Alp Maran (GR)

Owners/Operators: Walter Niklaus (Master cheesemaker), AaA since 2013

Cheeses Produced: Alpkäse with herbs, Raclette round & square, Snowflake (a soft cheese), all 2021

Alp Maran – like the three neighboring Alps Carmenna, Praetschli, and Sattel – are owned by 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 are about 60 cows. There are also some small herds of sheep, goats, and pigs on all four of these Alps in 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 cheesemaker, is in charge of all the cheeses and dairy products. Great news for Adopt-an-Alp customers: For the first time we offer "Snowflake", a soft Alpcheese, that will be air shipped due to its limited shelflife.

For 2021 Niklaus has some changes in his team. Sebastian, who worked on Maran for the last six summers has found a year-round job. Kifle, from Eritrea, has finished his apprenticeship and moves to another dairy. Selina, who has worked the last two winter in the dairy, will start her apprenticeship. Bruno Beerli, a retired Alp economy counselor, will help out two days a week. And a food technologist from the Czech Republic will join the team. Ursi and her crew still tend to the restaurant and the cheese shop.

After the facility was extended in 2016 with an annex to produce fondue and increase aging space, there will be other additions this year: a freezer cell and a new butter churn.

Veteran Niklaus was supposed to have knee surgery in early 2020. However, COVID-19 made this impossible. 

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 the crew members are therefore employees of the union.

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