In Rolf von Siebenthal’s Fleischtrocknerei Saanenland GmbH up to 15 tonnes of fresh meat are processed annually. The business has now been awarded the Bernese Oberland 2019 Innovation Award in the category of Alpine Agriculture.
Drying meat has a long tradition – but not so in the Bernese Oberland. In the Saanenland itself there has been little to no tradition for this type of meat processing, says award-winning master butcher Rolf von Siebenthal from Lauenen. Meat from local slaughterhouses intended for drying was previously transported to the Valais for processing and then returned to the Saanenland for consumption. These transports have been eliminated by von Siebenthal’s initiative.
This was one of the reasons for the jury of experts to award the Saanen meat specialist the Innovation Award. “The fact that the meat products no longer have to be transported to the Valais and back makes perfect ecological sense,” says Susanne Huber, managing director of Volkwirtschaft Berner Oberland. Equally decisive was the fact that von Siebenthal uses the waste heat generated during the drying of the meat products to heat the hot water in his private home.
Von Siebenthal has set up the drying rooms in the garage of his house, which he has converted especially for this purpose. He refines up to 15 tonnes of fresh meat annually: mainly beef and pork from local production. If demand of dried meat exceeds supply, he also processes meat from outside the region. Pork in particular is not very abundant in the Saanenland, he says, emphasising that he uses only Swiss meat.
“It is very important to me that regional products gain in value,” he says, pointing out that all products are salted with Sel des Alpes from Bex.
Depending on the product, the drying time is up to six months. The products are available in all branches of Buure Metzg and in the village shops. Local gastronomy is also an important customer. Von Siebenthal is pleased: “The Innovation Award makes me proud!” He values this as recognition for his work.
Von Siebenthal has been drying pork and beef in Lauenen since 2014. In April 2016, he founded the Fleischtrocknerei Saanenland GmbH and has since been producing impressively successful regional products such as dried meat, two types of dry-cured ham, coppa, salami and dried bacon.
He intends to invest the prize money of CHF 3,000 in another regional product. However, the new laureate does not yet want to reveal any details. It will be interesting to see what comes to the mind of the innovative entrepreneur next.
Based on AvS/Kerem S. Maurer
Innovation Awards Bernese Oberland
Every year the Tourism Award and the Innavation Award for Alpine Agriculture are awarded in the Bernese Oberland. The two awards recognise innovative projects that enhance the region’s appeal. This year, the Tourism Award went to the snowfarming project on Tschentenalp. The winners were selected from a total of 21 project submissions. The prices are provided by the tourist destinations in the Bernese Oberland and the organisation Volkswirtschaft Berner Oberland.