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.

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.