For a real Willy Wonka adventure, hop on board Switzerland’s Chocolate Train. And what do you get? A train ride AND all the chocolate you can eat! My idea of a perfect day. In Montreux, Switzerland we boarded vintage “Belle Epoque Pullman” 1915 carriages – with beautiful woodwork and velvet seats – and enjoyed croissants and hot chocolate served on board as we pulled out of the station. (Actually you have your choice of these 1st class “Belle Epoque Pullman” deluxe carriages or in panoramic coaches). The Chocolate Train runs on tracks of the Montreux-Oberland-Bernois Railway (MOB), which offer scenic views of vineyards and peaceful countryside on its way to the first stop of the day – the medieval cheesemaking town of Gruyères. A postcard-perfect town, is Gruyères also has a fabulous fairytale castle – and tickets for a visit were included in the price of our train tickets. The Chocolate Train then continues nearly to the doors of the Callier-Nestlé factory where the very air you breathe is filled with the luscious scent of chocolate. Though Nestlè chocolate is produced around the world, this factory in Broc is the only place where Callièr is still made.
After a short tour of the factory, we entered nirvana. An entire tasting room filled with table after table of every variety of chocolate treats produced by Callièr -Nestlé. And it’s all you can eat! The train returned to Montreaux (be sure and check out the Castle of Chillon and the Freddy Mercury statue by the lake!). The Chocolate train runs every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from May to October except June 2nd and 13th 2011 and every day in July and August. Reservations are required and can be made at Montreux train station or at a travel agency like ours. The package includes coffee and croissant on the train, bus transfers and a tour of the Gruyères castle, as well as visits to the demonstration cheese dairy and the chocolate factory. Chocolate Train prices for 2011 are 99.00 Swiss francs (CHF) for adults and 69.00 for children. At today’s exchange it’s about USD $104 for adults and $73 for kids. Prices are about half that if you have a SwissPass train card. And may I say, it’s worth every bite…I mean penny!
For more information about the Swiss Chocolate Train visit www.mob.ch