Thursday, July 17, 2014

Gruyères, Switzerland Nov. 16 -17

This was a last minute weekend getaway to the French speaking side of the country suggested from one of Q's coworkers. We each packed a small backpack and set out by train for Gruyères Saturday morning. The main attractions we wanted to see were close enough to the train station that we were able to walk everywhere we wanted. Since it was the low season, we were able to walk up and snag a room in La Ferme du Bourgoz; a homey Bed and Breakfast perfectly located between the train station and the medieval town center.
Quaint and car-free medieval town center.
Amazed by how well the town is preserved.
The town is perched a top a hill for some charming rolling hill views.

Of course, we were there to eat cheese and Le Chalet de Gruyeres is known for being one of the best places to get fondue in town. Located in the heart of the medieval town and with its charming interior, it was a must.
With a slight November chill outside, it was a perfect day for fondue.
Followed by dessert of double creme de Gruyère with raspberries...
or with meringues. This second combination turned out to be our favorite.

Down the hill from the medieval town is the La Maison du Gruyère; the cheese factory. We did the self guided audio tour, which was nice but our favorite part we could have seen for free. Before entering the museum, one can view into the maturing cheese cellars and watch a robot rotating and washing a salt brim on each cheese round. It was crazy to see all the cheese rounds being placed perfectly back on their shelves. Cheese rounds mature 5-12 months in the cellar, with up to 7000 rounds stored at one time. And like any good factory tour, we got samples at the end.
Museum exhibition on fragrances. Local flora all contribute to Gruyere's unique flavor and taste.
Q doing quality control
Each day, this factory produces up to 48 pounds of Gruyere cheese.

We bought a combination ticket that included the Château de Gruyères (the 13th century castel) along with the cheese factory tour. A short video explaining the history is offered with the entrance ticket was much more enjoyable than flipping through a booklet. Note that I wrote "flipping" rather than "reading" - I am incapable of actually reading those booklets.
The castle is perched at the highest spot on the hill, beyond the medieval town.
Farm houses and sheep. So Swiss.
A variety of rooms restored with period furnishings from the last eight centuries and other rooms displaying modern artwork.
I will take my 21st century kitchen over this one any day.

We didn't make time to check out the H. R. Giger Museum (the design artist for the film "Alien") but we stopped for lunch in the "Alien" themed cafe. And of course we had to save room for hot chocolate served with double creme de Gruyère and meringues.
Definitely worth stopping in for at least a drink.