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  • The Little Country That’s Big on Cheese!
  • The Little Country That’s Big on Cheese!
  • The Little Country That’s Big on Cheese!
  • The Little Country That’s Big on Cheese!
  • The Little Country That’s Big on Cheese!
  • The Little Country That’s Big on Cheese!
  • The Little Country That’s Big on Cheese!
  • The Little Country That’s Big on Cheese!
  • The Little Country That’s Big on Cheese!
  • The Little Country That’s Big on Cheese!

     
 


The Little Country That’s Big on Cheese!

Gruyère, the Graubünden, Valais, Romandy, Appenzell, Thurgau—every part of Switzerland is home to its own cheese enjoyed the world over. And the country’s diverse culture and geography makes for equally diverse cheeses.

At first blush, so many quality cheeses in such a small country may seem surprising. But if we take a closer look…

The rolling fields of Switzerland are incredibly diverse. Over millennia, the country has been shaped by the people who live there, with each region developing its own distinct character as unspoiled lands and woodland were transformed by farming.

But only a quarter of the country lends itself to intensive farming—Switzerland remains, first and foremost, a land of mountains, pastures, and prairies that has managed to preserve the traditions of family farming, with milk production taking pride of place.

Family-run dairies with only a handful of employees abound. Almost every village has its own dairy; almost every road leads to its own farm. It’s enough to make you think the Swiss have never even heard of rural migration! Cows are everywhere—and no wonder! The Swiss jealously guard their centuries-old traditions and are full of the good old common sense that has deserted many modern farmers. Cows munch contentedly on grass because the Swiss have no truck with silage. It really is a farming paradise.

The Swiss love their cows, and milk production is only a tiny part of the story. Here, quality, not quantity, is king, and cows are a prized part of the landscape. They are the future of mountain farming—and something of a tourist draw! It’s easy to see that Swiss farmers have always worked hand in hand with nature.

Switzerland is home to 1.7 million cattle, which are responsible for half the country’s farm income. Some 3.8 billion liters of milk are produced every year, four-fifths of which become cheese, butter, cream, and yogurt. All Swiss dairy products must meet exacting standards, and cheeses are the perfect example of this commitment to excellence, with a host of designations and quality labels all their own.

In many respects Switzerland is the most democratic of countries. It always seems to be having a referendum on something or other—but here cheese is definitely king!
 

Pristine Landscapes for Generations to Come

Swiss farming boasts two distinct phenomena: the prominence of pastures and prairies, and the unique way in which fields are divided up among many. Protecting the landscape means preserving both these features for generations to come.

Small properties are preserved thanks to the country’s No. 1 farming policy: maintaining rural family businesses. Meanwhile, a rock-solid milk economy watches over the countless prairies and pastures.

The main milk-producing areas are high up in the Swiss mountains, and so their survival depends on the survival of the mountain farmers who take great care of the alpine vegetation, while making hiking trails and wide-open spaces available to all. Other efforts focus on the plains to ensure crops do not spread too quickly and forever alter the landscape.

As usual, the Swiss have everything under control. Fond of their traditions, they have always been keen custodians of their environment, and you can be sure they will do everything in their power to ensure farmers can continue to till the soil, grow crops, and lead their livestock across the mountain pastures—all to produce goods of the highest quality and to preserve the landscapes around them… until the cows come home!

To learn more about Switzerland, visit MySwitzerland.com.

 
 

 
     


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