Visiting Nestle’s headquarters in Switzerland has got to be one of the highlights of my entire year. I mean, how often do you get a chance like that? Not only did we visit the headquarters, we also explored Vevey (a quaint little town by the Lake Geneva), visited the cheese factory, took a tour in Nestle Cailler chocolate factory, tasted Swiss cuisine, and enjoyed the magnificent scenery.
Nestle, as we all know, is the world’s leading Nutrition, Health and Wellness company. Besides having lots of fun, I also had the privilege of learning more about the brand during this trip.
Switzerland is a beautiful country and I hope everyone will get a chance to visit it one day. Meanwhile, I want to share my journey with you through the blog. Join me on an adventure with Nestle to Switzerland!
We were very lucky to travel with Finnair as it offers an extensive network of destinations, including 11 major cities in Asia and over 60 destinations in Europe.
After reaching Vevey, we stayed in the gorgeous Grand Hotel du Lac – which overlooked Lake Geneva on one side, and The Alps on the other – for the night before continuing our adventure the next day.
Switzerland is the land of cheese – the average Swiss consumes at least 20 kilograms of cheese. I am sure you can guess our destination.
Our first stop was at La Maison du Gruyère Cheese Factory. We took a quick tour around the factory, and found out so many new things about the cheese-making process. For instance, I never knew that a cow eats 180kg of grass and drinks 85 litres of water per day, producing an average of 25 litres of milk daily. And it takes 12 litres of milk to make 1 kg of Gruyere AOC cheese.
A trip not to be missed for cheese lovers.
Then, we drove to Gruyères, a small medieval town which gives its name to the well-known cheese. The place was beautiful and it was impossible to get a bad photo.
Besides cheese, the Swiss also love their chocolate – they have the highest per capita rate of chocolate consumption world wide. Switzerland’s chocolates have earned an international reputation for its high quality, and Cailler by Nestle – founded in 1819 – is one of the most famous representatives of Swiss chocolate.
Our trip to Maison Cailler’s chocolate factory (Rue Jules Bellet 7, 1636 Broc Tel. +41 (0)26 921 59 60) was very memorable. It felt as though I was Charlie in the chocolate factory.
The visitor trail at Cailler’s provides a great insight to the world of chocolate. The interactive audiovisual guided tour will bring you through the different stages in the Cailler chocolate production process, and we experienced it through the five senses.
It started with a introduction of cocoa and how chocolate came about. Then it proceeded to tell us more about the history of Cailler from its humble origins. Right at the end of the trail, visitors get to sample Cailler signature products. And needless to say, I spent the most time at the chocolate paradise.
Nestle has also created a personalised chocolate brand under Maison Cailler that delivers fresh chocolates, tailor-made (yes, you read that right) for individual tastes. Essentially, it is a unique profiling system that consumers can use to discover their chocolate personality through Maison Cailler website. It sounds really cool, and I feel that it will make a superb gift for friends and loved ones.
Unfortunately, it is currently only available in Switzerland. So we can only hope that it will come to Singapore in the future.
After visiting the cheese and chocolate factories, we had our first authentic Swiss meal at Les 3 Sifflets (Rue du Simplon 1, 1800 Vevey, Switzerland Tel: 021 921 1413). Swiss cuisine is deeply influenced by Italian, French and German cuisine – due to the geographical location of the country.
Think cheese fondue, rosti, cured meat, and more cheese.
Lake Geneva, a lake in Switzerland and France, is one of the largest lakes in Western Europe. You can take a boat ride and reach France in less than an hour.
We took a nice stroll along the lake, and this was followed by a trip to Alimentarium (BP 13 CH-1800 Vevey Switzerland Tel: 41 21 924 4111), established by Nestle foundation. The museum was created by Nestle as a channel to inform the general public about food and nutrition. It is probably the only food museum in the world, and here, you can find out about anything and everything to do with food.
We went through the different methods of cooking – boiling, frying, baking, roasting, braising, stewing – and the rationale behind them. We also learned about the development of how people eat – from using bare hands, to inventing cutleries.
And I was surprised to hear that half of the population around the world eat with their fingers, 5/12 of people eat with chopstick and spoon, and the remaining 1/12 eat with knife, fork and spoon.
We moved on to understand more about the different food group like fruits, meat, dairy product and fat; and the importance of a balanced diet. It is also interesting to find out what the Swiss eat on a typical day.
Somehow, most Singaporeans have the impression that Nestle is a Malaysian company. This is of course not true. Did you know that our favourite Maggi brand was actually created in the German speaking region of Switzerland?
This is all I have to share today. Do drop by Nestle’s website to find out more about the 100 years celebration. In my next post, I will give you a tour of Nestle’s Headquarters. If you’ve always wondered how it is like, remember to watch out for it!
Full Disclosure & Fine Print: I travelled to Switzerland as a guest of Nestle and Finnair. No monetary benefits were received, only air tickets and hotel accommodations were sponsored.