Glarus Alpziger

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Glarner Alpmilchziger is a cheese made from soured cow’s milk (mostly of the Original Swiss Brown breed), particularly typical for the canton of Glarus. According to the phase of production, this specialty changes its name and taste: Frischziger (fresh ziger) is the name given to the cheese before it is stored in a wooden barrel; after such a maturation it becomes Rohziger (raw ziger); finally, to be called Schabziger after further maturation and the addition of salt and blue fenugreek (Trigonella caerulea). In fact, in the region, blue fenugreek bears the name of Schabzigerklee (Schabziger clover), which indicates the most important application of this plant in the local traditional food production. Outside the Glarus canton, additional herbs like mint or field horsetail (Equisetum arvense) used to be added.
The history of these specialties goes back to the Middle Ages. The Schabziger gets mentioned in multiple documents in 1310, 1429 – as being offered on Zurich’s market – and 1468 – as part of the provisions in the Waldshut war. The cantonal assembly of Glarus introduced the first criteria for Schabizger’s quality back in the year 1463. It was probably nuns of the local monasteries who started to add herbs to the Rohziger, although not necessarily the blue fenugreek whose cultivation in the region is mentioned only from 1400 on.
The production process starts with skim milk heated to 80/85°C and soured by addition of the so called Etscher, obtained in a difficult fermentation procedure of skim milk with bread yeast. The Etscher is active only during the warmer months, then stored over winter. Its bacteria must be reactivated in the beginning of the new season. The curd, once separated from whey, is stored in wooden barrels (nowadays covered inside with plastic wrap) for around six to eight weeks. Thus, this type of cheese should not be confused with the common Ziger, which is produced—like ricotta—from whey.
The Schabziger is white, rather dry and crumbly. It’s tart or even slightly bitter taste also has moldy notes. It was traditionally produced by the so-called Zigerriibis (a type of mill where foods are processed), which matured the Rohziger brought from the summer alpine pastures by shepherds. Just a few decades ago, this happened almost in the entire region. Nowadays, there are a few shepherds still bringing their cheese to the last Zigerriibi, still preparing Schabziger. In 2015, the overall production of Schabziger reached around 1 ton.
One of the most traditional and typical receipts with Rohziger, which is usually eaten fresh, is the Zigerkrapfen – a fried bread filled with sweetened Rohziger. Schabziger, with its strong taste, is used rather for Zigerhöräli (also Zigerhörnli) – a Glarner version of baked macaroni with cheese.

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Zigerchrosi wird auch Zegerchrosi oder Zegerchleeb genannt. Es ist ein heterogen zusammengemischter Brotaufstrich mit sichtbaren, abgerundeten Albumin-Zigerstückchen. Diese sind eingebettet in einer Masse von zerstossenen Trockenfrüchten. Dazu zählen regionaltypische, traditionelle Birnensorten wie Theilersbirne, Rotbärteler, Thirriot, Gelbbirne, Ottenbacher Schellerbirne und Schweizer Wasserbirne. Es wird ergänzt mit Birnendicksaft und Lebkuchengewürzen: Zimt, Anis, Sternanis, Nelke, Ingwer und Muskatnuss. Normalerweise wird Zigerchrosi aufs Butterbrot gestrichen, oben drauf ergänzt mit Tannenschosshonig, Löwenzahnhonig oder, Waldhonig.

Ursprünglich wird Zigerchrosi im westlichen Teil der Region Willisau im Kanton Luzern hergestellt. Bekannt ist es auch bis nach Olten, Zofingen, Sursee und Malters. Dieser Brotaufstrich hat einen starken Bezug zur Zentralschweizer Hirtenkultur und zeigt aus klimatischen Gründen Ähnlichkeit mit der kulinarischen Kultur des Kantons Obwalden. In der Zentralschweiz fällt mehr Regen als in der westlichen Schweiz. Deshalb wurde hier weniger Ackerbau, dafür umso mehr Viehzucht und Feldobstbau betrieben. In der westlichen Schweiz - zum Beispiel im Kanton Bern - basiert die Kultur hingegen viel stärker auf dem Ackerbau.

Zigerchrosi ist gewöhnlich nur an Fronleichnam in einigen Bäckereien der Region erhältlich, wurde traditionellerweise aber auch in den Haushalten der Region hergestellt. Leider sind die traditionellen Birnen und der Albumin-Ziger immer schwieriger zu finden.

Territory

StateSwitzerland
Region

Glaris

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Categories

Milk and milk products

Nominated by:Barbara Sulzer