After having a more than a relaxing day in the beautiful Vallée de Joux, we took the train to Montreux and then went to explore the Pays d’Enhaut region, more specifically the village of Chateau d’Oex (pronounce it “Chateau day”). To get there, you’ll have the choice between the conventional and ordinary option of a modern countryside train or the fun option to board on a vintage train associated with a tasting of delicious local cheese. What do you think we chose? (Yes, well, the title of the article gives you a little hint, but let’s pretend !). Yes, when it comes to discovering new local flavors you can be sure we’ll be curious enough to want to try it and that’s exactly what we did on this beautiful February day when we embarked on the Cheese Train…
We arrived at the platform and we were warmly greeted by smiling crew members who offered us a welcome drink (included in the ticket price). Thus, we tried out a Yvorne wine, delicious white from the region. We got into the wagon and realized how much the attraction was popular, the car was absolutely packed with families and young couples like us. The trip was very nice and it took us to the heart of absolutely stunning sceneries. Whether on the huge and beautiful Lake Geneva, on charming small mountain villages or snowy pine forests, the view from the car offered plenty to surprise and we were truly amazed. There’s not really a better side to sit in the car, the trip makes zigzags in the mountains so in all cases, you will have something nice to see! We went up the mountain in a beautiful vintage train and back down in an all modern panoramic train. The experience is certainly not the same and we really enjoyed trying out both options! For the record, the train passes near the cottage of one of the founders of the Montreux Jazz Festival who was passionate about trains and had 2 very smart dogs that are used to take the train by themselves. They know exactly on which train stop they have to hop off, pretty amazing right? When their owner died, a slab was unveiled in his honor and his dogs were assigned train membership cards for life!
Final stop, everybody out! The trip took a few minutes during which we daydreamt while admiring the landscape and then, we finally arrived at our destination: Château-d’Oex in the Pays d’Enhaut region which, as its name indicates (“En haut” means “at the top”), is in altitude. This is a very small village of less than 5000 inhabitants located in the canton of Vaud. Again, a total discovery for us and we were instantly seduced by these beautiful mountain chalets and omnipresent greenery that were nicely sublimated by the gentle rays of a beautiful winter sun. Everything came together to ensure we had a good day and our priority at that time was to get to the restaurant! The promise of a delicious artisanal fondue at Le Chalet restaurant happily made us salivate and we were looking forward to learning more about the fabrication process of the cheese. Because yes, the Cheese Train implies tasting but also and especially pedagogy. Thus, after entering the warm wooden room of the restaurant and putting our stuff at our table, we rushed, full of curiosity around Maurice, this white haired fellow who was busy stirring hot milk in a huge copper cauldron. Maurice is the kind of person who wears his good heart right on his face. Smiling, available and patient, he is like the kind grandfather we all dream of. He took the time to explain the different stages of the cheese making process and it was a pleasure to listen and observe him in his element. Some brave guys among our group even had the opportunity to stir the cheese and see how physical it is! After observing, then came the time of the tasting and it was so freaking good! Enough for Séb, who thought he didn’t like fondue, to realize that he had actually never tasted a good one!
The authentic good swiss fondue is said to be “moitié-moitié” (half-half) and is made of vacherin and gruyère cheese
Stir well your piece of bread when dipping it into the cheese, it’ll keep the cheese from sticking at the bottom of the pan (thank you to our blogger friends at Awwway for this one!)
There, you are now an expert of swiss fondue, now you just have to jump on a plance in order to taste in the best conditions, we will definitely go back one daye!
After the meal, we had the opportunity to visit the Museum of the Pays d’Enhaut region, but with little time left before going back to the train, we decided to visit Château-d’Oex a little bit and enjoy the great weather and the outdoors. We left the restaurant and headed towards this lovely little church who seemed to dominate the area . Let us tell you that the view from up there was really amazing. The mountains, the greenery and little bit of remaining snow offered a beautiful postcard worthy landscape! It must be really beautiful during the annual International Balloon Festival! Enough to revitalize ourselves for some minutes before beginning the descent back to Montreux and then off to Les Diablerets …
This article was written as part of a partnership with the Vallée de Joux Tourist Office and the Goldenpass company. Nevertheless, any opinion expressed here is our own and has not been subjected to any influence. A big thank you to Lionel and Niklaus who helped us set up this beautiful day and to Marie and Damien who greeted us there!
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