Friday, September 10, 2010

Wine, Cheese, and Swiss Chocolate, Please!!!

Swiss Wine

Switzerland is full of fantastic vineyards. You can find these vineyards spread across the western and southern cantons of the country. If you are wanting to visit a Swiss chateau you can find them in the cantons of Geneva, Neuchatel, Ticino, Valais, and Vaud. It makes sense that Switzerland would have great wine if you think about it because the cantons are close to Germany, France and Italy. The Swiss enjoy their wines so much that only 2% is actually exported outside the country (mainly to Germany).

Swiss Cheese

Switzerland prides itself on producing delicious quality cheese. Swiss cheese is made out of unpasteurised milk and must be treated as soon as possible after milking the cow. The milk is delivered to the cheese factory between 18 and 24 hours after milking. If there is a delay, the milk is considered too old. Most cheeses are produced out of Swiss villages so the milk doesn't have to travel very far. You'll find these villages tucked away in the mountains and often you'll see herdsmen during the summer months caring for the Swiss cows. The cows eat the grass on the mountainside during the summer and eat the hay during the winter months. You'll see the signature bell around the cows neck so that the herdsmen can find them. Switzerland makes elegant cheeses from the large wheels. You'll see the wheels maturing in pictures below. Swiss cheese is shipped around the world and is considered some of the best cheese on earth. I love Swiss cows!!!

Swiss Chocolate

And of course one of the very first things I think of when someone mentions Switzerland is....THE CHOCOLATE!!! My husband and I are HUGE fans of Swiss chocolate. When we travel to Europe we carry two backpacks. Mine is full of wonderful wine and my hubby's full chocolate. He loves Swiss chocolate.

The Swiss have been making chocolate since the 1800's when there was hardly an abundance of sugar and chocolate. The Swiss have made a successful reputation around the world by using their chocolatier techniques, high quality cocoa beans from Africa, and homegrown milk from Swiss Cows. Some of the best Swiss chocolate is produced by Lindt & Sprungli. The Swiss chocolate industry grosses over 500 million dollars a year.

Look at this gorgeous Lion of Lucerne chocolate sculpture!!!

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