A mountain cereal
Rye is by definition a mountain cereal, the only one that can be cultivated at high altitude – traditionally up to 2,200 metres in the Findelen region (Zermatt). It is from its cultivation that the ancestral Valais tradition of daily consumption of meals based on rye bread is founded. This tradition was dictated by the difficult climatic conditions and the nomadic lifestyle of almost total self sufficiency of the old mountain farming world.
However, due to very low prices, rye production dropped significantly in the Valais until 1998.
The AOC Valais rye bread
In this context, the application to obtain an “Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée” designation for Valais rye bread, is an operation to ensure the survival of rye production in Valais. In fact, only rye produced in the canton of Valais can be used in the making of Valais rye bread.
Rye production enables economic activity to continue and the dispersed occupation of the territory to be maintained in mountain areas. Its cultivation contributes to the safeguarding of the traditional landscapes, typified by mosaics formed by small parcels of land, as well the Valais heritage together with the maintenance of activities among which are old mills and communal ovens.