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    Wooden Spoons

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    The region of Gruyère, with its medieval castle, picturesque chalets and cowbells ringing across green alpine pastures, has produced much more over the years than its now internationally famous cheese.  Much of the local artisanry centers around the dairy farming tradition, and carved wooden spoons are a case in point.

    Along with a knife, a wooden spoon was a standard personal piece of cutlery in this area’s homes from the 17th to the 19th centuries.  The spoons are traditionally made of maple, a wood that does not leave a taste in the mouth, and are approximately seven inches (18 cm) long.  The strong wide handle reflects the foods that were dished up, hearty soups and very thick double cream, another specialty of Gruyère.  Sculpted spoons appeared at the beginning of the 20th century, and today they are used as both decoration and as a novelty in some local restaurants.IMGP0279

    Although it is quite easy to obtain a factory-made spoon in a souvenir shop, those that are intricately carved by an indigenous artist are much more challenging to find, and each one is unique.  To make one’s collection complete, a handcrafted wooden cream bucket from the Gruyère region is also essential.