Parpan, a charming Swiss village in the canton of Graubünden, with only a few hundred residents, has a lot to offer in terms of culinary travel. During a summertime visit there, I discovered five spots where you can find regional food specialties, including one restaurant where you can make your own alpine cheese.
Up the hillside from Chur, the capital of Graubünden, and on the way to the Lenzerheide mountain resort, you will find the village of Parpan. The earliest written mention of Parpan dates back to 1208, when it was called “Partipan.” Its name apparently has a connection with the Latin words, “pratum” (meadow) and “planum” (a flat surface). Today, the village has been incorporated into the municipality of Churwalden, which has a total population of 2,015 (Gemeinde Churwalden, 2016).
Restaurant Tschugga – Alpine Cheese Workshop
When my family and I arrived in Lenzerheide for a week’s vacation, I started looking for culinary activities and quickly came across a cheesemaking workshop in Parpan at the Restaurant Tschugga. After making a reservation request online, the owners called back to confirm the plan. For our 4-person group—two adults and two children, we would have two cheesemaking stations as part of a 2-hour workshop and tasting.
Arriving in Parpan via the bus from Lenzerheide, it takes about 30 minutes to walk up the road to the Restaurant Tschugga. Toni Salzgeber welcomed us when we arrived. The goal of the workshops was to make two “Mutschli“—a semi-hard cheese made with raw cow milk. Several weeks after the workshop, he sends the finished product to your home address so you can taste your very own handmade cheese.
During our workshop, we drank wine and sampled different cheeses. With a sense of humor and lots of patience, Toni shared stories and answered all our questions. From stirring the milk, cutting the curd and pressing it into the mold, he had us participating in every step of the process.
A few things to consider, if you would like to make cheese at Restaurant Tschugga:
- Languages: German and English
- Reservations requried and must be made at least two days in advance.
- The season of cheesemaking workshops runs from July to mid-September.
- Cost: CHF 80 per cheese station, up to four people at each station
- Children must be at least seven years of age.
- The workshop lasts about two hours.
- Restaurant Tschugga can send cheese to an address in Switzerland. For other countries, please check with Restaurant Tschugga in advance of your visit to determine postage costs.
Restaurant und Käserei Tschugga Parpan, Postfach 191, 7078 Lenzerheide, +41 (0)81 382 15 53
Alpkäserei Parpan – A Regional Economic Development Project
Below the Restaurant Tschugga lies the Alpkäserei Parpan, which you will pass on your walk up the hill from the bus stop to Restaurant Tschugga. Housed in a barn built over 100 years ago, this site has been reinvented as an alpine cheese dairy. With support from the Federal Office of Agriculture, Alpinavera and others, this regional development project was completed in 2016.
Unlike the cheese dairy at the Restaurant Tschugga, where cheese is still made by hand, the Alpkäserei Parpan uses modern equipment. With large windows overlooking the cheese production process, the lower level of this building has a cellar which stores up to 23 tons of cheese.
Throughout the year, Alpkäserei Parpan opens daily from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. During the summer season, you can participate in guided tours and tastings. It also has a small self-service area where you can purchase cheese, yogurt and other dairy products.
Alpkäserei Parpan, Oberbergstrasse 42, 7076 Parpan, +41 (0)77 433 78 28, email@example.com
KafiKonsum – A Cozy Café and Market
Back in the village center of Parpan, my family and I stopped at KafiKonsum, upon the recommendation of the tourism office in Lenzerheide. The small café and market features local food products, such as cheese from the Alpkäserei Parpan and excellent coffee from Rösterei Keller. Its also home to the local post office, as well as a small children’s play area.
KafiKonsum, Hauptstrasse 23, 7076 Parpan, +41 (0)81 356 26 26, firstname.lastname@example.org
Brügger Parpan – Specializing in Bündnerfleisch
For local Bündner meat products, I highly recommend a visit to Brügger Parpan. This family business spans four generations at the same location. Here you will find Bündnerfleisch, a thinly sliced, air-dried beef that appears on the list of traditional Swiss food products maintained by Patrimoine Culinaire Suisse (Culinary Heritage of Switzerland). It describes the Brügger family as having first commercial meat-drying site for this specialty in Switzerland.
In Parpan, Brügger has a small shop where you can purchase dried meat and sausages. You can also organize a tasting and tour of their meat-drying facility for up to 40 people. If you cannot make it to Parpan, their meat specialties are available for purchase online.
Brügger Parpan, Hauptstrasse 6, 7076 Parpan, +41 (0)81 382 11 36, email@example.com
Wisler Verkaufshütta – A Self-Service Farmstand
Located on the main road through town, in between Brügger Parpan and KafiKonsum, you will see a small farmstand from the Wisler Family. The Wislers moved to this area of Graubünden in 2003 and started farming there three years later. At their little shop, known as the Wisler Verkaufshütta, they sell products like alpkäse (alpine cheese), whiskey-käsewurst (whiskey cheese sausage), salsiz (a pork and beef sausage from Graubünden), potatoes and more. You just pick out what you want and leave the money at the store. This family farm also supplies milk to the Alpkäserei Parpan.
The tiny Wisler Verkaufshütta is open 24 hours a day, 7 days per week.
Familie Wisler, Hauptstrasse 23b, 7076 Parpan, +41 (0)79 448 33 75, firstname.lastname@example.org
How to get to Parpan: You can reach Parpan by bus from Chur (about 30 minutes) or Lenzerheide (10-15 minutes). Once you arrive, all of the places listed below are within walking distance of the Parpan Post bus stop.
Updated: January 9, 2023