Honeymooning: a Swiss sweet spot

When it comes to sweet escapes, Switzerland's array of chocolate factories and marzipan festivals make it a honeymoon hotspot that's impossible to ignore.

  • Story by Photo Jody Lidstone/ idophotography.co.nz & Words Trudie McConnochie

When it comes to sweet escapes, Switzerland's array of chocolate factories and marzipan festivals make it a honeymoon hotspot that's impossible to ignore.

Chocolate makes you feel wonderful, and Switzerland practically oozes the stuff – if there’s a more tantalising holiday combination, we are yet to find it. When you arrive in Zürich, let the smell of cocoa lure you to the Lindt & Sprüngli factory. When you’re ready for a more savoury experience, Zeughauskeller is the business. This massive beer hall serves an impressive selection of wurst (sausages), while Le Dézaley restaurant is a must if you fancy a tangy cheese fondue. A Lake Zürich day cruise provides a nice change of pace, or, for something a bit different, head to the Clock and Watch Museum. Geneva is the country’s gastronomic capital, and Pâquis the place to indulge your sweet tooth. Speciality chocolate stores abound, while Gelato Mania is popular for its exotic ice treats. Should you happen to visit in December, lucky you: it’s when the L’Escalade festival hits town and everyone goes crazy smashing marzipan-filled marmites de l’Escalade (chocolate cauldrons) on the streets, leaving punters to enjoy the sweet broken pieces. In the name of sheer joy, you could stand underneath the 200m-high water jets of the Jet d’Eau, the world’s tallest fountain. Or, to burn off some of that sugar, rent a bike from Jetée des Pâquis and pedal along the idyllic lakefront, or swim at Bains des Pâquis.

The town of Vaud, in the ritzy region known as the Swiss Riviera, is home to the nation’s oldest chocolate factory, which opened in 1819. The town is also renowned for its mineral hot spas. In nearby Montreux, on the shores of Lake Geneva, do not miss out on boarding the Train du Chocolat – it may be the closest to a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory adventure you’ll ever experience. Pullman coaches run non-diet-conscious passengers to the Cailler-Nestlé factory in Broc, with a stop-off in Gruyère to visit a cheese factory and the castle La Maison du Gruyère. Choo choo travel has never been so delicious! The eight-hour Glacier Express train from St Moritz offers another memorable journey as it meanders through dramatic peaks, mountain meadows and across the vertiginous Oberalp Pass. The delightful alpine village at Zermatt, where the train terminates, is a year-round hotspot for avid skiers. But if you’re of the ‘cuddle up together with hot chocolates’ disposition, you’ll be sated here. Picture wooden mountain chalets with flower-box windows against the sharp-ridged backdrop of the Matterhorn, the Swiss Alps’ highest peak. Chocolate is not the only thing about Switzerland that’s sweet.
For more infor: myswitzerland.com

Local Flavour: Hawke’s Bay
It’s known as the fruit bowl of New Zealand, and for good reason. There’s ample fare in the beautiful Hawke’s Bay to satisfy your sweet cravings. Take an orchard or wine tour, stroll through the farmers' markets (Saturdays in Napier, Sundays in Hastings) or follow the Food Trail to epicurean destinations. Oh, and did we mention the wine?


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