourishing market town and local capital.. Unlike the variety of restarants and cafés which abound today, at that time there were just two taverns travellers who arrived via mule trails in the surrounding mountains. In the early 18th century Saanen became a political municipality, and in 1845 the Zweisimmen-Saanen road replaced the old mule trail. At this time the town got postal service as well, helping to connect it to the outside world. Around 1900, tourism began to grow in Saanen and several hotels opened in the new resort of Gstaad. The founding of the Montreux-Oberland Bernois railroad in 1905, made it easier for tourists to visit. Nowadays Saanen still keeps its old alpine village flair, while Gstaad has certainly changed. In 1898 Gstaad was destroyed by fire and entirely rebuilt. The construction continues to this day, with half a dozen cranes lining the Promenade, testament to its continual redevelopment.

The Little Bakery That Could Brot to You by the Müller-Fend Family Bread comes in many different tastes, shapes, and sizes here in Switzerland – but there’s only one Saanen Brot. BY JANUARIA PIROMALLO

Photo: zVg

Rosemarie Müller is a beautiful lady whose delicate features seem more suit-

ed to Hollywood glamour than a baker’s kitchen. Yet, she holds the secret to the legendary Saanen Brot, one of the region’s most beloved breads. The magic formula was passed down by Ms Müller’s father, Robert, who opened the Müller bakery more than a century ago.

Every morning at 4 am, her son-in-law Andreas Fend wakes up in order to bake. A “Maitre Patissier”, Fend is a master of desserts, but his speciality is cakes that resemble sweet sculptures. Even at age 80, Rosemarie continues to prepare the day’s dough – marking six decades of passionate work. One spoonful or two of yeast to make the bread some call the tastiest in town? Only Rosemarie knows, and she’s not telling. But as for the next generation, who will receive the secret recipe? Beauty and creativity, in inedible form, has already been passed on to Fend’s three children Raphael, Andreas, and Sarah. All youth ski champions, they decided to continue their studies: Raphael studied architecture in Milan; Sarah will be a lawyer.

Rosemarie Müller, right, and her daughter, removing a hot loaf of fresh bread from the oven.

However the true businessman of the family, son Andreas, has big plans for the bakery and adjoining tea room. How much yeast? If all goes according to plan for this family affair, Andreas will soon have the answer.



Photos: Milagos Branca

Accidental Poet A Snapshot of Le Rosey Alum Milagros Branca “… a series of photographs appear in no particular order, priests and sheep, flowers and windows, city streets day and night, radishes, stairwells and steps in the snow, a surprise on every page …” – Isabella Bossi Fedrigotti, in the Foreword to Accidental Poetry, by Milagros Branca.

Clemente were grown, Branca found herself with free time on her talented hands. The world beyond domesticity called to her. And so she was finally able to fulfil a lifelong dream: Travel and see as much of the world as possible. Teach herself to see the accidental poetry all around us – and take note of it.


For writer, photographer, and heiress Milagros Branca, life holds a surprise on every page. But surprises suit her; she’s made the most of the twists and turns that have characterised her time here on earth thus far. From daughter (of the famous Fernet Branca family), wife, and mother to world traveller, artist, and author, she’s played her many roles with aplomb – and produced good work in the process. The Artist’s Way Early on, a busy family life, including three marriages and raising two children, didn’t leave Branca much time to devote to her art. But after her little ones Olimpia and


Branca’s vision first manifested in a novel. Conseguenza D’Amore was published in 2010 in her native Italian by La Tartaruga. It’s a moving story about a UC Berkeley Italian literature professor who returns home to Tuscany when his sister dies – and with the help of a wise caretaker learns the life lessons he needs to transform himself. Branca has translated the novel into English; the book, retitled Up on the Hill for the English edition, is now on sale at Cadonau bookshop. Anthony Peck, a Hollywood-based screenwriter and son of the late, great Gregory, is in the process of writing a screenplay based on the book.


