Alpahirt Butcher Meat Hook

Raw materials and production

Where do the animals for the Alpahirt meat come from?

All the mother cows that are processed into Alpahirt dry meat specialities come from Graubünden, mainly from the Surselva. A few farmers deliver their older cows, raised with love, to the slaughterhouse in Trun or bring them to the regional slaughterhouse. No stress for humans and animals as well as short transport routes are a must at Alpahirt.
All the cows were allowed to eat fresh grass, give milk and give birth to calves all their lives and are on average ten years old, had eight offspring and were allowed to spend seven summers on the alp.

More on this in this Blog.

What is mountain meat and how is it produced?

The best fat-free and compact muscle pieces of the Stotzen (thigh), the noble back as well as the also very tender rump result in the rustic and naturally dried mountain meat. The pieces of meat are marinated in a pickle according to the secret recipe of the Urneni with red wine, Swiss Alpine salt and fine spices for around three to six weeks and hung to dry for three to five months.

As with all other Alpahirt products, the mountain meat is also dried (not smoked). We consistently do not use controversial pickling salt, sugar or other additives.

More on this in this Blog.

All Apahirt products contain wine.
Are they accordingly not suitable for children or people who abstain from alcohol for other reasons?

In the final product, there is no more wine in it; this evaporates during the drying process, which lasts several weeks, even before the water evaporates.
What remains from the wine are anthocyanins, polyphenols and other secondary plant substances that give the dried meat its colour, but also its shelf life, and are also extremely healthy.
For these reasons, all our end products are alcohol-free and therefore also very suitable for children and alcohol abstainers.

Where do ingredients like salt and spices come from?

The majority of the ingredients come from organic production and, if available, from Switzerland. Alpahirt knows many producers personally and attaches great importance to good and long-term partnerships.

Was the wine used clarified?

The wine we use is only filtered and bottled. Accordingly, fining agents based on milk, egg or fish are not used.
This also contributes to the fact that Alpahirt products are excellently tolerated even by many allergy sufferers.

What is the nutritional composition of dried alpine shepherd's meat?

The Bergfleisch, Baron and Salsiz varieties are protein bombs! They contain about 30-47g of protein per 100g, little fat and only 3-6g of cooking salt. It is worth mentioning that sodium nitrite, a component of pickling salt, is not present in any of the Alpahirt specialities.

Why is the packaging so big?

A larger printable area became obligatory due to a change in the law with the indication of nutritional values. We also want to draw the attention of tourists from abroad to our unique products in some regions. For this reason, we have translated all the information into English on the new packaging. This requires a lot of space.

Alpahirt Cow Surselva Grisons

Before the purchase

Why should I buy dried meat from Alpahirt?

At Alpahirt, value creation begins on the farm and not just in the butcher's shop. The highest attention is paid to natural nutrition (grass, alpine herbs, hay, no concentrated feed) and the well-being of the animals during as long a life as possible (10 years on average). Due to the clean processing of the mother cows, which are vital and healthy during their lifetime, and thanks to the traditional recipe, additives that are controversial from a health point of view can be completely dispensed with.
When I buy Alpahirt dried meat, I not only support a young company, but also contribute to the sustainable use of our resources. Nutrition is the basis of health - for animals and humans.

More on this in this Blog.

I am pregnant and sometimes have a craving for dried meat. Can I eat the one from Alpahirt?

The doctor will have told you to avoid dried meat during pregnancy. There is the dangerous toxoplasmosis, which could seriously harm the unborn child. Oh sure, I'd stay away from that. But toxoplasmosis pathogens or their cysts are rendered harmless by cooking, frying or freezing.
The good news for women who fancy dried meat during pregnancy is that Alpahirt freezes all meat before drying, so any toxoplasmosis pathogens are completely killed off. Alpahirt products are therefore not only tolerable for allergy sufferers and part-time vegetarians, but also for all women who have a craving for dried meat during pregnancy!

More on this in this Blog.

It says "spices" in the ingredients.
Does it contain gluten or flavour enhancers like maltodextrin or seasoning or other potential allergens?
Does the wine contain sulphites?

