Cookies, cheese and history


Groups leave with a real taste of Switzerland after a structured day in the beautiful Emmental region

The fascinating story of a persecuted religious sect, plus behind-the-scenes glimpses of world-renowned food producers await groups booked on an overnight package to the idyllic Emmental Valley of central Switzerland. green hills dotted with grazing cows and flowered farms.

“Living history: on the path of the Anabaptists of the Emmental”, marketed by the Emmental tourist office, cleverly combines a chapter of Swiss religious heritage with the culinary delights of this picturesque region of the canton of Bern. Ideal for religious groups, the itinerary includes an overnight stay in a 13th-century castle.

Shortly after the Protestant Reformation, the Emmental Valley and other parts of Switzerland were scenes of religious intolerance that saw Anabaptists executed, tortured, imprisoned and stripped of their lands. Some of these believers in adult baptism, a group considered radical by both traditional Protestants and Roman Catholics, were exiled.

Despised by their enemies for rejecting infant baptism as unbiblical, the Anabaptists (or “the re-baptized,” a term coined by their accusers) maintained that proper baptism was only reserved for those who were old enough. to make a conscious decision to profess their faith in Christ. The sect also believed in pacifism and the separation of Church and State. The persecution began around 1525 and continued in Switzerland and elsewhere in Europe for almost three centuries. (The Amish, Mennonites, and Hutterites living in North America today are descendants of the early Swiss Anabaptists.)

Fearing for their lives, the Anabaptists had to hide from the authorities, and the “Living History” route features one such safe haven. A farm in the town of Trub, the Fankhaus’s hideout has a museum that honors the religious minority and the Fankhauser family, ancestors of the current owners, who provided shelter. In the barn, visitors see the hidden locker which was covered with a plank. Dating back over 400 years, the Fankhaus farm is the only surviving Anabaptist hideout in Switzerland.

Fankhaus hideout. Switzerland Tourism

Before hiding, your trip to the Emmental Valley begins on a sweet and savory note with a morning visit to Kambly, a company from Trubschachen that produces Switzerland’s most popular premium cookies and crackers. At the ‘Kambly Experience’, the welcome center of the iconic Swiss company run by the fourth generation of the Kambly family, visitors discover the secrets of the art of fine biscuit making and explore the world of Kambly in a fun and interactive. . They can also enjoy a refreshing break at the Café and choose their favorite cookies from the 100 varieties in the outlet store.

Master pastry chefs at the Kambly Experience welcome center.  Kambly

Master pastry chefs at the Kambly Experience welcome center. Kambly

Kambly’s Classic Bretzeli, a thin wafer-shaped cookie made from fresh butter and eggs from Emmental farms and flour from the village mill, is produced according to the same recipe founder Oscar Kambly I borrowed from his grandmother. Le Cervin, another favorite, is a butter cookie with small pieces of Swiss milk chocolate and honey nougat flakes.

Visitors can watch Kambly’s master pastry chefs at work and book a baking class to produce their own cookies. Kambly products are exported to more than 50 countries around the world.

The Emmental Region is also famous for cheese, the kind full of holes. Known in Switzerland as Emmental, this is what Americans call Swiss cheese. After the visit of Fankhaus, the “Living History” excursion continues with lunch and a visit to The Emmental Show Dairy at Affoltern. The highlight is the tasting of the cheeses in the production environment and in the ripening cellar, where the cheese wheels are stored. Most tour members agree that this Swiss delicacy, with its nutty flavor, tastes much better than versions sold in other parts of the world. Cheese and cheese-related items are available from the dairy shops, and there’s a bakery as well.

Two medieval castles, both built in the 1200s, are then on the afternoon program. A visit to Trachselwald Castle, where the Anabaptists were imprisoned in the dungeon, is followed by a recording at Sumiswald Castle, today a sparkling guest room with eight rooms (20 beds) in the tower.

Your day in the Swiss Emmental region ends with dinner at the Landgasthof Bären in Sumiswald. Beautifully renovated country inn with a history as a tavern dating back to the 16th century, it is renowned for the traditional regional cuisine served in its warm and comfortable dining rooms.

The “Living History” night package costs approximately $ 168 (154 Swiss francs) per person. In addition to the stay at the hotel with breakfast, the price includes lunch and dinner (excluding drinks). For an additional cost, guided tours of the Anabaptist Hideout and / or Trachselwald Castle can be arranged, and another hotel can be replaced. The package can also be booked without overnight accommodation. The tour operator’s commission is 10 percent. For more details, send an email to [email protected]

For more information on the Emmental region, visit

By Randy Mink

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