Friday, June 4, 2010

Appenzell, Switzerland

Swiss Cows
Cows, Alp Horns, Chocolate and that Stinky Cheese! Welcome to Switzerland!
  Appenzell, Switzerland is a story book town in northeastern Switzerland.  It has a great small-town feel with great architectural character and charming streets.  When I was there I got to witness the processional of cows through the town.  In late August and early September the cows process from the mountains through the town and are guided by whistling and singing herders wearing formal traditional attire.  The cows are wearing either massive cow bells or flowers.  It's a pretty entertaining site to see. 
One of the other funny experiences I had while in Appenzell was while purchasing some of the local cheese called Appenzeller.  Before I even set foot in the cheese shop, I was overwhelmed by the smell emanating from the shop.  There was a very pungent smell akin to smelly feet.  My friends and I forged ahead and stood inside the shop and we stood there just laughing.  I couldn't believe how they could work in this place.  But, part of the experience is to eat like the locals so I purchased some cheese for a picnic we were going to have in the Alps.  We took the bag of cheese with us on the train and it was funny watching the people who were considering sitting across the aisle from us.  Several people looked at us and smelled the cheese and went and sat somewhere else.  Finally, an elderly woman sat across from us and proceeded to look out the window.......with her finger covering her nostrils.   Priceless.  The cheese is simply called Appenzeller and you can find it in finer cheese shops.  It's great stuff and the kind I have bought in the states doesn't smell that bad.  Try it some time.   My all time favorite Swiss cheese is Gruyere.  Try the cave-aged kind and you will understand what truly great cheese tastes like.

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