Saturday, May 31, 2014

Cheese and chocolate

On Thursday I booked reservations on "the Chocolate Train". This is a trip on a lovely, restored, Belle Époque train, that goes to Gruyere, where we see a cheese making factory. Then on to Broc for a chocolate factory visit.

We start out by settling in to our very cushy seats on the train

They bring us hot chocolate, and a croissant (chocolate filled, of course), and then we set off on the train. The first part covers the same rails we took 2 days earlier on the Golden Pass train. Fortunately the weather is a bit better, and we get better views

It's really beautiful countryside. Lots of charming towns with little churches, and cute chalets. This is definitely an agricultural part of Switzerland to, with lots of cows and sheep, and occasionally we spot a vineyard or orchard.

After a bit more than an hour, we arrive in Gruyere. We take a short, self guided tour through the facility where they make the cheese. There are men working, and huge vats of liquidy cheese being cooked and stirred

And big store rooms filled with wheels of gruyere

Then we get few free samples. It's very delicious.

After the tour, we board a bus which takes us up hill to the town where we have a couple of hours to have lunch and check out the castle and other sights. Gruyeres is another charming medieval town. It's very small, and cobblestones, and full of 12th century walls, and a nice castle.

We had lunch at a small place, called Le Chalet, where we sat on the terrace, eating fondue, of course, only this time it's served with small potatoes rather than bread, plus sides of pickles, pickled onions, and dried beef which seems a specialty of the area. Oh, and local wine of course

After lunch we wander up the hill. Before we get to the castle, we wander into the HR Giger museum

If you don't know who Giger was, well he was a very strange artist, who did a fair amount of science fiction illustration. But what he is most famous for is designing the alien from the movie "Alien." Sadly, no photos allowed inside. Trust me though....this is a very strange museum.

Then we head up to the castle and have a fairly quick look around. We have to hurry, so we can reboard the bus which is taking us off to the chocolate part of our day...coming in the next post!

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