(Double) Cream of the Crop

Meringues & Double Cream in Gruyères, SwitzerlandAfter a quick French spelling lesson and an introduction to the quaint village of Gruyères, I hope you have worked up an appetite for the specialties of this dairy rich part of Switzerland.  The region is most well known for its eponymous cheese, but running a close second is the fresh, local cream, famous for its high butterfat content.  I had heard about this cream from friends who lived in Switzerland, but never really understood all the fuss they made about, well… cream.  Turns out it is worth the fuss, for its unparalleled, unctuous texture and its rather unique aroma.  That’s probably why it’s served on top of just about everything, at all hours of the day.  Most restaurants proudly announce that they have “crème double de la Gruyère” outside, so customers are rest assured before entering.

Gruyères, Switzerland

The double cream is stark white and looks almost like the unbaked batter of the meringues with which it is paired. (That, or Elmer’s glue!)  That’s the classic combination – feather light meringues made in a wood-fired oven, dipped in this luscious cream.  Or the other popular dessert is a bowl of berries and cream.  The meringues are not like the football size ones you may see in Paris’ pastry shop windows, with a real hard shell and then a chewy interior (my personal favorite).  They are small and weightless, and have the same texture throughout.  Bite into one and it just crumbles away in your mouth (and all over your shirt).  Pure sugar!

Meringue from Gruyères, SwitzerlandMeringues & Double Cream in Gruyères, Switzerland

I was rather content eating the meringues with no accompaniment, or better yet, with a scoop of coffee ice cream on top, mmmm!  But the cream is there to soften the sweet kick of the sugary meringues.  People dunk them into the cream, which is always served in a traditional wooden dish.  You may be lucky and have a sculpted, wooden cream spoon as well, nowadays only used for decorative purposes.

Meringues & Double Cream in Gruyères, SwitzerlandMeringues & Double Cream in Gruyères, SwitzerlandMeringues & Double Cream in Gruyères, SwitzerlandMeringues & Double Cream in Gruyères, Switzerland

If you’re in Gruyères, you won’t have any problem at all finding meringues or double cream to buy.  Step into any shop and you’ll see walls piled high with the classic white and red boxes of plain meringues, or bags with different flavors, including caramel, chocolate or even cheese.  I went with plain and mocha, and can highly recommend both!

Meringues & Double Cream in Gruyères, Switzerland

Meringues & Double Cream in Gruyères, SwitzerlandMeringues & Double Cream in Gruyères, Switzerland

We ordered our plates of meringues, berries, double cream and coffee at the Chalet de Gruyères, a comfortable café downstairs, and an upstairs restaurant with a fantastic wooden decor, typical of the region.  The same menu is served on both floors – we chose to enjoy our treats downstairs with the aroma of fresh coffee instead of cheese fondue!

Chalet de Gruyères
1663 Gruyères
Switzerland
+41.26.921.21.54
www.chalet-gruyeres.ch

And here’s the shop with all those bags and boxes of meringues above:

Magasin Antonietti
1663 Gruyères
Switzerland
+41.26.921.22.92
www.gruyeres-shop.ch

By the way, for those of you who have access to Mövenpick ice cream, they actually have a flavor called Double Crème de la Gruyère & Meringues.  If anyone tries it, please let me know what you think!

13 Responses to “(Double) Cream of the Crop”

  1. jen laceda says:

    Oh my, Kerrin! I think I gained some weight just looking at these sweet treats!! Your description of the creme and meringues is so vivid that I can almost taste it…almost…almost…I wish I had some with me now. I guess I’ll just have a gulp of this plain water sitting on my desk :(
    I will hunt for that movenpick ice cream flavour in Toronto, along with those chocolate with fleur de sel from your previous post (haven’t found them yet…). I have to talk to some of these local companies to get on with the program!!

  2. Monika N. says:

    Mmmm… I’d like that raspberry thingie, please!

  3. florence says:

    Est-ce que la “double cream” existe en version light?
    Oh…et puis non! quitte à manger, autant bien manger!
    Merci pour ce message et pour nos babines. miam mioum.

  4. Tammie D. says:

    I WANT to gain a pound back (of the 4 I’ve lost over the past few weeks) after seeing this. The ice cream, “Movenpick” sounds like magic for my tongue. I’m an ice cream fiend. Alas, it’s been completely cut from my diet plan for now. With any luck, I’ll dream about it tonight. And I wish I knew French. For some reason, this post deserves comments chocked full of French superlatives.

  5. jen laceda says:

    Kerrin – we used to have a Movenpick line of restaurants in Canada, back in the 90’s. Sadly, they’re all gone now… :(

  6. Jenn says:

    Oh my goodness, this all looks fantastic! How did you ever leave??

  7. gry planszowe says:

    very interesting site, i have bookmarked your blog for future referrence, thanks

  8. Gleicy Dourada says:

    oh Lord, I need to eat the ?crème double de la Gruyère? .

  9. Hakan H Tokatli says:

    That takes me back…
    I used to live in Gstaad and often visited Gruyères for their infamous double cream…. For those of you who had not have the privilege of tasting this magnificent sweet, let me tell you this. It has been 16 years that I have last tasted this cream and still can not get it out of my head because it is that good. Just imagine it over strawberries and raspberries himmmm. They used to serve it in wooden cups and I still have one after all these years. To bad they do not have it in the U.S. Thank you for the delightful pictures…

  10. teq says:

    I was just eating the fabulous mövenpick double cream and searching on google for it, so here i am
    to let you participate: it tastes well, very well, but you also taste every gram calorie :-)

  11. Elf says:

    I had the pleasure of visiting Gruyeres a few weeks ago. I had the double cream (cream glace for dessert) LOVED it, the texture and taste is unbelievably rich and creamy. Unless you actually have some of that cream you just can’t fathom how good it is! I would love to be able to purchase some and have it shipped to the U.S. but can’t find any info :(

  12. Janet says:

    I was in Gruyere just recently and happened to go the the Chalet and have meringues with double creme and they were unbelievably delicious. Almost licked the plate clean! I am now looking for a recipe to make them…don’t know where I can get double creme…someone told me that it is like creme anglais, but I will have to research that further and the meringues were really light and sweet. If anyone knows the recipe, let me know.
    Thanks.

  13. Top 4 European Train Trips | Vagabond says:

    […] a small town famous for its cheese and double cream. Gruyères has been on my mind since reading this post and I became obsessed with visiting after this one. Alas, I am still yet to make it to this foodie […]

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