Wengen, Switzerland Cheese Festival
Every year, I look forward to the Wengen Cheese Festival.
It is mostly the locals whom attend the festival as the tourists bypass Wengen on their up to the Jungfrau. There is continuous entertainment. They have alpen horn players, bell ringers, small bands and yodeling groups. I even recognized some of the songs as they were sung at the Unspunnen. Michael thinks I have been here too long. Maybe, he is correct.
The Wengen bell ringers are led in by the cheese maker and his family.
The Wengen bell ringers sitting together before marching in.
This group came all the way from Hergiswil. They were so talented!!!! Even the alpen horn players sitting next to us thought so.
This band has a fan club which follows them. They play toe tapping, lock arms and sway along, the whole room sing along, dance with the music........... They can really get a crowd involved!!!!!
A women's yodeling group.
There is a cheese making demonstration conducted by Anika. She has done it the last few years.
The children come up around the kettle to mix. They all take turns. Yes, that is an open flame under that pot. I would never see this happen in the U.S. Once they take out the curds and set it in the press, Anika passes around glasses of whey for anyone whom cares to try it.. It is warm and quite tasty. They also let you try the curds.
The men of the village do the cooking. I recognize the same people doing the same job year after year.
I love the pumpkin soup with whole pieces of pumpkin.
This man is in charge of starting the rösti. He talks with everyone as they walk into the tent. He is a delightful man to speak with.
Raclette cheese is heated under a burner and then scraped off onto a piece of bread.
You may not be able to get black forest cake in Germany, but you can in Wengen.
Sports play an important part in the community. Hiking trails and ski trails are abundant. Curling is also an important activity in the winter.
As you can see, the steinstossen is an important activity, too. This little girl throwing the rock has great form.
There are even prizes awarded.
Some farmers posted flyers on the community wall showing their animals, family, etc. You get a little insight into their lives. Some of the families have listed how many cows, bulls or goats they have. You may also see the animal's names listed.
Check out the pictures of the bell ringers and you may recognize these people. If you see the word bio, it means organic.
You can lease a cow. I have always wanted to do this but Michael usually talks me out of it as he doesn't know how we would get the cheese wheel back home. At this "cheeses parting festival", you get to share in the "cheese profits". At the Wengen festival, you get a wheel of cheese, some type of liquor and some sausage. In the summer, pigs are kept high up in mountains with the cows. Whey is bad for the environment and it can not be spilled onto the ground. It is actually fed to be pigs.
The holiday resort lies on a wind-protected sun terrace at the foot of the Jungfrau, 400 meters above the Lauterbrunnen valley at an altitude of 1274 meters.
The tradition-imbued, car-free holiday resort offers a family-friendly ski and rambling area around Männlichen and the Kleine Scheidegg.
With its nostalgic timber houses, the many dispersed holiday chalets and hotels, this holiday resort has retained all the character of a picture-postcard mountain village. Opening widely to the south west, the terrace guarantees above-average hours of sunshine. Since 1893, car-free Wengen has been able to be reached from Lauterbrunnen via the Wengernalp railway; cars remain parked in Lauterbrunnen.
There are over 500 kilometers of marked walking trails and 15 mountain cable ways in the nearby surroundings which lead to the most beautiful vantage points of the Jungfrau region.
It was such a beautiful day for a festival! There was seating inside the tent as well as outside. Great way to spend a Sunday!
We came back to the room before going to dinner. This was the view from our Sunny Days window.
We made reservations for dinner at Schadau Castle in Thun, overlooking Lake Thun. We were the first to arrive and we were the last to leave. The host recognized us immediately as the people whom come every September. We were even seated "at our table", overlooking the lake, by the floor to ceiling folding back glass doors. They only served four tables last night. We had three waiters and a host to cater to us.
View from the front of Schadau.
View from the back which overlooks Lake Thun.
Schadau castle and its surroundings have a history that dates back to the year 1348, with the first mention of a house on the site in public records. In 1638, the house was converted into a country estate and manor. In 1838, work was begun on a park in the English landscape style. The castle as we know it today was constructed by Denis de Rougemont in 1852.
During its construction, the grounds for the castle's base were raised by one meter, and the old manor house and barns were demolished. In 1860, the park was opened to the public on Sundays. The English gardens on the castle grounds were completed in 1871. In 1925, the Schadau Consortium sold the 3.6-hectare castle park to the city of Thun for CHF 380,000. In 1931, the city planted new trees on the grounds, made some modifications to the building and paved the lake road.
During the war, the castle was used as a military museum and first-aid station, and vegetable fields were planted in the well-kept park. Restoration work on the park was begun in 1949 and numerous changes were made by the cemetery gardener.
In 1961, the Wocher Panorama was opened west of the castle with a new access route along the park. In 1974, Schadau Castle, without the park, was placed under heritage protection. Restoration work on the castle was completed in 1996.
Schadau Castle is an important national monument that was renovated for more than CHF 20 million between 1954-1996. As history shows, Schadau Castle and its park have undergone many changes over time. However, the park, the spacious lawns and the views of the Alps remain the same.
The architect was Charles Pierre Dusillion (1816 - 1860) from Paris, the foreman was the Bernese Friedrich Ludwig von Rütte(1829 - 1903) and the creator of the sandstone figures and stairway was the Dutchman Josef Hubert Verbunt (1809 - 1876)
The castle is built in Romantic Historicism style, modeled after Loire Castles with elements of English Tudor Gothic and Renaissance forms
The castle was constructed as a single-family residence over a five-year period by 200 permanent masons, stone masons, sculptors and many other specialist craftsmen. The castle has a total of 78 rooms. Approximately half of the rooms were heated using 19 fireplaces and 12 stoves.
The roses planted by the lake in front of the castle are quite beautiful!
For our dinner, we decided on the "Degustations Menu" paired with wine. It was almost a four hour dining experience. The food was extraordinary and the setting by the lake could not have been more perfect.
The starting teaser was a piece of fish over saffron and frozen radish.
We started with the fillet of Scottish salmon marinated with vodka, served with beetroot carpaccio and chive vinaigrette. So delicious! The dressing was so different!
The soup course was a pumpkin soup with coconut mousse and a crispy chorizo stick. Loved the chorizo stick!! The soup was nothing like we had earlier in the day. Pumpkin soup is a favorite of mine and I enjoyed both soups equally.
Next came the lobster tail and scallop on lemon risotto and snow peas. Wow!
The main course was a roast veal fillet on creamy mushrooms, green beans and Schupfnudeln. Quite amazing!!!
Next came a selection of exquisite cheese from the trolley. These were a variety of Swiss cheeses. Wonderful assortment of flavors and textures.
The cheese was served with bread and jam.
Dessert was a frozen cappuccino mousse in a chocolate cup over a vanilla cappuccino sauce. Chocolate espresso beans were toppers. A slice of espresso cake was surrounded by a dollop of whipped cream and berry.
The meal was concluded with a Swiss dessert wine- compliments of the house.
Perfect day celebrated in the Berner Oberland!!