Friday, 12 May 2017

A cheesy tale

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, Jane and I recently went over to France to spend some time with one of our daughters and her family. While we were there we went on a trip to the historic little Swiss town of Gruyeres, home of the eponymous cheese. [In English, the cheese is normally called Gruyere, without the "s" at the end.]

Gruyeres is a very small but very picturesque town, perched on top of a steep hill about 25kms from Montreux, on the North side of Lac Leman (aka Lake Geneva).

Rue du Bourg - Main street, with chateau in the distance

The fortified chateau, dating from the 13th century, is the dominant feature. We walked round it, but didn't go inside.

The main (practically only!) street is comprised almost entirely of restaurants and gift shops.

We had a delicious lunch in the Café-Restaurant des Remparts. Naturally enough our food contained a fair amount of cheese. I had the "Tartiflette Gruerienne", which is a dish of potatoes, bacon lardons and Gruyere cheese, baked until the cheese goes runny and slightly golden on top. Very nice! It's traditionally made with Reblochon cheese, but "when in Rome, do as the Romans do"...

Actually, as well as the restaurants, the town has several museums. One is a Tibetan Buddhist museum, and one is dedicated to the works of H.R.Giger of "Aliens" fame.

Sculpture outside the Giger museum

Here are some photos of other miscellaneous objects I saw in the town:

St.George and the Dragon

Spout on a water fountain

Doorway to the shop of a woodworker and turner.

Ornamental cats

I think this is the town's "coat of arms"

Vaulted cloister under the ramparts.

After our lunch we went down the hill again, and paid a visit to the cheese factory in the village of Pringy. I don't have any of my own photos of this visit, so I am resorting to showing you the leaflet I picked up in the factory / visitor centre:

Normally they make cheese 4 times a day here, in full view of the visitors, but at the time we went (Monday 8th May) the only thing happening was the mechanised stirring of a vast vat of milk. The leaflet tells me that each of their four vats holds 4800 litres. Still, we got to see all the various bits of the setup, and at the end of the tour we were able to look through glass windows into the huge "cave d'affinage" in which the finished cheeses are matured.

One of the most endearing aspects of this attraction is that your entry ticket is actually in the form of a packet of cheese! It contains small samples of the cheese at different ages (6, 8 and 10 months), so that you can find out for yourself how the taste changes as the cheese matures.

Le cheese-ticket!

I can vouch for the fact that this is tasty cheese - and of course the more mature ones are the best! In the gift shop we bought some cheese to bring home, including a piece of the "Alpage" type. This rich, nutty cheese is made exclusively from the milk produced by cows feeding on the extra-lush vegetation of the high pastures to which the herds are moved during the Summer months.


  1. Looks a nice way to spend the day. For such a famous cheese seems they kept the town quite quaint.

  2. What a beautiful place!


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