With plenty to pique the gourmet’s interest, Interlaken and the Jungfrau region in Switzerland offer much more than picturesque mountain views.
Interlaken, located ‘between two lakes’, is a resort town straddling Lake Brienz and Lake Thun. Its location at the foot of the Bernese Alps makes it a perfect gateway to the Jungfrau region. Among the many possible excursions from Interlaken, a visit to Europe’s highest-altitude railway station—Jungfraujoch-Top of Europe, situated 3,454m above sea level, is by far the most popular. From its perch, views of Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau mountains and the Great Aletsch Glacier are simply unparalleled. But a feast of the senses is not complete if it’s just for the eyes. Here are some gourmet activities that will tantilise even the most discerning taste buds.
Dining With a View
Just a 10-minute railway ride from Interlaken, the castle-like Harder Kulm Panorama Restaurant at Harder Kulm viewpoint offers majestic views and hearty Swiss favourites like rösti and cheese fondue. Dine al fresco and you can watch the sun go down as you tuck into your meal. A quieter option with equally stunning views is Hotel Alpenblick on the outskirts of Interlaken. This little inn’s one Michelin-starred Gourmetstübli serves up rustic dishes featuring seasonal produce such as Alp cheese and asparagus. If it’s summer, consider taking a Swiss barbecue cruise on Lake Brienz where you will get lots of grilled meats, drinks and lounge music for company.
Just as Switzerland is renowned for fine chocolate, Lindt is synonymous with the best in its class. At Jungfraujoch-Top of Europe, check out Lindt Swiss Chocolate Heaven, the highest chocolate shop in the world.
Apart from shopping for luxury chocolates, you can learn all about chocolate-making from the maître chocolatier parlour next door. But if you’d rather get your hands dirty, head to Funky Chocolate Club in downtown Interlaken. Their chocolate-making classes will have you tempering chocolate and bringing home a stash of unique Swiss chocolate bars.
In Good Spirits
Slake your thirst for craft beers at Hüsi Bierhaus, a bar and restaurant located in the heart of town. Their selection includes a wide variety of locally brewed beer, such as Haarige Kuh Brauerei’s kama citra, a pale ale made with floral, citrus citra hops; and Burgbier Ringgenberg’s bluemewäg, a popular dark ale.
Whisky lovers will be pleased to note that one of Switzerland’s few whisky producers is based in Interlaken. The brand Rugenbräu dates back to 1866, and they started off brewing beer. It segued to distilling in 1999, creating the first distilled beer brandy in Switzerland.
By 2008, it was distilling whisky and is now one of the key whisky producers in the country. Take a tour of their distilling facilities and while you’re at it, be sure to pick up their limited edition Rugenbräu Swiss Highland Ice Label Single Malt Whisky, a sharp, fruity and sweet whisky aged in an ice grotto on top of the Jungfrau.
Last but not least, a visit to the town of Spiez on the shore of Lake Thun is in order, if you’re curious about Swiss wine. The ‘Spiezer’ wines produced here represent the region’s alpine terroir and include fresh and sparkly Riesling Sylvaner white wines and fruity and spicy Pinot Noirs. Opt to go on a Spiez vineyard sensory adventure trail to get close to the vines, learn about wine-growing, and of course, taste all their lovely wines. Wine lovers can taste some local wines in the restaurant located just below the vineyards, in the Spiez castle, or they can arrange for exclusive wine tastings in the wine cellar.
This post was created in partnership with Swiss Tourism. For more information, visit MySwitzerland.
This was first published in Wine & Dine’s May/Jun 2018 issue, Future Foods, as a Special Feature.