The Camera’s Eye Branca’s passion for the written word is equalled only by her passion for the image. She chose to pursue this passion by photographing her travels. Armed with only her iPhone, she photographed whatever spiked her curiosity. Her taste for detail and beauty shows in every shot she takes. The photographs wowed museum catalogue and photography book publisher Skira, who released a collection of these photos in a book called Accidental Poetry last year. The striking title was her daughter Olimpia’s idea. Olimpia, Milagros’ daughter with interior designer Piero Castellini, shares a blog with her mom. In the popular blog, mother and daughter discuss travel, fine cuisine, and hotels. The content is aimed at both their respective generations, namely 25 to 55-year-old professionals. Branca chose to donate the proceeds of her book to Missione Sogni Onlus, created by Antonella Camerana (of the prominent Agnelli family). The foundation carries out the wishes

of terminally ill children, and is explained in detail in a preface to the book by Mrs Camerana. The Heart of an Accidental Poet Branca’s many passions reflect the many

passions of us all – and in her unique way, they are all reflected in her varied work. As Corriere della Sera daily columnist Isabella Bossi Fedrigotti says in her lovely introduction to the book, Branca’s work

has a “sublime transparency, coming from something that spoke to the heart of the photographer.” And now it speaks to ours.


Le Beau Séjour – Château-d’Oex Gstaad Valley Delivery Christmas 2015

Comfort, calm and convenience in the heart of the village. Ideally located near the railway station in the centre of Château-d’Oex, Le Beau Séjour boasts modern luxury in each of its 2.5 to 6.5 room apartments. Amenities include balconies and terraces for each apartment, two lifts in the building, underground parking and a common garden area. At an additional charge, a restaurant, spa and indoor pool are also available for use. A rare combination of peaceful living in the heart of local community life, Le Beau Séjour is also a sound investment opportunity.

After over 12 years at the Chalet Zentrum, we felt the strong need to completely change the presentation of our store. We actually adopted the system of a famous swedish enterprise in our field: you enter Marti Interiors through the main door where you will find our new showroom and walk by different environments such as a sitting room, dining room, bedroom, TV corner as well as our very well furbished home fabrics exhibition. Once through the kitchen you enter the Shop with our usual large choice of home accessories: lamps and shades, tableware, plaids and cushions, frames, gifts, fragrance candles … Not to forget the outdoor furniture presented along the show windows. We hope you will enjoy the new MARTI INTERIORS and are looking forward your visit.

Our office is open Monday-Saturday. Do not hesitate to contact us for any further information. CF Immobilier Compagnie Foncière SA Rue du Village 40 – 1659 Rougemont Tel. +41 26 925 10 00 – info@cfimmobilier.ch www.cfimmobilier.ch



While you are yodelling amid the edelweiss and cow dung in the sunny Alps, half the world seems to have descended on the birthplace of Western civilization. From Colombia and Brazil to the U.S., Turkey, and Russia, everyone who is no one in particular and happy to be so, is holidaying Greek style.

Photo: Mandolyna Theodoracopulos

A Problem Shared Is a Problem Halved


I write to you from Symi in the Dodecanese, where the Germans surrendered to the allies on May 8, 1945. The documents were signed in a beautiful neo-classical building overlooking the lovely natural harbour where I just had a mediocre overpriced breakfast. But this is not the norm here. Symi has delicious food, including the best restaurant I have been to in recent memory. Muses was opened seven years ago by two young half-Argentinian half-Greek men who are handsome and talented. The food is simple, but with such sophisticated ingredients. My husband had to explain to me that the garum in our Symi shrimp was a fermented fish sauce that was used in ancient Greece, Rome, and Byzantium. We ate by a red building under a green pergola with amber light and only a few other wood tables. The ambiance was inimitable, the service was good, and the whole experience made me wonder why people bother with cities at all. On top of that, the dinner was half the price of any fancy London restaurant and twice as good. While Greece might be easy to ridicule with its corrupt politicians, astronomical debt, and comic Greek conventions, the muses seem to be shining their inspirational stardust down here on the Aegean. Symi is chock-full of style and originality, possibly due to the Ottoman, Italian, German, and British occupations of the past century. The shops are as good as the restaurants and pensions with none of the garishness one finds these days in Ibiza and the South of France. Every evening large gulets line the harbour alongside modest motorboats, if there is such a thing, and smaller sailboats. People browse the local shops, parade along the main street and sip drinks in cafes taking

