A Taste of Lac Léman

Filets de Perche

Filets de Perche: A speciality in the area of Lac Léman

On my first trip to Geneva, back in 2006, a friend’s family took us unexperienced spaniards to a small restaurant near the lake. Its speciality was local fish. We ordered filet the perche – an indigenous specie in Lac Léman served in small fillets that traditionally is served with sauce tartare and french fries. Going out for filets de perche is a good excuse to sit on a terrace next to the lake on a sunny afternoon and its a must try when in any of the villages surrounding Lac Léman.

During the last year and a half, filet de perche have been many of my lunches and dinners in Switzerland. However, they were not always as good as I expected.

I soon found out that Lac Léman does (by far) not have enough perches to satisfy its demand – the local catch only covers 6% of swiss consumption and so the remaining 94% are frozen filets coming all the way from Estonia.

How can one escape from the frozen filets offered in many restaurants?

The high season for filets is between July and October, that is, its likely that a restaurant announcing filets de perche in January will be importing them from Eastern Europe. Obviously, there are some exceptions – restaurants specialized in these filets will have a deal with local fishermen who will exclusively deliver to them all-year-round. My personal favorite is Café de la Poste, in a fairy tale lake village called Lutry (where I took the picture above).

My recommendation is to always search for filets de perches frais du Lac Léman to get the real taste. Due to the low local supply, restaurants that actually do serve the fresh catch will make sure that’s clear for their customers

It’s not all about filets de perche

There are more than 50 fish species in Lac Léman – why obsess with one kind when you can eat your way through the lake? I’m putting this concept into practice since saturday – having started with these filets de féra with pommes frites and Lavaux wine at Chateau d’Ouchy.

filets de féra Pommes frites Glass of White Wine (Lavaux)

17 thoughts on “A Taste of Lac Léman

  1. Kudos for giving a chance to all those edible species 🙂

    If you want to combine non-perches fish-eating with a nice hike around the Lac de Joux you may want to have a Brochet at Le Terminus in Les Charbonnières near le Pont

    The place is very humble and the chef is a real personnage: http://podcast.rsr.ch/media/on-en-parle/20080725-premier-service-le-terminus-de-la-vallee-de-joux.mp3

    For the Brochet, you have to book at least a day in advance, the chef refuses to serve a brochet which has not rest for at least 24 hours. My favorite place for fish around the lake so far.

  2. I don’t like the taste of fish for the most part, but this looks really good and good to know to what to look for while in Switzerland.

  3. YUM! I love this, and I think I would love all the goodies around the lake. Glad you are enjoying, and thanks for the heads up. If we head there in early fall, I know what I am ordering 🙂 P.S. is the layout somewhat revamped?? I like it!

    1. Thanks so much for the kind words, the redesign took a while (and I still think its not ready yet…) but I’m so glad I did the move!
      By the way, you definitely must come over here during fall – you’d love it!

  4. Wow- looks deLICious! I’ve only started eating fish in my twenties, never had any fish or meat growing up, so now when I do eat it I want to make sure its fresh so I don’t turn myself off of it for another 20 years!

  5. Yay, fish and chips! (Too.)

    These two wonderful foodstuffs make the universe a more perfect place. And your photos do them justice, too, Katherina.

    By the way, I LOVE the idea of eating your way through the lac. Awesome mental picture 🙂

    1. Exactly! Its like the swiss version if fish & chips I guess – ok, more elaborated and probably something like 5 times the price but it’s worth it!
      I pictured myself as one big fish eating all the smaller ones… problem is, I’m not quite sure I would be the biggest fish in the lac. I don’t really trust lakes, I don’t know what they hide. But my intention is to find it out on a plate, combined with chips.

  6. Yay, fish & chips!

    I love fish and I’m lucky we have some good one in Canada. But one of my best fish meal memories was on the shore of Lake Titicac, where “trucha” is the local specialty.

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