Travers, Mines d'asphalte. Photo/Foto: TES.

Ham Cooked in Asphalt

A restaurant in Val-de-Travers offers a remarkable recipe: ham cooked in asphalt. Ham cooked in asphalt was eaten by the miners.

The asphalt mines in the valley were exploited from the beginning of the nineteenth century. Already in 1711, the Greek physician Eirini d’Eyrinys (1630-1730) discovered the first medical applications of asphalt and its use for the production of cement.

The first mine was an open-pit mine in the Combe-Vaubayon. The exploitation of the Spesa mine started in Travers in 1830. The mine became the property of an English company, the “Neuchâtel Asphalte Company Ltd.”. The mine was bought by another English company in 1961 but was closed in 1986.