Monday, October 11, 2010

Vancance en Suisse, Gruyères - les dernièrs jours

View from our hotel in the morning

The next morning we met my Gramma and her friend in Vevey. From there we all headed out together to the town of Gruyère.

Gruyère is where they make the Swiss Gruyère cheese. It’s in the pre-Alpine foothills; fairly close to Bulle & Fribourg. These foothills are where the cows that make the Gruyère cheese are taken to pasture. It is the bovine diet of fresh wildflowers that makes the Swiss cheeses unique. Traditional paintings called “poyas” depict the annual event of the herds being led up the mountains and the festive return.

We arrived in time to have to see the initial stages of the cheese making process in the AOC factory/museum. Not too much action occurred in the 20minutes we watched of the beginning processes. It is a very long process of boiling, stirring, pressing, soaking and then aging the cheese on wooden planks.
Making Gruyère 

We then headed up to the old part of the town. We had a delicious lunch of Gruyère cheese at Chalet de Gruyères. The dish of choice was a Croute au fromage. This is a traditional dish of bread dipped in fruit brandy, covered in Swiss alpine cheese, such as Gruyère, and served with some cornichons. There are a few options with a variety of combinations but I thought the best was one that had a slice of ham and pineapple underneath the mountain of cheese.

After lunch we went to see Le Château de Gruyères. The Château dates from the 11th century, and has had many owners due to some financial instability. In 1849 it was sold to the Bovy and Balland family who had the painter Camille Corot decorate some of the interior rooms.

 There were little exhibitions throughout the chateau including a mummified hand, knight’s armour, cloaks of nobility, and also an exhibition on while we were there of some very fantastical paintings.

Above: Patrick Woodroffe painting "Sur l'eau du sablier"
Top Left: Camille Corot mural paintings 
Left: Music room
Lower Left: Château Balcony
Lower Right: Château Gardens

We stopped in a few of the shops before making our way back to the car. Andre and I were dropped off in Nyon for the night where we stayed in the Hostellerie du XVIe Siècle. We had a nice dinner at a Chinese-Vietnamese-Thai restaurant, Mekong, and walked around the town under our umbrella.

The next day was the last of our Vacance en Suisse. Andre and I went to Geneva in the morning to do a quick walk around the old part of town before having lunch with my Gramma and taking the long train ride back to Arras!

We had a fantastic trip! Many thanks to my Grandmother's friend, she certainly showed us a wonderful time en Suisse.

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