It begins at 5:30 a.m. in his seasonal chalet high in the Swiss Alps, when Henchoz wakes up and turns on the 20-watt bulb in his kitchen. (Utility wires are nonexistent here at 5,800 feet, so a small generator provides the power.) After a breakfast of bread and heavy cream that he eats straight from the pot, Henchoz heads off to round up the cows. The animals graze and sleep farther up the mountain, in meadows blanketed with shaggy wild grasses and iridescent wildflowers, some of which grow knee-high. Once Henchoz and his border collie have guided the herd back into the stables, he and his girlfriend, Natasha, begin milking. They fill a huge copper vat that hangs over an open flame, and spend the next hour heating, stirring, and straining, until the liquid is transformed into three 50-pound wheels of L'Etivaz cheese.