I love cheese. And I don’t discriminate either: whether it’s creamy brie or bright orange cheddar (my French readers are shuddering, I know), I truly love every variety. That’s all to say that I was pretty stoked to finally visit the Swiss village of Gruyères, home of the famous cheese often found in fondue. We used our new Mobility car share account — think Zipcar, Americans — to drive an hour and a half out to the picturesque town on Sunday, trying to catch up on the latest radio hits via France’s “Virgin Radio” during the ride.
After parking our little red Volkswagen in the lot, we climbed the steep path up to the car-free village, which looks like it was taken straight out of a fairytale: One main cobblestone street, charming houses, a large stone fountain, cheerful Christmas decorations… It’s adorable. We wandered around and then decided it was time for some lunch, settling on a touristy restaurant with an enclosed terrace overlooking the landscape, where I had my very first… drumroll please… Gruyère mac and cheese! It was awesome.
Ready for more cheese, we walked down to the Gruyère fromagerie where we did the self-guided audio tour and then got to watch the actual cheesemaking process through glass panels looking down onto the factory floor. It was super interesting: They have giant vats of milky liquid that get stirred until the mixture curdles, when it gets pumped across the room into smaller containers. The whey runs out through little holes and then what’s left is molded, pressed and rotated. And you get to eat while you watch! The factory gives you little packages of cheeses of different ages to sample on your tour.
We finished up the day by walking back through town to check out Château de Gruyères, which felt much smaller than Chillon in Montreux but was still very cool. I especially liked walking the ramparts around the castle grounds and seeing the knight-painted dining room. By the time we finished, the sun was setting and the village’s Christmas lights were twinkling, so we picked up two cappuccinos to go and headed back to the car for the drive to Geneva. It was a lovely, cheese-filled day 🙂