Awards for best cheeses go to Saanenland

Fri, 01. Oct. 2021

Gery and Peter Ryter from Saanen win two gold medals at the 22nd Bern Alpine Cheese Championship organised by CasAlp, the organization for the promotion of the Berner Alpkäse and Hobelkäse AOP. This is already the second double victory for the Saanenland after 2019.

The 22nd Bern Alpine Cheese Championship took place in the Simmental Arena in Zweisimmen. Around 60 teams submitted a total of 121 cheeses to the jury. 51 cheeses were judged in the Coeur des Alpes category, 39 in the Hobelkäse category and 31 in the Mutschli category.

The jury, led by Hans Kohler, president of CasAlp, and Maike Oestreich, head of Inforama Berner Oberland, judged the cheeses on the criteria of perforation, texture, aroma & taste as well as appearance, posture and shelf life. Peter and Gery Ryter from Alp Mittebach in Saanen won the gold medal in both the Bern Hobelkäse AOP (summer 2019 or older) and Bern Alpkäse AOP (summer 2020) categories. Ursula and Alfred Haldi from Grund (Alp Stalden) came second with their Hobelkäse.

Generally high quality
"The fact that we have just won in both categories is exceptional," says a delighted Peter Ryter, recalling that this feat was achieved for the first time in 2019 by his Alpine neighbour Niklaus Burri from Alp Mittlere Schneit. CasAlp president Hans Kohler praises the high quality of the cheeses in a corresponding statement: "The differences among the top ten were minimal, which indicates excellent quality."

But it is not only the quality that makes Berner Alpkäse and Hobelkäse AOP so special but also the Alpine stories behind it, says the CasAlp media release. Father Peter and son Gery Ryter have been going to the alp in Mittebach, which is privately owned by the Ryter family, for 30 years (Gery for ten years). Peter used to stand at the cauldron; now, they have swapped roles. "Gery, who is actually an architect, makes the cheese on the alp for three months in the summer. I look after the cheese loaves over the winter," explains Peter Ryter, adding, "Just as precisely as Gery plans architectural structures, he also works at the cauldron."

Factors of success
This summer, Gery and Peter Ryter and their team kept around 80 animals – including 21 dairy cows, 54 suckler cows and some pigs – on Alp Mittebach. The Ryter family can easily sell the 2.4 tonnes of Alpkäse they produce to their regular customers. However, only a small part of it is sold in wholesale. The Ryters keep their animals according to a holistic approach and limit themselves to the fodder available on the alp, CasAlp informs and states that these are sustainable success factors because this is not the first time that the Ryter family has been on the podium.

"For us, this award means the highest thing you can achieve in cheese production," says Peter Ryter upon request. It is also a confirmation that they are on the right track. And it is an incentive for them to give their best, again and again, every summer. Peter Ryter emphasises: "We are doing our best to continue to produce good cheese.

Based on AvS/Kerem S Maurer

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