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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Kade

Wengen Cheese Festival

September 22, 2019

The Wengen Cheese Festival was born more than 20 years ago as a crazy idea of the local chefs of the village.

It was quite a beautiful day in Wengen. There was a large crowd inside as well as outside.

I would never go outside on top of the cable car and then go up or down the mountain. Not me!

The chefs still do all the cooking but this year there were different chefs. The food was as good as ever, though. I love their pumpkin soup but this year it came without the pumpkins seeds and the pumpkin oil. I will admit I was a little disappointed. Michael thought it tasted more like mushroom soup. It was delicious with that fresh bread!

There were a few booths with homemade knitted clothing, wooden crafts, pelts, etc. The farmers were selling cheese, sausage, honey, etc.

This is to attract pollinating bees. I have two boxes at home. I learned about pollinating bees at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. Surprised to see it in Wengen. Save the bees! No bees- no food!

This was a first. They had a portable oven to make wood fire bread. Very tasty!

Michael talks me out of this every year. There is a sign up sheet where you purchase a share of a cow. At the festival, you pick up your wheel of cheese. The cheese is 6 to 7 kilos. ( approx. 13 to 15.5 pounds). You also get one dried sausage and two gifts. The gifts this year were a jar of local honey and some type of pastry. Sometimes, it is liquor of some type. If the cheese came shrink wrapped, we would definitely purchase a share! Shrink wrapped cheese is allowed through customs. We are not sure about unwrapped cheese. I took the form with me so maybe after some investigating I can possibly find a solution in my favor.

There was an entertainment program.

Bödeli Chaoten

As I look through my pictures, I realize I never took a picture of the band performing. I was stunned to hear them play John Denver's Country Road and have most of the people in the tent singing and clapping along. Actually, when they played a second time later in the afternoon, someone asked for that song again.

Yodeling Daria Occhini She had a beautiful voice. She definitely was a crowd favorite! They clapped for an encore.

Trychlerclub (bell ringers) Wengen

The man to the right of the girl is either an American or Brit. He has just moved to Wengen. She asked him how here became a member of the bell ringers. He said he wanted to join some club. After he heard them practice, he asked to join. The man at the left is teaching him how to speak Swiss German.

alphorn group Tuniberg

This group has been playing together for 20 years.

The man with the white shirt shaking hands used to be the emcee every year we came to the festival but today he has been replaced by the young girl.

The man on the left recognized me and tipped his hat. I forgot his name but I do know he comes from Germany.

They do a wonderful job playing Amazing Grace.

alphorn group Biberstein

When it was time to perform, they wanted to play outside. There is nothing more haunting than to have the sound of an alpen horn bounce off the mountains.

Steinstossen (stone throwing) is very competitive!!!!! Steinstossen is the Swiss variant of stone put, a competition in throwing a heavy stone. Practiced among the alpine population since prehistoric times, it is recorded to have taken place in Basel in the 13th century. During the 15th century, it is frequently recorded to have been practiced alongside the Schützenfeste (a target shooting competition) of the Old Swiss Confederacy. It is also central to the Unspunnenfest, first held in 1805, with its symbol the 83.5 kg (184.1 pound) Unspunnenstein. Yes, that weight is correct. The Unspunnenfest is held every 12 years in Interlaken. I attended the last one in 2017.

The children are competitive, too.

The steinstossen in Wengen uses three different stones. Man- Woman - Child size. They measure each throw and record the number. Prizes are given to the winners. In the past, the first place winner would receive a wheel of cheese. I'm not sure what the prizes are today.

Stones used at festivals in Switzerland are of varying sizes and weights, but usually are not much over 50 kg.

Sports are very important to this village.

I always watch this on NBC Sports.

Curling is super important in Wengen! We were in Wengen this past Christmas. Curling takes place where all the tables inside and outside are located.

If we are in Wengen in the winter, I want to try skating or curling. I would love to go tobogganing!

You are never too young to use a crossbow.

The last time we were in Wengen, we missed seeing Käthi at the Swiss Made Shop. It was her day off. The shop is one of the finest shops in Switzerland for quality, authentic handicraft products and Swiss souvenirs. I always tell people this is my favorite place. I also like it since they will ship whatever I buy. I have done it for years.

He has taken over running the store. If in Wengen, stop in and shop. It has the best goods and prices in all of Switzerland.

We took a walk through the village to sit on our favorite bench and gaze out over the Lauterbrunnen Valley.

Storm clouds were forming quickly over the mountains but it didn't start raining until around 9:00 PM.

Do not forget the contest. Guess how many cow photos I took.

Send your guess to with the subject line. Cow Photo Guess.

I need to receive the guess by Tuesday, September 24, 2019 at 8 AM Switzerland time. If you are on the east coast, we are 6 hours ahead of you; west coast 9 hours.

Time is running out.

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