cows wearing flowers during alpine cow parade

Do you love cheese?  Are you excited to see the cows coming down from the mountain—flower-bedecked, bell-wearing, in a parade to celebrate after a summer of grazing high in the Alps? Are you intrigued to watch cheese being produced the old ways – over a fire? Are you interested to taste Swiss wines, which are not known to many Americans?  Do you love chocolate and would love to know how its made?  If you are, drop everything and book the Oldways Culinaria to Switzerland! 

What You’ll Love About Your Week in Switzerland

Spend 7 days immersed in Swiss life – Swiss cheeses – especially Le Gruyere AOP – chocolate,  Swiss food, history, and culture.  

Switzerland is a land of towering landscapes, gorgeous cities, towns and villages, spectacular cheeses and chocolates, and amazing wines.  We’ll take you way beyond what tourists typically see as you experience the excitement of the annual Desalpes through the eyes of world class judge and cheese expert Cathy Strange and our friends at Gruyere AOP.

Join us as we experience all that is delicious and interesting about Alpine cheeses, chocolate,  food, wine, culture and history in Switzerland.  We’ll explore from Zurich to Gruyere to Bern, Lausanne and back to Zurich, with plenty of stops in between.

On our trips, you don’t just get to taste a fabulous meal—you get the recipes and knowledge to bring these ”old ways” home with you. In between all the excitement, you’ll have time to shop, get to know your fellow travelers (fellow cheese lovers), and then relax in classic hotels at the end of the day! 

Registered Dietitians can earn continuing education credits.

Questions?  Please read our Travel FAQ here. Call us at (617) 896-4861, or email us at

Day-by-Day in Switzerland

Thursday, September 21, 2023 


Bienvenue! Willkommen! Check into our hotel in Zurich, take time to get settled, stroll around, and then join us for a welcome reception and Food & Wine walking tour in Zurich.

Friday, September 22, 2023
Photo courtesy Le Gruyere AOP

After a food & wine orientation the night before, join our guide for a historical and cultural walking tour of Zurich.  We’ll stop at Lake Zurich for a cruise with lunch and then leave for Gruyere.  We’ll have a welcome cocktail when we arrive in Gruyere, followed by an evening cooking class/dinner at Fondue Academie!

Saturday, September 23, 2023
Photo courtesy Le Gruyere AOP

Today is not-to-be-missed la Desalpes!  We’ll drive to Charmey for this very special festival — after more than four months of grazing in alpine pastures, cows make their way down to the plain, wearing bells, flowers, crowns.  We’ll be right in the thick of it all, and afterwards, we will experience the Swiss tradition of the Benichon Menu.  We’ll return to Gruyere, where you will be free to walk, rest, or if possible, have dinner on your own.

Sunday, September 24, 2023
Photo courtesy Le Gruyere AOP

We will have an incredible morning – visiting the production of Gruyere AOP – over a fire – at René Pernet, de la Fromagerie du Haut-Jorat.  We’ll follow that with a visit to a winery with a tasting and free time before a very special Gruyere AOP Dinner.  

Monday, September 25, 2023

We’ll leave the village of Gruyere to see the cheese cellar of Fromco and enjoy a tasting and lunch.  After lunch, we’ll trave to Bern and check in at our hotel, and you will be free to explore Bern on your own for the evening.

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

We will have an exciting day in Bern, starting with a walking tour, and cooking class and lunch.  We’ll end with a late afternoon chocolate workshop.  

Wednesday, September 27, 2023


Our final day starts with a return to Zurich and a watch workshop at one of Switzerland’s finest watchmakers.  After checking in at our hotel in Zurich, you’ll be free in the afternoon, until our final dinner together. 

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Au revoir!  Auf Wiedersehen! Leave Zurich for the U.S., or additional travel.

See Your Beautiful Accommodations 

We are working with our friends in Gruyere and Zurich to choose hotels. Check back soon for more details.

Meet the Expert You’ll Be Traveling With

Cathy Strange.jpeg

Cathy Strange joined Whole Foods Market in 1990 and has a wealth of food industry experience and expertise. As the global cheese buyer, she has become an authority at detecting international food trends during her travels around the world while seeking out vendor partners that meet Whole Foods Market’s strict Quality Standards. After selecting new partners, Cathy works diligently with the small producers to help them sustain a profitable business.

Cathy is a member of the American Cheese Society, the Cheese of Choice Coalition, the Cheese Importers Association, the International Association of Culinary Professionals, Slow Foods USA, and Les Dames d’Escoffier where she serves as the President of the Austin Chapter. Her palate and expertise have been solicited all over the world to serve as judge for the American Cheese Society competition, the World Cheese Championships, the U.S. Cheese Championships, the World Cheese Awards and the British Cheese Awards.

Cathy serves as New World President and an ambassador for the distinguished international Guilde des Fromagers de Saint-Uguzon, the most celebrated association of cheese mongers and specialists in France. Cathy is one of the first Americans inducted into the prestigious guild of cheese trade professionals, recognized for comprehensive knowledge and attention to the merits of French cheese.

She has been an independent voting member of the Oldways Board since August, 2012.


Flights should be in and out of Zurich, arriving in Zurich by Sept. 21st, and departing Sept. 28th (unless staying on for additional, independent travel). 

Pricing & Tour Registration

Please download and complete the registration form below, which includes instructions for how to submit the form and deposit to Oldways.

Price per person from $5,250 per person


If this trip must be cancelled due to Covid-19, refunds will be issued.

Prices are based on rates of exchange, taxes, and other costs as of the tour publication date. We reserve the right to correct errors and changes, and to increase program prices to cover increased costs, tariffs, and taxes received after prices are published and to reflect currency fluctuations.