let’s take a train through switzerland to a town that produces the best cheese in the world.
(i’m looking at you, gruyère..)
if this sounds like fun to you, then i know we’d be friends!
it’s up in the green hills overlooking the swiss riviera, and you can sample as much cheese as
you want. the cobbled town is filled with the smell of warm fondue, a castle overlooking it,
and a chocolate factory down the road. gruyères is pretty much my form of heaven, and we’re
showing it off today! (be careful cheese lovers, you’ll want to drop everything & go!)
the actual name of the town is gruyères – the s is dropped for the name of the cheese..
so don’t get confused! this is where the magic happens. i remember the very first time
i had gruyère cheese. i was in high school, on a trip to new york city with one of my best
friends brynn and we were staying with her sister in greenwich village. we already felt so
sophisticated living the new york life for a weekend, brunching at extra virgin, having
banana pudding at magnolia bakery, and feeling like locals thanks to her sister berit.
one night before dinner mark & berit put out cheese & crackers at their apartment
and brynn told me i had to try her favorite cheese: gruyère! there is a reason we are
bff’s because she knows what she is talking about. i tried one slice and knew i had
discovered my new favorite cheese too :) since then i have loved it with crackers,
in fondue, on grilled cheese, and anywhere that reminds me of that nyc weekend.
very long story short, you can see why i was just a little bit excited to visit the place
it is actually made! i was just wishing that brynn was there with me for it.we came from montreux on the train up to montbovon, where we switched and
wound our way up to the dreamy village of gruyères. on certain days there is
a chocolate train that runs from montreux and connects you to the cheese
factory and then up to broc for the chocolate factory, but if it’s not running
then you can easily connect it yourself riding the goldenpass railway from
montreux-montbovon & then switching to a small regional train from there.
as we wound our way into the mountains from the swiss riviera, the clouds
were thick and rain started to fall. it was so cozy and a perfect day for eating
as much cheese & chocolate possible. i was ten kinds of happy to be in
switzerland, on a train in the rain, heading to cheese and chocolate heaven.
rainy train windows ^^
we stepped off the train in POURING rain and happened to see a bus waiting.
we ran over and hopped on, knowing that our plan to walk into town wouldn’t
work as well being soaked. we wound up to the base of the pre-alps and got
dropped in the perfect medieval town of gruyères. i was immediately
enchanted. it’s the only word to describe it! it is my kind of place and i
was practically skipping around while chase laughed at me. we explored
this little town that appears to have never changed over time, and took in
the surrounding green hills, farmland, and village views in all directions.
our umbrella saved the day!
see all of that pretty rain?? ^^
we dashed through the rain and ducked into hotel de ville restaurant
right on the main street. it was so warm and toasty and smelled SO good!
we decided on classic cheese fondue with all the traditional dippings:
bread, potatoes, pickles, and chase did the smoked country ham plate too.
the owner jean-luc explained to us that traditional swiss fondue is
a mixture of half gruyère cheese and half vacherin. it’s such a rich
& distinctive taste that i love. i’m lucky that my mom is the best
cook and always makes swiss fondue in the winter (and every new
year’s eve), so i’ve been spoiled with it a lot. we also had an absolute
favorite & fun fondue spot in san francisco…but it never tastes better
than when you’re sitting eating it right in gruyères, switzerland!
you’d think we were full enough of cheese, but we couldn’t resist fresh
local raspberries & cream after. we enjoyed every bite despite knowing
we still had the cheese AND chocolate factories to visit afterwards.
diet can be given no consideration in a town like this – just enjoy!
we came out from this cozy lunch to find the rain had let up a bit.
if only i could explain how happy i was at this moment.
chase kept smiling and saying “i have no idea why things
like a cheese town make you so happy, but i love that it does.”
haha, at least he comes along even if he doesn’t get it!
we walked off lunch by wandering the town castle.
doesn’t the pretty surrounding fog make the castle even prettier?
we reluctantly left the town and made our way through the farmland
to walk toward the train station – where the cheese factory is!
i always make sure to breathe in deep in switzerland..
it’s the very cleanest, freshest air on earth!
we made it back to la masion du gruyère, where the cheese is
actually produced. we were there just in time to catch the end
of their production for the day. it’s so nice that it’s literally
directly across from the train station, so it’s easy to find!
you’re given samples with your entry ticket…my kind of place!
we got to try 6, 8, & 10 month aged versions. it obviously gets
a lot stronger the more aged it is, and i think we prefer 6 or 8.
^^ fun to see the process! chase is a fan of gruyère cheese since i introduced
him to it a few years ago, so we love that now we can picture right where it’s made.
finally we hopped on the train to go up the hill to broc
to the chocolate factory, (YES we really ate this much on
this day :) but more on the chocolate factory in the next post!
all of that cheese put us in a food coma on the train ^^
^^ back through cute montbovon
and by the afternoon, the skies were blue and the sun was out!
we had a gorgeous view coming back into montreux thanks to the sun coming out.
if you can’t tell, this was the best day EVER!!
(and i haven’t even shared the chocolate part yet!!!)
taking the train up into the hills to tour the cheese & chocolate
factories is one of the best things you can do in switzerland.
more (chocolate) to come!