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Perhaps one of the best parts about studying in a hotel school is the opportunity to study the best food in the world: cheese and chocolate. As part of the school’s gastronomy curriculum for undergraduates, the postgraduate students were also invited to join the once a semester tour to the Alimentarium at Vevey, La Maison de Gruyere and Cailler Chocolaterie.
The Alimentarium was a great treat! As an avid museum visitor, I have seen museums that have the usual focus of history, art and science and technology. However, this was my first time visiting a museum that has everything to do with food! The museum had many interactive components, including questionnaire of what sort of eater you are, and exhibitions engaging your five senses – a great way to further our basic knowledge in food.
What most people are curious about is the giant fork sculpture in the middle of the river opposite the Alimentarium. It was erected in celebration of the museum’s 10th anniversary in 1995 (but became permanent only in 2009). I didn’t believe its existence the first time I saw a photo which my roommate showed me – it must be an illusion! However, now that I’ve seen it with my own eyes, I can verify, it’s the most peculiar thing ever!
Our next stop was the cheese factory at Gruyère. Other than understanding what makes Gruyère cheese special, naturally, no food trip would be complete without a nibble and I had my first taste of fondue. While I have never been a big fan of cheese (except for the combination of turkey ham, cranberry sauce and brie in a Panini), I thought that it was a good experience to try some local Swiss food!
The final stop was the main reason why we signed up for the tour in the first place: chocolate! Visiting the Cailler Chocolaterie was an engaging experience, as the entire tour was mechanised, like those walk-through tours in Disneyland. We were behaving like children in Willy Wonka’s factory – putting anything is related to chocolate (including cocoa beans) into our mouths! The tasting room at the end of the tour was definitely evidence of it!
To be honest, I almost pulled out of the tour as the last three weeks have been hectic, with at least two mid-term exams taking place every week! However, with some persuasion from classmates, we all seized the moment and went – we had a great time and definitely stocked up on chocolates to sustain us through the stressful times ahead!
It’s now week 10 and we have reached the mid-way point of school. Time for a short break from all the studying and time for some exploring! I’ll be heading to the United Kingdom with a classmate to enjoy some Scottish and English traditions. Having completed our studies in the bar class, we are most looking forward to tasting some Scottish whiskey with our newly gained knowledge!
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