Cheese to bite into
The way to the land of milk and honey is very easy in Lucerne: just follow your nose! This will lead you to Chäs Barmettler sooner rather than later. In front of the long-established cheese shop, cheesecakes are baked, which exude a delicately spicy scent into Hertensteinstrasse.
Lucerne residents have appreciated the cheese cakes for more than 40 years. “My parents made them back in 1976, in exactly the same oven that I still use today,” says Thomas Barmettler, the second generation to run the business.
The fact that his Chäschüechli were even declared a culinary cult in an article in the “New York Times” is of course flattering to the trained cheesemaker, but instead of praise from America, he prefers to talk about varieties, consistency, ripeness and correct storage.
Passionate cheesemaker: Thomas Barmettler with his Chäschüechli
I used to think that cheese was just curdled milk that you just had to let sit long enough. City child, but one who was fortunate enough to learn how to milk and make the milk cheese on a goat farm. Since then, I have had great respect for farmers and have looked differently at the industrial products packaged in plastic on the cheese shelves in our supermarkets. Today I would like to know for myself whether the creamy cream cheese and the savory soft cheese balls are made from raw milk or whether vegan rennet was used to thicken the milk.
Thomas Barmettler, who learned cheesemaking from scratch and worked as a cheesemaker for ten years before taking over his parents’ business in the early 1990s, can give a keynote speech in response to any of my questions. However, he explains with so much infectious passion that you enthusiastically decide to try out everything he has to offer to find out what the expert is actually talking about.
Long-established: the cheese shop “Chäs Barmettler” in Lucerne
A long-term project, because at Chäs Barmettler you can taste and buy around 100 types of cheese, from A for Appenzeller to Z for Ziegenbrie – a heavenly cross-section of delicious cheese delicacies. Like a sommelier with wine, Thomas Barmettler can tell a story about each variety and knows which traditional cheeses are still produced in small village dairies today.
He himself is particularly enthusiastic about l’Etivaz, a hard cheese that is made in the Vaud Alps over an open fire according to the old father’s custom and from raw milk according to a traditional recipe. Spicy, fruity and slightly nutty in taste, the ivory-colored l’Etivaz shows the delicious power that cow’s milk contains, provided it is allowed to mature long enough. One thing is clear after the first round of testing: If you say Lucerne, you also have to say Bündner Bergkäse, Emmentaler, Gruyère, Sbrinz, Tilsiter and Vacherin Mont-d’Or. Smell and bite! (chäs-barmettler.ch)
The B-side of Lucerne
This is probably the ugliest street in fine Lucerne. Chewing gum sticks under the soles, the smell of gasoline permeates the air, and an acoustically well-maintained environment certainly sounds different. More than 20,000 cars thunder through Baselstrasse every day, which is also popularly known as “Rue de Blamage”. She is certainly not a figurehead, but rather worthy of a desolation trophy. There is always not enough glitter on the ground, but as is so often the case, the world is at home in such fractures of urban life.
In the Middle Ages, lepers, beggars and criminals were banished from the city center and deported to the area around Baselstrasse. Today people from 70 nations live here: Turkish barbers, Tamil greengrocers, Mexican chefs, African hair stylists, Syrian refugees and Swiss street musicians – and right among them: Heinz.
Source: Infographic WELT
Unmissable, but still unrecognized. Three and a half meters tall and weighing three tons, Heinz is waiting in the noisiest and most hectic place, where the long arterial road meets the roundabout, which is called Kreuzstutz. In the middle of the traffic island, the larger-than-life concrete statue of the former street sweeper Heinz Gilli watches over the stream of cars flowing past. Hardly anyone from Lucerne has not driven past him.
The larger-than-life concrete statue of the former street sweeper Heinz Gilli stands on a traffic island
Until his retirement in 2008, Heinz kept the neighborhood clean, swinging a shovel and broom early in the morning and clearing snow from the sidewalks on winter nights, day after day.
In 2016 he returned to his old territory as a powerful concrete figure. It is a work by the artist Christoph Fischer, who saw in Heinz not only the hard-working city original, but also a representative for all the workers and ordinary people in the Kreuzstutz district.
More tips for vacation in Switzerland:
Monuments are usually built by the people in honor of the rulers and not by the rulers in honor of the people. When a monument to the little man was finally erected in one of the most luxurious cities in Switzerland, which is equally famous for its idyllic mountain and lake panorama as it is notorious for its countless souvenir and watch shops, it is not just a tribute to him late Heinz Gilli, but a heartwarming symbol of respect and humanity that makes Lucerne particularly endearing.
(Kreuzstutz, Baselstrasse 84. The Kreuzstutz stop is right next to the traffic circle with Heinz in the middle. Bus lines 2, 5 and 12 also go around it.)
The texts are from the newly published book “TravelMoments – Lucerne with Lake Lucerne” taken from Nicole Quint, 360° media, 256 pages, 16.95 euros.
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