Tag: Goms Valley

BLUE WINDOW | Food Travels in the Alps | Alpine Cheeses | Raclette du Valais

Raclette du Valais SWITZERLAND alpine cheese

RacletteduValais-lowres

A winemaker called Leon is held responsible for the invention of the melting cheese known as raclette, when he accidentally let a half-wheel melt by the fire. 

It is a good story but the origins of cheese-making in the hidden valleys of the Rhône river valley go back to before the Romans occupied the region. 

For centuries, cheese was used as currency among the people and with visiting traders.

Geographically and historically linked to the area that now defines the canton, specifically the valleys of Bagnes and Goms, Raclette du Valais is a semi-hard cheese associated with the lively Hérens cows. 

As much a part of Swiss alpine scenery as the chalet and cable car, these cows graze the fragrant flora of sloping meadows along with the black-dotted cows of picture postcard Switzerland.

The people of the Rhône valley regard their raclette as the true melting cheese despite its wider production in other parts of Switzerland and especially on the other side of the Alps in Savoy. 

For hoteliers like Stefan Welschen, our host for the night in Brig, raclette is the speciality of the canton, because of its character and the variety of its flavours. 

The herders of the Goms Valley insist their milk is superior to that of the Val de Bagnes, and vice versa. 

Once described as ‘delicious, fatty, sweet and soft’, the raclette wheels are consumed by the Valaisans themselves, melted, scraped and served in numerous ways or grilled until its edges are crisped. 

A sixth of all raclette produced in Switzerland comes from the canton. A little is exported, largely to émigrés.