Trip Report - Day 2: Chocolate train, Gruyeres Village, Gruyeres castle, Cheese factory, Chocolate factory at Broc
26.07.2014 - 28.07.2014 17 °C
When I started reading up about places to visit and things to do in Switzerland, one thing which caught my attention was the Chocolate train. It started more as a must-do thing from Isha point of view, as I was sure she would enjoy it. Also, being the chocolate lovers that we all are, the name Chocolate train itself was so exciting . And as I read up more about it, I started finding it even more tempting.
This train runs from Montreux to the Gruyère region from where the excellent quality Cailler chocolate and Gruyere cheese come from. It is better to make advance reservations as there is only one train which runs every day in summer. The link for the same is
http://www.goldenpass.ch/en/goldenpass/offer/view?id=15. The chocolate train reservation actually costs CHF 99 but with our Swiss passes, we got a discount and had to pay CHF 59. As mentioned in my previous post, we had collected the reservations from the information counter at the train station on the day we arrived in Montreux.
The chocolate train left from Montreux at around 9 AM. We were very impressed with the coaches. We travelled exclusively in 1st class "Belle Epoque Pullman” deluxe carriages. Breakfast with croissant and tea/coffee/hot chocolate was served on the train. I must say the Cailler chocolate croissant which was served to us is one of the best croissants I have ever tasted.
The route which runs between Montreux and Gruyeres is a part of the Goldenpass route and is one of the most picturesque ones of the region. Switzerland is a perfect place for someone who loves natural beauty and the best way to experience this is by travelling in their trains. Sometimes, a picture speaks a thousand words...maybe the following pictures will let you know what I mean.
We reached the charming medieval village of Gruyeres where we were taken to the cheese factory for a demonstration of how the famous Gruyeres cheese is made. We were given audio guides and had to just walk around listening to them. Though the experience at this factory was just mediocre, the rest of the day was so incredible that it made up for this initial disappointment.
A bus picked us up from the cheese factory and dropped us to the picture-perfect Gruyeres village which is located on a hill. We had around 2.5 hours here at our disposal. The cute little Gruyeres village is the home of Switzerland's most famous cheese. It is a unique medieval village consisting of a cobble-stoned main street lined by ancient but beautifully preserved buildings. It boasts some of the loveliest scenery in the country, with lush green hills and stunning views of mountain peaks all around.
We wanted to try the famous Swiss speciality- Cheese Fondue and had read that ‘Le Chalet de Gruyeres’ is famous for the best fondue of the region. As soon as we arrived at the village, we went straight to this restaurant hoping to get one of the tables upstairs with a view of the village. However, it was full even at that time...as early as 11:45 AM. We got a table downstairs and had a yummy lunch of fondue. Fondue is a Swiss dish of melted cheese served in a pot over a portable stove, and eaten by dipping long-stemmed forks with bread or potatoes into the cheese. For dessert, how could we miss the other specialty of the region - Meringue with cream. In fact, we loved it so much that we ordered a second helping.
After a very heavy lunch, we walked to the Gruyeres castle. Now to think of it, this village reminded me of some of the fairy tales which I had read as a child. The Gruyeres castle itself reminded me of the story of beautiful Rapunzel who was locked in a castle by the wicked witch...
The Gruyeres castle is a museum which gives an insight into the history and everyday life of the last eight centuries. The beautiful castle garden provides fabulous views of the surrounding countryside. We spent some time here exploring the rooms and admiring how beautifully everything has been preserved and displayed.
Our bus picked us from Gruyeres and our next stop was the chocolate factory at Broc. This was a very nice experience. The interactive tour helps in discovering the secrets of chocolate manufacturing inside this operating factory at Broc in a very creative manner. The visit also traces the history of the factory from 1898 to the present. The tour ended with the tasting of the yummy Cailler chocolates at the tasting room...
After the chocolate tasting, Isha played for some time outside the factory where there is some open space and fountain. Soon, we boarded our train from Broc and reached Montreux by 5:30 PM. All in all, it was a great day.
I had got a lot of suggestions from people on different forums about doing this trip on your own as all these train routes are covered under the Swiss pass. However, I liked the overall experience and found it a much more convenient way of covering all these places, even if it meant paying more than what we would have by doing it on our own. I definitely recommend the chocolate train based on our experience.
We ended the great day with another long walk along the promenade.