CHEESELOVER’S CHECKLIST PEEK IN THE CAULDRON See cauldron-made cheese prepared over a fire in an 18th century alpine chalet. Hike up to the 2,002 metre summit of Le Moléson or take a cable car from Plan-Francey. Open May to September, advance booking advised. Frogramerie d’alpage, Moléson moleson.ch/en
HOUSE OF GRUYÈRE Not all cheesemakers welcome impromptu visits from hordes of tourists, but you can discover the secrets of Gruyère AOP at this modern demonstration dairy. Your ticket includes free samples. La Maison du Gruyère lamaisondugruyere.ch
HIKE UP AN APPETITE Combine a workout with a day of cheese-tasting by hiking from dairy to dairy in the fresh mountain air. Two itineraries are available. Ask for a route map from the Maison du Gruyère. Sentier des Fromageries myswitzerland.com/en/cheesedairy-and-nature-trail-throughgreyerzerland.html
FOND OF FONDUE? It would be a sin to visit Gruyères without tucking into a local fondue. The moitié-moitié (Gruyère and Vacherin Fribourgeois melted together in a pot) at Des Remparts is highly recommended. remparts-resto.com
ALIEN ABDUCTION No cheesy trip to Switzerland would be complete without a visit to this museum dedicated to local-boydone-good H.R. Giger, Oscar winner for his design work on the film Alien. If you fancy drinking cocktails in the belly of an extra-terrestrial, visit the outrageous Giger Bar next door. Musée HR Giger hrgigermuseum.com
36 BLUE WINGS OCTOBER 2016
Jean-Louis Roche is ranked by his peers as one of the region’s top Alpage producers.
depending on the humidity and what the cows have been eating, which keeps my job interesting,” says Pasquier. Meanwhile, down in the cellar, a robot turns and washes the heavy wheels of cheese with a steady rat-atat rhythm. Curing lasts from three to ten months; the longer the curing period, the tastier the cheese. Pasquier gently picks up a wheel and taps its belly as if handling a precious heirloom. With thousands of aromatic beauties resting on ceiling-high wooden shelves – each wheel worth 600 euros – there’s a small fortune tucked away in Pasquier’s unassuming cellar.
Each wheel can be traced to the very cow the milk came from.
HEAD IN THE CLOUDS You’ll find no robots in the rustic chalet where JeanLouis Roche stirs a large cauldron of curd over a crackling fire, 1,291 metres above Gruyères. Roche is one of 52 local producers who hand-make Gruyère Alpage using milk from cows that graze on wild flowers and grasses in alpine pastures, giving the cheese its inimitable flavour. Impervious to the postcard-perfect view unfolding from his window, Roche works in a state of extreme