Barbara Geier: Channeling Swiss food memories
I love chocolate. And I’m particularly fond of Swiss chocolate products.
Why am I saying this? Because I was recently reminded of how much I like Swiss chocolate when I came across a new brand of it. Well, new for me, because I then learned that it’s actually not new at all. When I told my sister about my ‘discovery’, the response was “Whaaat? You didn’t know that brand? You, of all people??”, while a German friend who spends half her time in Switzerland told me “Well, of course, that’s the best on the market”. In case you’re interested, we’re talking about Läderach. Which I very much recommend trying, if you haven’t done so already – and no one is paying me for that, by the way. Just a tip from one chocolate lover to any other chocolate lover who might be out there.
Anyway, this whole ‘Swiss chocolate in London’ episode triggered more Swiss food memories. My family regularly spent time in Switzerland when I was a child and teenager, and one of the things I liked most about being there was – the food. Things that either didn’t exist in Germany or were just that bit better or more refined. I remember those chocolate-coated mini pralines. Yes, more chocolate and oh so delicious. I remember the small ‘Butterbrezel’ (buttered pretzels) that were completely different to the ones we have in Germany that my mother always bought in that tiny bakery in Lenzerheide. Anyone know if it’s still around? Let me know! Oh, and I remember those yoghurts in different tastes (my favourite, needless to say, was chocolate); not sweet and artificial but fresh and tasty and, already in the early 1980s, environmentally friendly by being sold in glass jars that you cleaned and brought back to the supermarket.
I also remember the very specific Swiss patisserie, because Swiss cakes are different to German ones. Basically, everything is a bit smaller and more sophisticated – and they had wonderful lemon tartlets which we don’t have in Germany. And I love anything cake and lemon related – bliss! By now, you might be thinking that all I ate was sweets, so let’s move on to the savoury section. I also remember Zürcher Geschnetzeltes with Rösti and I specifically remember our Swiss breakfast times where I had Appenzeller cheese and Kalbslyoner and, even as a child, noticed that the latter, a cold cut, was much more finely sliced and, again, just more refined. I can also still taste the bread rolls, the milk, the uniquely Swiss Nussgipfel pastry – and will have to stop this here. Writing about food is dangerous, I’m way too hungry now. So, to summarise: food memories are very strong – and to have Swiss ones, is not the worst.
Barbara Geier is a London-based freelance writer, translator and communications consultant. She is also the face behind www.germanyiswunderbar.com, a German travel and tourism guide and blog that was set up together with UK travel writer Andrew Eames in 2010. Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Discover Germany, Switzerland & Austria.
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