Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Salt Bath for Your Cheese?

Well the Käse (cheese) tour was neat. If only I had been feeling better, I would have enjoyed it more. We saw how they bring in all these jugs milk and put them in this huge, warm container that combs through the milk until a soft solid form is made. Then the cheese goes into a salt bath a few times. Each cheese round weighs 95 kilos! After that it is aged in a humid but cold room. It will occasionally get additional salt baths. It’s a hard process to describe and I definitely didn’t get all of it. I guess the cheese from the Emmental is exceptionally salty and you can even see salt crystals attached to the cheese. Man, even though we were looking at the cheese through glass walls, the aging cheese stunk so bad!

Cheese aging

Where all the cheesy magic happens

After, we went to this old farmhouse that was made in 1741. Those people were so short! I had to duck to go through the doorway, so just imagine Shannon! I have pictures so I’ll have to show you. We got to see the old process for making cheese…they made it in these huge vats and just stirred and stirred. They also had these stone benches that were attached to the room where they made the cheese and would take the warmth from that fire to heat the benches in winter for a nice warm place to sit. The benches in turn were hallow so bread could be bakes inside and the benches also heated the house. Talk about efficient!

Shannon showing off her height

Stone bench to heat your buns and bread

Shannon is a natural cheese-maker

We then went to a tourist shop and they had some interesting things. For example, they make these wooden farm animals for kids that apparently grandparents buy for their grandkids for special occasions to put in the kids’ wooden farmhouses (apparently, every kid has a wooden farmhouse as well).Also, they sold traditional farmer’s shirts with this common flower print of the flowers that grow all over the land.

More Cow Bell?

I guess the grandfather refuses to leave the factory without getting dessert so we went to the restaurant so that he could do that. I was so sick by then (stomach pain and nausea), so I didn’t try anything, but what they got looked good. The factory makes the ice cream in house, so I bet it is very good. Shannon got this good looking dessert of warmed berries with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream.

Shannon's dessert

We look a long way back with lots of scenic views of the Emmental and took a whole bunch of pictures as well. Even though the day was very cold and rainy, the landscape was so lush and colorful. It is so beautiful here, in a way unlike anything I’ve seen. Unfortunately, the combo of me not feeling well and the very curvy roads made me very carsick.

Typical Road

Garden Dragons

Today we have an easy ride, but unfortunately, it looks like it'll be a wet one with the rain and the cold. It is still freezing here at 16*C (in the 50s in F), but it looks like that will leave us later this week.

1 comment:

Natalie said...

I'm jealous. I love cheese! :)