unique. varied.

It's pretty cheesy at the Eigeralp.

EXPERIENCE – «Cheese watching» with Alpine brekkie.
Grindelwald
The cow is awake. Off we go. Our goal is the Eigeralp. We «modern dairymen» take the bus of course. It's just a bit too early to walk. We shouldn't overdo things... the day's still young.
Grindelwaldbus

There's definitely not much room for oncoming traffic here. Well, for the curvy parts there's still the well-known horn. Beep beep...

Grindelwaldbus

We admit it, we're impressed: the Grindelwald bus chauffeur drives safely and skillfully towards the sun. High-precision work.

Grindelwaldbus

The road is blocked. What's kept «in captivity» here?

Next stop: Eigeralp

When we see the view we're speechless – so early in the morning.

Up here we even refresh our history knowledge.

The use of the alpine meadows in Grindelwald is documented in writing for the first time at the beginning of the 15th century. The dairy kingdom «Eigeralp» is part of the Alpgenossenschaft (alpine cooperative) Bussalp near Grindelwald. The area of the Bussalp is around 450 hectares in size and is situated at a height of 1,600 to 2,200 metres.

Bussalp

The roofs and several of the exterior walls are still covered with wooden shingles. The cabins were built in 1892. The cheese storehouse even originates from the 17th century. It seems like modern times are taking a break here.

Directly under the watchful eye of the Faulhorn is the «main building» of the Eigeralp. For us it's still early, but here it's all go. Actually, there's always action in this building. Constant action.

A really romantic overnight stay – we put it on our «bucket list» straight away.

I wonder which side of this hut gets more sun?

Michael Utecht,
dairyman on the Eigeralp

«We move from one alpine cabin to the next highest in early summer, depending on how the grass grows, and come back from September on. From upper camps to middle camps to lower camps. This nomad's life is characterised by hard physical work and little comfort – but also by natural wonders and intense experiences.»
FACTS AND FIGURES
150
dairy cows and 130 livestock, as well as several calves, goats and chickens live on the Bussalp during the summer months.
Eigeralp_Glocken

About cows and bells...

Each cow should recognise the sound of its own bell. Now that's a statement. We ask for a demonstration – and yes, when the bell is sounded, a cow comes trotting along. That's really not a coincidence, it's just amazing.

...and a cockerel.

There can only be one: Louis XVI – the secret commandant of the alp. Although he can't whistle, everything dances to his... er, beak. Most of the «poor» chickens have no choice. It's not seldom that he behaves like a little Napoleon. It's just that the «Eigeralp Napoleon» is much too amusing to be banned to the Island of Elba.

Hahn

Dres Michel,
dairyman on the Eigeralp

«We produce our raw milk cheese in a large cauldron over an open fire following an old recipe.»
Käser
Käsespeicher

We've now got to know the Eigeralp and its residents. Now we're getting on with the work – or to put it another way: getting on with watching the traditional art of cheese-making.

The tangy herbs of the alpine meadows give the cheese a unique aroma which connoisseurs all the way to Paris appreciate. We can confirm that. The cheese really does taste good. Also, the milk is used to make Mutschli, Ziger and Raclette cheese as well as alpine butter.
But that's not enough. We mentioned constant action before. Everyday, fresh bread is baked and can be transformed into an "Älplerfrühstück" (Alpine breakfast) with alpine butter, various cheeses, self-made jams, yoghurt, tea and fresh milk.

That's how it's done.

Dres Michel gets the cheese out of the cauldron with great skill – that's how it's done, no differently. Good old traditions...

Schaukäsen

Is anyone sceptical? They're crazy, those locals.

Schaukäsen

Seems to have tasted good though. Drinking the «Schluck» is an old tradition in Switzerland.

Schaukäsen

Of course we too, the «modern dairymen» also get a turn. It looks easier than it is.

FACTS AND FIGURES
30'000
litres of milk is collected and almost 3 tons of fine Alpine cheese is produced during the Alpine summer.

We've earned a break now.

Following the hard physical work – at least for the real dairymen – it's time for a leisurely "Älplerfrühstück". It's all home-made of course. Finsteraarhorn, Schreckhorn and the Eiger wish you a pleasant meal.

Älplerfrühstück

A walk to the Bachalpsee to aid the digestion

The bus is already waiting. Optionally, we could walk to the Bachalpsee – or climb the Damengipfel. Then we would definitely have digested the «Älplerfrühstück».

Additional information

Eigeralp

More information

Photos: Jungfrau Region
Story: André Wellig
Summer 2017

Contact

Grindelwald Tourismus

Dorfstrasse 110
Postfach 124
CH-3818 Grindelwald

Tel. +41 33 854 12 12
Fax +41 33 854 12 10

info@grindelwald.swiss