4th June 2012
After an early arrival at the school to meet a very excited group of youngsters, we divided the classes between two coaches and headed off for the Suisse heritage medieval town of Gruyre and the world famous Cailler chocolate factory.
Coach 2 arrived at the Chocolate Factory in Broc at around 11.30. Well on schedule and with just enough time for us to sweep in and out of the many and varied selections of Swiss chocolate in the Cailler shop (of course each purchase a gift for a family member or loved one…). The classes were divided evenly into three groups and ushered through to the ‘check in area’ before the official chocolate factory tour began.
Expectations of a Willy-Wonka-Style experience soon evaporated and students were immersed in an interactive tale of the history of chocolate, dating back to its Aztec origins. Might I add that every room was filled with the scent of different cocoa beans and chocolaty aromas… while there was no chocolate river to be found our sensory organs were on their own voyage of discovery!
After a whistle-stop tour starting from the discovery of that oh-so-precious bean to the Swiss ingenuity of adding it to milk to form the all too familiar taste of milk chocolate that we know and love today we got to see and feel first-hand the raw materials that go into making each and every piece.
Jaws were having to be physically picked up off the floor when we finally got a glimpse of the awe-inspiring roboticised methods of production – one machine in particular moved finished bars from one conveyor belt to another, recognising if a piece was unsuitable and sending it immediately to the waste bin.
Then came [arguably] the best bit…the tasting room! We got to sample all the different types of chocolate Cailler has to offer, all of them DELICIOUS! We left the factory feeling very full and with bags stuffed full of Cailler goodies!
After a quick play in the park we hopped back onto the bus and headed the short distance to the stunning town of Gruyère for our picnic lunch. We had a lovely lunch next to the château – lucky for us the rain stayed off! Gruyère (famous for its cheese) is a beautiful old town with parts of it dating back to the Bronze Age. The 13th century château perched on top of the hill overlooks the town.
Bellies full, we made the long journey up the winding road to Camp Suisse in Torgon and were given a warm welcome by all the Camp Suisse staff. We were shown to our rooms and given a tour of the centre. After a scrummy Mexican fajita wrap dinner we got ready for evening activity; some of us decided to take part in an action packed 5-a-side football tournament whilst the rest of us got our groove on and sang our hearts out at karaoke (watch out Beyoncé)!
After such a busy day we were more than ready for bed and so headed down to the chalets to our much awaited beds which was soon followed by a very welcome lights out.
What a wonderfully chocolaty first day at Camp Suisse! I wonder what the rest of the week has in store for us!