One of the most fantastic surprises of our time staying at the Hotel Eden Roc by Lake Maggiore in Switzerland was definitely spending an afternoon on Brissago Island.
For starters, it was actually a genuine surprise because I’d never even heard of this island prior to arriving into Ascona…
…then there was the beautiful island itself, which we got to discover slowly and fairly lazily – my favourite kind of way to discover a place. 😉 😀
The island has been home to lots of wealthy families and their famous guests over the years but in recent times now belongs to the public where you can visit and marvel at the villa and the stunning grounds. (I don’t wanna bore you with a history lesson but if you want more info about the occupancy on the island – dating as far as Roman times, Wikipedia’s got you covered here).
We started off checking out the villa…
…before getting distracted by the turtles which called a pond by the bottom of the villa their home.
…weaving through cacti, ferns and many-a-flora whose names I don’t know.
The island is as tropical as it gets – with everything from palm trees, to banana trees and bamboo growing several metres high. (Said, bamboo also proved to be home to broody swams).
Tucked in the corner of the island is a pool (albeit more of a water feature/paddling pool than an actual one you’d perhaps wanna take a dip in) with a stunning view of the lake and mountains.
We carried on weaving our way through the mountains, stopping off to explore certain parts in more detail…
…before heading back onto the boat, just in time for lunch.
Lunch was a cornucopia of delightful and rather colourful pots of delicious goodness – from ceviche to delicious soups and very refreshing strawberries – all with the, you guessed it, even more bubbly (if you missed the first post – check it out here – I gave fair warning about how much bubbly there was over this weekend at Eden Roc).
We sailed back slowly to Ascona as we enjoyed lunch with those stunning lake views.
Back on this island, we were welcomed with even more snack (I stuck to the sweat treats this time and more bubbly – as I think about it now, I can totally see why I gained a fair bit of weight of this weeks this trip to Switzerland fell into).
The rest of the afternoon was spent soaking up the sunshine, with an occasional dip into the pool and spa, before making the most of the sunset and heading back up to change for cocktails and dinner.
For dinner (and cocktails) we stayed at the hotel, and went for a degustation menu which was one treat after the other.
There were eggs which were fantastically matched with an interesting take on hollandaise sauce and caviar, tuna tartare, what looked like pebbles by turned out to have a delicious savoury cream inside (I wish I’d actually asked what was inside it now – at the time, I was just so surprised when I was asked to pop the whole ‘pebble’ in my mouth).
The entire time, there was of course, fresh-out-of-the-oven bread with the lightest whipped butter imaginable.
Mains came in many different from forms, from tender fillets of beef to lobster risotto! (SOOO SOOO GOOD!).
For dessert, there was a whole lotta chocolate, a Swiss take on Eton mess (with light and crunchy pistachio biscuits, lemons and creams), along with petite fours and other delightful sweet treats.
To say I was a.) stuffed and b.) very VERY pleasantly surprised by the end of the meal would have been something of an understatement.
The food here was absolutely amazing and if I were blessed with a limitless appetite (and an ability to eat whatever I wanted without putting on far too much weight), I would happily have carried on eating all night and right through till morning. 😀
The next morning, we woke up to another gloriously sunny day by the lake and, after a huge breakfast on the terrace (and a dip in the pool – though not immediately after breakfast), we packed up our stuff and made our way back home (via Zurich).
Hotel Eden Roc Ascona was something of an unexpected and delightful find. It was so fantastic to spend a couple of days by the lake, relaxing, eating (and drinking) to our heart’s content and, oddly as this sounds, not having to worry about chasing after all the sights.
A trip here is one where you get to kick off your shoes, perhaps even switch off your phone and indulge in one of the most beautiful spots in Switzerland and I’m so glad I finally got to do just that! 🙂