part in the ancient Greek pastime of ogling. Thank god I haven’t seen a single super yacht, not to mention swathes of gold-digging girls in stilettos and bandage dresses. With the exception of Mykonos, where big spenders go to be noticed downing gallons of Domaine Ott, Greece is for families and the type of people who wouldn’t know what to do with a concierge service even if they had one at their disposal. There must be something about the Greek style that brings people here summer after summer. Perhaps it is that Greece is for everyone, not just the stinking rich. It could be the hundreds of beautiful islands and villages. But it’s not only the beauty, history, and economy: Greeks are a hospitable lot. They are funny and kind. They like children, and they like to spend time with their friends having a coffee as often as humanly possible. This comes as no surprise if you’ve ever had an espresso freddo or a frappé. If nothing else, just hearing a Greek ask you if you want a frappé in English is worth a trip on Olympic Airways. Greeks have a wonderful way with English. Their spelling is so erroneously charming, I have started a collection of photographs to remember them. One of my favourites so far is on a café window in Patmos, the island where St. John received the Revelation, it says: ice cream juice sandwich.

That’s a combination I never knew I wanted until it was offered to me as such! Other little jewels include: spagetti clumbs sauce, rend a moto, sparkly water, caputsino, staffed tomatoes, and simian shrimps Best of all, Greeks are charming because they love to share their problems. Not only with each other, but with everyone! The financial crisis is an obvious example, but even more amusing is the sight of a Greek bus driver dealing with a double parked car. Rather than pull up behind and patiently wait for the other driver to return and move the car, a Greek bus driver will make it everyone’s problem. He will turn his bus to block the entire road compromising both directions of traffic – he will lean on his horn, everyone will lean on their horns, until the driver returns and the offending car is removed. They say a problem shared is a problem halved, and that sharing is caring … well, there is no shortage of that down here among the Hellenes. According to a new study, Greeks are the most racist people in Europe, whatever that means nowadays. I find this hard to believe knowing how warm and hospitable Greeks are to foreigners. Perhaps something was lost in translation. They are all just Greeks to me.



Events Calendar Friday, August 8, 2014 through Thursday, August 28, 2014 Fri, Aug. 8