The spice mixture is not a ready-made mixture. We lovingly put them together ourselves. It does not contain glutamate, maltodextrin, gluten, starch or other flavour enhancers, stabilisers or additives. Basically, the spice mix consists of pepper, garlic and a few secret ingredients in small quantities. However, nothing that triggers allergies or that people cannot tolerate.
The wine itself is currently not yet free of sulphites. However, these are broken down during the drying process to such an extent that they are no longer detectable in the dried meat.
Some Alpahirt customers live with Crohn's disease, leaky gut or other intestinal disorders and cannot tolerate curing salt etc., which is why they rely on Alpahirt.
Only people who are extremely sensitive to histamine or garlic should avoid Alpahirt products.

Why doesn't Alpahirt have a larger range?

What we do, we do well. In return, we demand a high level of standards that must be met. We offer the best and most demanded products.

Why is the meat wrapped in plastic?

As the Alpahirt salsiz are made without added pork fat and are therefore very low in fat and high in protein, they would dry out too quickly. The products are all preserved without any additional preservatives, so the packaging offers some protection and helps to avoid foodwaste.

Why does dried meat have its price?

During processing, dried meat loses about half of its original weight. The entire process is manual labour. Each individual piece takes a long time to dry completely and develop its aroma.
Alpahirt salsiz also lacks (cheap, industrially produced) pork fat and the livestock farmer gets a little more money than if he delivers his animals to the industry.

Can anything be done about the price?

Alpahirt always offers the customer the best possible price. The products are all very high quality, cannot be produced in "mass" and are in high demand. These premium products are only made with the best meat and are very limited.

Are Alpahirt products also suitable as gifts?

Yes, of course. The products are not only convincing in terms of taste, but also in the way they are produced. Sustainable, regional, fair and above all healthy and without any additives. Alpahirt customers are enthusiastic connoisseurs who are worth it.
...and the recipient is guaranteed to appreciate it!

Alpahirt shows how dried meat is stored correctly, without any additives.

After the purchase

How long can I store dried meat?

All Alpahirt products can be kept without refrigeration. Vacuum-packed, dry and cool (<10°C), the Salsiz and the Baron can be kept for up to six months without any problems, the mountain meat even up to twelve months.
We recommend tempering the noble pieces at least 20 minutes before consumption, similar to wine, so that the aromas can develop optimally.

More on this in this Blog.

Can I still eat the piece when it turns white?

With longer storage periods, white to light grey mould naturally forms. This is not a cause for concern!
This is a welcome noble mould that is harmless to health. It usually appears after only a few weeks of air-drying and gives the dried meat a characteristic flavour. It also protects the meat from the effects of oxygen and light and prevents the meat from becoming rancid. This mould is brushed off before packing, but can reappear during storage. This can be eaten or brushed off.

Can I still eat the piece when the wrapper puffs up?

If the original package swells, it does not mean that the product is spoiled. On the contrary - the meat's own microorganisms break down the "tough" collagen, which makes these "bloated" pieces particularly tender in each case.

What is the best way to store dried meat?

We recommend storing in a cool cellar or refrigerator after the original package has been opened.
After opening, remove the plastic completely and if the good piece is not enjoyed ready at once, wrap this in a slightly damp (water or red wine) linen or cloth cloth (or vacuum again) and store in a cool place.
If this is too complicated, a zip bag for storage in the refrigerator is usually sufficient. In that case, the bag should be opened every few days and a piece eaten, otherwise the meat will "suffocate" over time.

More on this in this Blog.

What is the best way to cut up dried meat specialities?

The mountain meat can be sliced nice and thin with a slicing machine or a meat slicer. However, we usually use a kitchen knife to cut it into thin, irregular slices from the middle, just like the Salsiz varieties and the Baron. A slightly thicker piece, which is then cut into strips and requires a little more chewing muscle, gives an even more pronounced aroma. Just like in Urneni's time.

I really like the mountain leather collection "At the table". At the table, of course, it also drips sometimes - doesn't that leave stains?

