Yesterday, I was lucky enough to go to Gruyères with one of my best friends, Alison, and her boyfriend Andrew to check out the delicious world of Gruyère cheese. I cannot believe how lucky it is that we get to meet up in beautiful Switzerland! I was going to meet them at Gruyères, but coincidentally, they got on the same choo-choo train (Figure 1) as me at Bulle, a transportation hub in the French-Swiss countryside. Alison and Andrew had just come from taking a chocolate-making class at the Cailler Chocolate Factory! Gosh was I jealous when I saw their photos (I was not able to go due to badly planned logistics)! From their experience, I would highly recommend making a reservation for the class instead of just touring the chocolate factory itself.
It was raining when we arrived in Gruyères, not to mention the fact that it was lunch time. So instead of first going to the cheese factory, which is right next to the train station, we headed uphill to the quaint town center of Gruyères (Figure 2 & 3).
There, we ate at La Maison Traditions Restaurant, which has seating on the porch for a gorgeous view of the French-Swiss countryside (Figure 4).
Of course we had to get the Gruyère fondue – half and half (with two types of Gruyère cheese) with cherry Schnapps added (Figure 5). The cheese was so smooth as it dripped off of our bread (Figure 6), and as usual, the taste of the Schnapps gave every bite a thrilling end.
The factory is interesting, with an audio guide tour of the cheese-making process told by a cow named Cherry. I would say that the best part is seeing the huge cheese cellar (Figure 7), with rows and rows of gigantic wheels of cheese. And at the end, you can buy some Gruyère cheese in their shop.
- It is Gruyères for the town and Gruyère for the cheese.
- Make a reservation for the chocolate making class at the Cailler chocolate factory – you can make your own chocolate!
- Go up to the actual town of Gruyères (instead of the factory) to get lunch or dinner – there are fewer tourists, and you get a more authentic feel of life in Gruyères.
- Gruyère factory entrance fee: 6 SF, but free with Swiss Pass!