© Montafon Tourismus GmbH Schruns, Stefan Kothner

Montafon Sura Kees



A rediscovered taste experience

There is a whole valley behind this speciality

The Montafon Sura Kees is a regional speciality, which has characterised the Montafon through the centuries. Its history had highsandlows. Its taste and smell are unparalleled. Together with the Montafon, it stands for one of the oldest cheese traditions of the Alpine pastures. With her family business, Christine Fitsch is part of this tradition and is known beyond the valley for her Sura Kees products.

Sura Kees auf der Alpe Rongg | © Montafon Tourismus GmbH Schruns, Daniel Zangerl


Hugely popular beyond the mountain and valley

The Montafon can boast of one of the oldest traditions in cheese making in the Alpine region. From the 12th to the 17th century the sour cheese production in the Montafon thrived, however, the Montafon Sura Kees faced strong competition with the emerging rennet cheese. Better storage and transport capacities made the rennet cheese more suited to supra-regional trade and thus drove out the Sura Kees. The knowledge relating to Sura Kees is solely preserved in the Montafon. However, the cheese steeped in history had to withstand another crisis. After many Montafon Alpine dairies disappeared in the 1960s, there was a comeback in the 90s. The traditional Montafon Sura Kees became more and more popular and started the current high.

© Montafon Tourismus GmbH, Schruns

“Sura Kees” tasting at Alpe Nova

During the guided tour to Alpe Nova via the Gantekopf, dairy farmer Andrea will provide insight into the production of the Montafon “Sura Kees”; a regional speciality, which has characterised the southernmost valley of Vorarlberg through the centuries.



From the milk to the cheese with “Brenta” and “Käsker”

The Montafon has been home to the Montafon Sura Kees since the 12th century. The basic procedure during the production has hardly changed since. The traditional, artisanal method is still implemented on the Alpine pasture. The production in valley companies has only been adapted to the modern production standards. The first step on the way to the taste experience of the Montafon Sura Kees is the filtering of milk. In the “Brenten” (wooden tubs), it matures for one to two days until the cream moves to the surface. “I work the cream into butter and clarified butter. It turns out next to no by-products,” says Christine Fitsch. The remaining skimmed milk is soured and warmed depending on the secret recipe of the Alpine dairyman or dairywoman. As a result, the “Bolma” [curd] separates and rises to the surface. It is filled in the “Käsker” [cylindrical tub] where the excess whey can drain off. Following the rubbing with salt, the cheese should rest in the cellar and develop a “Muffna” [transparent, fatty rind].

Blicke auf Alpe Garnera im Sommer | © Vorarlberg Tourismus, Dietmar Denger

Alpine pastures and dairies

Sura Kees is made here

More information
Christine Fitsch | © Montafon Tourismus GmbH Schruns, Patrick Säly

Courage to take initiative

20 years ago, Christine Fitsch followed her intuition and placed her bets on Sura Kees. Today she is known beyond the valley for her products and dedication.

Find out more about Christine


Did you know that...

the Montafon Sura Kees is a skimmed milk cheese and its fat content is just 1 to 10 percent?

Sura Kees | © Montafon Tourismus GmbH Schruns, Andreas Haller

“We have played around with the recipe
and refined the cheese.”

High quality for unparalleled flavour

Although the Montafon Sura Kees is a skimmed milk cheese, it is not lacking in flavour. Initially fresh, savoury and mildly aromatic, as it matures it tastes slightly spicy to sour, but with a discretely salty undertone. “When we started producing Sura Kees 20 years ago, it was mostly too intense. We have played around with the recipe and refined the cheese. Now its flavour is mild and similar to fresh cheese,” saysChristine Fitsch, referring to its beginnings. The low fat and cholesterol content as well as the high-quality protein also make the Montafon Sura Kees a lean cheese alternative. “It is particularly popular among young people. They place more value on healthy nutrition and our Sura Kees is perfect suited,” says Christine Fitsch, explaining the revival of Montafon Sura Kees in recent years.



Recipe ideas with the Montafon speciality

A true all-rounder

Montafon Sura Kees is a true all-rounder in the kitchen. It is traditionally combined with boiled potatoes or used as an ingredient in Keesknöpfli. When it is prepared in a Mediterranean style with tomatoes, olives, herbs, vinegar and oil, Montafon Sura Kees tastes excellent. And what is Christine Fitsch’s favourite way to eat it? “My favourite recipe is the Sura Kees terrine. But I also like it just on a sandwich for breakfast,” she says. Those who prefer not to slave away over the stove can enjoy it in various Montafon restaurants, in both its traditional form and in other refined forms.

Alpenblumen und Jausenbrett auf der Alpe Garnera | © Vorarlberg Tourismus, Dietmar Denger

“The farmer does not eat what they do not know.
 If the city dweller knew what they were eating,
 they would become a farmer.”

“bewusstmontafon”

In the “bewusstmontafonn” (Consciously Montafon) association, farmers, restaurants and merchants work closely together to strengthen their commitment to regional products and recipes, as well as serving up new variations of traditional dishes.

Learn more

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Servicezentrale Montafon | © Montafon Tourismus GmbH, Andreas Haller