Affinage in the Mountain

A milestone in Gourmino’s history. We transformed a military bunker into an affinage site for cheese specialties.

Affinage in the Mountain

Gourmino cheesemakers with a vision

in September 2015, the Gourmino cheesemakers decide to buy the Reichenbach military galleries and set a foundation stone for the future of Gourmino: Affinage in the Mountain strengthens our competence as an affineur and guarantees storage capacity is well used.

Affinage in the Mountain

nothing is as perfect as nature

At the foot of Blüemlisalp, an impressive mountain massif at 3’600 m above sea level in the Bernese Oberland, Gourmino cheeses selected for longer affinage will age peacefully on wooden boards gathered from the nearby Kander Valley. At 700 meters above sea level and 150 meters deep inside inside the mountain, nature offers us the perfect climatic conditions for ripening cheeses.

The cheese caves that facilitates Affinage in the Mountain offers
Gourmino the ideal prospects to realize its vision: Maintaining and promoting the production of handcrafted, mature cheese from its own village and mountain dairies.

#AffinageInTheMountain

REFURBISHMENT INSTEAD OF A NEW BUILD

once a munition storage facility, now a cheese cellar

The cheese warehouse in the mountain is not easy to find
because access from Reichenbach im Kiental is along a narrow
trail by the Kien river (a river that rises from inside the Blüemlisalp
glacier). The former military galleries were built after the second world war between 1950 and 1960 and served as a munitions
cache. Switzerland’s strategy was to defend the mountainous
regions and, if necessary, leave the lowlands undefended.
However, the bunkers have long lost any military significance.

In 2015 Gourmino bought four military galleries with a vision of
turning them into cheese caves. We knew at the time that the
natural climate 150 meters inside the mountain was perfect for
cheese affinage.

After two years of planning, a tunnel joining up the four separate
military bunkers was drilled out of the rock and the four former
bunkers were turned into adjoining cheese caves.

THE POWER OF NATURE

the perfect climate for affinage

The four cheese galleries are reached through a long, narrow
150 meter long corridor. Cows graze on the pastures just 200 meters above the ripening cellar. Here, deep inside the mountain, nature offers us the perfect climate for cheese affinage – high humidity and low, cool, constant temperatures.

The artificial conditions in other cheese warehouses are created using mostly air conditioning. Here in Reichenbach, we have the gift of nature where affinage takes place in the mountain. The mountain acts as a climate storage system: When it rains on the pasture above it takes three days until the water seeps down and is seen on the walls of the cheese gallery.

Use of this natural mountain climate is not only more economical it is also more ecological.

#NothingIsAsPerfectAsNature