Alp Maran – like the three neighboring Alps Carmenna, Praetschli and Sattel – are owned by the the community and the farmers of Chur, the oldest alpine city in all of Switzerland. About 400 cows, the majority brown and the rest red ones, spend their summers on these four Alps located just above the ski resort of Arosa, on altitudes of 5,500 feet and higher. On Maran, there’s about 60 cows. There’s also some small herds of sheep, goats and pigs on all four of these Alps of the Graubünden (Grison) canton.
The dairy on Alp Maran was completely renovated in 2009 and now also handles the milk – which is sent to the production place on Maran via pipelines – from the other three Alps. Walter Niklaus, a veteran Adopt-an-Alp cheese maker, is in charge of all the cheeses, dairy products and the team of five full time employees.
During the summer, he expects to transform over 100,000 gallons of milk into wonderful cheeses and other delicacies. The dairy is public domain of the Citizens Union of Chur and our crew members are therefore employees of the union.
Ursi and her team tend to the restaurant and cheese shop. Walter Niklaus is the core of a well balanced team that has been working together for the past few summers on Alp Maran. However, in 2016 changes were made. Before the start of the season an annex to the current facility was completed: “It is the place for our fondue production and also features an aging cellar for our soft ripened cheeses”, says Niklaus. Furthermore a new cheese press helps save some labor.
Besides some fresh cheeses, Niklaus produces Alpkaese, Raclette and Schanfigger Witch (formerly Grottino), a moist cured Ticino style cheese with a grayish, natural rind and a slightly tangy, semihard paste.