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If you haven’t taken a day trip to the Gruyères region of Switzerland, you are missing one of the best parts of Switzerland.  I have been there with visitors more times than I can count.  It is a “must” see!  The scenery is breathtaking.  It is about a 90 minute drive from Geneva.

Colorful fall scenery

When you go, be prepared to indulge.  Gruyères is the home of cheese and chocolate!  A visit to the cheese factory, where they make the wonderful Gruyère cheese should be the first stop on your tour.  Besides being informative and entertaining, you get to sample cheese made at the factory.  Be sure to plan your visit during one of the two daily cheese-making demonstrations.

Cheese factory

After touring the cheese factory, you will have an appetite!  My recommendation is to make your way up the hill and visit the medieval town of Gruyères.  It is a pedestrian village, so you will need to park in one of the conveniently located parking lots as you approach the top of the hill.  The local fare is all about the dairy!  While I normally think of fondue as a cold weather treat, it is served here year round.  And don’t forget dessert….if you don’t enjoy chocolate, then maybe you can enjoy some ice cream or the meringues with double cream!

My son and his girlfriend enjoying the fondue

My suggestion would be to skip dessert and save your sweet tooth for the chocolate factory!  But before you leave Gruyères to head to La Maison Cailler, you must visit the castle of Gruyères.  It is a beautiful castle and offers some amazing views of the surrounding area.  There is also a short video presentation that is worth seeing that gives a history of the region and the castle.

The Gruyères Castle

There are some really nice shops in Gruyères.  There are also a couple of small museums that you may want to visit, depending on your interests.  When I take guests, we usually finish our day in Broc at the Nestlé-Cailler Chocolate Factory, La Maison Cailler.  The tour of the factory is fun and entertaining for children as well as adults.  The best part is that when the tour is over, you enter a room where they have all of their delicious chocolates on display for you to sample.  You can eat as much as you want!  The only rule is that you can’t take any chocolates with you, so my suggestion is that you bring a bottle of water to drink if you really want to over indulge!  (And don’t worry, they have a gift shop where you can get all of the take-home chocolate that you want at a reduced price.)

Samples to enjoy!

La Maison Cailler also offers chocolate making classes, if you want to learn how to make your own tasty treats.  My friends and I have done the classes several times.  It is loads of fun and you get to take home a generous portion of your very own, homemade chocolates!

Receiving instruction in 4 languages from the chocolatiers.

There are other things to do in the region, such as outdoor activities and a beautiful lake area.  If you don’t have a car, it is very easy to get to by train.  Below are some links that may be helpful.

http://www.goldenpass.ch/CMS/default.asp?ID=414

http://www.la-gruyere.ch/en/

http://www.cailler.ch/en/Home.aspx

We are a group of international women living in Geneva, Switzerland.  If you would like to join the AIWC, please visit our website at http://www.aiwcgeneva.org/.

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