Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Food-related gifts from Switzerland


Recommended Posts

A friend and her husband are traveling to Switzerland this weekend for a couple of weeks that might include side trips to Italy - she's asked if I have any shopping requests. Since my last Swiss treat consisted of chocolate [lightweight and easy to pack], I thought to ask for something else. But have come up blank - I'm not sure she's willing to schlep a bottle of local wine, which I have heard is not to be sneezed at - any little cooking tool or foodstuff that is particularly local? Foodie52?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A friend and her husband are traveling to Switzerland this weekend for a couple of weeks that might include side trips to Italy - she's asked if I have any shopping requests. Since my last Swiss treat consisted of chocolate [lightweight and easy to pack], I thought to ask for something else. But have come up blank - I'm not sure she's willing to schlep a bottle of local wine, which I have heard is not to be sneezed at - any little cooking tool or foodstuff that is particularly local? Foodie52?

A lovely bottle of Chasselas to have with your next cheese fondue would be a welcome addition to your wine cabinet. Not so easy to find here, either.

I'd still be asking for chocolate! :wub:

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Swiss products, many food related here :wink:

The chocolates, as Katie points out, are still among the best ideas .. and cheeses are hard to bring back ... the Swiss Army Knives and their distinctive wines are also good gifts.

I disagree, Cheeses are not hard to bring into the States.

Number one: Make sure the cheese is aged over six months (if unpasteurized)

Number two: Ask the vendor to 'vacuum pack'

Number three: Tell the truth on your customs declaration, use this phrase:

" Hard Cheese(s),aged over 6 months, vacuum-packed, names, quantities, for personal use only".

I recommend 'Tete de Moine' and 'Sbrinz". Hard to find here.

Peter
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Some of the things I like to bring back or have sent to me include wines, a bottle of good Kirsch or other fruit-based liquor, chocolate and cheese of course, local jams and honeys, along with items I grew up on that wouldn't have much appeal otherwise! If your friend has room in her luggage, a fondue set or white wine glasses would be typical things to have.

I'll try and think of more stuff later today.

Anne

Anne E. McBride

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I second SwissMiss's idea re: Kirsch or any other good local liqueur.

When I was travelling in and near St. Moritz there was also a delicious of fruitcake type bread made with dried pears and I think almonds (?Birnbrot)?. I brought a few of these back and they were great for breakfast. :smile:

Edited by ludja (log)

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Locally-made kirsch! It's fantastic!

Not food-related, but there's some beautiful embroidery and lace done in the mountain communities.............easily packed!

I'm a canning clean freak because there's no sorry large enough to cover the, "Oops! I gave you botulism" regrets.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I was travelling in and near St. Moritz there was also a delicious of fruitcake type bread made with dried pears and I think almonds (?Birnbrot)?.  I brought a few of these back and they were great for breakfast.  :smile:

These are delicious! That reminds me of another sweet, which is a bread made of almost the same dough as the one mentioned by Ludja, filled with marzipan. Can't thik of the name, even in French, but they are wonderful. A good nut torte is also something worth asking for, as they often come packaged tightly enough to make it to the States in one piece. I have tried to reproduce the ones I eat when I go home with many different recipes, but although good they were never the same!

Anne E. McBride

Link to comment
Share on other sites

annadev, this is a great suggestion.

I regularly buy "Basler Läckerli" ("Lickers") as a gift, especially when transport circumstances (temperature, weight) are difficult. It's a sort of gingerbread. They seem to origin from the years 1430-1450 and the first written recipe is from 17th century.

This producer is the most popular and successful one with numerous branches in Swiss towns and an online shop.

Edited by Boris_A (log)

Make it as simple as possible, but not simpler.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not that it's very important, but I think "Läckerli" is derived from "lecker" (tasty) and not from "lecken" (to lick), all the more as Läckerli are more for chewing than for licking.

By the way, I like them a lot!

Charley

Charles Milton Ling

Vienna, Austria

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not that it's very important, but I think "Läckerli" is derived from "lecker" (tasty) and not from "lecken" (to lick)

To spin a bit more the unimportance:

The term "lecker" for tasty doesn't exist in Swiss German. Sametime a Swiss German expression for sweeties is "Schläckwaare", where "schläcke" stands for "lecken"(to lick).

But I'm open for the question wether "Lickers" or "Tasties" is the adequate translation.

In the end we all love those 400+ years old little things!

Make it as simple as possible, but not simpler.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...

Forget about chocolate and army knives, you can get those for a couple of extra bucks back home. Look for two things....

No 1: (eau de vie) Kirsch, Pflümli, Kräuter, Quitten, Williams and Mirabelle. Look for locally made stuff, hopefully made in small batches in copper stills out back in the barn. There are fancy kinds in hand blown bottles for tourists but you want the ones from the farm with a hand painted sign hanging out by the mailbox. One of the best kirschs' I have ever had was actually from the Familia factory store in Sachseln and it was only about 13 bucks a half liter!

Bio-familia AG

Brünigstrasse 141

CH-6072 Sachseln

No 2: A bergkäse called hobelkäse (AOC) from the Berner oberland. They age it for up to 3 years, its as hard as a hockey puck. You will need a kind of inverted block-plane to cut it. You eat the shavings like potato chips....it's heaven, heaven, heaven! But you have to go WAY up into the mountains and knock on a few doors to get it. You can't find it in any Swiss city (that I have seen anyway...well... not the really good 3 year old stuff). These cheeses are so dry that all you have to do is wrap a piece up in parchment paper and keep it in a tupperware box in the fridge and it will keep for months.