The leather is open-pored, pure nature, so naturally there will be stains. The first stain will disturb quite firmly, with time the stains will be distributed more regularly, the leather will become darker with the light and through use, especially through grease. You can wipe it well with a damp cloth, but without soap or anything, and apply a natural leather care product every now and then (beeswax and oil based is best). We see it this way: every stain is a small witness of a beautiful moment!
If the stains still bother you, we recommend buying the black leather set. With this set, any permanent stains are much less visible.

More about mountain leather in this Blog.

Adrian Hirt tastes Alpahirt dried meat

I want to know more...

Why does Alpahirt produce mountain meat and not Bündnerfleisch?

Bündnerfleisch is a geographically protected indication of origin (GGA) and subject to certification. The specifications prescribe, among other things, the use of curing agents. In addition, Bündnerfleisch must be pressed in an unnaturally rectangular manner.
Until December 2020, Alpahirt was nevertheless certified (in a grey area without chemical curing agents) and sold "Bindenfleisch - the original Bündnerfleisch". However, the association or its members did not like it. Since various magazines regularly write about Alpahirt and its production philosophy, consumers have increasingly asked why curing salts are usually used. This has led to problems, complaints and stress, so we have decided to stop offering Bündnerfleisch as of 1 January 2021.
The mountain meat is now exactly the same - except that it is not pressed into a rectangle and is additionally made from the even more noble cuts from the back and the hoof.
...and is no longer called Bündnerfleisch.

Read more in the Blog.

How does the taste of Alpahirt dried meat differ from that of conventional dried meat?

Alpahirt dried meat tastes meatier, less cheesy and has a deeper perceived saltiness, in contrast to cured dried meat. The taste is naturally described with a spicy-fruity note and a lasting good finish. In addition to the natural taste, it is sustainably and traceably produced thanks to 100%igen regional value creation with naturally fed animals from suckler cow farms.

What do we mean by animal husbandry that is appropriate to its nature?

For us, animal husbandry is one in which the animals are allowed to be outside, in summer on the alpine pastures, natural spraying, etc. Alpahirt's cows live on average 10 years, sometimes up to 20 years. So they are allowed to have a long life.
Furthermore, they eat only grass, herbs, rarely grain growing around the farm and in winter hay and sometimes silage grass throughout their lives.

Here you will find the standards for Alpahirt animal welfare.

What is pickling salt and why do many producers use it?

Pickling salt is a mixture of table salt and sodium nitrite (E250) or potassium nitrate (E252), rarely also E249 and E251. Pickling salt is added to meat products to achieve a stable reddish colour, to create the pickling aroma and for preservation. The pickling salt used today is chemically synthesised in the laboratory and is mainly used for uniformity. Alpahirt preserves its products with a different, gentler technology that was already a guarantee for great taste more than 100 years ago.

More at Mission.

What is the Swiss National Animal Society (VNTS)?

The aim of the Swiss National Animal Society (VNTS) is to ensure that Swiss cows are kept in a manner appropriate to their nature and fed naturally, and in particular that cows are kept in a respectful, appreciative and animal-friendly manner. The association informs about animal welfare and aims at an improvement, namely a more mindful and respectful treatment of animal creatures. It supports projects and initiatives that reduce the suffering of cattle, primarily cows, and are in harmony with nature. The VNTS supports farmers and the farming industry who are committed to healthy and sustainably produced food and mindful livestock farming.
The National Animal Switzerland Association is independent, non-religious and party-politically neutral. It does not pursue any commercial purposes and does not seek to make a profit.
You can find out more about the VNTS here.

What does 'Urneni' mean and what is the date 1896 all about?

Urneni is the Grisons dialect term for "great-grandfather".
1896 was the year of birth of the founder's Urneni and the likeness of the Alpahirt logo.

Why do people usually say 'you' to each other in the Alps?

The per-Du has always symbolised mutual trust and helpfulness in the impassable Alps. It testifies to a simplicity that is usually welcomed in a world that is otherwise often too complicated.

Urneni Alpahirt at the Bull Market
Alpahirt figurative mark Meat from GR

How it all began?

This goes back to 1896 - the birth year of our founder Anton Hassler. Also known as the "Urneni" (great-grandfather). You can find out more here: