The Caviar of Lake Geneva Cuisine

April 26, 2009

Chez Gousse, Messery, Haute Savoie


Filets de perche (pike-perch filets) are a staple around Lake Geneva, to the point that dining can become monotonous (at least on the ‘rural’, southern French side where I live). Knowing most filets de perche come frozen from Estonia makes this ‘local’ dish even less sexy.


Not the case with fera, specifically carpaccio de fera. Savour just one mouthful of this raw fleshy whitefish and your libido for Lake Geneva cuisine spikes ten-fold.


I gorged on it with friends Friday night at Chez Gousse (tel +33 4 50 94 72 20, 24 rue du Bourg. Messery), our local bar which in true French village-bar fashion is propped up by the same faces six days a week and is never open when you want it to be. Gousse aka Serge who has run the place forever had gone all out with his feast of local products (incongruously called a ‘cheese and wine’ evening): cheese from the fromagerie in Douvaine, charcuterie (cold meats), three types of biscuits de Savoie (which pretty much translates as dry sponge cake), and some fabulous AOC Seyssel wines (I loved Maison Mollex’s 2007 La Tacconnière).


But it was the shrimp-like écrevisses (crayfish) and fera, both fished fresh from the lake that morning by Serge Carraud (tel +33 4 50 94 04 71, 68 rue des Pecheurs, Chens-sur-Leman), the local fisherman, that stunned the room. Served as wafer-slim slices soaked in an olive oil, raspberry vinegar and echalot marinade, carpaccio de fera is quite simply the caviar of Lake Geneva cuisine. I challenge you to find it in any restaurant. Rather call Serge for a fish and DIY.

Carpaccio de fera rarely features on restaurant menus

Carpaccio de fera is practically impossible to find on restaurant and cafe menus.


One comment

  1. Don’t forget the Tome au Marc that he offered, caviar of local cheeses!!! It wasn’t on the menu, but he brought it out anyway in good hospitable fashion. I told Agnes that we need to spend a little more time Chez Gousse. She agreed, despite the extra combined three kilo’s we gained!

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