Nick Malgieri
Nick Malgieri

The Chocolate Train

One thing is certain – you can't really visit Switzerland without trying this country's most famous product. We're talking about chocolate, of course. That seductive specialty which simply melts in the mouth. Per capita, the Swiss themselves are world champions when it comes to per capita consumption of chocolate. The Montreux-Bernese Oberland Railway (MOB) even operates a train devoted entirely to this tasty temptation.

The Chocolate Train operates between Montreux and the Cailler (Nestlé) factory in Broc. And the one-day excursion is something special – a mouth-watering "must" for chocolate lovers, as well as railway enthusiasts. All passengers travel first class and can choose between two types of railcar. One is a state-of-the-art panorama car offering spectacular views of the surrounding landscape; the other is a Belle Epoque Pullman coach dating from 1915 and created by the company which made the railcars for the legendary Orient Express.

Switzerland's chocolate train leaves Montreux on the scenic shores of Lake Geneva shortly after 10.30 am. Fresh coffee and croissants are served along the way. The first stop is the medieval hilltop-town of Gruyères – home of the famous cheese – where the program includes a visit to a show dairy. Another popular attraction is Gruyères' ancient castle, with its exhibits tracing 800 years of history, architecture and culture.

The train trip then continues to Broc for a visit to the factory of Cailler (Nestlé), the company which was founded nearly 200 years ago and is the oldest chocolate manufacturer in Switzerland. The factory tour includes a film presentation and exhibition on the fascinating history of chocolate, which thousands of years ago was worshipped in its liquid form by ancient Maya civilizations as "the food of the gods." The factory visit ends with a chocolate tasting session, at which passengers can sample to their heart's content the irresistible range of Cailler/Nestlé products. The Chocolate Train starts its return journey in late afternoon, arriving back in Montreux during the early evening.

The Chocolate Train operates daily in July and August; and in September and October every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. For holders of a Swiss Pass (2nd class) the one-day excursion costs CHF 59; 1st class Swiss Pass holders pay CHF 49.

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