Lè Mithrètè is a very special type of wooden utensil. Shaped like a small, shallow pail with a handle, it is used for eating the thick rich Gruyère cream. Unexpectedly, it is also the nickname for the inhabitants of the village of La Roche and there is a story behind that, which goes way back, about 500 years ago.
At that time, the community of La Roche consisted of a widespread scattering of individual farmsteads. There was no core village and no parish church. The farmers, however, were devout Christians who went to Mass in the village of Broc, a two-hour walk away. As Mass was scheduled in the morning, the farmers from La Roche left as soon as they had finished taking care of the needs of their livestock, each carrying their personal mithrètè and a thick broth for lunch. They couldn't really face the two-hour walk to go back home with an empty stomach.
Of course, they usually didn’t arrive on time for the Mass, they were late most of the time. The parishioners of Broc used to wait for them under the church porch. As soon as they saw them arrive, they would call out "Here come the mithrètè carriers, the service can now begin".
Thematic route :
A Country of Legends
Jean Brodard, from "Contes et légendes de Fribourg", Editions Monographic SA Sierre, 1984, Collection Mémoires vivantes