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Bündnerfleisch

What are Graubünden specialities? Learn about 4 products and their possible uses.

What are Graubünden specialities?

What's the first thing that comes to mind when you hear Graubünden specialities?
Capuns, maluns, barley soup or Bündnerfleisch?
Many of these culinary specialities date from the time immediately after the world wars, when there was no abundance at all. At that time, most farmers lived as self-supporters. They were concerned with getting as full as possible with the food they had on hand.

Potatoes, flour and butter

The ingredients for maluns are quite simple. Potatoes, a little flour, butter and apple puree, and depending on availability also alpine cheese, are all that is needed for this Graubünden speciality. These are ingredients that a simple mountain farming family always had on hand around 100 years ago.

Capuns also originated at a time when farmers' supplies were scarce and necessity was the mother of invention. The dish came into being because the peasant women wanted to make a meal from the ingredients they still had. First, a dough is made from flour, eggs, water and milk. Then other Graubünden specialities are added. Depending on the recipe, some Grisons meat, raw ham, bacon or Salsiz was mixed into the dough and then the mixture was wrapped in chard leaves.

Powerful through the winter with barley

Barley is one of the oldest cereals cultivated by man. Barley grows even in higher Alpine valleys and is considered very healthy due to its blood sugar-lowering effect. No wonder, then, that our Graubünden ancestors cultivated barley and used it in many dishes. Grisons barley soup usually has various vegetables - onions, carrots and celery - and also some boiled or dried meat. The recipes are as varied as the mountain valleys of the Alps. Whatever was available at the time was used. Beans were often used as an additional source of protein or as a substitute for meat.

Bü-Bü-Bündnerfleisch

Many of our readers probably think of Bündnerfleisch first when they think of Bündner specialities, right?
It is actually called "Bündnerfleisch" because in the days before refrigerators, E-numbers and the like, it was dried by wrapping it in cloth and bandages. The dried meat of the cow has only been called Bündnerfleisch since resourceful minds sought new marketing channels and had the name "Bündnerfleisch" protected in 2000. However, this air-dried meat has been a Graubünden speciality for much longer. In autumn, when the mountain farmers had an older cow that had come down from the alp without any offspring, this animal was taken to the slaughterhouse. By means of air-drying (salting and subsequent air-drying is, by the way, the oldest method of preserving meat at all) during the cold winter months, the best pieces were turned into a well preserved and delicious piece of meat. This meat still mostly consists of around 50 % of pure protein. It was and still is an excellent source of strength during the rigours of field work and haymaking. Bindenfleisch, as mentioned above, also often served as an ingredient for capuns or barley soup.

By the way: Only after we wanted to produce Bündnerfleisch in 2014 did the Specifications be adapted. Since then, it has been permitted to produce Bündnerfleisch without chemically produced pickling salt. However, the animals for Bündnerfleisch still do not have to come from Graubünden and not even from Switzerland. Since 2018, we no longer sell Bündnerfleisch, but rather "Bündner Bindenfleisch". This comes from the Stotzen as well as the dried noble cuts from the back and the hoof. This is truly a Grisons speciality, exclusively from Grisons cows, and is sold under the name "Bündner Bindenfleisch". Mountain meat for haydays on offer.

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