Anthea Gerrie

Hotel of the week: Fairmont Montreux Palace, Switzerland

By Anthea Gerrie, January 29, 2016

Freddie Mercury lived there while looking for a home in Switzer-land, Vladimir Nabokov used the proceeds of Lolita to fund a suite there for the rest of his life and Deep Purple recorded Smoke on the Water in its lake-side pavilion.

There may not be a more celebrity-studded hotel in Switzerland than the Montreux Palace, arguably the country's most glamorous hostelry.


Mexico City: A city to sing about

By Anthea Gerrie, December 3, 2015

Images of Frida Kahlo, that nice Jewish girl in traditional Mexican dress who has become the most merchandised art icon in the world, tell you a lot about her native land. That Mexico, where the Catholic conquistadores and indigenous tribes who preceded them were immigrants themselves, is an inherently tolerant country whose Jews feel a deep sense of identity with their adopted country.


Mexi-kosher: a very unlikely shidduch

By Anthea Gerrie, October 29, 2015

Gefilte fish smothered with chillies, gribenes with guacamole - it would be hard to think of two more diametrically opposed culinary traditions than those of Eastern Europe and Mexico.

One is heavy, bland fare created for cold-weather comfort, the other - hot weather peasant food infused with the heat of chilli peppers, zesty lime juice and the pungency of cumin and coriander.


Frank Auerbach: Paintings thick with emotions

By Anthea Gerrie, October 16, 2015

An obsessive whose ceaseless overworking has made paint merchants rich, or Britain's greatest living artist? Frank Auerbach's star has risen sharply since seven decades of his work opened to acclaim at the Tate last week.


Sir Norman Rosenthal: Don’t call me a collector

By Anthea Gerrie, October 8, 2015

Like a rock star, Norman Rosenthal sweeps into his favourite Soho café (which does not open until half an hour after he commands me to be there, leaving me standing on a chilly street), one and a quarter hours late for our interview. And, like a rock groupie, I wait patiently, unwilling to relinquish my grasp on this big beast that I've been stalking for three months.


Why it's time to save the (Medjool) date

By Anthea Gerrie, September 24, 2015

Sales of dates are soaring, and the increased appetite for them is great news for Israel. Although the country is only the world's 18th largest date producer it commands some 60 per cent of the export market for Medjool dates - the most prized and succulent variety.


'Mexico embraced us and we're thankful'

By Anthea Gerrie, September 14, 2015

Only a few days till Rosh Hashanah, and the Jews of Mexico City are making honey cake, chocolate challah and rather more ethnic dishes such as gefilte fish à la Veracruzana (with onions, tomatoes and chillies) before the 10-day holiday kicks in.


My memories of kosher Soho and the Jewish wave of the 1920s

By Anthea Gerrie, September 10, 2015

Westminster Council is advertising for new traders for Berwick Street market, a hub of Jewish life for two decades either side of the war and a landmark in London trading for 200 years. News of this revitalisation has been greeted with derision by the street's remaining veteran Jewish trader, but for me it merely provoked nostalgia.


The latest food trend: Getting in a pickle

By Anthea Gerrie, August 20, 2015

A recent trend has seen a slew of young professionals foraging for leaves in the wild and preserving the seasonal harvest.

Also a growing trend in the restaurant world, today's young adults are teaching themselves skills that died out during our parents' generation but which were survival skills for their forefathers in the shtetl.


Hotel of the week: Gleneagles

By Anthea Gerrie, August 6, 2015

With the announcement that Gleneagles, that grande dame of Scottish boltholes, had been sold to the owners of the Hoxton Hotel who brought chic to Shoreditch, the cry must have gone up all over the land: "It's not broke - for heaven's sake don't fix it!"


Sex was what saved me

By Anthea Gerrie, July 23, 2015

To know your mother was raped multiple times and obliged to suffer unspeakable humiliation to survive the Holocaust is bad enough. To hear her tell the story chapter and verse and then relive her painful experiences while assembling them into a book must be excruciating.


Puglia offers rare urban buzz in Italy's rural heel

By Anthea Gerrie, July 23, 2015

A Magen David is the last thing you'd expect to stumble across in a remote Italian city famous for its baroque churches. But Lecce was a throbbing centre of Jewish life 500 years ago - and now the Jews are back in Puglia, their footsteps are being traced, unearthed and commemorated.


Why Israeli spice tastes twice as nice

By Anthea Gerrie, July 21, 2015

Avi Zitherspieler has created an international brand from the most unlikely sources. In the past decade, his brand, Spicy Way, has become a household name in Israel and has an overseas presence.


Light at the end of the tunnel for historic Mellah

By Anthea Gerrie, July 9, 2015

"They never said goodbye!" Assam complained wistfully of his Jewish neighbours of many years as he hammered a leaded glass lantern together for us in Marrakesh's Place des Ferblantiers.

This square, packed with artisans, is the entrance to the city's old Jewish quarter, known as the Mellah. It is about to undergo a massive £13 million government refurbishment.


Leela Palace, Bangalore

By Anthea Gerrie, June 25, 2015

It may be the modern face of India, but at heart Bangalore is still firmly wedded to the great days of the Raj. Which explains why its best hotel, the Leela Palace, unashamedly takes its inspiration from a maharajah's palace, recalling those glory days rather than the gleaming glass structures of the IT multinationals that strut their stuff on the outskirts of the city.


Bullet-riddled buildings and locals who aren’t afraid to mention the war

By Anthea Gerrie, June 15, 2015

Had Archduke Franz Ferdinand kept his date with the Chief Rabbi of Sarajevo, the First World War might never have been. Such is the city's legacy, given its position at the crossroads of Europe, with tensions that have brought this east-meets-west metropolis much more than its fair share of suffering.


Israeli spying's glamorous face

By Anthea Gerrie, June 4, 2015

They are known for their prodigious creativity and wealth, but for the skeleton in their cupboard, not so much. Yet this month the secret will be out - bubbe de Botton famously used her charm and charisma to spy for Israel.


Vive la cuisine française!

By Anthea Gerrie, May 28, 2015

From Manhattan to rural Provence where she is "chief tasting officer" at one of France's top ice-cream parlours, life has taken some interesting turns for bestselling author Elizabeth Bard.

Bard grew up in New York with family Seders packing 35 round the table, but found things very different in France.

"I went from a society where I was surrounded by Jewishness to one where religion is so p


Castello del Nero, Tuscany

By Anthea Gerrie, May 23, 2015

It's everything you'd expect of a 5-star hotel in Tuscany. Castello del Nero offers the 12th-century bones of a noble residence, adapted for modern comfort while preserving ancient features like beams and old brick floors.


Deli life: We’ll have some of what they’re having

By Anthea Gerrie, May 8, 2015

It's been 35 years since When Harry Met Sally, yet it seems we are keener to have some of what she's having than ever before.

Meg Ryan's scene with the turkey sandwich elevated Katz's Deli to lifetime legend status, but until recently, the New York deli seemed destined for extinction.