Last Sunday, my friends T & C brought Mr J and I along for a day trip throughout Switzerland. We woke up early and headed over to Gruyere, Switzerland where the other type of Gruyere cheese is made, because there are two types of Gruyere: French and Swiss.
We were able to enjoy a tour of a Gruyere factory where we could learn about the milk production and selection process and watch the cheese making process with our own eyes. The method we saw was the modern way of making cheese whereas there still exists the traditional handmade process.
I learned that the type of milk a cow produces is affected by the type of grass it eats and the grass is affected by the soil and other natural causes. Milk consists mostly of water and the rest creates the cheese we know and love.
The process for making cheese is relatively simple, however far from easy. The process has been perfected by generations upon generations of cheese makers with techniques and tools that only first hand knowledge and years of experience can create. The workers are well versed in sanitation, milk and cheese quality, chemistry, history, regulations, and good old fashioned know how that make what the Europeans love to serve at each meal.
After our educational tour of the Gruyere factory, we took a walk throughout the small village of Gruyere and took in the sights and sounds of the village. It was about lunch time and the town was bustling with hungry tourists and sightseers. In the village, there is a large castle where one can enjoy a tour and learn more about the village’s history. There are plenty of authentic restaurants where the staff dress in authentic attire.
We then left for a long drive throughout the Swiss countryside, going up and down winding hill and mountain roads. From each vantage point, we were able to see mountains sprawl across the country side and see the trees change their colors. We also got to discover the various types of cows that live within the region, some according to my friend’s inside joke, are prettier than the girls of a particular region. I was tickled to learn how farmers in the country side leave a refrigerator of cheeses and honey in their yard. People can come by, take what they want and leave their cash in a little bucket in the fridge. Talk about trust and mutual respect!
We made our way to the Swiss-German side. Unfortunately, I don’t have the name of the small mountain village we ate lunch in, nor the name of the restaurant where I enjoyed the best fondue I’ve ever tasted in my life, because I suffered an attack of an ocular migraine. My trip was gashed by a terrible headache which forced me to lay in the backseat of my friends SUV with my eyes covered for the rest of the trip. While I slept, Mr J took many photos as he and our friends (and the dogs) walked by the waterfall and again in another small Swiss ski town.
Despite the negative setback of a migraine, I was still impressed with the natural beauty, cleanliness, and peacefulness of Switzerland. No wonder they always try to remain politically neutral. Who would want to destroy such a beautiful landscape?
Switzerland is a must see on the European traveler’s itinerary. It’s breathtakingly beautiful, culturally rich, and well preserved history makes it unforgettable and awe inspiring.
Many thanks to T & C for the wonderful experience.
See my photos in a video format: