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Gastronomic journey in Switzerland: Sample local produce and handcrafted delicacies in Jungfrau. As your train slowly climbs into the heart of the Jungfrau Region, dramatic Alpine peaks appear, towering high above turquoise-blue lakes and pristine forests. This is a landscape that has inspired artists and poets for centuries – and it’s not hard to see why. As you take in the views, fresh mountain air filling your lungs, you might be wondering what culinary delights await you in this picturesque corner of Switzerland. Wonder no more; from traditional cheese fondue to delicious butter-soft chocolates, the restaurants here offer something to tantalize everyone’s taste buds. So sit back, relax, and prepare to embark on a delicious journey through some of the most stunning scenery in Switzerland. Bon appétit!
Swiss Alp Cheese, the starting point to the Grindelwald gastronomy experience
Swiss cheese is world-renowned for its unique flavour and high quality. The key to its unique taste is derived not just from the wood fire used to heat the milk and the particular style of the cheesemaker, but the many plants and herbs found on the alpine pastures where the cows graze. Swiss alp cheese can only be classified as such when made from milk produced in the Swiss Alps. Swiss alp cheese’s aromas, colours, shapes, and degrees of hardness are diverse, making it easy to spend days tasting cheese in this beautiful landscape.
A visit to Senntum Michel, a traditional Swiss cheese maker in Bussalp, is an experience you will never forget. The Alpdairy Experience Grindelwald offers travellers a unique opportunity to see traditional cheese making in action and enjoy a delicious breakfast with alpine herdsmen. Afterwards, visit the cheese spycher, where you can sample a variety of Swiss cheeses.
The cheesemakers of Switzerland take pride in showcasing their skills to visitors. They are a hallmark of authenticity, simplicity and naturalness; an opportunity to taste and talk cheese perfected over time with patience as the key ingredient. Turning milk into cheese may take a few hours, but getting the cheese to the plate with the right texture and taste is a game of time, patience, and love. As they mature, the alpine cheese makers give tender loving care to the cheese wheels.
Basketful of local, handmade produce as souvenirs at Grindelwald
Head to Eigerness Shop when looking to pick up authentic, handmade produce during your next trip to Grindelwald, open daily and stocked with a wide range of local products ranging from culinary items to lifestyle goods and handicrafts. Take home a basketful of Grindelwald’s finest cheeses, homemade pesto and handmade soaps. Be sure to also try some of the locally produced schnapps and liqueurs, like the Eigerwasser Schnapps or the Ginger Liqueur made from fresh glacier water.
Fondue Backpack Wengen – a delicious way to enjoy the Swiss outdoors
A unique and delicious way to enjoy the Swiss outdoors is to indulge in a fondue picnic when on the go on a hiking or e-biking trail. Fondue Backpack Wengen offers everything you need to enjoy a classic Swiss fondue experience without the hassle.
The backpack comes complete with a fondue pan, cheese, cutlery, paper plates, and more. It’s available for rent for as little as CHF 15 per person from the local Wengen Tourism outlet conveniently located in the village centre. This fondue backpack must be reserved a day in advance and is a perfect addition to any occasion, from brunch to appetizers to the main feature.
The annual Cheese Festival Wengen – connecting with local farmers
The Cheese Festival Wengen is an annual event that takes place in the picturesque village centre at the end of the alpine summer. This year, it will be held on 25 September. The festival is celebrated by locals and visitors alike, and it is an excellent opportunity to try some of the delicious Swiss alpine specialities that Wengen is famous for, such as Hobelkäse and Raclette. There are also many other delicacies at the Cheese Festival Wengen, such as rösti, roast veal and other local dishes. Whether liqueur, beer, sausage, honey or something cooked, it’s always delicious.
The Cheese Festival is a traditional part of village life in Wengen, and it is a great way to experience the local culture with free entry for all. The Cheese Festival Wengen seamlessly connects the traveller with the local alpine farmers. One of the highlights of the Cheese Festival is the chance to become a cow shareholder. For a small fee, visitors can become the proud owner of a mountain cheese block. Each of these loaves, made especially for the shareholders, weighs 6-7 kg. And while no cow actually changes hands here, shareholders are guaranteed to enjoy a delicious loave of cheese.
This year, the Trychlerclub Wengen, the Alphornecho Tuniberg and the Alphorn duo Günther & Sepp will provide cultural entertainment. Whether you’re a cheese aficionado or looking for a delicious way to spend an afternoon, check out the Cheese Festival Wengen.
Historic & culinary excursions in Grindelwald
Grindelwald is a small charming village with a big heart. Join a walking tour every Tuesday afternoon between late June and early October and discover the hidden gems that make Grindelwald unique. Grindelwald is steeped in history and culture, with centuries of stories to be told, and the walking tour is a great way to learn about the legends that make Grindelwald so distinctive.
Walking through the village, one can almost feel the weight of the past bearing down. Grindelwald was first mentioned in 1146, but there have been traces of human activity here since the Neolithic era. Roman coins have been found, attesting to the fact that this was once a Roman settlement.
From the North Face Square, take a journey through Grindelwald’s hidden alleys and experience the breathtaking views that have made Grindelwald a postcard-perfect destination. The walking tour also covers the village’s bakeries, where you can try traditional Swiss bread and pastries. Next, head to one of the cheese shops to sample some of the region’s finest cheeses. Finally, visit a local butcher shop to pick up some fresh meat for a picnic lunch.
A visit to the Grindelwald Museum
Grindelwald Museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in the history of this village and its transformation from a farming community to an international tourist resort. The museum extends over three floors and features permanent exhibitions on topics such as agriculture and alpine farming, mountaineering, mountain guides, Eiger, winter sports, railways, crafts and technology. In addition, there are special exhibitions that change every six months.
The Grindelwald Museum chronicles the region’s unique history of mountain climbing, as well as the great fire that largely destroyed the village in 1892. Audio guides are available in English and feature audio accounts of mountain climbing on the Eiger and moving accounts of the fire itself. The museum is also home to a unique collection of artefacts dating back to the region’s early days of mountaineering. In addition, there are special exhibitions that change every six months.
The delicious EigerSpitzli chocolate at Restaurant Eigergletscher
EigerSpitzli is the famous chocolate of the region that the locals love and are proud of. Handmade artisan chocolate art with delicate decoration in the jagged shape peak of the Eiger mountain, the chocolate craft made by the master of chocolatier presents a melt-in-your-mouth sweetness that exudes softness.
Available in Restaurant Eigergletscher and some boutiques in Grindelwald and Interlaken, EigerSpitzli is a unique, classy gift for your loved ones or yourself. Made with cognac for that extra breadth and depth of aromas, EigerSpitzli comes in two delicious options: milk and dark pralines. 2320meters above sea level, EigerSpitzli is probably the highest confectionery in Europe – so treat yourself to this fantastic experience.
Restaurant Eigergletscher, the highest mountain restaurant in the Kleine Scheidegg
Restaurant Eigergletscher, situated at 2322m, is the highest mountain restaurant in the Kleine Scheidegg area and the closest to the Eiger glacier. The panoramic terrace offers intimate, breathtaking views of the Eiger Glacier and the Mönch and Jungfrau mountains, making it the perfect place to stop for a break while enjoying nature’s beauty at its finest.
The restaurant is open daily from 10.00-15.00 h, throughout the year, offering traditional Swiss cuisine with the popular in-house confectionery specialities Eigerspitzli and Rahmschnitte made in its bakery on the mountain. Swiss dishes are hearty and filling, making them the perfect meal for a day in the mountains.
The Eigergletscher platter is a classic Swiss dish that features regional meats and cheeses, as well as Alpine butter and sourdough bread. Another popular dish here is the Bärner Gschnätzlets, which is chopped veal in a cream sauce with mushrooms served with Rösti. For something lighter, try the salad of ‘Rauchknebel’ and Grindelwald raclette cheese with Rösti. There are plenty of drink options as well, including Swiss white and red wine, hot & cold beverages and local beer.
