Cher-Mignon brings fifty years of enjoyment from Valais

Top-quality Swiss meat matures over many months in pure mountain air at 1200 metres above sea level before finding its way into the charcuterie specialities produced by Cher-Mignon. The peace and quiet will be briefly disturbed this summer as there is reason to celebrate: the manufacturing company that joined the Bell Food Group in the spring of 2016 is expecting to welcome around 500 guests to its 50th anniversary.

The history of Cher-Mignon actually goes back further than 50 years: François Bagnoud began offering the first dried meat products at his butchery in 1910. His son Jean-Louis then placed the family’s traditional operation on a broader footing in 1967 by establishing the company Cher-Mignon AG with two partners. He used the name of the town Chermignon to create the brand name with a play on words: «cher» means «expensive» in English, while «mignon» can be translated as «sweet» or «cute». He passed on his passion for sliced meats and sausage products to his son who manages the production site to this day. «We produce roughly one half of the total production volume of Valais dried meat, Valais raw ham and Valais dried bacon», reports Cyrille Bagnoud. «That is more than 550 tonnes of charcuterie products per year.»

Cher-Mignon’s managing director Cyrille Bagnoud runs the long-standing enterprise with 25 employees.

All three specialities bear the «protected geographical indication» (PPI) label, «Indication Géographique Protégée» (IGP) in French. It confirms that the products are produced in Valais from the best Swiss meat. The production process is a modern development of a very old method. The people of Valais used the dry air and warm wind of the Rhone valley to preserve meat as early as the 14th century. Salted and dried, it served them as reserves during the meagre winter months. These delicatessen products are hugely popular today, especially in the Valais region. Cher-Mignon sells three quarters of its Valais dried meat in French-speaking Switzerland. The beef speciality is similar to the air-dried meat from Grisons, but is considered to be juicier, spicier and with less salt content.

Today, the meat matures in the company’s modern curing chambers for two to five months, depending on the size and preferred degree of dryness. The dry mountain air and warm wind lend Cher-Mignon specialities their special taste. In addition to dried meat, raw ham and dried bacon, the company’s product range also includes various sausage products, including sausages made from the meat of Eringer cattle, a local breed also used for fighting – a popular tourist attraction.

Dried meat products mature for up to five months in the curing chamber at Cher-Mignon.

Many of the 25 employees have been with Cher-Mignon for a long time, as evidenced by the exceptional long service rate of 24 years on average. They will celebrate the 50th anniversary of their production site on 1 July together with customers, friends and family members. The entertainment programme will include a factory tour, a competition and music. «We are expecting around 500 visitors who feel a bond with Cher-Mignon», says Cyrille Bagnoud. «On the day before the celebration we will also welcome guests from the management teams of Bell and Coop to mark the occasion.»

Cher-Mignon has belonged to the Bell Food Group for just under a year. The long-standing company has found a strong partner in the Bell Food Group that will secure the future of its production activities. «We have got to know Bell as an impressive company with competent and motivated people», says Cyrille Bagnoud. «With a large organisation in the background that respects our special characteristics, we will still be producing our high-quality Cher-Mignon products 50 years from now.»