November 13, 2005
The making of Bündnerfleisch is an interesting rocess. First, the right cows (or pigs) must be selected - older animals are better, as they have more natural flavor. Although the Brüggers - who are in their 4th generation of production - do not raise their own cows, they do work closely with local farmers to choose the best quality beef.
Once the beef has been selected, it will take between 3 to 6 months to create the finished product, depending on the size of the cut. Although Bündnerfleisch can be created in air-conditioned conditions, the Brüggers create theirs with time-honored fresh-air methods, which means more flavor in the final product. The building used for the drying sits in an ideal location in the valley, where there are reliable wind currents. Bündnerfleisch is only created in the cooler months, August to March.
During the months it takes to create the final product, it will go through 60 steps, including salting, air drying, marination, and pressing, which gives it a squared-off shape. Over the course of the curing, the meat will lose 50% of its weight. For the Brüggers, all steps are completed by hand, and the recipe for the marinade used being handed down from their great-grandparents.
The final product is most commonly served thin-shaved and has a deep, rich red color. It is very popular throughout the Graubünden and Ticino regions; if you dine at a grotto, it is very likely that you will be served some. Bündnerfleisch has a rich, spicy beef flavor and can be found in a variety of serving choices, ranging from sausages to blocks of meat that you can slice yourself.
Brügger-Parpan's product is so popular that they have opened a second location in Davos (Promenade 73) and also sell their products via some local shops in Chur. Should you visit their store in Parpan, you will find not only their Bündnerfleisch, but a selection of other locally produced items, such as cheese (I liked the Plantahof Kaese), breads, crackers, cookies, jams, and wines, as well as regional cuisine cookbooks.
_______________Note: If you buy Bündnerfleisch and intend to bring it back to the US, it will be confiscated by Customs. You will have to enjoy this very tasty regional treat while you're still in Switzerland!
From journal Chur - A Profile of Swiss History