Travel to Switzerland to indulge in some of the most delectable foods and stunning scenery in the world. What better combination could you offer your group?
Imagine yourself atop rolling green hills overlooking vast vineyards and mountains as you delight in the aromas and tastes of an assortment of cheeses, chocolates and wines. In Switzerland, your group will not only learn how these mouth-watering delights are made, but also be able to taste to their hearts’ content amid the spectacular scenery found all across the country.
In Switzerland, cheese is a living slice of popular and culinary culture. A must for the cheese lovers in your group is a visit to a weekly market to see farmers’ tables stacked high with wheels of cheese. Here are some major cheese attractions.
Gottardo Dairy, Airolo
At the Gottardo dairy in Airolo, your group can use the milk produced by cows in the San Gottardo region to make their own cheese with the help of an experienced cheese maker. When their freshly made cheese has matured, it will be sent home to them.
Appenzell Show-Dairy, Stein
Appenzeller®, the country’s spiciest cheese, has been made by hand in the same general way for more than 700 years. At the Appenzell cheese dairy in Stein, you can watch the cheese makers up close and see age-old customs and the latest technology come together. Visit the souvenir shop and eat at a large terrace restaurant overlooking the countryside. Groups can try the Appenzell Cheese Game that tests your wits, orienteering skills and team spirit.
Cheese factory in the Engelberg Monastery, Engelberg
This is the first Swiss cheese factory to be located in a monastery. Through a glass wall, your group will see soft cheese produced and ladled by hand into a mold.
La Maison du Gruyère AOP, Pringy-Gruyères
Le Gruyère AOP produces 29,000 tons of cheese annually. La Maison du Gruyère is a modern show dairy that opened in 1969. At the foot of the castle hill, your group partakes in the dairy’s interactive exhibition—listening to cow bells, petting a cow, smelling the fragrance of Alpine hay and tasting mild, ripe or fresh cheese. The restaurant and the market offer other regional specialties.
Throughout the 400+ years since Columbus became the first European to see cocoa beans, Switzerland has made its way to the forefront of worldwide chocolate manufacturing. Swiss chocolate is great by itself, with an espresso, or with sweet wine, whisky or Cognac. Try as many combinations as you wish during your visit.
“Swiss Chocolate Adventure”, Lucerne
The Swiss Transport Museum’s “Swiss Chocolate Adventure,” opening June 19, 2014, is a multimedia Swiss chocolate-focused experience. Your group will learn interesting facts about the discovery, origin, production and transport of chocolate, all while seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and feeling. Developed in conjunction with the Lindt Chocolate Competence Foundation, this exhibit portrays the entire process from the cultivation of the cocoa bean and the transport to Switzerland up to the manufacture and sale of the finished chocolate product.
Chocolat Frey Visitor Center, Buchs
Meet some of Chocolat Frey’s staff, visit the aroma laboratory, feel what it’s like to be a delicious praline and see the “My Chocolate” show. Experience the “Chocolate Trail” and sweet tasting. Interactive stations at the visitor center bring the world of cocoa beans and chocolate to life. Groups of 10 or more should pre-register, and group lunches are available in the Chocolat Frey restaurant upon request.
The Swiss Chocolate Train, Montreux
The Swiss Chocolate Train is a joint venture of GoldenPass Services and Cailler-Nestlé. Ride in first-class comfort in a Belle Epoque Pullman car, vintage 1915 and/or the modern panorama car with stunning views of the vineyards surrounding Montreux and medieval Gruyères. Depart Montreux, ride to Gruyères (home of the famous Gruyère cheese) and continue to Broc, where you will find the chocolate factory.
Tickets may include coffee and croissants on the train, a bus to and from the Gruyères train station, a visit to a cheese factory, and/or a film presentation, factory visit and chocolate sampling in Nestlé Chocolate Factory.
Café Sprüngli, Zurich
Melt-in-your-mouth truffles, light and delicate Luxemburgerli macarons, handmade dark chocolate, tarts and cakes are just a small taste of the many sweet and tempting treats at the café of Confiserie Sprüngli at Paradeplatz. This classic and famous café-salon in the city is known for its gourmet brunch buffet with homemade bread, fresh jams and marmalades and delicious Birchermüesli with cream.
Swiss wine is produced from more than 37,000 acres of vineyards, primarily in the west and in the south of Switzerland, in the cantons of Geneva, Neuchâtel, Ticino, Valais and Vaud.
Ticino Grape Festival, Mendrisio
The festival, originating in 1944, takes place in the heart of Mendrisio’s old town during the last weekend in September. The inner courts of the old houses open for the public and turn into open-air Grotti, where people drink wine and specialties from the region.
Cooperage Museum, Vallamand-Dessus
On you way to the Cooperage Museum you can explore the Vallamand vineyards, then savor a glass of local wine and get a glimpse of the daily life of the people in this corner of the country. Group visits to the museum, which reflects 125 years of history, include presentations, a film on the creation of a 1,000 gallon-capacity barrel and tasting house wines.
Vine and Wine Museum, Aigle
The Vine and Wine Museum has been located in Aigle Castle since 1976. There are 17 rooms showcasing wine production in Vaud canton, in Switzerland and in neighboring countries. Other exhibits include tools, winepresses, casks, stills, pewter jugs, barrels, measures, bottles, corks and corkscrews, taster cups and glasses and carafes.
Lavaux Express, Lutry-Cully
Discover the vineyards of Lavaux, a UNESCO World Heritage Site of 800-year-old terraced vineyards on the edge of Lake Geneva with dramatic views of the Alps. From April to October, this charming train travels on a one-hour journey throughout the hillsides of the Lavaux wine-growing region. Your group will have the opportunity to try regional wines onsite.
Your group will thank you for such a unique, delicious and naturally beautiful experience. Contact Switzerland Tourism to help you plan your trip to Switzerland, where flowing wine and pounds of chocolate and cheese await. If you’ve already had the pleasure of visiting any of these destinations, tell us about your experience below!