Rye bread

Valais, birthplace of the AOP Valais rye bread

Rye is the only type of grain which can adapt to extreme climatic conditions (the cold of winter, heavy snowfalls, summer heat and drought) and high altitudes. The key role played by rye bread in meeting the day-to-day nutritional needs of Valais natives is documented as far back as 1209. In other words, rye bread was a farm product with a long shelf life – one that was of fundamental importance in feeding the valley dwellers. AOP Valais rye bread, baked by master bakers, ensures that rye will continue to be grown in Valais, conserving the landscape. It creates a very valuable link between farmers, bakers and consumers. AOP Valais rye bread still looks the same today as it did 100 years ago. It is just as tasty and contains a lot of dietary fibre.

  • Facts and figures

    90% rye

    Made with wholemeal flour, minimum 90% rye

  • Facts and figures

    More than one million loaves of 500 g

    are produced every year

  • Facts and figures

    Sice 1209

    Earliest written records of rye bread in Valais date from 1209

  • Facts and figures

    About 30 producers

    make the flour used to bake the bread

  • Facts and figures

    50 bakers

    in Valais are certified AOP

Key facts

  • Storage : in a dry, clean place – preferably in a linen, cotton or paper bag, or in a traditional wooden bread bin. The bread must never be kept in plastic or metal containers, or in plastic bags or in the fridge. Keeps for 5 days.

  • Events : mobile bakeries participate at fairs including the “Foire du Valais” and “Goûts et Terroirs”. Swiss Bakery Trophy every 2 years.

  • Ingredients : flour, water, salt and yeast

Health benefits

  • Rye bread contains little gluten. The longer the fermentation period, the less gluten the bread contains.
  • Contains only natural ingredients: water, salt, flour and yeast.
  • No GMOs, no preservatives, no additives
  • This is a wholemeal bread that fully deserves its place in a balanced diet.
  • High in fibre and contains many vitamins – notably B2 and B6 – as well as magnesium, iron and trace elements such as zinc.
  • Contains little fat or sugar.
  • High in complex carbohydrates, rye bread satisfies the appetite for longer and covers energy requirements in a balanced way.
  • Rye cultivation is non-intensive and protects the landscape.

Criteria for the AOP label

  • The designated geographical area comprises the whole of the canton of Valais. 
  • The flour used to make Valais rye bread AOP is composed exclusively of at least 90% rye and a maximum 10% wheat.
  • The dough is made exclusively with water, salt, flour and yeast.
  • Valais rye bread is baked in a hearth oven for about an hour. The individual touch of an artisan baker ensures that each Valais rye bread has a different taste. 
  • Quality control is carried out by an independent body to ensure that specifications are met. Once a year, rye bread from the different bakers is blind-tasted by professionals.



How to enjoy

With an “Assiette valaisanne” (Valais platter); spread with butter, to accompany cheese or meat; and at tea time or as a snack, with Valais apricot jam or Valais honey.

Recipes with rye bread