Skagit Food Co-op blog:

the Cheese Whisperer

We Adopted an Alp (and a Cheese)!

The Skagit Valley Food Co-op is the only store in Washington state to carry aged Alpkäse Cheese (Alp Cheese) direct from the cheese maker, the Barmlettler Family.

About: Adopt an Alp
Transhumance is a very important tradition in Switzerland. For many centuries, farmers, together with their animals, have been moving between places in accordance with the seasons. During summers on the alp, they have been crafting cheeses that are healthier and purer than any other Alp cheese types.

This cheese is known as Alpkäse, or, “Alp Cheese”. Alpkäse is a unique culinary pleasure with culture and tradition. Swiss alp cheese is produced with meticulous handcrafting from the best Swiss alpine milk. A cheese may only be designated as “alp cheese” when the milk production and curdling take place on the mountain (Mountain and Alpine Ordinance). Transhumance, and the farmers that make Alpkäse, is a life of hard labor, lacking the comforts of the modern world. Families living this traditional life often have a difficult time reaching market. Through Adopt-an-Alp, the Co-op has purchased 10 wheels of cheese from the Barmettler family for you to enjoy this holiday season. To learn more information about the impact of the Adopt-an-Alp program, visit

Alp Bleki & Barmettler Alpkäse
Each summer, the Barmettler family herds their cows into Alp Bleiki, situated 4,300 feet above sea level, in the Swiss Alps mountain range, where they live and work for many months. The delicious, firm cheese they produce is highly flavored by the cow’s diet of Alpine herbs and grasses. The Barmettler family’s exclusive Alpkäse cheese is made from whole, raw cow’s milk and is aged for at least four months in high humidity conditions to develop its rich, tangy flavor. The result is a nutty, slightly bittersweet firm cheese that’s ideal to serve with crusty bread, sliced ripe pear, spiced nuts, and a drizzle of honey.

Alpkäse has a strong, firm texture that melts well to make tasty sandwiches or egg scrambles. Combine this cheese with a hearty Belgian ale for a delightful cheese fondue. Pair it with its regional beverage companions, such as a fruity Trappist Chimay ale or a slightly sweet Riesling or Gewurztraminer white wine. Bleiki Alpkäse is now available for $19.99 per lb.


By: Claire

ClaireClaire Harlock Garber loves to eat and drink and write about it. She has worked in the food industry for nearly a decade and was on staff at the Skagit Valley Co-op from 2010-2018, writing the regular columns Skagit Brew Corner, The Cheese Whisperer, The Bounty of Bulk, and What's Dippin' in the Well for the Co-op's blog, as well as articles for the Natural Enquirer newsletter.