It’s a Cow Parade!

When I was growing up there was American Cheese & then for something fancy there was Swiss Cheese. So many decades later in Switzerland, there is no “Swiss” cheese, but there is Tilsiter, Appenzeller, Emmentaler, Le Gruyere, and many more. The uniqueness of these flavors is attributed to the mountain meadows the Brown Swiss, Simmental, Braunvieh breeds of cattle graze on to create these flavors. Today in Murren, there was a cow parade. Some of the 270,000 which have been up in the alps for the summer came down through town. This event is a celebration of the grazing traditions and cheese making Switzerland cherishes. The dairy cattle are accompanied by herdsmen who will spend the summer: milking each cow twice a day, collecting the milk, and making it into cheese in the mountains. Doing all of this high in the Alps is quite a remarkable, physical, and logistical endeavor.

Cattle and cheesemaking is a part of Swiss culture since the 1400s. The cattle breeding continues to promote the best qualities of milk production, fat content, and physical durability of the animals. The cattle must make a 10 mile (16k) treck, ascending some 6500′ (2000 m) both up into the summer pasture and then back again in the fall.

The cattle following one by one wear bells of so many different sizes, some are 20″ (50c) wide. The sounds of the various bells created a loud ensemble announcing their arrival long before we saw them. Once again, when life is celebrated, it involves flowers. Decorated in sunflowers and pine branches the cows followed the route through town. It was quite fun to see the herders, the cattle, and the excitement of the crowds watching a cow parade.

We had dinner tonight of cheese, wine, and bread savoring the memory of the day.

3 thoughts on “It’s a Cow Parade!”

  1. What a delight that must have been! Love those brown Swiss – so gentle. I think that’s what Dad had when he was milking cows. I remember being able to sit on one while he milked.

  2. Visualizing our dairy cows parading out of the barn each evening after being milked. No flowers on their heads, but theywere glad to be out of the barn and ready to graze on what the barn lot had to offer. Enjoyed the article.

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