Board 3




A cheese-producing village

 

The first cheesemonger dates from 1811. Before that, the usage of a turning system is revealed by just one single document. This system, consequently forgotten, was used within one or the other quarters of the village instead of its entirety. The milk of several producers was blended at the same time and the cheese was thus produced in turns at each of the producers. This required moving the equipment every time - a complicated situation, but in the past, everybody participated. The volume of the contributed milk was inscribed on sticks.

 

The cheese of the production – since money wasn’t the point - belonged to the one who had made the biggest total contribution of milk. Afterwards, the cheese became the property of the second largest contributor and so it went on. Then, everything would be erased and started again.

 

French and Belgium captives from 1916 are transporting boxes full of Vacherin cheese from the Rochat – Golay enterprise to the buildings of the Mon-Désir hotel
French and Belgium captives from 1916 are transporting boxes full of Vacherin cheese from the Rochat – Golay enterprise to the buildings of the Mon-Désir hotel

 

This system still continues with the appearance of the first dairy shop, only the manufacture takes place now in one fixed place.

 

Then came the introduction of book-keeping, then the payment for cheese with money, and finally, the sale of the milk to the dairyman who was thus in charge of the entirety of the manufacture of cheeses.

 

Le Caprice, a cliché by the photographer Fred Boissonnas (1858 – 1946). Le Grand Bazar, the most important cheese trader in the centre, the farm of Zélie Rochat, Henri’s mother, on the right
Le Caprice, a cliché by the photographer Fred Boissonnas (1858 – 1946). Le Grand Bazar, the most important cheese trader in the centre, the farm of Zélie Rochat, Henri’s mother, on the right

 

In Le Pont, one made gruyere - a hard-grain cheese - and tomes, goat cheese, reblochons - soft cheese. Of course, cream and quark were also produced there. These products could be exported to the neighbouring plains.

In terms of private manufacturing, two major figures also were involved in cheese production.

 

Henri Rochat-Golay, owner of the Chalet Suisse, came from Charbonnières and settled in Le Pont at the end of the 19th century. He became a major dealer in vacherins and other cheeses, which he bought from alpine producers in summer and from dairymen of that region during the bad season. His successors moved the company to Lausanne in the 1960s.

 

Henri Rochat-Golay (1866 - 1954), cheese trader and representative
Henri Rochat-Golay (1866 - 1954), cheese trader and representative
The Petit Jurassien (small jurassic cheese), an original cheese, created by François Rochat from Les Places
The Petit Jurassien (small jurassic cheese), an original cheese, created by François Rochat from Les Places

 

François Rochat, from Les Places, an area of houses above the village, built his Chalet Mont-d’Or. The name means that there they undertake refining the product of this name, vacherin cheeses. François Rochat was therefore a refiner by trade. He delivers his products via the railway to large cities in Switzerland and abroad, but, at the same time, he travelled the country in his little van and met his end clients. He was dynamic, and created a new cheese called ‘Le Petit Jurassien’.

 

The village of Le Pont recognized the importance of the dairy and alpine economy, which made it purchase, in 1844, the two alpine domains of la Dent: the ‘Lower Petite-Dent’ and the ‘Upper Petite-Dent’. You will see the two handsome alpine chalets on these properties if you have the desire – and the courage – the climb to the summit.

 

End of May – beginning of June, many herds of cows are run through the village of Le Pont to the mountain pasture
End of May – beginning of June, many herds of cows are run through the village of Le Pont to the mountain pasture
An earnest dairyman is stirring his curdling milk in the chalet La Petite-Dent Dessous
An earnest dairyman is stirring his curdling milk in the chalet La Petite-Dent Dessous