Screen finds time to do some chocolate tasting and hang out with star jurors at an exclusive penthouse soiree during the Zurich Film Festival. It’s a tough job..

Normally I’m far too busy filing copy at film festivals to even consider doing any sightseeing. But I couldn’t resist taking up the Zurich Film Festival’s offer of a guided tour of the city, hosted by festival sponsor Kuoni, a luxury concierge service.

And it turned out I was in good company — my fellow tourists were LA Times film journalist John Horn, Beth Levison, the co-director of documentary Lemon (which is in competition and is gaining rave reviews here in Zurich), and German actress Bettina Mittendorfer who is starring in another buzzy competition title, Markus Goller’s Hot Line, about three devoutly catholic Bavarian girls who start up a phone sex business to make money when they lose their jobs in a factory.

The tour turned out to be an unexpected treat, involving chocolate tasting in a tiny little chocolate shop in the beautiful old town, a masterclass in Swiss watches (administered by an obscenely good looking watch shop owner – but then everyone in Zurich looks like they just stepped out of the pages of Vogue) and a visit to a handbag designer’s workshop, all rounded off with a glass of champagne.  

And just when I thought my day couldn’t get any more decadent, I was whisked off to an exclusive soiree for the festival jurors and special guests, held in the Penthouse Suite of Zurich’s Dolder Grand hotel, where I was forced to eat lobster and oysters, drink Veuve Cliquot and take in the indredible views of the city (in case you were thinking of booking the room, it’s a very reasonable £5000-ish a night and comes complete with a handy “nanny’s bedroom”).

Also at the party was the very cool Laurence Fishburne, who is heading up this year’s feature film jury (he told me he is particularly looking forward to working with Michael Shannon on Zack Snyder’s Superman, which he starts shooting after Zurich), British actress Alice Eve and from the documentary panel Passion Pictures producer John Battsek and producer Stephen Nemeth.

Nemeth said that his Zurich experience had been his best jury experience to date. “Real life is not going to be so good anymore,” he joked.

I couldn’t agree more.