Because Alp Bleiki is situated on “only” 4,300 feet altitude, the Barmettler family – parents Paul and Agnes with their three children – usually are able to move up there around the middle of May already. Their helper of many recent years has committed to a full time job down in the valley, so this summer they will be joined by Bernadette, a young woman who after her apprenticeship as farmer during the past three years also has learned the craft of cheese making in a traditional Sbrinz dairy. The Alp Bleiki Sbrinz was a hot item in our first Adopt-an-Alp program.
Which is a perfect fit for Paul Barmettler, who is a dedicated Sbrinz producer and this past April was honored as the only one who over the past year got awareded the highest score, 20, in every single inspection. Barmettler ages his Alp Sbrinz in extra high humidity, which results in an untypically fine rind and deep, sweet flavors. Besides the Sbrinz he also makes Alpkäse, Bratchäs – the Raclette version of the Urschweiz (original Switzerland) region -, and Buochserhorn, a Gruyère style cheese.
The Barmettlers have built a new chalet on Bleiki a few years ago, and leading to this season they have extended their ripening cellars and now are able to mature up to 1,200 wheels. Paul only has 26 cows of his own, but on Bleiki takes care of a total of 170 red and brown cows from eight different farmers.
In case you are interested in Paul Barmettler’s fabulous Alp Sbrinz, please be aware that you will receive cheeses that were made one or two summers before the one you get regular updates on. These are big format cheeses that are not ready to be enjoyed after only a few months of maturation.