Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Spring Trip: Switzerland

At last, the final instalment of our Spring trip - hey, it's only July. Our last stop was Switzerland, where we stayed three days near the small town of Twann in the west, French-speaking region of the country.


We visited the nearby small town of La Neuveville.

La Neuveville has been around a while

The streets are pretty.

As are the windows.

Maison des Dragons - built 1757-1758 and named for the gargoyles on the roof corners.

We also strolled through Biel/Bienne which is located right on the border of French and German-speaking Switzerland (hence the double-barrelled name).


The historic town centre was small but delightful, and full of beautiful colours:


And interesting statues:

Nice codpiece in Place du Ring

Lady Justice wearing some funky sandals.

Lovely gilded balcony on the outskirts of the old town.

Our last day in Switzerland was rainy and overcast, so we looked for an indoor activity - what better than heading to a cheese museum/factory?

We visited a fromagerie in Bellelay where they make the well known Tête de Moine (or Monk's Head) cheese - so named due to it being first made by monks (and looking a bit like a monk's shaved head).

Domaine de Bellelay, Switzerland

Tête de Moines is a hard, cow's milk cheese that's been produced for over 800 years.
It has to be eaten in thin slivers to expose maximum surface area to the air and develop the cheese's yummy aromas/flavours.

This used to be done by scraping slices of cheese off the large rounds with a knife, like these two jolly monks below.


Frankly, this was a pain in the ass way of eating cheese, and in 1982 a clever fellow invented the Girolle:

A revolution in cheese eating.

This made it super easy to cut petal-like slivers of cheese (rosettes) and doubled as a storage container when the plastic or glass lid was fitted.


More than 2 million of these suckers have been sold and sales of Tête de Moine have hugely increased, proving the human race really is a bunch of lazy cheese eaters.

At Domaine de Bellelay we watched an interesting film on how the cheese is made and then took a tour of their small (but informative) museum. I learned a lot about cow udders.


The best part was of course the taste test at the end. You can see the pretty rosettes the Girolle produces here:

Tête de Moine, best with a dry white. Yum.

Well, here endeth the Spring Tour of 2011. For those new to the blog looking for the other travel posts from our trip, here they are in one spot:

Hope these help others in their travels! Bon voyage. 


  1. So many lovely pics in this post Kirsty - pretty streets - the use of the colour pink - soft blossom flowers - that most exquiste gilded balcony. I love it all!

  2. Trust you to note the codpiece. The funky sandals are trés chic.
    Seeing as you learnt all about udders, I have to ask, what on earth is the difference between, normal, not all normal and abnormal? Can't tell from the pics.
    Amazing colours on the buildings, and beautiful shutters.

  3. What a beautiful town and photos too as usual. Thanx for the virtual tour of the cheese factory. The Girolle looks like a pretty interesting tool. I especially LOVE the last pic. Yum!

  4. i left a witty and amusing comment and blogger ate it. dohhh.. now i wont be able to remember. love your post and your pics. they take me on a lovely journey without leaving the breakfast table

  5. So many ideas for places for us to visit when we get to Europe - you sure did pack in a lot on your adventure!

  6. Well dang, now I feel like cheese! I've never seen frilly cheese before. But then, I had never seen giant grape-chasing snails crawling up the side of a spire before I *met* you either... :-)

    Gosh lady, you must be just about ready to pop...when is the petit bundle due to arrive?

    Missed ya!


  7. Kirsty,
    I just wanted to thank you for doing this travel series for all of us. It has been such fun to follow your steps thru some amazing places that I would otherwise never have known about. Your sense of humor really comes thru your descriptions and makes me laugh out loud, love it! This post I especially like the funky sandals, the gilded balcony's and especially the throw open and let in the view windows.

  8. I just found your blog, it's beautiful. I love your photographs.

  9. Hi, I forget how I wandered over, but I've bookmarked your blog. Thank you so much for the lovely pictures, great descriptions and general joie de vivre that spills from your writing. It's been lots of fun following along on your fantastic vacation.


Hi there, I love getting comments, so let her rip! I do my very best to reply (by email) so please make sure your account is set up to show email, so that I can get back to you. Cheers, Kirsty

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