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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Kade

Gruyères: known for cheese, aliens, and a castle

Gruyères is the town and Gruyère is the cheese.

Gruyères is a medieval town in the Fribourg canton in the French speaking section of Switzerland. It's known for production of the cheese of the same name.

The weather prediction is for rain so we decided to travel to Gruyères to have raclette for a late lunch.

We decided to take the faster route there, even though it includes train changes in Bern, Fribourg, and Bulle.

If you buy Nespresso coffee, this is one of the plants where it is manufactured. This plant is in Romont. I know of another plant in Avenches. They must not be roasting the beans today as you usually can smell it long before reaching the plant.

It looks like they are adding onto the building. Even though Michael doesn’t drink coffee and I am an occasional drinker, it still would be fun to tour the plant and purchase some cups for friends whom love Nespresso.

Dairy farming is a huge profession in this region of Switzerland. Farms are very large in size. Fields are designated for growing grass, growing corn or left for the cows to graze on. So many different type of cows.

Many bee hives near the fields

Before we climbed the hill to get to the tiny town of Gruyères, we stopped at the Maison du Gruyère for the cheese tour. La Maison du Gruyère is a village cheese dairy providing the opportunity of viewing the hand-made production of the cheese "Le Gruyère AOP". The show dairy, which was opened in 1969, is located in Pringy near Gruyères, at the foot of the castle hill.

La Maison du Gruyère guides you through a modern world of the senses and their cow Cerise (Cherry) introduces you to the secrets of the Gruyère AOP making.

"The interactive display, a journey to the heart of the senses, plays on the five senses to plunge visitors into the world of Gruyère AOP and reveal all its secrets. Le Gruyère AOP cheese is produced in ample quantities. 29,000 tons of the hard cheese are made annually. It bears the registered trademark AOP (indicating its origin).

Hearing – the staircase that leads to the exhibition reverberates with the sounds of Gruyère AOP : bells, bellowing, the streams that rush down the mountain-side, a journey inside a drop of milk…

You hear cow bells ringing and clanging.

Types of cows found in this region of Switzerland

Cheery the cow leads you through the tour. She was named Cherry because she was born during cherry time.

Smell – is represented by typical aromas, such as the flora of the high pastures and the hay. These are deeply suggestive odors that penetrate deep into the subconscious.

You may find these types of wildflowers growing in the fields where the cows graze. The milk will taste a certain way depending on what it eats.

Lift the top of the tube and smell.

Touch – also has its small role to play during the visit : herbs, cow-hide, lime, cheese probe and brush, milk canisters…

Due to covid restrictions, it was requested you do not touch the objects

Sight – that is everywhere : production of the Gruyère AOP, videos, pictures, accessories, interactive games…

This is Cherry, the cow

Taste – your taste buds are lured by tasting Gruyère AOP cheese at three different stages of maturity : 6, 8 and 10 months."

Notice the younger the cheese is, the lighter it is in color.

Furthermore, the exhibition features : panels giving general information on the cheese dairy, the Gruyere AOP and the cellars as well as a film shot at La Maison du Gruyère showing the various production stages of Le Gruyère AOP.

Here you get to know everything about the production of Le Gruyère AOP cheese, a process richly steeped in tradition that has been passed on from generation to generation. The farmers deliver their milk twice a day, and it is processed into cheese loaves by the cheese craftsmen. Naturally, one can watch them at work.

Salt Bath

Porte du Belluard

Whenever we are in Gruyères, we stop at the Hôtel de Ville for a late lunch. We enjoy the raclette served with bread, potatoes, gherkins and pickled onions. The wine, L’Ajoulette, is another vully which pairs well with the raclette cheese.

I like mine with some freshly ground pepper.

As soon as the cheese bubbles, scrape the cheese off onto bread or potatoes.

You need white wine with cheese. Very tasty vully!

We had some time before walking down the hill to catch the bus so we did some walking. Cobblestones are hard on the feet!!!!!

I bet Izzy and Jellie Beanie would like a "cat walk".

Tourists are back to Gruyères.

Route down to the train station

Hans Ruedi Giger, February 5, 1940 – May 12, 2014) was a Swiss artist best known for his airbrushed images of humans and machines connected in cold biomechanical relationships. He was part of the special team that won an Academy Award for the visual design of Ridley Scott's 1979 sci-fi horror film Alien. His work is on permanent display at the H.R. Giger Museum in Gruyères. His style has been adapted to many forms of media, including album covers, furniture, and tattoos.

Two years ago when we were at this restaurant, our waitress quit halfway through serving us. It was her first day and she could not take the pressure having to be constantly moving from table to table. The manager laughed. She thought the young girl would have quit two hours earlier.

No time today to explore the castle. It is a great reason to come back for more raclette.

On the way back home, we took the train from Gruyères with changes in Bulle, Fribourg, Bern, and Spiez. The train arriving in Gruyères was three minutes late so we were afraid we would miss our connection in Bulle. There is so much construction happening in Bulle!! They are rebuilding the tracks so the temporary tracks are quite a distance away from each other. Had to use power walking speed and a simple slow jog to make the connection. The train from Fribourg to Bern was new. It had that “new train smell.” Carpets were spotless and showed no wear and tear. The train originated in Geneva and will terminate in St. Gallen. It’s like going from one part of the country to another.

Lots of threatening clouds but no rain. Temperature was about 72. We walked over 4 miles and 11 flights of steps. That didn’t count the hill we climbed from the Gruyères train station up to the castle.

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