It was earlish by my standards. I was skimming inches above Lac Leman’s (Lake Geneva to the philistines) enigmatically blue waters in an immaculately clean Swiss local train, wondering about my destination. It was a small village called Vevey on the shores of Lac Leman. Vevey was where Charlie Chaplin spent his last days. There is the famous Charlie Chaplin statue that I knew I would not be able to resist getting myself photographed besides it. But, I was not headed to this tranquil Swiss village to either see the Charlie Chaplin statue or to be in the presence of the table Jean-Jacques Rousseau used to eat at. I was there to experience the Marchés Folkloriques, a Saturday village market with a difference.
By the time I got there it was almost 11 AM. Hemmed between the calm glistening water of Lac Leman and a muscular neo-classical structure vaguely reminiscent of the pantheon, replete with the obligatory Corinthian columns, was a bustling village market. Between the stalls of fresh produces, swaying joyfully to the sounds of a band, surprisingly ebullient for the time of the day, were scores of people with wine glasses in their hands. What happens when fresh produces meets the mellow wine before noon cannot be described – it can only be experienced.
The deal is that you have to buy yourself a glass. And then you can refill the glass from the stalls of local wine producers till you are in a position to ask for refills. Chasselas is the most common grape grown in the area. Given my fondness for vin blanc, I stuck to the golden blancs. And they were beautifully paired up with soft and juicy plums from the market.
Numerous vineyards line the northern shores of Lac Leman from Lausanne to Montreux. Given the steep slopes, I was reliably told that the grapes get double sun, the direct as well as the reflected sun from the lake. The wines were on the drier side with lots of fruity tones. For me, the common sensation was a strong after taste of honey. It is a fantastic experience to sit on the stairs of the 200 year old La Grenette, the aforementioned Pantheon like structure and sip wine basking in the glory of the double sun.
The folkloric markets is held on Tuesday and Saturday mornings from second week of July to the end of August. It starts at about 10 in the morning and gets over at 1 in the afternoon. The village of Vevey is easily accessible by trains from Lausanne and Montreux.