Monday, June 14, 2010
Dreaming of Chocolate and Cheese! A Tour of the Cailler Chocolate Factory & Gruyères
Jen, Dan and I had a fun day of sight-seeing last Friday as we took a drive to Maison Cailler Chocolate Factory and Gruyères! Cailler is one of the most well-known chocolate brands in Swizterland. Starting off our day at the chocolate factory, we were greeted with the delicious aroma of chocolate as we opened our car doors! The tour started with a funny show that reminded me somewhat of the Haunted House ride at Disneyland. Our group walked from room to room, each door opening and closing behind us, a loud voice booming over the speakers providing the history of chocolate through the years while a visual scene played out in front of us! At the end of the show, we walked into the next section of the tour, which described the chocolate-making process along with the cocoa beans and nuts used to flavor it (although Cailler's chocolate recipe is a well-kept secret!). We then watched part of the production line in action, as the chocolate pieces were created and sent down the assembly line to be cooled and packaged. The final (and best!) part of the tour was the tasting room , where we could sample all of the different lines of chocolate made by Cailler. Our chocolate tasting turned into our lunch, as so many of them called out to us to be tasted! Yum!
Next, we drove to Gruyères, located just a few minutes from Cailler. Our first stop here was La Maison du Gruyéres, where the cheese-making demonstrations are held. We decided to pass on that, but we did pop in to the souvenir shop to check out the cheese for sale! Next, we headed up the hill to town. Gruyères' main street is a no-car zone, but you can park your car just below it and walk up from there. We strolled through the cobble-stoned streets, checking out the menus of the restaurants that we passed. We settled on one with a terrace and observed the lovely outdoor views while enjoying a glass of the local wine and munching on a meat and cheese plate....of course, Gruyères cheese! We topped off our meal with a mouth-watering ice-cream sundae! Dessert could not be passed up as Gruyères has some of the freshest milk and cream available on a daily basis from the near-by dairy farmers. We ended our town tour in front of the Gruyères Castle, admiring the green rolling-hills of the country-side. It was then time to head back to Lausanne and pack for our weekend trip to the Swiss Alps!