When I come up to the hut for the first time in early summer I know what awaits me: lots of hard work. I hope that the cows and the milkers stay healthy. Up here there’s no family and no private life – it’s just cheese and more cheese. That’s what I live for during these months. I get up early in the morning and go to bed late at night. Sometimes we have up to 34 tons of cheese stored in our cellar. The recently made cheeses have to be turned every second day. Each wheel of cheese weighs between 30 and 32 kilos.
During the summer months I grow my hair and a beard. When autumn comes I shave the beard off – it’s always a bit of a shock when I look in the mirror! Somehow it’s also symbolic: back into the valley and back to a different way of life. In winter I work as a masseur in an upmarket spa hotel in Kössen. In the past, when I came down from the hut and went to the hotel, I hardly dared to breathe – it was so incredibly clean. A different world. But I like moving from one world to the other. I love the contrast.”
Johann Schönauer – cheesemaker at Schönangeralm
Visitors to the Schönangeralm hut can see cheesemaker Johann Schönauer in his element. He is happy to show guests around the mountain farm and give them an insight into what goes into making alpine cheese – including, of course, the chance to sample some of Schönauer‘s award-winning produce.