La Désalpe: A quintessential Swiss festival

If you ever find yourself in Switzerland late-summer, make sure you go to a Désalpe. A Désalpe is basically a big festival marking the end of summer, when cows have to be brought down from the mountains after grazing on alpine pastures for the entire summer.

There are stands with sales of cheese (and other diary products) by craftsmen, the alpine horn is played and there is “flag-throwing. You should definitely try out the traditional moitié-moitié fondue, which is made with Vacherin and Gruyère and for dessert: meringues et double crème à la Gruyère.

Cows carry big crowns of flowers, and are known as the “reines” – meaning  queens in French. This is because as you might know, cheese is a very big part of Swiss culture. There are +400 types of cheese produced in Switzerland and most of them are made with cow milk.

The biggest Désalpe is in Charmey, Fribourg which is like 5 minutes from Gruyères and Broc. There you can visit La Maison du Gruyère, the castle of Gruyères and the Maison Cailler, the museum of swiss chocolate with an all-you-can-eat tasting room. 

How to get there:

By train. Make your way to Montreux and take a train from there to Gruyères. The view is spectacular! Bonus: take the Golden Pass line between Montreux and Luzern.

Désalpe

Gruyères

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All-You-Can-Eat Tasting Room

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