FIND YOUR FAVOURITE FAST FOOD IN GENEVA
by Vivian Holding
Who doesn’t love a wrap? I’m a huge fan, they are my favourite form of fast food – healthy, tasty and easy to eat, if wrapped properly that is!
At home, I have never actually mastered making them without the entire ingredients falling out. That problem has since been rectified with the help of the lovely Elsa from Elsalad, who on a recent visit to the restaurant, showed me how to fold a wrap the right way (see her instructions here). I think the key to keeping it all together (apart from wrapping it the correct way), is the use of greaseproof paper or foil, even if you are eating at home.
History of the wrap
The history of the tortilla according to Mayan legend, is that they were invented by a peasant for his hungry King in ancient times. The first tortillas date back to 10,000BC allegedly. They were made of corn maize, ground and turned into cornmeal which made a dough they called a masa. It was later that the Spaniards renamed them tortilla (little cake), after arriving in what we now know as Mexico, in the 16th century.
Most commonly used for making wraps nowadays are the flour tortillas, which are made with three simple ingredients – flour, water and salt, before being rolled out to form their rounded shape. Tortillas also come in different varieties, such as the gluten free varieties made with either corn or rice flour. Wholewheat, and artisan tortillas are also available.
It has been only since the late 80s, that the wrap that we are more familiar with, using traditional sandwich fillings, has become a popular lunch time replacement to the humble sandwich.
The wrap that is more commonly known in the States and the UK is made with a flour tortilla and its origins are a little uncertain. One story is that the Red Sox Manager Bobby Valentine was trying to make a club sandwich in his restaurant in Stamford, when the toaster broke and Valentine, looking for an alternative, wrapped the ingredients in a tortilla instead. He called it a Club Mex, but others called it a wrap. Difficult to know if it was an invention, or merely an accident as tortillas or pita breads wrapped around meat, rice, beans or vegetables have existed in Mexican and Middle Eastern diets for centuries.
Here is my favourite list of places to find wraps in Geneva:
A salad in a wrap
(elsalad.ch) 9 rue d’Etuves, 1201 Genève
Elsalad come top of my wrap list with their fresh, seriously tasty and inventive flavour combinations. All their wraps are freshly made to order, which may mean waiting for your wrap to be made, but they are definitely well worth the wait (alternatively, you can pre-order your wrap on-line and pick it up at a time that suits you, skipping the queue).
Take away and eat in options are available at their restaurant, take away only is available at their food truck which is located in five different places during the week (see below for locations). Choose between any of their seasonal wraps – the Autumn Cobb with mixed greens, grilled chicken, avocado, bacon, sweet potatoes, apples, walnuts, cranberries and goats cheese), the vegetarian option of The Quinoa Crunch (mixed greens, quinoa, peppers, cucumber, carrots, spring onions, mint, coriander and sesame seeds), the man salad (Chunky Chilli Beef) with mixed greens, chilli with beef strips, red kidney beans, tomatoes, red peppers, an avocado, tomato and red onion salsa, yoghurt and mint, or the Thai Coconut Shrimp – mixed greens, marinated shrimp, avocado, red cabbage, peppers, spring onions, peanuts and coconut flakes. Check their website for their current selection of wraps.
See my article on how Elsa and Seb started their amazing business here.
Rue d’Etuves: Monday-Friday 11.30am-4.00pm (closed Saturday and Sunday).
Villeureuse: Monday-Saturday 11.30am-7.00pm.
Food Truck 11.30am-2.30pm (see website for daily locations).
Mexican style wraps
(burritobrothers.ch) rue Rousseau 29, Genève
New to Geneva, Burrito Brothers restaurant close to Manor in rue Rousseau, offers the more traditional burrito, with its Mexican origins. Brothers Cesar and Fernando were born in Mexico and raised in California until they moved to Switzerland a few years ago. Missing the burritos they grew up eating, they decided to set up business, starting in Lausanne before opening in Zurich, Ecublens and now finally Geneva.
With nine different meat burritos to choose from (three each of either chicken, beef or pork) and two vegetarian burritos, you are spoilt for choice.
For the smaller appetite, they offer four of their most popular as a baby burrito (sounds cute!). For the much larger appetite, a real monster of a burrito called the Alcatraz is on offer (made up of rice, a double portion of beef, cooked peppers, melted cheese, jalapenos, salsa verde, spring onions and sour cream). I found the regular size plenty big enough, I can tell you.
I opted for the Sunset Burrito, my partner in burrito crime the Embarcadero, taken as a menu which includes a side portion of nachos and any soft drink. I found mine to be tasty and extremely filling, my friend was suitably impressed with hers too. I got to sample one of the Fritz brand of drinks, the rhubarb, which was deliciously refreshing.
While there, I noticed the lady next to us having her burrito in a bowl, the gluten free version. A pity that they don’t offer gluten free tortillas, so customers can experience the true burrito experience, but she told me she loved her burrito bowl nonetheless.
As for the Alcatraz? Sorry, I need someone with a very healthy appetite, to test that one for me. Please let me know what you think and if you managed to get through it all!
Opening hours Monday-Saturday 11am-11pm, closed Sunday.
Traditional sandwich filling style wraps
(edwards-sandwiches.ch) 5 locations in the City:
Cornavin (16 rue du Mont-Blanc, 1011 Genève)
Bel-Air (1 rue de la Cité, 1204 Genève)
Rive 1 (rue du Vieux-Collège 1204 Genève)
Eaux-Vives (Centre Commercial Eaux-Vives 2000, 3 rue de Jargonnant, 1204 Genève
Acacias (43 route des Acacias, 1204 Genève)
Edward’s is celebrating 20 years in business in Geneva. They now have five different branches in the City. Their choice of wrap fillings is extensive, Salmon, Avocado and Cream Cheese, Prawn and Avocado, Chicken Cheddar and Bacon, Pastrami Cheddar and Chives, Ham and Cheese (choice of Cheddar, Gruyere or Mozzarella) or Ham and Cream Cheese or alternatively, you can make up your own wrap, using their choice of fillings.
Opening hours at all branches (except Mont-Blanc) Monday-Friday 7.30am-6.00pm Saturday 9am-6pm, closed Sunday
Mont-Blanc Monday-Saturday 7am-11pm, Sunday 9am-7pm
From the Middle East/Orient
CROC-ORIENT/LA GALETTE DE LA PAIX
Carouge and Plainpalais Markets
At the two stalls, owned and run by Raya Elhajhasan (Plainpalais) and Ozi Salma (Carouge), traditional middle eastern flatbreads (Mana’eesh) are sprinkled with olive oil and zatar (a spice mix of thyme, sesame seeds, oregano and sumac) and are served with a filling of hummus, aubergine puree, beef, lamb, falafel or labneh (a thick yoghurt cheese) and fresh tomatoes and onions. The result? An amazing explosion of flavours, fresh and filling at the same time. Don’t forget to order a mint tea to go with it.
Galette de la Paix (Carouge Market) Thursday 2pm-9.30pm, Saturday 8am-2pm.
Croc’Orient (Plainpalais Market) Friday 8am-2pm, Sundays 8am-6pm.