I arrive at Zürich International Airport and quickly activate my Swiss Rail Pass (www.swiss-pass.ch), which is my one-stop shop for getting around the country. At only 216 miles wide and 137 miles from north to south, Switzerland is a relatively small footprint to cover, but, because of its neighbors, it offers a portal to a diverse range of culinary influences best experienced by rail tripping. My first stop: Fribourg (www.fribourgregion.ch).
One of Switzerland’s 26 cantons, Fribourg lies in the western region and the city of the same name features The Université de Fribourg (www.unifr.ch), one of the few bilingual universities in all of Europe. The city has a youthful pulse due, in no small part, to Cardinal beer, the local brew created in 1788 that flows at nearly every pub. While the city proper showcases farmers’ markets and the Gothic-style Cathedral of Saint Nicholas (rue des Chanoines 3. www.stnicolas.ch), I’ve got my eye on a particular café, but not before heading out of town to conquer my first Swiss delicacy: Gruyère cheese.