Cows above Riffelalp with the Gornergrat Bahn in the background in summer, Zermatt

Cheese from the Riffelalp

An alpine delicacy

During the summer months you won’t only find black-nose sheep and marmots on the Gornergrat. Since 2016 cows have started grazing again on the succulent Riffelalp meadows and the delicious Riffelalp cheese is made from their milk. A portion of this cheese, produced on the alp, should definitely be in your picnic basket on your next excursion to the Gornergrat. The cheese is sold at the Horu dairy in Zermatt village or from a self-service fridge on the Riffelalp itself.

Riffelalp Alp Cooperative

Agriculture was a once a tradition on the Riffelalp and during the summer months a herd of cows grazed on excellent grass, enjoying a wonderful view. However, in the seventies and eighties the traditional grazing with a herdsman ceased due to the regrowth of shrubs and bushes across the agricultural land. In 2016 a cooperative was formed with the aim of reclaiming the land and preventing the regrowth of unwanted plants. In the first years of the project, the meadows were only used for non-milk producing cows – dry cows. This was the best way to salvage the land as dry cows require less daily energy-intake coming from the poorer grass. The aim remained, nevertheless, to introduce milk cows with a herdsman and produce milk and cheese on the alp again. In 2021 a mobile milking machine was financed and since the end of June 2021, for the first time in several decades, 25 cows are milked on the Riffelalp, giving around 400 litres per day. The milk is transported down to Zermatt and made into cheese in the village dairy.

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