Mannie’s travels: Swiss Chocolate Train

Story and photos by Mannie Daly Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation summer intern
A view alongside Lake Geneva in Montreux, Switzerland.
A view alongside Lake Geneva in Montreux, Switzerland.

Over Fourth of July weekend, I had the privilege of going on the Swiss Chocolate Train trip with Outdoor Recreation.

This trip pays a visit to both a chocolate factory and a cheese factory in Switzerland. Our day started at 9 a.m., when we boarded the luxurious Swiss Chocolate Train in Montreux, Switzerland. We were served a chocolate croissant, mini chocolates and a drink of our choice.

The group was given a little over an hour at the chocolate factory in Broc, Switzerland. Groups are taken through an easy-to-understand, animated tour about the history of the factory’s chocolate, the oldest Swiss chocolate brand still in existence.

A running production line gives an up-close look at how the chocolates are produced and packaged. A camera scans each and every piece of chocolate to ensure that it is the right size and length; if not, they are pulled off  the line before the wrapping station. Before heading off to the chocolate tasting, visitors were given the opportunity to feel and smell various ingredients used in these chocolates. The tasting at the end of the tour did not disappoint. Roughly a dozen different types of white, milk and dark chocolate were available for sampling. The gift shop sells everything sampled and so much more. As a chocolate fanatic, the chocolate factory was such a pleasant experience. Next up, Gruyere.

We were given a couple hours to explore the small, medieval town of Gruyere. Gruyere is home to the Tibet Museum, the Gruyere Castle and the H.R. Giger Museum. Paintings and sculptures take you into the fascinating, obscure mind of the man behind the film, “Alien.”

After exploring the town, the group traveled onward to the cheese factory, where we were greeted with cheese samples. We sampled cheeses aging at six, eight and 10 months so we could taste the difference at various maturities. Visual displays took us through the process of cheese production, all the way down to what the cows are fed in order to ensure the best milk. It takes 400 liters of milk to produce just one round of cheese. Videos provide an in-depth look at the machinery and labor put into producing gruyere cheese. Finally, a cellar displays thousands of wheels of maturing cheese.

Following the cheese factory, we took the Swiss Chocolate Train back to Montreux, where the Montreux Jazz Festival was in full swing. Food stands and live music lined the streets.

The lively atmosphere from the festival and the incredible landscape made for a memorable night. Many people had the opportunity to enjoy incredible views by boat from Lake Geneva.

Touring the chocolate and cheese factories was such a unique, once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Mannie Daly is an intern at Outdoor Recreation and the Marketing Office. She writes reviews on her trips each weekend. Read more about Mannie’s travels in upcoming KA’s.

The town of Gruyere, Switzerland.
The town of Gruyere, Switzerland.