Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Honeymoon Day 5: A day in Vevey at the Nestle nest museum

1/3/2017
Honeymoon Day 5: A day in Vevey at the Nestle nest museum

We were up early again due to jet lag, so we got our bathing suits and headed to the pool/spa. I attempted to counteract the amount of cheese we were going to eat during this trip by doing some laps in the pool, so that was awesome. We saw sunrise over the alps! It was a little cloudy in the morning but soon started to clear up. We checked out the sauna and stuff, it looked good and we decided to come back later in the week to check it out more. Heading back upstairs to our room, we saw the morning view from the balcony which was pretty epic.

Not a bad view from our room, eh?!!
To breakfast!!! OMG....

This was the breakfast buffet at Fairmont Montreux Palace in their La Palmeraie restaurant. It was literally the best breakfast buffer ever... may even be giving the Fairmont Banff Springs a run for its money!! First off, the view was glorious out the window and the staff was impeccably organized, welcoming, nice to chat with, and super efficient. It was insanely awesome. And... you know... the food? It was MAGIC.

Me, FREAKIN' OUT
This lox was insaaane!! And the cheese!!!
I have never tasted or seen an egg so tasty
Even the coffee carafe is fancy

Don't even get me started on how good the fruit was

For the reader with a trained eye, you'll notice there was a fresh passionfruit on my plate in one of the previous photos. THERE WAS A WHOLE BOWL OF PASSIONFRUITS. A WHOLE. DAMN. BOWL. I ate like 5!! It doesn't get any better than this, my friends, it truly doesn't.

A whole bowl of friggin' passion fruits. After I ate a bunch of them they even refilled it. This place is crazy.
As you saw above, the fried eggs were made to order by a very nice chef in the one corner at the egg station. They had an amazing, bright orange yolk, and tasted super fresh. The bread was also awesome and museli-ish, and with St. Moritz cream cheese it was even better.

The fruit area was crazy legendary, and they had some more interesting stuff there too... especially the prunes in a mix with whole vanilla beans, and, even more amazing, sliced grapefruit in a bowl with whole vanilla beans. I would have never thought those flavours would go together, but it was incredible. The flavour of the vanilla bean had permeated the liquid and added a floral sort of flavour to the grapefruits, it was absolutely delicious. I had a pretty large amount of this, too. :) There was also a smoked meat plate with different kinds of salami things, and amazingly they actually had all the pork separated onto a different plate away from the beef. So this was all totally amazing.



Then, time for a quick post-breakfast nap. We are on vacation, after all!



After a short nap, we were planning to take a ferry boat to the town of Vevey, down the road from Montreux. The boats were not running so we instead took a city bus there (and the concierge gave us a free ticket, even better!) There was a cool new Charlie Chaplin museum that had just recently opened but we decided to go with our original plan (that we had decided on the night before!) of checking out the other fancy new museum, "nest", a Nestle history museum.

Arriving at the nest museum

They had really cool interactive displays there and made really unique and awesome use of technology there to tell the stories: lots of interesting layered projections, turntables with characters on them and moving backgrounds, and shadows on the wall showing the industrial revolution. It was super cool.





Can we take a moment to note that the only museum we have visited thusfar on the trip is a museum about chocolate? Yep. Makes sense. :)

The tour ended with a discussion of the Nestle baby formula and how this is what made the company as famous as it is today. This led nicely into a cultural/zeitgeist section which had cool ads from the old days, including a hilarious German (?) ad from the 1930's about a cat who loved Nestle! It was really interesting to see all those displays. Then we got into more of a technology section which was super awesome, including a Nespresso Prototype unit from 1975!! It had some crazy cylinder hookup and reminded me of my friend EJ's quantum computing compressor system. :) It was interesting to see all the innovation there -- including some early patents and early designs.

Nescafe patent (1937)
Kit Kat mould from before 1988
That's my kinda picnic!
Nespresso Prototype from 1975
Nespresso machine from 1986

The museum was also realistic about Nestle's company history and past. It was not all just positive "rah rah" stuff, there was some talk of the Nestle boycott of formula, and general distrust of formula by customers and thereby distrust of the company. They discussed this well and without trying to spin it, which was interesting.

Finally, there was a section to address concerns... it was promoted as a "let's talk about your concerns..." and had some corporate-y vibe a bit, just a littttle bit of "here's where we justify our corporate decisions!" but also it was an opportunity for them to share the positives and some wins they had achieved (eg. PET plastic water bottle has now been engineered to be 38% thinner, producing less waste and saving tons of plastic worldwide as compared to the previous design.) This section also gave them a chance to offer a bit of a "counter-point" to the whole food movement. "Well, we don't contain as much vitamins as the real thing, but we can fortify it..." and they also talked about shelf-life and making food last longer "for feeding as many people as safely as possible."

This area had some good points despite being a bit too "indoctrinate-y" for my interests. It was good to take this portion of the museum with at least a little grain of salt. Especially given Dr. Robert Lustig's work about the dual responsibilities of food scientists. Optimizing taste with a magical combination of sugar, fat, and salt helps make food more irresistible, leading to food addictions and contributing to the obesity epidemic. Still, this was very interesting and also I enjoyed seeing how they presented their side of this argument.




Moving on, the technology part was the best part. I met a little dude there who wanted to play against me in this projected game on the wall, you used your hands and picked up soup cans and collected them on the wall. After we played together, I did the soup can game on my own afterwards and he watched and said I was doing pretty well. Nice. This was driven by a Microsoft Kinect which was cool to see deployed in a museum! Also amazing was that they had an HTC Vive sit-down station for people to experience a 3D video. That was sooooo awesome to see it being used in a public space and to see how people (especially the kids there) were already accustomed to the technology and getting swiftly comfortable with the idea of it.



There was next-to-no instructions for using the Vives, yet people of all ages were successfully using it. It was mostly a 360 Video-style of movie, and no interactions (since you didn't have any controllers), but it was very cool. It was also Michal's first VR experience! Yay! They had a simple box of alcohol wipes to clean your headset after using it, and the exhibit basically ran itself. That was fascinating to see in a museum and to not have 100 nervous attendants watching everyone to make sure they didn't break anything.








That was a super fun visit. From there we headed out and tried go to to La Poste to get stamps but the line was too long. We continued along the vieux -ville towards the Alimentairum museum... home of the GIANT FORK!!!!!!!!!!! "Stick a fork in me, I'm done." What a weird and funny public art exhibit.







We took the bus back to Montreux but past our hotel this time and got off at the Coop grocery store. They had fun and weird stuff there and we got some snacks. I got a Fanta Lemon-Elderflower which should have been amazing but was unfortunately kinda gross. They also had weird yoghurts there which were awesome, like a fig one.

Soo... much... cheese...
Painted eggs?

"oooh... chocolate"


Packaged Rosti!
Crazy Heinz sauces. What is "American Sandwich Sauce"?!
Uh... I think you translated this wrong...
After a fun shop and buying a few random things, we went back to the hotel for yet another nap.




For dinner, we headed out to Caveau des Vignerons, a place down the road that was a David Leibowitz recommendation. We got the famed "Fondue Moitié-Moitié" (or "Foundue Half-and-Half"), which is a cheese fondue made from half Gruyère and half Vacherin Fribourgeois cheeses. The bread and small potatoes that came along with to dip in the fondue were also awesome. We paired this warm and tasty dinner with white wine from both Montreux and Villeneuve.





So that was super good. We then had a nice (and chilly!) walk back to the hotel to sleep before an early morning wakeup the next day. Good times! Here are a few more photos from a fun gift shop we saw on the way back to the hotel.


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