Alpenwild has been one of the leaders when it comes to adventure travel in the Alps for several decades. The company led by Greg Witt delivers a wide variety of active tours enriched by local cultural experiences, luxury accommodations, gourmet meals, culinary experiences and the unrivaled beauty of the Swiss Alps. LuxeGetaways always loves the opportunity to introduce you to more culinary adventures, since it’s ideal when we find options that include travel and food/drink. These upcoming tours with Alpenwild definitely have our attentions in the beautiful Swiss Alps.
Beyond strictly culinary experiences, Alpenwild, is known for their world-class walking, hiking and trekking adventures throughout this region. It is no surprise that they are currently seeing an explosion of interest among food travelers willing to splurge on a luxury vacation to get a sense of place through locally inspired cuisine. With Switzerland’s location, their food scene has always been influenced by Italy, Germany and France — making these three offerings from Alpenwild especially fascinating to us.
Serving as the constantly evolving epicenter for French-, Italian- and German-inspired regional cuisine, it is also home to more Michelin starred restaurants per capita than any country in the world. Known for more than its neutrality and hospitality, Switzerland also brings the world their outstanding cheeses and chocolates. Alpenwild now has unique opportunities to truly see (and taste) this cuisine. In addition to the cuisine, these tours include easy walks ranging from three to five miles a day; and the evenings are spent savoring superb cuisine before settling in at comfortable and boutique three-, four- and five-star inns and hotels that capture the essence of the Swiss Alps.
“Tours that include everything from foraging for forest truffles along with a Lagotto Romangnolo dog to hands-on experiences making artisan bread, cheese and chocolate are extremely popular for foodies who love to delve into the local culture,” adds Greg Witt, Founder of Alpenwild Tours.
Discover Swiss Cuisine | French Inspired
Alpenwild’s culinary adventure in the French-speaking region of Gruyère and Montreux Switzerland enables savvy food lovers to participate in the hands-on art of cheese making. Here, they learn the fascinating 900-year-old procedure to make Gruyère in an alpine chalet over an open wood fire.
Connoisseurs also learn how to bake hearty artisan bread applying ancient techniques in a rustic wood fired oven. And, they can even test their skill at making chocolate truffles while working side-by-side with a master chocolatier.
Few people realize the caliber of Swiss wines and they delight in discovering this treasure. Alpenwild guides guests on a walk in the footsteps of the Romans and uncover the sundrenched slopes of the Swiss Alps while tasting some of the best local wines. Guest enjoy a guided wine tasting tour as they meander through an ancient terraced vineyard in Lavaux, an UNESCO World Heritage site.
Other tour highlights include taking a scenic cogwheel rail tour up the mountain, as well as discovering the walled medieval villages and storied castles. At the end of this tour, food connoisseurs will have a greater appreciation for an area which has become world-famous for producing meringues, fondue, Raclette, Gruyère, double cream, and for many consumers a high point, the Suisse Romande chocolate.
Travel Dates: October 8 to 14, 2017 and 2018.
Discover Swiss Cuisine | Italian Inspired
The curious culinary traveler will discover the Italian-speaking section of Switzerland, the canton of Ticino, an emerging epicenter for fine regional cheeses, sausages, fish, pastries, breads, pastas, confections and of course, gelatos. Foodies will savor the traditional foods which can only be found in Ticino, as they wander the stunning lakeside region of Lugano.
This tour immerses guests in an interactive workshop to first learn how to make a silky batch of gelato and then savor the fruits of their labor. A local cook teaches cooking enthusiasts invaluable tips for producing an aromatic and perfectly prepared dish of risotto. And, a visit to this region would not be complete without learning how to make panettone, a delicious pastry savored all year long by locals.
Alpenwild guests shop at lively food markets. Guests also enjoy walks through the Olive Path, a focal point for producing olive oil in the area and wander through the three UNESCO World Heritage castles of Bellinzona. During this journey, participants embark on a scenic cruise around Lake Lugano to a local grotto restaurant where they prepare a classic risotto meal from the secluded lakeside terrace.
This expedition takes guests to the northern tip of the Italian Alps to uncover the breathtaking, glistening lakes lined with palm trees, sun-drenched beaches, abundant flower gardens, hillside vineyards, and deep valleys with snow-fed waterfalls.
Travel Dates: October 15 to October 21, 2017 and 2018 expeditions.
Discover Swiss Cuisine | German Inspired
Set amidst the snow clad peaks of iconic Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau, Alpenwild’s German-inspired food journey exposes adventurous foodies to hearty favorites such as sturdy mountain cheeses, smoky sausages, potato rösti, and schnitzel in the region of the Bernese Oberland.
This journey stops at an 18th-century farmhouse (without electricity or running water) where guests prepare fine fare of the era and feast on their creations. Guests will learn the traditions and techniques for making rösti, and experiment with other local ingredients such as cheese, onion, bacon, tomato, apple or fresh mountain herbs, to produce their own personal twist on this traditional dish.
A trip to the German-speaking regions of the Swiss Alps would not be complete without a session to learn the fine art of making Apfelstrudel, also known as apple strudel, where they wrap layers of paper-thin pastry dough around a mound of spiced apple filling. Delicious!
Other tour highlights include Ballenberg, Switzerland’s open-air museum comprised of a collection of more than 100 restored homes and buildings, focusing on rural life in the area, as well as delving into the heart of the Jungfrau on a classic railway excursion to the Jungfraujoch.
Guests cruise on a diesel-powered vessel along the deep glacier lakes that straddle the popular Swiss resort of Interlaken. The group embarks on a train ride along the shores of the Thunersee and on to Bern, Switzerland’s capital city dating to the 12th century and a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its fountains and distinctive gothic, baroque and classical architecture. And, this expedition would not be complete without stopping at some of Switzerland’s world-famous chocolatiers such as Lindt, Sprüngli, Teuscher, and Läderach.
Travel Dates: October 1 to 7, 2017 and 2018 expeditions.
BONUS TOUR: Chocolate Lovers Rejoice | Tour de Chocolate
For more than 200 years, Swiss chocolate makers and confectioners have been at the forefront of producing smooth and sumptuous chocolate. Alpenwild transports chocolate lovers to Vevey, its birthplace. They see the setting where Daniel Peter created the mouth-watering milk chocolate.
Alpenwild enables guests to learn from a bean-to-bar artisan chocolate maker the steps for roasting, grinding, and conching (a manufacturing process of rolling and smoothing chocolate for several days until it is smooth and refined) chocolate beans into a silky confection. Connoisseurs embark on an unforgettable hunt for fragrant and rare forest truffles in the Jura mountains with an expert truffle hunter and his Lagotto Romangnolo dog.
The Tour de Chocolate journey whisks guests away to a medieval castle, takes them on a cogwheel to the mountain summit, escorts them on a scenic cruise along crystalline Lake Lucerne. Other cultural gems include a visit to the manor home of Charlie Chapin overlooking Lake Geneva. It is now a museum and recreated Hollywood-style movie studio, which celebrates the life and legacy of the legendary actor and director.
Participants immerse themselves in the world of fine chocolate as they discover the time-honored traditions and cutting-edge techniques being used by the top chocolate artisans in Switzerland today. Tour de Chocolate is an insider’s dream tour where guests not only learn about the making of hand-crafted chocolate and enjoy some of the world’s most delectable chocolate creations, but rub shoulders with world-renown chocolate makers and chocolatiers… all in the scenic Swiss Alps.
Travel Dates: October 22 to October 28, 2017 and 2018 expeditions.