and a favorite memento
Thanks to the smoke from the Eyjafjallajökull Volcano in Iceland, we were fortunate enough to be “stranded” in the Canton of Valais, Switzerland for a few extra days. The next group of clients for guide Martin were unable to make it over, so, he kindly offered to show us more of the Valais. Having grown up in this region, he has a great passion for and knowledge of the culture of this area.
The Valais is a long, narrow, L-shaped valley which was cut by glaciers between two alpine mountain ranges. The Rhone river runs through the bottom of the valley. The waters make a stop in Lake Geneva and then roll into the Mediterranean Sea. On the high reaching slopes above the valley, the cows and goats graze on the grasses, well watered with the annual snow melt. Their milk makes the mild, nutty cheeses we love from this country.
We stopped for lunch in the small town of Simplon, a high mountain village, which is the gateway to a pass through the mountains to Italy.
The town square was a sleepy sight,
but their were hints of more festive times from seasons past.
To this cheese they add herbs and flowers from the mountains. These herbs flavor the cheeses.
After sampling the product, we left with multiple wheels of cheeses which have the distinct flavor of the grasses, air and soil of the Valais.
The Senn gave us each a used cheese board, on which we shall serve our raclette forevermore!
Mementos like this are always my favorites. Unique, useful items which become a part of the fabric of your everyday life and always remind you of a special place, day or experience.