See: http://www.aoc-igp.ch/ver-de/prodch/alpkase.htm

Enjoy, Ed

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The term "lecker" for tasty doesn't exist in Swiss German

are you sure about that? - I seem to remember hearing the folks say ahhh dieser Roste is ganz lecker, weiss? oder mache wir eine ganz lecker nachtrichte---- or something along those lines ( I have no idea how to schriebe auf schwiezadeutschli! or regualr german for that matter)

I would get a raclette machine and cheese -- but is probably a little to large to carry home.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm born here about half a century ago and I never heard it . My Austrian girlfriend says the expression "lecker" for tasty doesnt' even exist in Austria. It's a purely "German" German expression, it seems. BTW, there arent any rules to write Swiss German, it's a spoken only language/idiom, so your spelling is perfect :smile:

Wrt. raclette machine: this one comes very near to the traditional way to prepare a raclette: with a fire and two or three flat stones, which makes raclette for a great outdoor food event. I remember very well carrying a case of white wine uphill :biggrin:

Edited by Boris_A (log)

Make it as simple as possible, but not simpler.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My German grandmother used to call something delicious "ein Leckerbissen".

My favorite things to bring back from Switzerland (my parents are in Luzern) are:

socks!

Knitting yarn

cookbooks (by Betty Bose (sp))

Knorr packets for things I can't get here...fun things like Mehlsuppe or Currysauce

Cailler chocolate: melt in your mouth

Dried herb blends from Migros

Marzipan

French and North African olive oils

Mini bottles of Kirsch and Pflumli for all my friends

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My German grandmother used to call something delicious "ein Leckerbissen".
Ouch!

Yes, "Läckerbisse" (tasty bite) does exist. But somehow the adjective "läcker" as a single word never made it to Swiss German.

"Mehlsuppe" (flour soup) is a Swiss icon dish, BTW.

# 4 in this list of 20 Swiss classic dishes or desserts.

Another interesting gift might be "Salsiz" (pronounced "salsits"), small, very dry salamis prodcued in the canton of Graubünden (Davos, St. Moritz, etc). They are small and easy to transport and the best are a really delicious snack.

Make it as simple as possible, but not simpler.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wrt. raclette machine: this one comes very near to the traditional way to prepare a raclette: with a fire and two or three flat stones, which makes raclette for a great outdoor food event. I remember very well carrying a case of white wine uphill :biggrin:

I wouldn't recommend buying an electric appliance for use in the U.S., unless you wanna buy a transformer, too. I blew out my German raclette machine AND the transformer a couple of years ago. Plus, you can buy them here. My local cheese shop stocks them.

Slightly OT, but: Don't you find those machines to be a major PITA? Sure, they're fun and, well, for lack of a better word, "urig" (sorta "charmingly unusual"), but first everyone sits around with gnawing stomachs waiting for the half-wheel of cheese to warm up, maybe eating the potatoes unadorned out of sheer hunger. Then once the cheese starts to run, it's portion .... wait .... portion ... wait. So if you've got 6 or 8 guests, it takes awhile for everyone to get a first plate. But then, when the cheese is really goin', its suddenly coming too fast. And someone's gotta man the thing (usually the host), meaning he/she usually eats last.

I much prefer the more pedestrian raclette "grill", pictured here. You have to portion the cheese in advance, which is a bit of a pain, but everyone eats at his/her own pace.

Edited by cinghiale (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@cinghiale

Of course your'e right. I shouldn't have made that recommendation without a cautionary statement. That "urige" (quaint ~ old and original) raclette machine is meant for 4 people max. The type you showed is the standard one, widespread in all households here.

For me, the whole raclette thing is (not unlike fondue) more than a meal, it's a bit an event, a game, a meal that stresses community much more than others. In it's most lovely way (the outdoor version, with a fire and a group of eight or ten people), it will take the half of an afternoon. It's pretty inpractical of course, and usually you'll reach your quantum of wine long before your quantum of cheese. A PITA, but rather a sweet than a major pain. :smile:

Make it as simple as possible, but not simpler.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In it's most lovely way (the outdoor version, with a fire and a group of eight or ten people), it will take the half of an afternoon. It's pretty inpractical of course, and usually you'll reach your quantum of wine long before your quantum of cheese. A PITA, but rather a sweet than a major pain.  :smile:

Right you are, Boris -- a "sweet PITA" indeed. :laugh: Must someday try the rocks & fire version -- well, if it ever gets cold enough here this year.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
@cinghiale

For me, the whole raclette thing is (not unlike fondue) more than a meal, it's a bit an event, a game, a meal that stresses community much more than others.  In it's most lovely way (the outdoor version, with a fire and a group of eight or ten people), it will take the half of an afternoon. It's pretty inpractical of course, and usually you'll reach your quantum of wine long before your quantum of cheese. A PITA, but rather a sweet than a major pain.  :smile:

Funny you should mention that. Here I am doing just that. The cheese is mostly gone at this point but that's what I'm doing!

ballenberg1.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

The absolute best chocolate in Switzerland is Sprungli outside of Zurich. They also have two shops in the Zurich airport. I would rank their truffles with the Chocolate Line in Brugges as the best I have ever had. (I've eaten a LOT of chocolate in France, Belgium and Switzerland!) Also, their liquor chocolates as well as 1/2 inch thick 3" x 6" "bars" of which I think hazelnut is the best.

I am eating one of these as I type having just returned from there. With a glass of red wine from Montreux all is right with the world.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...