National Geographic : 1956 Oct
466 Paul Popper, Ltd. Barry the 10th Carries On Tradition amid the Snows of Great St. Bernard Pass For centuries St. Bernard dogs have helped the monks of St. Bernard Hospice rescue lost wayfarers. During the early 1800's a dog named Barry saved at least 41. Since then the strongest dog has borne Barry's name. In snow this seven-year-old uses his enormous paws like paddles. The monk's shoulder bands symbolize clothing given to the poor off the back of St. Bernard de Menthon, founder of the hospice. ers counted the money a second time, said goodbye, and started back up the hill. "There are 15 families in that group," Birri told us as we drove homeward. "They number about 100 people and keep 65 cows. This is their entire summer production of top quality cheese. The rest, made with half cream milk, they keep for their own pantries. Each family will get 130-odd dollars from this sale, and that's about the only cash they'll see this summer." We drove to Bern the next day for lunch with Mr. George Lemann, commercial di rector of the Swiss Cheese Union, a trade organization that controls the export of Swit zerland's best-known commodity. "Cheese is a vital part of the Swiss econ omy," Mr. Lemann told us. "In 1954 we exported about 17,000 long tons of Emmen taler, Gruyere, and Sbrinz. It brought some $20,000,000." "Is the United States your biggest cus tomer?" we queried. "No, we shipped only 3,600 tons to you people. Italy bought 4,900. You like Em mentaler; they like Sbrinz. We Swiss prefer Gruyere." * "What's the best way for me to keep Swiss cheese at home?" Jean asked. "Buy from the wheel in pieces of about two pounds," Mr. Lemann suggested. "Wrap the wedge in a cloth soaked in lightly salted water and store it in the refrigerator. Always take it out at least two hours before serving." "A wedge takes up so much space in the icebox," Jean mentioned. "Have you ever considered making square cheeses?" "We'd love to," Mr. Lemann smiled, "but when a cheese starts to ferment, it swells and tries to get round. If you start with a square, you get a very peculiar shape." It was late summer, and the grapes were ripening on the shores of Lake of Geneva. Raymond Jaussi had promised to take us on (Continued on page 475) * See "An August First in Gruyeres," by Melville Bell Grosvenor, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, August, 1936.