Representing the 2nd generation, Marc Dubosson took over the reins of the Verbier Dairy in 2014, at the age of only 25. Thanks to the creativity and dynamic nature of this new manager, the business, including the shop, has been developed rapidly and today employs 4 members of staff according to the season. Located in the ideal position at the entrance of Verbier village, the dairy offers delicious cheeses and lovely inventions, such as truffle raclette.A passionate sportsman indulging in golf, football and e-biking, Marc is above all in love with Verbier and doesn’t hesitate to talk about his luck in living in such a wonderful resort. Here is the interview with this young trader.
Can you give us some insight into the history of the dairy ?
In the past, there were three alpine pastures in Verbier and each one made its own cheese at its location. Then they decided to create a cooperative in the village and the dairy was built in 1960.
Educated in Le Crêt in the Canton of Fribourg, my father came to Verbier in 1984 to take over the management of the cooperative. There were only two of them to take over such a large workload.
So for me, born in 1991 and one of five children, I was always helping my father in the cheese dairy, for example, cleaning the wooden production boards or helping with the yoghurt production. Then I did my apprenticeship with him, as well as three years of study in Fribourg.
My father wore two hats, on one side he was manager of the cooperative and on the other, an independent, making his own cheeses and running the shop. It was the fact of working really for oneself which motivated me to take over the business. Jonathan Baillifard took over the management of the Verbier Dairy cooperative.
What are your signature cheeses ?
We make the famous Tomme de Bougne which is similar to a reblochon. We also make artisanal yoghurts, which are very popular with our clients. There’s also the Verbier tomme which is rather runny, called the Catelle de Verbier because of its square shape. It was named by Julie, the daughter of the VFP founders.
I’ve also made three creations. The truffle raclette which has been incredibly successful, the Verbier blue and the wild garlic tomme available in a small size. My rather free-thinking side encourages me to source other products and make the shop more attractive.
What’s the concept of your shop where you promote these cheeses ?
When I took over the management, I focused on the shop 100 %. I bought a bit of freshness and youth to it. I repainted the cheese dairy facade. It’s small but it’s pretty. The cheese dairy behind is very artisanal. After, with the effect of COVID, we gained from people returning to buying local. There was a desire to buy locally and support the small shopkeepers. A great number of positive elements that worked in our favour. As for sales, I’m a commercially minded and really like having client contact.
The cheese-making workshops are also a unique feature of your cheese dairy.
Absolutely and I’d like to develop more of these workshops. The lessons last for two hours. Each person has a little pot, makes their own cheese and leaves with their finished tomme two or three days later. Then, we taste cheeses with a bottle of local wine. A cheese cellar visit is also organised. The concept is working really well. Being rather limited in the cheese dairy, we’ll really need to find a new space for this project.
According to the tourist office, it’s the activity of the week. There’s also a lot of private requests. At the moment, about 40 workshops are held each year. It’s an activity that has huge potential.
What is your future vision for local products from the region of Bagnes ?
Our local products and cheese are of an exceptional quality due to our mountain pastures.
A challenge which is looming on the horizon is the continuation of the farming population. For the dairy-based sector, the underlying problem is being faced with a shortage of milk. This was Eddy Baillifard‘s main principal concern that was shared by the other cheesemakers in the valley. There is also the issue of climate change. If summer becomes more and more dry, that will have a negative impact on the quantity of milk.
How should cheese be stored ?
Raclette cheese is a cheese which can be stored easily if you have a good cellar. It needs a good level of humidity of 90 % and a temperature under 10 degrees. The cheese needs to breathe, if not, it’ll get damp. As the cheese ages, it loses lactose. Raclette cheese can be kept for up to one year.
Have you known VFP for a while ?
I know the Fellay family really well. In the past, my sister was at school with Julie who used to often come over to our place. Michael used to play football with my brother. I’ve certainly got to know Michael much better over the last 5 or 6 years. He had contacted me to present 5 cheeses paired with wines, during an event for the Verbier Festival.