Cheeses Menu Heritage and Tours Sceneries and Men History of Men Geology and Climate Landscapes Hautes-Vosges The “Plateau des Mille Etangs” Fougerolles and Val d’Ajol Valleys Ballons of Franche-Comté Vosgian Valleys Haut-Rhin Valleys Wine-growing Foothills Natural Heritage Forests High Stubble Lakes, Ponds, Peatlands Ravines, Cliffs and Scree Slopes Calcareous Grasslands Orchards Local Products and Craftsmanship Marque Parc (Park Label) Mineral and Natural Spring Waters Wood Cladding Wooden Toys Honey and Fruit Juice Wooden Furniture for Children Products Fougerolles Orchards and Kirsch Fish Farming Vosgian Cattle Breed Cheeses Small Fruit, Aromatic and Medicinal Plants Alsatian Wine Smoked Meats and Andouilles Farmhouse-Inns Farm Shops Craftsmanship Textile Granite Lava Sandstone Wood industry Farm Markets Cultural Heritage Thermal Heritage Industrial Heritage Farms Country of Art and History Religious Heritage Intangible Cutural Heritage Heritage and Memory Castles Thematic Roads and Tracks Treetop Adventure Park Tourist Routes Barefoot Trails Parks and Botanical Gardens Museums and Heritage Sites Thermal Baths Environment Awareness Structures Venues for Shows, Exhibitions and Festivals At the Park Doors Colmar Remiremont Belfort Lure Mulhouse Luxeuil-les-Bains Saint-Dié-des-Vosges Nature activities Guided Walks and Discovery trails A Farm, A Hike Mountain Guides Pedestrian Hikes Club Vosgien / Club Alpin (Vosgian / Alpine Clubs) Reception Centres for Educational Stays Trail Mountain Biking and Cyclo-Tourism Equine Activities Climbing Skydiving Aeromodelism Fishing Water Sports Winter Activities Nature vacations Camping in Nature Panda Lodgings and Guesthouses Hôtels au Naturel (Hotels in Natural Settings) The Ballons des Vosges Park is dedicated to promoting short tours as well as local produce and craftsmanship. The Vosges Mountains are most renowned for their breeding. The great natural meadows that line valley bottoms or forest-bordering slopes abound in green and fragrant herbs. Farmers maintain them carefully; indeed, such species and flowering plants diversity conveys specific aromas to milk and cheeses. Summer lore remains in some valleys, as cows migrate to high stubble marcairies on the summits. Up there, altitude pasture lands grow grasses alongside the Blueberry, Heather, Mountain Arnica, Vosges Pansy, Yellow Gentian… the weather is harsh, the soil often rocky and the Vosgian cattle breed is found there more than elsewhere as it has grown used to this environment for a long time. The Main Cheeses Are: Munster Bargkas or Barikas Goat’s Cheeses The Munster or Munster-Géromé cheese has been labelled Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (Protected Designation of Origin) by the Decree of 21 May 1969 – defining production and maturing processes as well as geographical production areas. Munster cheese is exclusively made with cow’s milk; it is a soft rind-washed cheese, yellow to red-orange in colour. On the Park Territory, around a hundred producers process and refine Munster cheeses to be sold on the farm, on markets or in farmshops. Some artisan refiners – whose craftsmanship dates back several generations – mature a Farmhouse Munster bought at the farm, or a Dairy Munster made in Lorraine. www.munster-fermier.com Bargkas or Barikas. This is a pressed raw or semi-cooked cheese, for which each producer has his own recipe. It is also called Tome des Vosges or Vachelin. The refining process lasts from six weeks to several months. It used to be called Schwitzerkas: local history dates the introduction of this cheese back to after the Thirty Years War, when Swiss emigrants came to settle. In the olden times, it was made in summer farms; today we can enjoy it all year long, sometimes even flavoured with caraway or bear’s garlic. Goat’s Cheeses. Goat herds are less common in the Vosges Mountains. In the past, farmers who owned a few entrusted them with a communal goatherd who brought them to pasturelands in order to maintain paths, as these small and capricious animals were particularly fond of regrowth. Nowadays, breeders have mastered a skill and produce quality fresh or refined cheeses.