I'm excited to announce that RacletteCorner has teamed up with Adopt-an-Alp! This organization is connecting small Swiss Cheese-Dairy farmers with US customers like me while supporting transhumance – the move of people and animals in accordance with the seasons. Transhumance is a centuries old tradition. For the dairy farmer in Switzerland that means, family and cows move from the valley to the higher meadows during the summer season to escape the heat and produce Alpage cheeses, including our beloved Raclette Cheese.
Adopt-an-Alp unites Alp farmers in Switzerland, where transhumance has originated over 8,000 years ago, and American cheese mongers by shedding a realistic light on every day life on the Alp. Through telling the story of each family, sharing photos and updates, we will follow our adopted family and herd, and learn more about this very particular lifestyle. And at the end we will be able to enjoy the Raclette Cheese from our alp.
Swiss Raclette from Maran in Graubuenden
I'm proud to support the Alp Maran in Arosa in canton Graubuenden. They will make raclette cheese exclusively for RacletteCorner in the US, available in October.
Why Alp Maran?
There were several alps to choose from but Alp Maran was an instant fit because my mom grew up close to Arosa, worked there for a few years and has visited Alp Maran before. What better place to get our Raclette cheese from?
The Alp Maran, or as they call it in Switzerland, the Sennerei Maran is owned by the the community and the farmers of Chur, the oldest alpine city in all of Switzerland. About 400 cows, the majority brown and the rest red ones, spend their summers on four Alps located just above the ski resort of Arosa, on altitudes of 5,500 feet and higher. On Maran, there are about 60 cows. The milk comes from Alp Maran and the three neighboring Alps Carmenna, Praetschli and Sattel, the latter three via milk pipeline. During the summer, master cheese maker Walter Niklaus and his team expect to transform over 100,000 gallons of milk into wonderful cheeses and other delicacies.
What is happening now?
The snow finally left and they will bring the cows up on June 1st to graze on fresh grass and herbs. It will take some time until the raclette is ready. In the meantime we will be able to follow the progress, see where 'our' cows are grazing and how the milk transforms into raclette cheese. We'll also get some information about the farmers and the cheese makers.
Part one: Bringing the cows up to the Alp (Auftrieb)
The cows need to be brought up to the Alp from the Valley. Nowadays, some of that way will be done by truck/trailer but the last stretch, where the streets narrow to one way lanes and gravel roads, still require the cows be herded up to their summer meadows. This walk is known as 'Auftrieb' and is a fun spectacle. The cows are wearing their best attire (aka cow bells) and many are decorated. This short video shows how it's done:
If you like to be kept in the loop and learn more about 'our' Alp Maran and the families, the process of making raclette cheese, and want to be the first to know when the cheese will be available for sale, please sign up through the following form: