Swiss products are highly valued worldwide. In my opinion, a few of them are very typical for Switzerland. Even if some of the products mentioned are rather well known at home. In the following video I present five of them to you. For each product I provide you with additional information and a few background stories. I'm very curious to see what was new for you.
The video has no claim to completeness, is not intended to be judgmental and is primarily intended to contribute to entertainment. In the following you will find the content of the video also in text form. More entertaining and richer in images is of course the video. The video is recorded in German with English subtitles. Do you know any other products that are typical for Switzerland? Write it to me on YouTube in the comments. If you liked the video, I would be happy about a Like and a subscription.
One of the products most frequently associated with Switzerland is chocolate. Swiss chocolate is world famous and owes its reputation to the high quality and innovative ideas of Swiss chocolatiers in the 19th century. In 1875, Daniel Peter from French-speaking Switzerland was the first to mix condensed milk with cocoa, thus inventing milk chocolate. Only four years later, in 1879, Rodolphe Lindt invented the conching process. Thanks to this process, chocolate acquires a fine, creamy consistency and melts almost on the tongue.
With an average per capita consumption of 9-12 kg, the Swiss are among the largest chocolate consumers in the world. Well-known Swiss chocolate brands include Lindt & Sprüngli and Toblerone. There are a few fun facts about the latter.
Toblerone is a pun from the surname of Theodor Tobler and the Italian name for honey-almond nougat, Torrone. The only Toblerone factory in the world is in Bern. There is therefore something hidden in the logo. Most people will probably recognize the Matterhorn on it. If you look even closer, you will also recognize in the contours of the Matterhorn the heraldic animal of the Canton of Bern, the Bernese bear. The fact that the strong connection to Bern is also hidden in the name Toblerone is probably rather coincidental.
Also from Berne is Ovomaltine, an instant powder based on barley malt, skimmed milk and cocoa. Just like the powder of cocoa drinks, Ovaltine is ready to drink immediately after being stirred into cold or warm milk. The high malt content gives Ovaltine its typical taste. Originally, the drink was developed as a strengthening for mentally and physically weakened persons. Over time, the drink became more and more popular across all social classes. Almost all Swiss know Ovaltine.
Ovomaltine was invented as early as 1865 by the Bernese pharmacist Albert Wander, who added milk, eggs and cocoa to his father Georges Wander's malt beverage. The name also contains the two most important ingredients. Ovo is Latin for egg and Malt is English for malt. Ovomaltine is one of the pioneers of Swiss event and sports sponsorship. Its almost 100-year-long commitment to Swiss sports, the typical can and the legendary slogans contributed significantly to its popularity.
The beverage powder is sold in almost 100 countries around the world. However, the international recipe is much sweeter than the Swiss version. In Switzerland no additional sugar is added to Ovo powder, but internationally all the more so. In the meantime, the product range has grown far beyond the instant powder. Ovo products are available as spreads, muesli, chocolate, bars, biscuits, ice cream and much more.
In Switzerland, almost everyone knows this popular table drink, and it is fair to say that this is the Swiss national drink. That is why the brand often makes a confident appearance with the slogan "Official thirst quencher of Switzerland". The Swiss drink more than 80 million litres of it every year, or ten litres per capita. Unfortunately, the breakthrough abroad, with the exception of Liechtenstein, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, has not been achieved.
The name Rivella is derived from the Ticino place name Riva San Vitale and the Italian word Rivelazione, which translates as revelation. At its heart is milk serum and, depending on the variety, Rivella contains 25 to 35 percent of it. Milk serum is tasteless and is produced when fats and proteins are removed from the whey. Whey is a by-product of cheese and curd production. It is not wasted when processed into milk serum. The serum contains valuable minerals, trace elements, vitamins and milk sugar. Responsible for the unique taste is a mix of fruit and herb extracts that has remained unchanged since 1952. The recipe is top secret and even within the company it is only known to a handful of people.
Throughout its history, Rivella has repeatedly attracted attention with innovative ideas and varieties. Even if some of them have already been destroyed. In Rivella yellow, soya serum was used instead of milk serum. However, the taste was not particularly well received and after only 3 years the variety disappeared from the Swiss market again. As early as 1958, Rivella blue was developed at the suggestion of the Dutch Diabetics Society. As the first sugar-free lemonade on the market, the blue Rivella was first available in the Netherlands, and one year later in Switzerland as well. And that was 25 years before the light wave spread from the USA to Europe.
There are more than 450 types of cheese from Switzerland. The fact that these are also popular with the population is also reflected in consumption. About 21.5 kg are consumed per year and head. The cheese is made with a lot of craftsmanship and local milk. Almost half of the Swiss milk is processed into cheese and about 40% of the production is exported abroad. The largest quantity of this is exported to Germany.
The most famous traditional Swiss cheeses are: Emmentaler AOP, Le Gruyère AOP, Appenzeller, Sbrinz AOP, Tête de Moine AOP, Tilsiter and Raclette Suisse The AOP appendix for some cheeses is a protected designation of origin. Cheese with the AOP label is produced, processed and refined in a clearly defined region. In the case of AOP cheese, the milk comes from the same region in which it is made and the cheese wheel is cared for until it is mature.
The famous raclette cheese, as well as the traditional way of preparing it, originally comes from the canton of Valais and has a long tradition. According to written records from the 12th century, winegrowers, shepherds and farmers used to melt cheese over an open fire and then spread it on their bread. This made it a cheap, substantial and tasty hot meal that could be prepared without much effort. In Switzerland the cheese is also partly advertised with the invented word RIGUGEGL. RIGUGEGL is the short form of "Raclette isch guet und git e gueti Luune", in English "Raclette is good and gives a good mood".
Where do the cheese holes in Emmentaler actually come from? This is not due to the hungry mice from the Emmental, but to the bacteria that are added to the milk to make the cheese. During the fermentation process, the lactic acid bacteria ferment the lactose, among other things, to lactic acid and thereby produce carbon dioxide. Since the gas cannot escape, it accumulates in cavities in the cheese mass.
The most typical Swiss product for me is Aromat, which is as much a part of the Swiss spice palette as the mountains are part of the Swiss panorama. In restaurants, besides salt and pepper, aromat is also part of the table setting. Swiss people abroad like to bring something of this indispensable spice from home. I would even go so far as to say that many Swiss probably even have it on their holiday packing list.
This food seasoning from Knorr is certainly not healthy. In addition to the flavour enhancer sodium glutamate, Aromat contains table salt, palm oil and various spice extracts. Most consumers are probably aware of this, but the Swiss are still addicted to it and it is part of the standard equipment in many Swiss households and part of the taste of home for Swiss people living abroad.
Although Knorr is originally a German food company, a Swiss man, Walter Obrist, invented the powdered wort. In 1952, the former head chef at the Vitznauerhof on Lake Lucerne invented the formula for the Knorr company, which remains a secret to this day. In 1953 the food giant had the Ticino artist Hans Tomamichel invent the figure of Knorrli, launched the yellow shaker and distributed 30,000 menus to Swiss restaurants. Within just 10 months, 80 percent of the Swiss were already familiar with the aroma and it is still no less well-known today. Incidentally, Aromat is particularly popular as a seasoning on a boiled egg.