“Don’t eat too many. You’ll get sick.”
That’s not the advice you’d expect from a seven year old boy, is it? Especially when it comes to pigging out on all-you-can-eat sweets. The poor boy had obviously had a biscuit too many at the Kambly factory store in Trubschachen.
Just as I was getting off the train to visit the factory, I nearly stumbled over my cute little friend. He must have assumed I was headed to the same place he’d just left. Because, quite frankly, what else are you going to do in Trubschachen on a rainy day?
I smiled at him, thanked him for his well-meant advice and silently wondered how many biscuits the poor soul must have eaten. After all, it takes a lot for a kid to admit they’ve had too many sweets. And even more to warn other people about it.
I couldn’t give this matter any more thought because I had already reached my destination. The gates to a family business that’s been around for over a century.
How it all began
The Kambly business dates all the way back to 1906, when young Oscar R. Kambly fell in love with a girl from Trubschachen. After graduating, he packed his bags and moved to her farming village in the area of Emmental. At the village bakery of Trubschachen, he learned how to be a baker and a pastry chef.
In 1910, with the help of his brother, he laid the corner stone for the Kambly empire. The Bretzeli, a thin, crêpe-type biscuit, was his first and most important product. It remained Kambly’s market leader until today.
Since its foundation, the business has remained in the family. In 1953, Oscar J. Kambly took over from his father and in 1983, Oscar A. Kambly became the head of the company. He transformed the business into an internationally known brand that now exports to over 50 countries.
Which brings us right back to the present.
A cookie monster gone wild
As I entered the Kambly factory store, the amount of excitement hitting me was borderline childish. The room was completely stuffed with a gazillion different types of biscuits.
Crunchy ones, soft ones, chocolatey ones, nutty ones, caramelised ones, plain ones, orange flavoured ones and coconut flavoured ones. Just to name a few..
Oh, and then there’s the savoury section, too. Shelves upon shelves stacked with up to 100 different types of Kambly goodness. Just sitting there, waiting to be demolished.
Word of advice from someone who should have known better?
Whatever you do, do not set your mind on trying one of each! Unless you’ve been training for this by refusing solid food for at least five days in advance.
Here’s a short recap of what I foolishly did during my visit:
- Shamelessly stuffed my face with everything that got in my way.
- Realised halfway though that I was on the verge of exploding.
- Kept eating because there was so much I still had to try.
- Headed to the savoury section to neutralise the chocolate overdose.
- Went back for seconds.
- Felt a sense of regret creeping in. But wait…
… didn’t someone just tell me NOT to do that?
I quickly started to realise that my little train-station-friend must have made the same mistake. But it’s so easy to throw every good intention out the window once you’re confronted with the extensive Kambly assortment. So in order to spare you some misery, I strongly recommend following the plan below instead:
- Take a good look at your options.
- Decide on the ones you want to give a go.
- Dig in.
- Head to the savoury section every now and then to neutralise the chocolate overdose.
- Grab a cup of coffee at the factory café or check out the Kambly cinema to learn more about their history.
- Go back for seconds. And thirds.
At the end, if you still haven’t had enough, you can buy half-kilo bags of your favourites at a reduced price. Compared to what you pay at the supermarket, you get around 50% or even more off.
How to get to the land of milk and honey
The easiest way to access the Kambly factory is by public transport. If you set out from Lucerne, you have two trains per hour taking you to Trubschachen.
The one to Langnau i. E. (“i. E.” this stands for “im Emmental”) takes 57 minutes. The one to Bern is a little faster and takes you there within 47 minutes. But watch out, that one gets divided along the way and only the front part heads to Bern. So make sure you pick the right half.
Coming from Bern, you have one train per hour. It runs between Bern and Lucerne and takes 35 minutes to the gates of the Kambly factory. So if Bern and Lucerne are both on your itinerary, why not hop off along the way to grab some free biscuits?
In 2010, for their 100-year anniversary, Kambly created the Kambly Express which runs twice a day between Lucerne and Bern. So if you fancy a ride on a specially designed Kambly-train, leave Lucerne either at 7:57 / 13:57 or Bern at 9:36 / 15:36. The Kambly Express runs every day except for Mondays.
In case Trubschachen is too far off your itinerary, there’s a second factory store in Lyss. It’s not as extensive as the original one but it still gives you plenty of opportunities to munch away on Switzerland’s most popular biscuits.
And if all else fails, just head to the nearest supermarket… You definitely won’t risk a food-baby with this option. You probably won’t receive any warnings about not overeating, either.
Now, where’s the fun in that? 🙂