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Alp Laui (SZ)

Owners/Operators: Alois "Wisel" & Bernadette Fassbind

Cheeses Produced: Alpkäse 2020 & 2021

Alp Laui belongs to a longstanding, traditional Alp corporation, the Unteralmig, and exists since 1354. The Fassbind family has owned the right to have a hut up there since 1360! Located on 4’800 feet altitude along the Fronalpstock massif in deepest central Switzerland, this is a true family affair and completely genuine Alp operation.

Wisel, whose background is in carpentry, and his wife Bernadette spend the summer on Laui together with their oldest son, Ruedi (25), and his girlfriend Maya. While the women mostly tend to the house and restaurant, the men are in charge of the animals, the dairy, and the aging cellar.

There are 20 Original Brown cows on Laui as well as 20 young cows of the same breed. Wisel also receives the milk from 29 other cows on neighboring meadows, Unterstöck and Bödmeren. Together they produce around 12’500 gallons of milk, which are crafted in about 5 tons of Alpkäse, plus – at the beginning of the season – small format Mutschli as well as various dairy products like yogurt, butter, and whey drinks.

The cheeses from Alp Laui are created with natural, homegrown cultures and thus vary from one batch to the next. The raw milk also is heated over an open fire, which allows it to transform into characterful, tasty, expressive wheels of cheese. This is old fashion at its best!

While the family brings the animals down to the valley after the summer and settles in its home in Illgau, on the foot of the Stoos and Fronalpstock mountains, Wisel and his wife usually commute between Laui and their second home throughout the entire non-Alp season. The restaurant, popular with skiers, hikers, and mountain bikers all year round, as well as the cheese care and maintenance of the house, barn, and dairy, keeps them busy enough.

However, 2020 and Covid made everything different. "The restaurant was closed for obvious reasons", says Wisel, "so for the first time we used the chalet as a vacation home and went skiing a lot. Financially, we survived thanks to the government's help programs."

Wisel never tires. Whenever he thinks he needs even one more thing on his plate he goes and helps a friend with his moving truck… And over the winter 2019/2020, son Peter (19) put together an “Älpler music band”. And just check out the yodeling skills of Wisel and Bernadette in the little video clip.

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