Thursday, December 27, 2012

Swiss Adventures - Grand Saint Bernard

Dog lovers must not miss out the chance to visit Foundation Barry in Switzerland, which is named after a famous Saint Bernard dog that is believed to have saved the life of more than 40 people. 

The museum is located in Martigny

Following its creation in January 2005, the Barry Foundation took over the 300-year-old breeding kennel from the Great Saint Bernard Pass Hospice. This makes Foundation Barry, a non-profit organisation, the oldest and most important Saint Bernard kennel in the world.

Foundation Barry converted an old military arsenal to a popular tourist attraction

Museum entrance

At this museum, not only can visitors learn more about the history of the Saint Bernard, the Swiss national dog, but can also see the dogs up close.

A female dog and her 3-month old puppies

 Visitors can view the dogs at an indoor enclosure

The dogs also get access to an outdoor enclosure

 Visitors can also go outdoors to check out the dogs 

A puppy chilling outdoor

 I was also lucky enough to witness the feeding time for the puppies

I also had the chance to see the Saint Bernard up close. As I visited the museum an hour before closing time on Christmas Day, I was one of the only few visitors. I happened to see a caretaker and she offered me the chance to pet the dog and take a photo with it.

Check out the paws of this Saint Bernard. It is bigger than my hand. I was told he is a 2-year-old male dog that weighs 70kg!

If you can tear yourself away from the cute dogs on the ground floor, you can make your way up to the second level where you can see some exhibits on the history of the Saint Bernard. 

Don't forget to check out the gift store before you leave. You can take home a Saint Bernard as a souvenir. 

The Barry Foundation is a member of the Swiss Saint Bernard Club and is a recognised non-profit organisation. A team consisting of a vet, a breed specialist and 8 caretakers, is responsible for ensuring the dogs’ comfort and optimal development, as well as providing professional training.

I hope I will be able to set up a similar museum in Singapore through D.O.G.S, a dog welfare charity that I co-founded. With a museum as such, I can create awareness of dogs and educate the public on dog related issues. I would also include a children's corner so we can guide them on the proper way of dog handling.

For more information, please visit

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Swiss Adventures - Au Vieux Navire

The very first meal of this Swiss trip was a great start of my journey. In fact, I was so looking forward to it that I rushed for my connecting flight from Zurich to Geneva, with my luggage MIA, in order to make it to the lunch invitation by MB and SB at Au Vieux Navire . 

Au Vieux Navire, meaning 'At The Old Ship', is a great restaurant in the quaint village of Buchillon. If you make your way to this restaurant, there are 3 things that you must absolutely try - salad with the house dressing, filet de perches done the house style, and Crêpes Suzette.

 Filet du perches, or filet of perch, is a signature dish of this restaurant. It is served with pomme frites (French fries) and is somewhat the Swiss version of fish & chips.

In the menu, you will see that fillet de perhces are being offered in many styles. The most popular version is the house style, which is written as "a la mode Vieux Navire". I highly recommend this version as the hazelnut butter sauce is simply divine.

If you can't decide which style to get, then perhaps you can opt for 3 types of perch version, in which you get to try the three main popular styles.

The simple green salad ain't that simple here. It is dressed in a secret house recipe that is so delicious that it is available for sale. I am most certain that you will bring home a bottle, if not two.

Now for the best part. The dessert. This restaurant is famous for its Crêpes Suzette and I knew why after I tasted it.

The presentation was how Crêpes Suzette should be served. Cook a la minute in front of you. The waiter even told us the history of how crepes Suzette came about.

The secret to good caramelisation is butter, lots of butter. I would suggest you look away if you don't wish to know how much butter and sugar go into this dish. This is one dessert worth dying for.

The best Crêpes Suzette I have ever tasted. It is definitely worth the heart attack for this awesome dessert. :)

For more information, please visit

Swiss Adventures - A Visit To Tristan, Famous Chocolatier

You know you are famous when you go by a single name, just like Madonna and Rihanna. Ask any Swiss who they think is one of the finest chocolatiers in Switzerland, and you will most certainly get Tristan as a reply. A gift of Tristan chocolates to your Swiss host will definitely get you adoration and street cred.

Tristan Carbonatto is one of the finest chocolatiers in Switzerland. In 1998, Tristan opened his little shop in Bougy-Villars, a quiet village near Nyon. Today, his shop is a tourist attraction and a must-visit even for locals. I was told that the  police had to be called in every Easter to direct the traffic. This is the magnitude of his fame and the quality of his chocolates. A Swiss magazine even gave him the title of 'The Prince of Chocolate'.

Thanks to our good friends MB and SB, we got to meet the man up close and personal. Tristan invited us to step into his workshop and showed us what he is working on for next Christmas. Yes, you read this correctly, Tristan is working on his next Christmas product range. 

Despite his immense fame, Tristan is nice and friendly. He gave us a demo and a sneak preview of what to expect for Christmas next year. He took some inspirations from a children's book with animal illustrations.

The prototype is ready. A gorgeous Christmas snow globe! I want one for next year.

Now, a look around the shop and check out the chocolates for the festive season...

The shop is decked out in Christmas decoration

Love the window display. So elegant.

The cashier counter

White chocolate angel wings and milk chocolate Santa Clauses

Tristan encourages his customers to try the chocolates before they buy. However, one will have to make a chocolate pilgrimage to taste them because he does not export out of the little town. 

I bought his festive pack that contains a wide variety of his creations. Sorta like a degustation menu.

Using only the best and freshest ingredients, his chocolates are free from preservatives and are best consumed within 10 days of purchase. That explains why Tristan does not export his chocolates.

He also does lots of customisation projects for his clients. Tristan's magic transcends into architecture, for he creates miniature landscapes out of chocolate.

For more information, please visit