Summer is here and while everybody is heading to the beach, La Bonne Vivante decided to enjoy the crisp alpine breeze in beautiful Engadine for a change! While we love hitting the slopes here in the winter, Engadin is a true outdoor paradise at any season. It is particularly stunning in the summer when rich green landscapes and fragrant mountain meadows await its visitors. The trip up the Fluela mountain pass is a great adventure already. Up on the peak of the pass you will find patches of snow at any time of the year.

We begin our mountain adventure in Scuol, which attracts guests with a large variety of biking trails, panoramic hiking routes and its very own wellness oasis offering an array of saunas, salt water pools and Scuol’s famous fountain water which is rich in Iron.

There are plenty of sporting activities to be had in Scuol. For bikers and hikers, a trip up to Motta Naluns is worth while.

From there, head to Prui, a mountain restaurant, which is only a short 30 minute walk from Motta Naluns and offers a particularly beautiful view of Scuol’s scenic mountain landscapes. Indulge in Engadine specialities such as home-made Pizzokels, Barley soup and Bündnerfleisch.

Take a roller and head down to nearby Ftan from where you can catch the next bus heading to Scuol or take the ski lift back down.

Where to eat:

  • Astras (http://www.astras.ch/en/hotel-scuol/1-0.htmloffers) traditional nourishing cuisine and a rustic ambiance and friendly service
  • Trais Portas has the best steaks in town in an old Engadine house (http://www.traisportas-scuol.ch/)
  • Gabriel’s (http://www.hotel-gabriel.ch/restaurant.html) wooden dining room with checked tablecloth in red and white is inviting and the menu offers a variety of healthy salads and Engadin specialties. After a hearty feast try the local Betschla, a local Schnaps made of pine cones

Where to stay:

Why not opt for your own spacious apartment. Afida (http://www.afida.ch/) offers great options.

From Scuol we head to St Moritz. Their annual Jazz festival (http://www.festivaldajazz.ch/) hosts many well -known jazz artists. This year’s event featured stars such as Diana Krall. In addition, La Tavolata, a dining event brings a variety of snacks and dishes prepared by local hotel restaurants to the center. Guests can indulge in the large selection of food and drinks at a 400 meter long Swiss stone pine table which stretches through the center of St. Moritz.

 

For a relaxed lunch head to Badrutt’s legendary Chesa Veglia (http://www.badruttspalace.com/en/restaurants-bars-club/chesa-veglia) where Engadin specialties and Mediterranean cuisine are served in St. Moritz’s oldest farmhouse. The dining room is both traditional and cozy with its old wooden elements and the Italian service team will make you feel welcome in an instant. Our weekend trip to beautiful Engadin has been splendid. We can’t wait to return!

 

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Rituals has opened its store first store in the center of Zurich and the only question we’d like to ask is: What took them so long? The dress code for the event was “Bohemian Summer” representing the opening party’s motto. A self confessed beauty fanatic I am a huge fan of the Dutch brand and its aromatic products sold at very affordable prices. This was a perfect opportunity to stock up on scented candles, particularly my favourite scent “Holy Basil” which is part of Rituals broad product portfolio.

Welcome to Zurich, Rituals!

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Art Basel, Europe’s largest and most influential art fair opened its gates again. La Bonne Vivante joined Ruinart at the collectors lounge for a sneak prereview of Art Basel’s 47th edition.

Established in 1729, Ruinart is the world’s oldest champage house. Its wine cellars underneath the city of Reims have been listed a Unesco world heritage last year.The house of Ruinart has always had close links to the world of art. The Ruinart family has had a long dynasty of art collectors and part of the Ruinart family members have been artists themselves. It is therefore no surprise that Ruinart has been a Sponsor of the Art Basel for years. Ruinart collaborates with an artist every year for the art basel. Their this year’s choice was Erwin Olaf, an internationally recognized photographer and artist. Olaf was fascinated by Ruinart’s famous crayeres and therefore decided to focus on their prehistoric natural formations and human trances. The result has been a collection of stunning photo art in black and white showcasing Ruinart’s wine cellars. These art pieces truly merge Ruinart’s heritage with contemporary art.