Sat, Aug. 9


Sun, Aug. 17


Friday Night Culinary Dinner

Brocante & Markt Saanen

Folk Music Concert

6 – 10 pm

9 am - 5 pm, music til 11 pm

Alp Hornberg, 11 am

Fri, Aug. 8 – Sep. 6


Sun, Aug. 10


Church Services

English-Speaking, Château-d’Oex Service every Sunday, 17.30 pm

Thu, Aug. 21 – 24


Menuhin Festival Gstaad

Wispile Chilbi

Hublot Polo Gold Cup Gstaad


Alp Fest, all day

Four days of matches and events

Fri, Aug. 8


Sun, Aug. 10


Sat, Aug. 23 - 24

Open-Air Theater


Dressage Competition

In Swiss-German, 8 pm

Alp Plani, 11 am

First ever in Gstaad

Fri, Aug. 8


Wed, Aug. 12, 19, 26


Sun, Aug. 24



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

Folklore & Yodelling Evening


Art Exhibition

Concert, 8:30 pm

1 pm each Wed. on the Rinderberg

100th Anniversary of Schwizgebel

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

Wed, Aug. 13, 20, 27

Sun, Aug. 3

**** * THE ALPINA GSTAAD +41 (0)33 888 98 88, info@thealpinagstaad.ch

Fri, Aug. 8 – 10




Open-Air Cinema

Saanenland Bike Tours

Alpine Festival

Showings daily

After-work rides, 6:45 pm

All day

Sat, Aug. 9


Thu, Aug. 14


Wed, Aug. 20

Zither Concert

Children‘s Play Date

Scenic race from Gstaad to the Glacier

Legendary Werner Frey, 5:15 pm

Feutersoey or Gsteig, 2 - 5 pm

Sat, Aug. 9 -10

Thu, Aug. 14, 21, 28



Grand Hotel Park Pro-Am

Guided Tours each Thu. at 2 pm Sat, Aug. 16 – 17

Traditional Alp Festival

Parallel to Glacier 300 run, 2 pm

Weekend event on Alp Ruedersberg

Sat, Aug. 9


Sun, Aug. 17


Jean-Pierre Dutilleux, 6-8 pm

Traditional Alpfest on Alp Gspan

Sat, Aug. 9

Sun, Aug. 17


Wrestling Festival

12:30 pm

Traditional games at Rellerli, 9 am Photo: Jonas Bach

Public Cow Sale on Alp Hornberg

Important Numbers 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/usefulnumbers.html

Clubs Rotary Club Gstaad-Saanenland Meetings every Monday 12h00 Palace Hotel Gstaad (033 / 748 50 00), President: Rot. Christiane Griessen (079 / 432 73 93) Secretary: Rot. Markus Iseli (033 / 748 92 08)

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, gstaad-saanenland.lionsclub.ch Soroptimist International President: Franziska Brändli, Tel. 079 636 13 33 Program: Gabi Thoenen, Tel. 033 748 11 11


*** * GOLFHOTEL LES HAUTS DE GSTAAD +41 (0)33 748 68 68, mail@golfhotel.ch

**** HOTEL ARC-EN-CIEL +41 (0)33 748 43 43, info@arc-en-ciel.ch **** HOTEL BERNERHOF +41 (0)33 748 88 44, info@bernerhof-gstaad.ch


Photo Exhibition


For further details please visit: www.gstaad.ch


Kids Run

*** * HOTEL ALPENROSE +41 (0)33 748 91 91, info@hotelalpenrose.ch

**** HOTEL LE GRAND CHALET +41 (0)33 748 76 76, hotel@grandchalet.ch


Golf Tournament


***** ERMITAGE WELLNESS & SPA HOTEL +41 (0)33 748 04 30, welcome@ermitage.ch


Glacier 3000 Run

Sat, Aug. 9


St Peter’s Anglican Church

**** 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 **** ROMANTIK HOTEL HORNBERG +41 (0)33 748 66 88, willkommen@hotel-hornberg.ch **** STEIGENBERGER ALPENHOTEL AND SPA +41 (0)33 748 64 64, gstaad@steigenberger.ch ** * HOTEL ALPINE LODGE +41 (0)33 748 41 51, info@alpinelodge.ch ** * HOTEL DES ALPES BY BRUNO KERNEN +41 (0)33 748 04 50, info@desalpes.ch *** HOTEL BELLERIVE +41 (0)33 748 88 33, info@bellerive-gstaad.ch *** HOTEL ALPENLAND +41 (0)33 765 91 34, hotel@alpenland.ch *** HOTEL ALPHORN +41 (0)33 748 45 45, office@alphorn-gstaad.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 RESTAURANT BÄREN +41 (0)33 755 10 33, welcome@baerengsteig.ch GASTHOF GELTENHORN +41 (0)33 765 30 22, info@gasthof-geltenhorn.ch HOTEL VIKTORIA +41 (0)33 755 10 34, hotel_viktoria@bluewin.ch HOTEL WILDHORN +41 (0)33 765 30 12, info@hotel-wildhorn.ch

“My son is taking the helm. Meanwhile I’ll be sailing around the world.” Credit Suisse – growing together. As your life changes, your priorities and needs change too. Whatever you are planning to do in the future, Credit Suisse will support you. Credit Suisse AG, Promenade 67, P.O. Box 315, 3780 Gstaad, Telephone +41 33 748 97 97 credit-suisse.com


Private Banking, Asset Management, Corporate Finance, Private Equity, Institutional & Fund Services


edmond-de-rothschild.ch The eagle on our emblem symbolises the long-term vision at the service of our clients every day.

11, rue de Morat – 1700 Fribourg contact-fribourg@edr.com

Profile for Müller Medien

GstaadLife, 8 August 2014  

The exclusive monthly publication about the good life in Gstaad

GstaadLife, 8 August 2014  

The exclusive monthly publication about the good life in Gstaad

Profile for mdruck