The Swiss Chocolate Train (Part I) - the journey and Gruyère


All aboard! The Swiss Chocolate Train is ready to depart.
Destination: the Gruyère cheese factory, medieval village, castle and the "Maison Cailler-Nestle" chocolate factory in Broc. This is one of my favorite excursions and where I always take my family and friends when they visit Switzerland.


Fortunately, it's a sunny day so we can enjoy the spectacular view.


Eyes left! You don't want to miss seeing the vineyards, mountains, and Lake of Geneva from the windows of the "Belle Epoque" train car.


Even though our first stop is normally the cheese factory, let's go directly to the medieval village of Gruyère because I'm planning to devote future posts to the secrets of Swiss chocolate and cheese.


 Situated in the pre-Alpine foothills, the walled town and castle have a commanding view of the valley below.


Thanks to the HR Giger Museum, there are some unusual creatures in Gruyère! Giger, the artist who caught the attention of Ridley Scott, won an Academy Award for his designs in Alien.


The last time that I was here, I met an English couple who was planning to have their wedding in the HR Giger Museum and Bar. I guess that it's a good spot if you're looking for an otherworldly experience.


As for me, I prefer the more traditional Vieux Chalet. It looks exactly like it did the first time that I ate there more than 20 years ago.


Even on a warm day, fondue is a "must"! In canton Fribourg, it's served with small potatoes, bread, pickles and onions. Bon appétit!


Cows reign supreme in this part of Switzerland. As they head towards the barn for their afternoon milking, it's time for us to board the Chocolate Train to return to Montreux. The jagged Dents de Midi ("Teeth of the South") and the Lake of Geneva are a welcome sight.

Still to come: photos of the chocolate and cheese factories.

Comments

  1. I now get why you didn't want to come to Paris....but aren't you glad you did?

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    1. I sure am! :) Sometimes we just don't know what is good for us.

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  2. Stunning photos yet again Mary Kay. Thank you. I can almost taste the fondue!

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    1. The fondue was yummy! Now that it's been a couple of days since I ate it, I wish that I could dip my bread in the pot to eat some more.

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  3. Mary Kay, is it possible that you are a tiny little bit homesick for Switzerland? Wonderful photos... you were so lucky to be in Gruyere on one of the very few sunny days lately. I'm not going to go into the discussion about fondue in summer - but you know what I think of that :-) (for everybody else reading my comment: fondue is definitely a winter dish)!

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    1. Heidi, I'm so happy that we had the opportunity to discuss this comment at length during your visit to Paris. As you know, I'm definitely more than a little bit homesick for Switzerland, especially for my Swiss friends!

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  4. you certainly get around (and i am glad you do!)
    Andrea

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  5. I loved Gruyere! So beautiful! Switzerland is such a beautiful country. I live in Spain but I go there often bc my best friend lives near Neuchatel. Next time I'm there I'll have to check out that old fashioned train ride. Looks so cool! :) great post!

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    1. Thanks! The train ride is well worth it if you get the chance while visiting your friend. How lucky that the two of you can visit each other in such different countries. Neuchatel is beautiful but the weather in Spain is a lot better!

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  6. Coincidentally I also wrote about a different train ride last night.

    Maybe the Swiss Alps comes a close second to Englands green and pleasant land. Stunning pictures MK

    chocolate and cheese sound great vi can eat fondue at any time.

    Love DenIse

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    1. I loved your creative train post, Denise! It was such a delight to read.

      I'll be sure to tell all of the English people who visit Switzerland on a regular basis that the Swiss Alps are a close (how generous you are!) second to their homeland! ;)

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  7. That train looks sooooo civilized! Ah, to have that refinement on mass transit!

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    1. Disclaimer: the mass transit doesn't look like this in Switzerland. The chocolate train is a special one that's normally taken by tourists. It would be great, however, if all of the trains were chocolate trains because they even served a hot beverage with a chocolate croissant. Yum!

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  8. What incredible photos! Obviously Switzerland is a much better than this year than France. I loved Gruyère. We arrived about 5 pm and I can remember wandering around the cemetary after dinner - it was full of little night lights.

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    1. The weather wasn't that great while we were in Switzerland either. We just had a fortunate break in the rain when we went to Gruyere.

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  9. Mary Kay; you should really be employed by the Tourist Office of Switzerland - you show ALL the fancy bits of my home country and you obviously live the life of a princess, the choco train, I say.....

    And to Heidi: Fondue is eaten at any time.... :) Especially, when one is not at one's own home - so it smells somewhere else of hot cheese! Some of the best fondues I had were enjoyed at the Buvette in Lutry.... in a bathing costume, view of the Lac Léman, a nice cool local white in the glass and millions of calories of a wonderful fondue intus and on the fork! Mmmmmmh.... there is no time like now!

    Bonne nuit, Kiki

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    1. Thank you, thank you and thank you, Kiki! I had the best time sharing your comment with my dear friend, Heidi, because we've been having an ongoing discussion about when one can eat fondue for years. I'm so pleased that you, a real Swiss person, agrees that it's possible to eat fondue whenever we feel like it, even if it's in the middle of summer.

      By the way, I was in Lutry last week and thought of you. I ate filets de perche and not fondue though. And, of course, I drank some excellent Swiss white wine.

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  10. Oh, I forgot to say that I nearly went sick reading that some people want to get married in a Giger set-up..... This is really, really - well, I won't say it. I honestly can't grasp what people see in his creations. They are horrifying me - give me nightmares! I would never visit his museum.

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    1. I can't quite imagine why anyone would want to get married in the Giger Museum either - to each their own, I guess....

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  11. That looks like a wonderful day out. Such beautiful scenery.

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    1. It felt so good to be out in the countryside and smell the cows and freshly mown grass again!

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  12. On a rare night off this week, and with a college friend in town, we went to see Ridley Scott's new movie Prometheus. Worth skipping almost completely, but I do love space movies and the look of space in such movies. HR Giger's vision was very instrumental to this film. I'd enjoy seeing his museum maybe, what a curious place for it.

    And I'd love a fondue today, or any day.

    Can't wait for the chocolate stories.

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    1. From what I've heard, Prometheus hasn't gotten very good reviews. As I'm not a fan of science fiction/space movies, I wasn't planning on seeing it anyway. Come to think of it, I don't think that I ever saw Alien either.

      But as for fondue - I'm a fan!

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  13. I've wanted to take the chocolate train and visit Gruyere for years. It looks so amazing and Swiss scenery really is spectacular!

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    1. In the past, I've always driven to Gruyere so it was a real treat to take the chocolate train this time.

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  14. Oh, the cheese and chocolate!

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    1. And the chocolate and the cheese! :)

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  15. Amazing photos! I'm a big fan of Gruyere cheese but had no idea it came from such a beautiful village.

    Really interesting tidbit about the Alien artist.

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    1. As a Swiss by marriage, I'm very happy that you're a big fan of Gruyere! Even though quite a bit of it is exported to the USA, not that many people seem to know about it. We usually tend to think of Emmental when we think of Swiss cheese.

      The Giger Museum in Gruyere always reminds me of the song from Sesame Street, "Which one of these things doesn't belong here" because it's such a contrast with its surroundings. But that's what makes it unique!

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