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As in previous years, Art Basel showcased some very impressive contemporary art pieces. With 286 galleries from 33 countries gathered at the fair, the sheer size of art can be intimidating and it probably would take a full working day to appreciate all of the art exhibited. As the oldest art fair of the art basel family, the fair is a strong indicator of contemporary art buying trends.

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IMG_0870As Mr. Spiegler , the head of Art Basel put it, “If they can’t sell great works in Basel, they can’t sell them anywhere.” My personal highlights included Kurt Schwitter’s  Ohne titel and an installation by Hans Op de Beeck, called The Collector’s House, a charcoal room with a post-Pompeii feel to it.

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Ok,  ladies let’s get one thing straight –  who ever said that juggling a busy career, family, spouse, social commitments and pets was easy is not telling the truth or at least bending it big time…As we reach a certain age things just get insanely busy as we try to accommodate careers, hobbies,  families and friends into our tight schedules while treasure hunting for an empty slot slot for a date night with our hubby. For most of us the madness begins on Monday morning and ends Sunday night.  Nothing novel here; books have been written about it, films center around this dilemma most women face as they hit their thirties. Nevertheless, there are a few superwomen out there who manage to gracefully juggle work, family and social commitments  while looking fabulously stylish, in shape and yes, even well rested and can converse about the latest fashion trends just as easily as last week’s headlines in the Economist. So how do they do it? The answer is time optimization!

Here are a few tricks I have tried and which worked for me

  1. Make use of your commuting time  This means looking at your daily routine and asking yourself how you can optimize your time best. Whether it might be financial modeling, reading the Economist or learning a language, commutes are a great way of optimizing your time by doing something useful. If you are travelling by public transportation or car, get used to taking your book or audiobook with you and acquire the routine of working through at least one chapter in the morning or evening. There are tons of audiobooks, books and CDs available  I recently brushed up my Italian by making use of my car commute. The additional benefit is that you won’t get stressed out by train delays or traffic; these things simply give you more time to pursue your studies.
  2. Get up early  Yes its painful and those who are not a morning person (myself included) will struggle with this one however it is a given fact that successful people rise early. Its pretty straightforward – the earlier you get up the more time you have on your hands.. All the successful women I know are early risers, either by nature or because they have trained themselves to get up early.
  3. Optimize idle time  Think about all the time you spend at airports, hairdressers, pedicures…added up these can make up for double digit hours accumulated over the course of a month. What if you were using this time doing something that you can actually benefit from. I always take my laptop with me when I go to the hairdresser and while this might be a bit funny at the beginning people get used to it. Ok, I might not be their chattiest customer and I propbably miss out on the latest Hollywood gossip but I can live it that. Instead I get to do my emails or read an interesting article while getting beautified.
  4. Exercise Find a gym or running route near your office and establish a work out routine.I go to the gym at lunch time as my gym is 5 minutes walking distance from my office. If you prefer the evenings for your work out that is also good but do make sure that your gym is conveniently located.
  5. Establish routines Having proper routines will make your everyday schedules run smoother as you get used to a certain pattern. Try to incorporate routines in the mornings and evenings and whenever possible
  6. Prioritize  Let’s be realistic. Nobody can do it all. In some occasions you will have to focus on what is truly important. Check your calendar and cross out things which aren’t that important
  7. Me time Make time for you. Re-energizing yourself is important. Whether it is a massage, dinner with your friend or a date night with your partner – do make time as these are important to refuel your batteris

 

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It might lack a beach but it sure isn’t short of fantastic eateries. Madrid, Spain’s metropolitan capital is always worth a visit for true foodies. You might have heard a local say “No se puede comer mal en Madrid”/You can’t eat badly in Madrid. While I believe it is possible to have a bad meal in Madrid I admit that you would have to try very hard.

La Bonne Vivante spent a weekend exploring all its fantastic culinary options and can’t wait to bring you 2016’s hottest Restaurants in Madrid!

