Have you purchased a product with the “Parcs Suisses” label before? In addition to the protected status—AOP (Appellation d’Origine Protégée) and IGP (Indication Géographique Protégée)—that regional food products can earn from the Swiss federal government, Switzerland also recognizes culinary specialties produced within the boundaries of a “park of national importance.” The purpose of this program is to help individuals and businesses to promote and sell their regional food products. For consumers, the label should stand for a quality product made by these local producers who respect sustainable development practices and work in partnership with the Swiss Parks system.
During my visit to the Parc naturel régional Chasseral on New Year’s Day this year, my husband bought a small jar of Moutarde Gros Grains (whole-grained mustard), prepared by the L’Hospice Le Pré-aux-Boeufs in Sonvilier. As I glanced at the label, I noticed a green square representing the Parcs Suisses label. I had heard something about this program before, but now I wanted to know more… What types of products bear this label?
First, I should mention that Switzerland has one national park—the oldest, founded in 1914—as well as 16 other regional parks of national importance (another 4 parks are candidates for this designation, and a complete list can be found here). Currently, 11 of these 16 parks have products that have earned the Parcs Suisses label, according to the Schweizer Pärke website.
Altogether, more than 1,000 products have been approved under this program, and this list includes things like jam, dairy products, wine, bread and pastries, meat and fish, and more. You can visit the websites for the individual parks to learn more about where to find these regional food products. Products can be purchased directly from the producers, local markets or at participating Coop stores. Swiss Parks also has a catalog of culinary specialties with lots of gift suggestions.
Second Annual Swiss Parks Market
In Bern, the Swiss Parks will host their second annual market at the Bundesplatz/La Place du Palais fédéral TODAY—Friday, May 20, 2016, from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. It will provide an opportunity to learn about and purchase the various products which have earned the Parcs Suisses label. Of course, there will be many chances to taste lots of these foods as well. You can visit the market at lunchtime or stop by for an apéro later in the day. I’m hoping to visit Bern this afternoon, so maybe I’ll see you there!