For over a century, Bündnerfleisch has been dry-cured high up in the Graubünden Alps to impart it with its unmistakable flavour. Is it possible to make this premium delicacy even better through high-altitude curing all the way up in the stratosphere? The mission crew taking on this task on behalf of the Verband Bündner Fleischfabrikanten found out: With the support of experts, Bündnerfleisch producers allowed a stratospheric balloon to ascend to an altitude of some 40,000 metres with Bündnerfleisch on board. After completion of the flight, they located the “Mocka One” and sampled the meat. Their verdict: the specimen of Bündnerfleisch had lost about 30 grams of weight, indicating that the “Mocka One” contains even less moisture than the Bündnerfleisch that is dry-cured using traditional methods. In terms of its appearance, the well-travelled Bündnerfleisch is also a bit different: it is darker and has a whitish coating. However, the taste of this Bündnerfleisch from the stratosphere is convincing: while the flavour is not the same, it is also good, the entire mission crew agrees.
An experienced mission crew
Jörg Brügger, Fredy Gurtner, Ludwig Hatecke and Anselm Sialm, all of them producers of Bündnerfleisch, share a deep love for their profession. The members of the Verband Bündner Fleischfabrikanten, a union of meat producers in Graubünden, produce their goods – especially the world-famous Bündnerfleisch – every day with patience, uncompromisingly high quality standards and a great deal of passion.
While the mission crew upholds traditional meat production methods, it is constantly on the lookout for innovations that will help them improve the fruit of their labour. #missionhighdry
Jörg Brügger’s great-grandfather, Engelhard Brügger, was producing Bündnerfleisch as early as 1892. He is considered the founder of professional meat drying. To this day, the Brügger family use his methods to produce their specialities in Parpan. Jörg Brügger enjoys his work: “I love my trade and the tradition. And I have no doubt that local and high-quality products have a great future ahead.”
Fredy Gurtner hails from Flims. He has some wisdom to share: “You have to love the work you do, or it will never yield anything good.” When you taste his specialities at the Gurtner butcher’s shop, you quickly realise the sheer joy and passion that goes into the products. From their Fleischkäse meat loaf and traditional Engadin venison Salsiz sausage to the Bündnerfleisch, the Gurtners’ meats all taste fantastic.
Ludwig Hatecke’s meat-drying business is located in the beautiful town of Scuol in the Lower Engadin. You can taste the Romansh influence in his products, which have traditional names such as Tschierv alpin (dried venison) and Cristal d’Engiadina (dry-cured meat from the Graubünden Alps). Ludwig Hatecke lovingly produces his goods all year round, and they are very popular in his area and the whole of Switzerland.
Anselm Sialm’s business in Disentis at the source of the Rhine is all about air-drying meat – a craft that requires both passion and patience. If you ever find yourself in the area, do not miss the opportunity to visit the Sialm family’s meat-drying business and lovingly presented shop. Their delicacies are also available to order to any Swiss address.
At a glance
How the experiment worked
On the day of the experiment, the mission crew was supported by a team of experts: A stratospheric balloon was filled with helium, which is lighter than air, giving the balloon lift. The ambient pressure decreases during the ascent, and the helium expands until the balloon bursts. At the maximum altitude of the flight, the diameter of the balloon had increased to roughly seven meters (compared to a starting size of only two to three metres on the ground).
How the “Mocka One” returned to the ground
After some two hours of ascent, the balloon reached its maximum flight altitude of nearly 38,000 metres above sea level. As soon as the balloon burst due to the low ambient pressure, a parachute was deployed, and the Bündnerfleisch made its way back to the ground. The “Mocka One” landed on Kisten Pass in Switzerland three hours later.
How was the stratospheric Bündnerfleisch located and evaluated?
A few hours after the launch, the stratospheric balloon found its way back onto the surface of the earth on Kisten Pass. Using GPS, it was possible to precisely determine the location of the stratospheric Bündnerfleisch. Mountain climbers then assisted in safely salvaging the Bündnerfleisch and returning it to the mission crew, which subjected the meat to a first analysis on site.
How you can share in the thrill of the mission after the fact
The live stream remains available on this website.
How to contact the mission crew
The mission crew can be contacted at the e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org.