Ask any of our cheesemongers for a recommendation this time of year, and there’s a good chance you’ll end up walking away with an Alpine cheese. For centuries, the seasons have been marked by the cows’ and farmers’ movements up and down the mountains to take advantage of the flowering summer pastures high up in the Alps. Each of these cheeses has incredible, unique depth with a few unifying characteristics; they are buttery, nutty, rich and perfect for winter weather.
This process of seasonal production is called Transhumance but is becoming rarer and rarer as cheese making is being commercialized. This year, we decided to partner with two different farmers in the Alps as part of the Adopt an Alp program to help support this centuries-old artisan tradition.
This year, we’ve received wheels of Berner Alpkäse AOP 2018 from the young cheesemaking couple of Simon and Nadja Santschi on Alp Site in the Bernese Alps, where their herd of 40 cows graze at altitudes of 5,300ft. Each wheel was made by hand over a wood-burning stove and aged for 4 months before finally making their way to us. Simon and Nadja have a young son, Lionel, and is the second-generation owner of Alp Site. In the winter, they both work at a local ski school!
We’ve also brought in wheels of traditional Raclette cheese made on Alp Jänzimatt in the central Swiss Alps. The alp is owned by the community of Giswil who entrust the cheese production to Adrian and Heidi Riebli. Of the 42 cows, Riebli’s own 26 while the rest are owned by their neighbors. The wheels of raclette in our shop are the result of this community-minded spirit and should be enjoyed with friends.
Stop in today to the Cheese Shop to taste these wonderful varieties and support our Alps!