The last stop on my trip was to see a friend who was studying in Lausanne, Switzerland. Little did I know that the country was famous for their many cheese and chocolate factories, and I was lucky enough to try both Swiss cheese and chocolate.
The best part of traveling is learning about different people, new cultures and discovering the history behind the places I have been, especially their food. It Turns out, Cailler, Switzerland’s oldest chocolate factory — founded in 1819 — has an interactive visitor tour within the museum that leads you through the history of cocoa to the present day.
I never thought I would actually learn a single thing while tasting every possible bit of chocolate I could. Today the company is owned by Nestlé and still operates out of the heart of the Swiss Alps.
The next factory I was fortunate enough to visit was Gruyère Cheese, which has been around since 1115. After taking a pleasant train ride through the mountains and exploring the quaint little town of Gruyère, my friend and I settled in for a fondue lunch at the factory.
Surprisingly, I have never actually eaten fondue, but after trying it in Switzerland, at a true cheese factory, I don’t think any other restaurant will live up to that experience. The kind-hearted folks that live there and make the cheese truly enjoy what they do.
The process, however, is much more intricate than many realize. From milking the cow, to curdling the milk, cutting and mixing curds, molding and marking, storing, maturating and lastly, taxing the cheese, it takes quite a bit of time. Some cheeses end up sitting on shelves aging for six to nine months to perfect the most soft and refined Gruyère taste. If I ever find myself back in Switzerland, you can bet visiting new cheese and chocolate factories is at the top of my list.