Let your inner Willy Wonka be your guide and board the Chocolate Train that runs from Montreux every summer. It is a delightful way to see the Swiss bucolic countryside and nosh on delicious chocolate treats.
You can choose to travel in an elegant vintage "Belle Epoque" carriage or an ultra-modern one with over-sized windows. The train’s early morning departure is a great excuse to enjoy fresh croissants and coffee served aboard while slowly waking up to the beautiful scenery outside. Green pastures, dramatic mountains, neat vineyards and picture-perfect villages slowly glide past your windows as the train moves towards medieval Gruyères, home to the renowned Alpine Gruyère cheese. Here you will visit a factory where the cheese is made and sample its different varieties. Gruyère cheese has been produced in the area for centuries and it has played an important part in local economy.
After that head to the 13th century Gruyères Castle to learn about the town’s history and admire a fine art collection. You will have some spare tie to wonder around the charming town and have lunch in one of local restaurants that serve traditional hearty dishes. Try a lamb stew (ragoût d’agneau) with local pears, Fribourg sausage, smoked ham, creamy soup de chalet, rich fondue and meringues with Gruyère double cream. Just make sure you do not miss your train!
Next stop – the pretty town of Broc where the famous Maison Cailler (Nestlé) chocolate factory is based. Here you will discover the secrets of chocolate manufacturing and history of the factory from 1898 to the present.
After observing the production process through factory’s viewing windows and breathing in the tantalizing chocolate aroma you can, finally, indulge your sweet tooth and savour the heavenly Swiss chocolate during a tasting. Stock up on edible gifts at the factory’s shop and board the train to return to Montreux.
Photos via Flickr by: Rachel Glaves, Mark Weston, Nestlé.