When you watch the cows whose milk goes into the exquisite Emmentaler AOP out on the meadow, you can see how relaxed they are. They radiate a friendly, tranquil aura. These dairy cows are milked at least twice a day and are cared for by the dairy farmer in person several times a day. Each dairy farmer knows each cow and the bull by name, whether it’s Bella, Fiona or Ruedi. Emmentaler AOP is made from fresh milk produced by happy cows that live in an animal-friendly environment and are cared for with love.
Paying a visit to dairy farmer Matthias “Mättu” Sempach at his farm in Entlebuch.
So Mättu, why did you become a dairy farmer?
I lived on a farm in the Emmental valley until I was six years old, so I have always been in love with Emmentaler AOP as a natural product. That connection makes it that much more satisfying to be able to produce milk for this unique and original cheese now that I have wrapped up my career in Schwingen (Swiss wrestling). I love the hands-on work, and the animals are close to my heart.
What do you think makes for a happy cow?
A calm environment that is species-appropriate, where the animals can feel at ease and decide for themselves if they want to move around or take a rest. And also the very best feed, care and attention. The animals thank you for it by providing top-quality milk.
You probably have a special connection with the cows?
Definitely. We are there with them several times a day to feed them, clear their stables and of course milk them. And each cow has its own name, given to it at birth. I always ensure that they are given a name that begins with the same first letter as the mother’s name. Our kids often help us with the naming – it’s great fun for them.
Do you think the cows’ happiness is reflected in Emmentaler AOP?
It most certainly is. The better the milk quality, the better the quality of the cheese at the end. That’s why animal welfare and the feed we use (90% from our own farm) are key aspects of the production process for Emmentaler AOP.
Mättu, thanks for talking to us, it’s been a pleasure!
- Schwingerkönig (Champion of Swiss Wrestling) 2013 and ambassador for Emmentaler Switzerland since 2011
- Dairy farmer in Entlebuch since 2019, working with his partner Heidy, their two children and Heidy’s parents
- On his farm he has 16 dairy cows, 10 beef cows, 7 calves, 3 goats and almost 100 pigs, as well as rabbits, chickens, ducks, a dog and three cats
- He gets up at 5.10 a.m. every day and goes to start the day’s first milking
- The fresh raw milk he produces is transformed into Emmentaler AOP at the Käserei Mosigen Ebnet