There’s something special about knowing where the food you eat comes from. Somehow it makes it taste better (maybe because you have a deeper connection to it or something), don’t you think? In the case of cheese, we’re not really big consumers of it even though we’re locally bred. But we went to school with Marc who runs the Laiterie de Verbier
together with his father. So, we know how much enthusiasm they put into their art of making cheese.
Like they say it themselves, their business is about family, tradition and taste. It may sound a little cliché, yes, but you feel that it’s really authentic from the moment you step into their little shop from which you can get a glimpse of the production area. Then, when talking to Marc, it becomes even more obvious that this is the real deal. They sure know their cheese and they truly are passionate about it. We went there fairly early in the morning in order to be able to observe the process. Suitably, we were there just before the “Fête de la Raclette”, which puts the whole Val de Bagnes in a cheesier mood than usual (nice word play right?). The cheese being made wasn’t the famous Raclette cheese though. It was a soft and creamy Tomme on the agenda. Below you see a snapshot from the curdling process, one of the most essential parts of the cheese making.
Even though we’re not going to go into detail of the entire process (it would be more exciting for you to experience it yourself), we will share some insights we found particularly interesting. For example, we learned that the reputed “vaches d’Hérens” don’t actually produce that much milk since they’re doing the “combats de reines” which puts them in a more athletic shape. Something that apparently is more prestigious for the farmers, but reduces their milk production. This year, there are more regular cows (they probably wouldn’t appreciate to be called that) up on the mountain though, which assures the milk supply.
Another thing that stuck with us and that we found really appealing is the fact that they use the whey (petit lait), which is the liquid that comes out of the curdling process, to make Sérac. We like the idea of not letting anything go to waste you know ;) That was it for us but if you want to get the whole experience and make your own cheese, Marc is giving workshops every week
. It’s a moment well spent, we can assure you that! Another tip is to bring your own mason jar to pick up grated cheese. Not only does it taste better than the one you get in a regular store since it’s the real deal, but you save the planet from some unnecessary packaging and it looks good too! PS. Guess how many times we used the word cheese in this post? ;)