I have been to Switzerland every year for a long time, both in the summer, and skiing. My family loved going there, and it is a wonderful country to deal with if you are in the travel industry. Great hotels, restaurants, train service, and tours. Their packages are always good value, and not to be missed. One town we always seemed to spend a few days in is Zurich. It has become one of my husband's favorites and he can tell you his favorite restaurants in a flash. His passion is crepes, and mine is chocolate.
The Swiss people eat a lot of chocolate. They consume about 9 kilograms – 20 pounds – a year, or the equivalent of 210 chocolate bars. The average American eats only 4.3 kilograms, or 9.5 pounds of chocolate in a year. Switzerland is home to the chocolate giants of Nestle and Lindt, as well as lots of other high-end brands. It's fun to sample chocolate as you travel across this absolutely gorgeous country and enjoy the chocolate empire. I always bring home some chocolate, since it's so unique.
We always seem to start or end our itinerary in Zurich, so I know the city very well. I have a list of chocolate stops as we wander the cobblestone streets and enjoy our stroll by Lake Zurich.
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Big names are:
Teuscher Chocolates of Switzerland. They are famous for their champagne truffle. Visit their stores on Bahnhofstrasse or Storchengasse.
Confiserie Sprungli is a family-run business opened in 1845. They have been at the same location on Paradeplatz, which has a restaurant, café, shop and bar, since l859. They have 14 shops in and around Zurich.
Lindt and Sprungli. Go to the town of Kitchberg, 15 minutes outside the city and right along Lake Zurich, to visit the Lindt chocolate shop and factory. You can buy defects at great discount prices. I always stock up here.
Other good brands are:
Honold, small, family-run, founded in 1905, and the store has a smashing tea room with wonderful hot chocolate. The food is jolly good also.
Aeschbach Chocolatier. This is very popular with the Swiss, with shops in Zurich, Zug, Lucerne and Steinhausen. They carry 100 varieties of chocolates, truffles, bars and liquor chocolate sticks. Must confess I haven't yet sampled every different kind yet.
Truffe. When you visit this simple yet chic shop, the owner Elizabeth is usually there to show you around the store and explain how the chocolates are made.
There are several trains which are famous, like the Glacier Express, the Orient Express, the Wilhem Tell Express and the Bernina Express, and there is even a Chocolate Train, which of course takes you to a chocolate factory. It is said that in 1819 Francois Louis Gailler opened the first Swiss chocolate factory, and it is still in existence today. It only operates June to October, from Montreux to the Swiss Riviera, and it goes to Gruyeres, home to the famous cheese, which you can visit the factory. It then goes to Broc, to the Cailler Nestle Chocolate Factory.
Switzerland is a great destination at any time of year. We have several wonderful trips over the Christmas season in the alps, which is a special place at any time of year.
Go check out Maureen's website – www.froschvacations.com
All Horizons Travel/Frosch
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Menlo Park, CA 94025