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It's a castle--it's a village--it's a cheese: Gruyère!
Could there be a more glorious setting for a cheese's origin? These pastures surrounding a hilltop village (Gruyères) crowned with a castle (the Château de Gruyères), happy Swiss cows grazing with views of the Alps all around, producing the milk which, in time, arrives on grocery shelves as cheese around the world, stamped 'GRUYÈRE'...and there's a geometric garden in the castle's courtyard, too. This cheese has history... http://www.la-gruyere.ch/en/welcome.cfm

Travel Back in Time at a Swiss Village
Pockets of Switzerland are still entrenched in a time warp, where the stresses and strains of modern-day life are non-existent. One such place is Sonogno. This Swiss national heritage site, located in the Valley of Verzasca, Ticino, dates back 1,000 years and has a population of about 100. Its classic granite buildings are materials from the valley, and a few people still speak the language unique to this village. The medieval town of Gruyères is more popular among tourists, yet still maintains its delightful medieval ambience of 800 years ago. Lined with gorgeous cobblestones, and painted on a perfect mountain backdrop, this town brims with perfection. A must-visit is its spectacular 13th-century castle.

Become a Cheese Connoisseur
Whether you are wandering the markets, dining in a quaint café, or indeed just arriving at Geneva airport, the fragrance of homemade cheese is not far from your nostrils. One of the most famous cheeses is Gruyère. Visit its namesake town and cheese factory, La Maison du Gruyère, to delve into the fascinating making process via an audio guide, before sampling some straight from production.

Much less well-known is a tour in the village of Moleson—located on the southern outskirts of Gruyères—where live cheese shows give a further insight into its making. Affoltern im Emmental, Bern, gave birth to the famous Emmental cheese, and dairy shows not only demonstrate traditional and modern methods but also allow you to take part in the process.

Delve into the Deep World of Delicious Fondue
As in Rome, when one is in Switzerland, one simply must do as the Swiss do—and the Swiss eat fondue. While many towns and cities serve their own blend of sumptuous bubbling cheese, two places remain popular due to their continued excellence in the art of fondue. Fribourg traditionally combines two cheeses, Gruyère and Vacherin, to make a delicious moitié-moitié. CafeTivoli, located downtown, is exceptional and has been making fondue this way for the last 80 years. Tourist-laden Le Chalet is one of a cluster of restaurants lining the streets of Gruyères and has built a reputation on its moitié-moitié, which is dipped into with pieces of potato and bread.

Lesser-Known Walks Around Gruyeres
Lined with gorgeous cobblestones and painted on a perfect mountain backdrop, this 800-year-old town brims with perfection. While the 13th-century castle is the main visitor attraction, what many people miss are the picturesque walks. Descend from the altitude of the town and head down the slope where the path leads you east. Follow the track to the Sarine River and cross safely using the Pont qui branle (the shaky bridge). Then, another great route is from Charmey to the Gorges de la Jogne and Lac de Montsalvens. The gorge and dam here are impressive in their grandeur, while the lake is beautiful, particularly in autumn.

A Town for Cheese Lovers
How can you not love a town and a region that gave its name to the cheese that makes Swiss fondue so darn good? A trip to the picturesque medieval town of Gruyères has to include a visit to the Maison du Gruyères, a cheese dairy and exhibition center where you can learn the secrets of how this addictively tasty cheese is made. The center is at the foot of Gruyères Castle, another must-see, especially for its exquisitely laid out gardens and indoor audio/visual presentation of the history of the town. The odd-ball highlight of a visit to Gruyères, though, has to be the H.R. Giger Museum—a converted chateau where you can find models, sketches and drawings made by the creator of the "Alien" creature, numerous other movie monsters, and the album cover for "Brain Salad Surgery" by Emerson, Lake and Palmer.

Check out the Switzerland, Savory and Sweet itinerary, created by Bob Preston of Swiss Panache, on AFAR Journeys.

Gruyères, Switzerland