On 24 September 2016 Galtür will be hosting the International Alpine Cheese Olympics with an expected 3,000 cheese lovers and guests. Over 100 cheese producers from Austria, Germany, South Tyrol and Switzerland will be battling it out for the Golden Dairyman's Harp in five categories.
Visitors to Galtür can enjoy an Olympic atmosphere on 24 September. But the International Alpine Cheese Olympics does not offer sports highlights, but culinary ones – and that for the 22nd time. The organising team of the Galtür regional youth council is expecting more than 100 cheesemakers from four countries to present their handmade cheese to the expert jury. The jury will primarily be assessing the flavour, texture, appearance, regionality of ingredients and hole structure of the cheese. But those who want to win all out also have to meet the taste of the younger ones and impress a jury of children. They are the ones who will be awarding the coveted ‘three cheese tall’ prize. From 11:00 to 18:00, all visitors to the Galtür sports and culture centre can get samples of the showcased treats and buy their own favourites.
The games for the Golden Dairyman's Harp
Whether hard, soft, mild or nutty – there are strict quality criteria governing participation by the Alpine cheese producers from Austria, Germany, South Tyrol and Switzerland. Only authentic cheese made from unpasteurised fresh Alpine milk can be submitted before the jury. In addition, only cheese made on a registered, farmed alpine pasture may enter the competition. Depending on the variety, the cheese needs to mature for different lengths of time in order to develop its typical flavour and appearance. This can take several days or even years. Judging the five categories will be "cheese experts" from industry, commerce and education from Austria, South Tyrol, Germany and Switzerland. It will then award the coveted Galtür Dairyman's Harp in gold, silver and bronze.
1995 to today
The first International Alpine Cheese Olympics were held as far back as in September 1995. Its founding fathers, Luggi Salner, Galtürer Hotelier, and Norbert Walter, later an ÖVP politician, initiated the Olympics in their home village. Their aim was to provide cheesemakers from the Alpine region with a setting in which to present their products to a wide audience and stimulate demand. The fact that the Golden Dairyman's Harp is being awarded for the 22nd time this year, proves that regional produce can still be in fashion, the organisers of the Galtür regional youth council are certain. Once again, the expected 3,000 cheese lovers and guests will have the chance to sample the high high standard of quality for themselves.