20 Days of Chill - Did somebody say cheese?

Hello and welcome to another season of 20 Days of Chill! 

How does this work? Throughout the month of January, a small group of bloggers will be using pre-announced prompts given by our host, A'lil HooHaa. It's 20 because we'll only post Monday through Friday.

At the same time, I'm also participating in another round of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. If you're interested in today's edition, head over here. Prompts will be sent out daily, so I'll have to improvise. And yes, daily, means weekends, too. 

Soooo... today! It's 

Did somebody say cheese?

If you hear "Swiss Food" - what comes to your mind?

Cheese, more specifically cheese fondue and chocolate, right?

If you're good, I may make a Fondue for you on Friday - so make sure to come back!

Today let's begin by addressing the difference between Swiss Cheese and Cheeses of Switzerland

Swiss cheese, or just "Swiss" is some low quality industrialized cheese variety, typically showing some wholes, made and sold anywhere in the world. How do the holes get into the cheese? Head over here and find out.

Cheeses of Switzerland are roughly 450 varieties of cheeses made in Switzerland, the most popular being Emmentaler, followed by Gruyères, Appenzeller and Raclette. 

Their AOP label (Appellation d’Origine Protégée = Protected Designation of Origin) guarantees that the milk is sourced, and the cheese is actually produced, processed and refined in clearly defined regions of Switzerland. 

Today let me take you to one of these regions, Gruyères. 

We went there in October for the very first time. I don't know about you, but upon hearing a big name like Gruyères, I expect something big.

Well, big it ain't exactly. 

The actual medieval - and car free - small town (only some 2,200 people live there) is located at the top of a hill overlooking the Saane River Valley and the Lake of Gruyère. 

So you'll leave your car down at the large lot and hike your way up. Don't worry, it's only a 10 - 15 minutes' walk. It will be a bit uphill though.

Which is a good thing because you're gonna wanna have some fondue once you're up there. Right? We had no luck finding at table at an outdoor terrace. However this panorama restaurant looked promising, as most of the indoor tables are placed along the window front.

Now, Gruyères is 90% French speaking. And sadly, the cliché that is a cliché for a reason, has once again been confirmed.

Meaning these panoramic window panes were practically blind because they had not been cleaned for so long. The kitchen staff "lost" our order, so after more than half a hour when we finally managed to flag one (not our) waiter down, it had do be reestablished, and, finally, after almost an hour we got our well deserved food. 

In the meantime our pre-paid parking time (again, no common App-based paying method was available) was going to run out. When it was time for the check, we paid the full amount. 

Now I don't want to be a Karen here, but in the United States this would never happen. They would either not charge you for the food or at the very least offer dessert and / or coffee. 

In French speaking Switzerland, all you'll get is a shrug. This town is so touristy they don't have to give a flying f*** about recurring customers. There will be new and eager tourists visiting the restaurant every day.

Besides this annoying part of our visit, the village is super charming. Gotta love yet another medieval castle, cobble-stoned alleys and green pastures for cows to graze. 

Speaking of cows. The nearby freeway rest area is probably the most scenic in all of Switzerland. It overlooks the entire area, and as you walk from the parking lot to the restaurant, you'll encounter all kinds of artsy cows.

Even if you're not into cheese or cows, you haven't come to Gruyères in vain. Now I'll admit, the Giger Museum may not be for everyone, but a certainly a treat for lovers of surreal, even morbid art.  Swiss artist HR Giger won the Oscar for Best Visual Effects in 1980 for his work on the film "Alien."

In 2014, Gruyères was voted “most beautiful village in western Switzerland” by the public and a panel of judges in a competition run by the French-language magazine L’illustré and broadcaster RTS.

Along with Zermatt or the Giessbach Falls, Gruyères is one of 45 major attractions on Switzerland's Grand Tour. 

When you're done exploring the village, you may drive to the cheese factory. 

Yes, you get to visit the place where the actual Gruyères cheese has been made for some 900 years!

We didn't take the tour, because, duh, as Swiss people we have visited a cheesery or three in our lives. As a foreign visitor though, absolutely go for it, and - logistics permitting - grab some cheese from the shop to enjoy later.

Thank you for bearing with me. For my fellow bloggers' contributions head over here and check out their posts. 

I'll be back tomorrow. Be ready with some popcorn because it's Movie Time! 


  1. Wow! I learned a lot about Swiss cheeses from this post...and about tourist towns. :) I seem to remember this town being featured on an episode of The Amazing Race?

  2. OK, so ... the place you went sounds delish. And you are probably right that many places in the states would do something -- but not all! Some will shrug as well. But while I enjoyed this post (and I do like "swiss" cheese) ... what I truly got out of this was ... if I come to switzerland, you're making me fondue and chocolate??


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