Valais wines: pure sunshine
Switzerland's largest winegrowing region is also its most varied: more than 50 grape varieties thrive on the sunny slopes above the Rhone. Among them are ancient names such as Petite Arvine, Heida, Lafnetscha, Cornalin and Humagne rouge. But the Valais is also known for the contemporary flair of its innovative winemakers – not least its pioneering women. Stars include Madeleine Gay, Winegrower of the Year 2008, and Marie-Thérèse Chappaz in Fully, who follows biodynamic principles and is famous for her sweet wines.
Pavés Tony: sweet "cobblestones"
In the picturesque Old Town of Lausanne lies the Rue de Bourg, birthplace of the celebrated Pavés de la Rue de Bourg. These "cobblestones" with their exquisite filling and coating of fine chocolate were created at the Confiserie Chez Tony. You can still buy them here – either the classic version, or filled with Kirsch, absinthe or damassine (plum brandy).
Perch fillets: a culinary delight
Anyone travelling along the sunny side of Lake Geneva will notice them time and again on menus: freshly caught "filets de perches" (perch fillets), served fried, à la meunière, or in a fine white-wine sauce. Professional fishermen sail out onto the lake early in the morning to collect the perch from their nets. Their glittering catch can be bought at the harbours in Lausanne, Montreux and Vevey, as well as at the region's markets. Or you can simply head out onto a breakwater with your rod and try your luck.
Plant Robert: rediscovered
This ancient grape variety of the Lavaux had been all but forgotten when four enterprising winegrowers in the Cully region had the idea of cultivating the fine red grape again. It paid off. The "Plant Robert" is a characterful wine, comparable to Gamay; it goes well with rustic fare, but with its finesse can also accompany the most sophisticated dishes with bravura.