When the Cows Come Home
In today’s SF Chronicle Janet Fletcher relates a wonderful tradition that occurs in the German Allgauer Alps. Apparently every fall there is a festival celebrating the cows’ return from the mountains where they’ve spent their time since spring feeding on the mountain grasses. These cows are the source of the milk that is made into the region’s Hirtenkase or "Herdsman Cheese".
According to Janet, on September 18 the people of the region line the streets and watch the cows come home. I presume the Cow Parade, otherwise known as Almabtrieb, is followed by a feasting on Cheese and something strong to drink.
I want to go there for that. Just the idea of lining the streets to watch the cows come home, cheese in one hand and perhaps a Riesling or beer in the other is enough to send me off to Expedia to look for tickets.
It sounds campy, and I suspect there is probably an element of camp, but the closest thing we have in this neck of the woods is Sonoma’s Vintage Festival. It’s nice. There’s a parade of local luminaries and such. but there are no cows.
Is Janet’s the only regular Cheese column running in an American newspaper? I don’t know for sure but I bet it is. And we are all better for it. In fact I envy her. What a great beat!