Traditional Alpine Descent — L’Etivaz, VD
Hundreds of thousands of Swiss cows, sheep, goats, and other animals spend their summer in the Swiss Alps to graze on the rich and tasty grasses and wildflowers of the alpine pastures. The special tasting milk that is produced is then processed into aromatic cheeses and other dairy products. With the beginning of fall and the colder weather, the animals descend from the mountains to their winter quarters. In many communities, this alpine descent is still celebrated with very traditional and picturesque festivals.
For this “Désalpe,” as it is called in the French-speaking regions, the beautifully adorned cows are guided by their “armaillis” (the local term for an alpine herdsman) into the village. Locals and visitors will then enjoy tastings of everything the region has to offer (including the eponymous L’Etivaz AOP cheese), as well as entertainment from Alphorn music to flag throwing, all starting at 8:00.
Be sure to confirm the dates before you head out as sometimes festivals or at least the descent of the animals may have to be cancelled or changed on the basis of weather or the availability of feedstock.
This event is free of charge; consider public transport as parking is limited.