La Cezille's signature dish is Jambon á l'Os
Meat Eater's Paradise
Those who drive frequently along the road between Gland and
St. Cergue know that it is essential to slow down as you approach
the hairpin turn just above Begnins at La Cézille.
This is not just because the turn is sharp, but because of
all the people - many of them elderly -- who are trying to
cross the road to get to the restaurant and butchers' shop
on the other side.
The Café-Restaurant du Moulin, more commonly known
simply as "La Cézille," has a three generation,
nearly century-old reputation for serving up hearty simple
fare in classic vaudois style. "We have stuck to our
traditions, because that is what people keep coming back for,"
says owner Marc Cornaz.
Located a few kilometers beyond Begnins, La Cézille
is a "lieu dit," a place name for a small
spot on the map that does not have any political status. What
this means is perhaps best expressed on the website of the
Commune of Bassins, which states "La Cézille has
-- and consists of -- a restaurant and butchers shop."
or Boutefas, the traditional fat vaud sausage wrapped
with a single string, has been known in this region since
at least the 17th century. The name comes from the patois
for "boute la faim" or "end to hunger."
Armand Cornaz, the grandfather of the current owner, founded
the Café du Moulin around the turn of the century as
a small bistro next to what was then an active flour mill.
His son Pierre studied to become a boucher-charcutier, and
opened the butcher's shop in the early 1960s. Marc Cornaz,
the third generation owner, has been in charge of the restaurant
and butchers shop since 1995.
The specialty of the house is "Jambon á l'Os,
sauce champignons" (ham on the bone, with a mushroom
sauce)" served with french fries, or, if you order in
advance, potatoes gratin (gratin de pommes de terre).
This stick-to your ribs meal is preceded by an appetizer of
Botato (The local word for Boutefas, the classic
fat-bodied vaudois sausage) and salad and an easy on the wallet
price tag: CHF 23 for the full menu, CHF 20 for the ham only.
The restaurant offers special discounts for the elderly on
presentation of an AVS card.
Another specialty is Fondue Chinois (CHF
30), which must be ordered two hours in advance. Meat is the
main point at this restaurant, but there are also a few vegetarian
dishes such as tagliatelles aux chanterelles or morilles.
Cézille is an unpretentious spot, set in the countryside,
with a shaded terrace, and no-frills café-style interior.
The rear part of the building was originally a wine cellar
and has an attractive vaulted stone ceiling.
Next door, inside the old mill, is the vast butcher's shop.
Step through the carriage door, and enter another era. Long
gleaming counters display meat in splendid variety: every
imaginable cut of beef, pork, ham, sausage and paté.
Smoked hams hang from the ceiling, and Botatos dangle
from a special exhibition rack. Three or four aproned butchers
in dapper red and white striped shirts are wheeling vast carcasses
into the cooler. Behind the counter one is bravely tackling
an immense pig head.
There is also a take out service, a side of the business
that has grown in recent years, Cornaz says. The classic Jambon
á l'Os, boiled twice a day in huge cauldrons here,
can be ordered to go - but you must call in advance. The price
is 7 CHF a portion. "It should be eaten with a local
Pinot or a Gamay," counsels Cornaz. "These are wines
which are not to heavy, and which go very well with ham."
Botatos are naturally also available (see recipe
for preparing Botato/Boutefas), as are a variety
of other dishes ranging from Roti de Porc avec son Jus,
Gratin de Pommes de terres (5.50 a portion), or a Salade
de Magret de Canard fumé.
new breed of beef in Switzerland
The meat is all locally grown, and the emphasis is on natural
production. One current special is beef from Highland Cattle,
shaggy long-horned beasts which can be seen grazing on a steep
field just behind the restaurant. "My neighbor Roland
Haefeli was the first farmer in Switzerland to import this
race from Scotland,"explains Cornaz. "Like sheep
and goats, they are what we call débrousailleuses,
they eat everything. The animals spend their entire lives
in the pastures. They are not artificially pushed, or stressed".
What makes the beef special is that it can be aged twice
as long as ordinary beef. "It can be kept on the bone
for up to 6 weeks, and looses very little weight,"says
Cornaz. The result is a tender, tastier steak.
La Cézille, 1268 Begnins
Closed on Tuesday and Wednesday
Credit Cards Accepted