Arola

Sergi Arola, the former chef of famous La Broche is somewhat of a celebrity in the culinary world of Madrid and beyond. With his bohemian attitude and a few tattoos he’d instantly pass for the enfant terrible of Spanish cuisine. He has been incredibly successful and has earned himself 2 Michelin stars for his Madrid restaurant which is simply called “Arola”. He has even ventured to the Aps and opened a restaurant in Verbier’s posh W hotel hotel. Arola’s Madrid branch can host roughly 20 people and its intimate setting makes for some of its charm. The interior is sleek and classically elegant. When we arrived at 9.30 pm the restaurant was almost empty and for a brief moment we pondered whether Arola had passed its pinnacle however we were disabused of our doubts by 11 pm when the restaurant filled up completely…and we thought 9 pm was late for dinner. We ordered a 5 descrubimiento menu which started with a playful take on Tapas which Arola is famous for, went on with 4 interesting, innovative dishes including meat and fish options and ended our feast with a sweet strawberry sorbet composition. Arola is a good option for those who enjoy innovative Spanish cuisine with a twist.

http://www.sergiarola.es/

Ten Con Ten

 This bustling, trendy restaurant is just as stylish and sophisticated as its guests. The menu offers an array of interesting combinations. We loved their signature Salad and delicious fish with truffled butter. End your feast with one of the restaurants fabulous signature cocktails. In the summer, the restaurant boasts a beautiful terrace. This is a great place if you like combining a sophisticated ambiance with high end comfort food.

http://restaurantetenconten.com/

Paraguas

Paraguas is an established choice in Salamance. The restaurant is frequented by locals mainly however you might also come across the odd tourist as well. The menu is proudly Madrileño and offers a great choice if fish dishes. Prices are reasonable, the interior is very cozy and the service is among the best you will find in Madrid.

http://www.elparaguas.com/

Quintin

Talking about hot restaurants this place is definitely trending very much. In addition to its restaurant Quintin has a bar and a cheese counter which has become a favorite  place for an aperitif for Mardid The ambiance is super cozy and Mediterranean with a large array of fruit and vegetables aesthetically assembled in the restaurants center. The food is excellent too. If you want to dive into Madrid’s trendy scene, this is your place. Calle Jorge Juan, 17, 28001 Madrid, Telephone: +34 917 86 46 24

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Located at Baur au Lac, the Pavillon is one of Zurich’s most elegant and sophisticated restaurants. Decorated with one Michelin Star, it is a fine dining restaurant in its most classic sense. In an era where chefs fiercely compete for the next culinary trend or an additional Michelin star , the Pavillon seems unimpressed by all external trends. Instead, it stays true to its classic French theme.

The ambiance

As the name suggests, the dining room is in fact a pavilion kept in pastel colors with a cream  colored carpet. The dining room which can host roughly 25 guests is harmonic both in the arrangement of color and furniture.  Nothing is out of place, the atmosphere is relaxed and staff is very attentive.

The menu

The restaurant offers an a la carte menu and a set menu which can be ordered in various combinations and with or without wine pairing.

We opt for the 3 course Goa menu and start off with a variety of amuse bouches which include a tuna tartar, pastry with cream cheese and an assortment of bread. As we are not crazy about the main course on the menu with decide to go for two starters instead and are served a potato salad with black truffle which does not enthuse our taste buds as much as had hoped for as the combination of truffle and potatoes leads to a somewhat acid taste. We continue with a delicious Dublin Bay prawn, leek tapioca and black boudin. We conclude our dinner with a desert of Pineapple sticks and bisquit dacquois with coconut and a cream of Guanaja chocolate. The desert is solidly prepared however nothing very special in my view.

The service:

Most waiters at the Pavillon are French speaking to complete the restaurant’s French theme. The service is attentive however a tad stiff at times.

Conclusion:

The Pavilion is refreshingly old fashioned in its approach of fine dining and therefore truly authentic.  Given its overall set up I’d call this restaurant a safe choice for special  or more formal occasions such as a high level business dinner rather than a relaxed evening with your loved one.

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