Glistening green alpine pastures stretch out as far as the eye can see. All around us cows graze on picturesque slopes covered in wild flowers. It is easy to spot a chateau on a distant hilltop and indulge in a spot of day dreaming as cottony clouds roll past. The dreamy reverie is interrupted only by the periodic tinkling of cow bells.
Think it doesn’t get better than this? Well, we have news. It DOES! Rolling hills might be idyllic but they are punctuated by cheese and chocolate factories at every corner in this part of Switzerland. Cheese, chocolate, and the Swiss Countryside – we challenge you to find a better combination! 🙂
The La Gruyere area is perfect for a Day Trip from Geneva or Lausanne or a pit stop on your trip around Switzerland. The entire area is so scenic that you are bound to feel like you’ve walked into a picture postcard. Make sure you stop at the Cailler-Nestle Chocolate Factory in the village of Broc. The factory itself is nestled between lush green meadows – the only sounds you’ll hear are the chirping of birds and tinkling of cow bells (that’s only till you enter the hallowed premises – it can get pretty crowded there!)
The factory provides an interactive tour that describes the history of chocolate and the ways in which Swiss identity is closely tied with chocolate. The tour is perfect for little ‘uns but it’s fun for grown ups as well. Guess what follows next? Visitors are let loose on a tasting room with every kind of chocolate produced at the factory.
Yes, you heard right. You can eat as much chocolate as you like. Endless rows of milk chocolate squares, dark chocolate bits, white chocolate pieces, gourmet chocolate cups, caramel chocolate bites, and flavoured chocolates are on offer. Phew!! This place just needs one Willy Wonka, that’s it 🙂
The village of Gruyeres is a short drive away from Broc. No self-respecting cheese lover can skip visiting this mouth-watering village, the home of Gruyere cheese. The medieval village is also famous for its castle, perched on a hill-top. But beware, the cobble-stoned alley to Gruyeres Castle is paved with temptation.
This is because there are a number of rustic cheese factories and dairies in the area. Then, there are restaurants offering traditional Swiss specialities at every step. Try Cheese Fondue, slivers of aged Gruyere cheese (grainy and earthy, nom!), Raclette (Melted cheese with varied accompaniments), or mûres à la crème (blackberries with cream). All dairy products – cheese, cream, and milk – are locally sourced and taste EXQUISITE. Drink in the panoramic view of Alpine meadows from Gruyeres Castle once you’ve savoured everything the village has to offer. One helluva scrumptious day trip, if ever there was one! 🙂
- La Gruyere is one of the most scenic areas in Switzerland and is perfect for a day trip from Geneva or Lausanne
- The area is 120 kms (2 hours) away from Geneva and 50 kms (1 hour) away from Lausanne
- We drove around but the area is well connected by public transport
- Entrance to the Cailler Chocolate Factory is 10 CHF (£7) as of June 2014. This includes unlimited tastings at their chocolate room. There is also a huge shop next to the factory where you can purchase Cailler chocolates – they make the perfect presents.
- One of our readers (thanks Ila!) just mailed us to tell us that Cailler also have a factory outlet just 200 metres away from the main entrance where you can buy the same chocolates at half the price. Who doesn’t love a bargain?! 🙂
- Try renting a chalet in the La Gruyere area for 2-3 days for the perfect weekend away.
Planning a trip to Switzerland? Don’t forget to read all our posts on Switzerland for tips on offbeat gems and itineraries
Looking for a place to stay in Switzerland? We suggest going rustic – read about our shenanigans in a Swiss Chalet
Need help packing? Our posts on packing for Switzerland have you covered 🙂