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A source of true inspiration

A source of true inspiration

A source of true inspiration

At the Alpe Kassa Wildmoos mountain farm, the Eberle family works with passion, creating delicious products from the ingredients sourced from thirty cows, 14 pigs, one goat and a few chickens.

As a cook, Milena Broger really appreciates products made with both consideration and love. Those products produced by the Eberle family at the Alpe Kassa Wildmoos mountain farm are a prime example. The main inspirations for new ideas in her cooking come from nature and her craftsmanship.

Working with my hands fascinates me each and every day anew. That which you can create with your hands and how many tools the body has at its disposal… it’s truly a miracle. New inspiration and the view from my kitchen window are equally important for my profession as a chef. My sources of inspiration have always been nature and the people all around me. Allow me to share one of my most inspirational trails. This hike begins at the Sonnalp mountain pasture on the Sonderdach mountain above Bezau. The trail leads through the forest along the mountainside into the Wildmoos area.

I like to roam the woods in this area, even off the beaten path. Along the way, I like to touch the leaves and grind pine needles between my fingers; the smells go straight through my body and awaken new ideas. As I proceed, the moss is soft under my feet, damp and deep green. My eyes wander through the trees, and the height of the high treetops remind me how small I am in the grand scheme of things. After about a forty-minute hike, I arrive at my destination, the Alpe Kassa Wildmoos mountain farm at 1,400 metres above sea level.I have been hiking here ever since my childhood. The raised flag indicates that the mountain pasture farm is open and that visitors are welcome. From the moment I arrive, Margit Eberle’s warm smile and greeting make me feel immediately welcome. Long ago, around 1890, the mountain farm was sold and partitioned. The portion of the pasture on which the Eberle’s work today in summer once belonged to the Sparkasse Egg bank. Today, the mountain farm belongs to the Eberle family, though the name “Kassa Wildmoos” has remained and will always remain. Of this, Margit is sure.

Margit and Gebhard Eberle and their children already looked after the Kassa Wildmoos mountain farm back when I was a child. At that time, the children were jumping around happily and were familiar with all the animals on the farm. Here everyone helps. The way that the family really comes together is great to see. And that’s important because there is plenty of work to do! Though they don’t farm, the Eberle’s still spend their Alpine summers up here, herding and caring for the cows of various farmers from the valley. In winter, everyone in the family goes about their own business.

Margit and Gebhard are passionate about working at the mountain farm and they have passed on this love to their children: Carmen and Anja attended the agricultural school in Hohenems, and the young women also passed the Alpine dairymaid’s examination during their subsequent apprenticeship. Manuel, the youngest of the three, will soon catch up to his sisters. The Alpe Kassa Wildmoos mountain farm extends over 80 hectares and is home to thirty cows, 14 pigs, one goat and a few chickens. The Eberles’ passion for animals and working with the raw ingredients they provide are a real source of inspiration for me. My head is just bubbling with ideas.

Gebhard and his daughter Carmen are responsible for producing the fresh butter. All four hands knead the golden fat mass until its ready. Meanwhile, young Manuel is busy putting up fences. Anja works with her mother Margit in the kitchen and serves the hungry hikers. The range of products produced at the mountain farm goes far beyond milk production. Because everyone has their role in performing various tasks and thanks to the cohesive bond the family has with one another and their love for the farm, the Eberles manage to produce many different products themselves. In addition to Alpine mountain cheese, butter, clarified butter, cottage cheese and yoghurt are all produced. From whey, Margit makes Sig, the “Alpine caramel” from reduced whey with sugar, cream and butter.

Margit also collects and dries a diverse array of mountain herbs in order to make them into herbal salt. Homemade schnapps is also on the menu. The bread is kneaded by hand and freshly baked. To see so many things on the menu, which have been produced on site, is rare and exotic to me these days. What used to be commonplace has now become a rarity. As a cook, I prefer to rely on ingredients and products that have been prepared with care and love, just like those made at the Eberle family’s Kassa Wildmoos mountain farm. Just seeing how they work and create great tasting products together inspires me and pushes me in my own craft. As I sit back and relax, looking at the hands working the fresh butter, new ideas spring to mind.

Author: Milena Broger
Issue: Bregenzerwald Travel Magazine – Summer 2022