Gastronomy with a view at Bergrestaurant Kleine Scheidegg
The journey to Kleine Scheidegg is one of the most beautiful train rides in the world. The WAB (Wengernalpbahn) railway line, the world’s longest rack and pinion railway at 19.1km and a truly remarkable feat of engineering, winds its way through the mountains, offering stunning landscape views. In addition, the newer trains have ceiling windows, which make the experience even more incredible.
Bergrestaurant Kleine Scheidegg, a restaurant, an outdoor bar and lodge, takes the honour of having the quintessential Swiss setting to enjoy a meal with a view. The restaurant is 2,061m above sea level, offering stunning views of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau mountains. The head chef here believes in combining classic basic products with exotic elements to create traditional dishes with a twist and completely new creations. As such, you can expect an innovative and delicious dining experience while enjoying the incredible scenery.
From classic salads and soups to a variety of pasta dishes, freshly baked pizzas and delicious desserts like the Original Eigergletscher cream slice and Scheidegg’s homemade apple pie with whipped cream, there is something for every taste. So whether you’re looking for a quick bite or a leisurely meal, Restaurant Kleine Scheidegg is the perfect spot to enjoy gastronomy.
Soar up to the Eiger Glacier from Grindelwald via the new Eiger Express
Explore the spectacular world of mountains near Grindelwald by taking the quick Eiger Express tricable gondola cable car. In just 15 minutes, you’ll be at Eiger Glacier, the starting point of the ‘Eiger-Trail’, and connecting to Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe via the cogwheel train via a tunnel in the Eiger.
The Eiger North Face can be viewed very closely from the gondola, and you will also get impressive views of the Eiger Glacier from close quarters. Because of its huge windows and minimal tower intervention, you feel close to nature. Save 47 minutes by taking the new Eiger Express instead of the historic cogwheel train from Lauterbrunnen and Wengen.
This scenic route is made even more unique and luxurious with the VIP package offered by Eiger Express. Make your way to the Eiger Express in Grindelwald Terminal and be whisked away in style on the VIP gondola. Ride in comfort as you ascend to the Jungfraujoch, enjoying a glass of champagne along the way.
Once you reach the top, an exclusive visit to the Ice Bar awaits you, complete with an aperitif. A Jungfrau Railways tour guide will accompany you throughout your trip, ensuring you make the most of your experience. Lunch will be served in the Crystal Restaurant Jungfraujoch, where you can savour stunning views of the Top of Europe. Return tickets are included in the package price, so you can simply sit back and enjoy the ride back down. Free parking at Grindelwald Terminal is included, so you can start your journey with peace of mind knowing that your car is taken care of.
Gastronomy at Jungfraujoch’s Restaurant Crystal, 3454 meters above sea level
The Jungfrau Region is a year-round destination for those seeking marvellous views and incredible experiences. And what better way to enjoy the region than with a meal at Restaurant Crystal, Jungfraujoch’s very own gastronomic destination. Located at the highest train station in Europe, Restaurant Crystal, situated at 3454 meters above sea level, offers stunning views of the Aletsch glacier and the never-ending Alpine peaks.
On one side, you can see the Swiss Mittelland stretched out towards the Vosges mountains, while on the other side is the magnificent Aletsch Glacier, Europe’s longest glacier. The high alpine wonderland of ice and snow, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is an unforgettable break from the days spent exploring the Swiss villages in the valleys below.
The restaurant offers a creative and delicious menu that satisfies even the most discerning palates, making for a unique gastronomic experience. So whether you’re looking to rest your legs after a long walk around Top of Europe or simply want to enjoy a Swiss speciality menu in a beautiful setting, Restaurant Crystal is the perfect spot. The menu features delicious salads and soups, authentic Swiss specialities like cheese fondue and rösti, and mouth-watering desserts accompanied by a good selection of Swiss wine, hot and cold refreshments and local beer.
When looking for a unique and sophisticated gastronomic experience, look no further than the Jungfrau Region of Switzerland. With its dramatic mountain scenery and creative culinary offerings, you will surely be impressed by the abundance of local cuisine here. So whether you are sampling local cheese or enjoying a fondue on a hike in the Swiss Alps, there is something for everyone in this alpine gastronomy paradise.
© This article was first published online in Sept 2022 – World Travel Magazine.