Legend has it, that when God created the world, he put his whole hand on the area of Saanenland, in the western part of Switzerland, creating 5 most perfect valleys.
I have just visited this area, situated just on the border from the German and French speaking part of Switzerland.
I think it is one of he most beautiful parts of the World. You have these wonderful valleys, surrounded by very steep limestone peaks. The valleys are open, scarcely populated.
The houses in the whole district have to oblige to very strict building codes, so you will not have any eye sores, ugly buildings, they are all built in the same wooden chalet style.
You will often find wonderful quotes written in old German writing, under the sloping roofs. This house has a whole history painted under the eaves .
There are always amazing flowers decorating the windows, apparently a sign of wealth.
I came across this wonderful dairy high up in the mountains. Notice the cow bells under the eaves!
The cows were all in the barn, their tails tied to a metal wire, so as not to get dirty when lying down. Apparently they stay inside during the day and then go to the high pasture during the night. Less flies and not as hot, was the explanation of the farmer! ( I think this is a bit wussy!!)
The milk from the high pasture is quite different, it is sweet and fragrant. You need 10 liters of milk to make 1 kg of cheese. They call this cheese ‘Alpen Käse'( the milk has to come from above 1800 meters) and the cheese made in the valleys is called ‘ Berg Käse’.
Here the fresh cheese is pressed down with weights for 24 hours.
Then the big cheese forms stay in a salt brine, before being stacked on wooden shelves to dry
The curtains in the dairy, no compromise on aesthetics here!!
Advertising what can be bought in the dairy
I met this farmer, Hansueli Perreten-Walti, he keeps his cows at 2000 meters and brings his milk to the dairy to have it made into cheese. He then collects his cheese rounds to let them ripen in his cellar in Lauenen. There they will stay, being turned and brushed twice a day until November, when he can start consuming the cheese.
What really disturbed me, was his story of how hard he found being able to sell his cheeses. He would love to find a distributor who would buy them off him. You would think that a product made with so much love , care and attention and with such amazing flavour, would just walk out of his shed.
I wish I could help him!!