Dear readers, today my question for you is this: What does “classic” mean in Tyrol or in combination with snow & skiing? To be quite honest with you, I haven’t had a clue myself before travelling to Kaiserwinkl in Tyrol this time. Doing sports in the fresh winter air might sound like music to my ears, but “classic music” is not what athletes such as Franz Schuler refer to as “classic”. Here he is on a bright winter morning in Tyrol, determined to teach us either classic cross country-skiing or the more demanding cross country-skating technique. In 1986, he became vice world champion of Austria, which he drops casually: “1986 – wow! I have only been three years old back then, just learning how to ski with my family!” He laughs and splits up our group according to everyone’s own preferences: Do we want to go classic cross country-skiing or learn the faster skating techniques from him, similar to ice skating but with sticks and ski?
Herbert Plangger says: “Do you have any idea how good hay can smell?! As a cow, you would simply love it!”
And eat it. Maybe! I do agree that the hay Herbert Plangger passes around in his little basket we find in the small farmhouse next to his big, modern-day cheese factory does smell exceptionally well. A lot has happened during his lifetime: “What we need today, more than anything, are good programmers! Who know how to set up those automated cheese robots we can see here”, Herbert talks with passion in his voice, his eyes twinkling like those of a young boy. He represents the belief that “we are what we eat, hence there is a need to look after our modern-day nutrition and the environment – maybe now more than ever”. His cheese factory is a certified organic and “Heumilch” one, meaning the cows whose milk is used for the cheese production are fed hay from sustainable, organically-grown alpine meadows here in Tyrol. While we walk around the factory getting to know all the “cheese aromas” there are (I count about nine different cheese smells as we walk!), we pick up what makes a typical mountain cheese from Tyrol.
The tasting that follows our visit is heaven! I especially go for the “old mountain cheese” (what an aroma !!) as well as the fresh herbal cheese. Now, if that does not have that lovely hay in it … I silently mouth a big “thank you” to the local cows as I take a bite.
Keen to see more from Kaiserwinkl in Tyrol? Join me on my trip through Flickr:
Disclaimer: We have been invited by the Kaiserwinkl Tourism Board to experience different winter activities in this Tyrolean mountain resort. All opinions are my own.