Cheese and chocolate!
Trip Start Sep 27, 2012
15Trip End Oct 12, 2012
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Although the main train station is below our apartment, I only realized a couple of days ago that the lines winds around behind us, so today on the train I looked for, and found our place. I could have just about touched the grape vine on the back fence - that would explain why the trains feel and sound as if they are coming through the bedroom at night
The trip started with a visit to the Gruyere cheese factory, which was fascinating. When I saw the amount of milk needed to make cheese, it made me think about the footprint of dairy products! A cow eats 100kg of grass and drinks 85 litres of water every day and produces 25 litres of milk on average. It takes 12 litres of that milk to make one kg of Gruyere cheese. We then had a bus trip into the village, with its mandatory castle, church and square
It was time for lunch and the Rampart restaurant was calling me. Just wonderful food! I chose the soup so that I would have room for dessert, and it was a heavenly vegetable and bean soup with Gruyere cheese and croutons and really hit my craving for vegetables. It was time to have what apparently you have to have in Gruyeres (before you think I am spelling inconsistently the village has an s and the region and thus the adjective doesn't....you really needed to know that.) my serving of meringues and double Gruyere cream was like pavlova without the fruit and an incredible mixture of smooth and crunchy. You will be glad to know that I only used about a third of the bowl of thick cream that came with it. It was about that time that I remembered that we were going on to the chocolate factory
Maison Cailler is in Broc and was an unbelievable experience. I was slightly disappointed to find that Cailler is partnered with Nestle, whom I boycotted in the 70's for their unethical promotion of baby formula in the third world, but today I put aside my social responsibility for a little while. The main names in Swiss chocolate history are Koehler, Peter and Cailler and the presentation of the history from the first discovery of cacao was unforgettable. The Chocolate Centre of Excellence takes visitors very seriously and we were all duly divided into language groups and sent off through the dramatic and fascinating display, with flashing lights, moving displays, ingredients to smell and doors opening automatically. It led, of course, to the demonstration of a chocolate conveyor belt, which led, of course, to the free chocolates! There were about a dozen trays and I could only try half of them before I had enough. They were all sublime.
And so to the enormous shop and time to make difficult decisions about what to buy and take home as family presents. The train that took us down the mountain from Broc fairly rolled down with the cumulative cheese and chocolate consumption of all the passengers. It was so much fun and a great way to end my touring, as the conference starts tomorrow. I am already missing poring over the pamphlets and researching train times on the internet!
All I can say is that this part of Switzerland is incredibly beautiful and overflowing with good things. The glacial alluvium has created rich soil and there is plenty of rain, so everything flourishes. People are very friendly and most know enough English. Meanwhile other parts of the world struggle and suffer. I have just heard the 4am ABC news from Victoria on my iPad and was both delighted and depressed to hear the West Papuan situation lead the news for almost the first time. The Australian government should be ashamed of itself - it is not new knowledge that we have trained the detachment 88 troops that are killing and terrorizing the Papuans. Meanwhile I travel and eat chocolate. It is disturbing.