The season of giving is upon us, and I’m always looking for gift ideas that are fun, yet practical. If you’re still searching for that perfect holiday gift for someone in Switzerland who loves cooking and food, I have 10 ideas for you. These are my hand-picked favorites, in no particular order. All of these gifts can be ordered online, and if you don’t wait until the last minute, they can still (hopefully) arrive in time for holiday gift-giving. Please double-check with each of these individuals or companies to make sure!
1. OVO BOOK from Helvetiq
Helvetiq, a Swiss publisher and game creator has many excellent options for holiday gifts that have food and drink as the focus. One in particular that I want to highlight this year is the new OVO BOOK, which features 30 recipes all containing a very Swiss ingredient, Ovomaltine. Written by Marina Kienast Gobet and Claudia Link, this 80-page cookbook is available in French and German. You’ll find recipes for madeleines, chocolate fondant cake, foie gras with Ovomaltine and more.
Where to buy: Helvetiq
Cost: CHF 25, plus shipping
2. Nordic Ware Kugelhopf Pan from Bakeria
Readers of this blog have probably noticed that I really like gugelhupf or kugelhopf cakes. These cakes are the precursor to the American Bundt, a cake made in a fluted tube pan that originated in my home state of Minnesota. Nordic Ware has been making these pans for over 75 years, and I have discovered an online shop where you can buy them in Switzerland: Bakeria. Their online shop (in German and English) has one of my favorite Nordic Ware pans, the platinum edition of the Kugelhopf Bundt pan. My mother gave me this pan for Christmas a few years ago, and among my collection of five Nordic Ware Bundt pans, it’s my favorite. In addition to its online shop, Bakeria also has a retail store located in Thalwil, Switzerland.
Where to buy: Bakeria
Cost: CHF 55, plus shipping
3. Kitchen Poster – Beef from Head to Tail
I have been following Nicole Hasler and her blog, zum fressn gern (written in German), for over a year now. She has fully embraced the “nose-to-tail” movement of cooking and eating, sharing her experiences and recipes via social media. She takes incredible photos of animal innards and her culinary masterpieces. Nothing is off-limits for Nicole. A salad with bull testicles? Laotian Tartare with raw lamb’s heart? Chocolate cupcakes with pig’s blood? Yes – she’s done them all. I am constantly amazed and impressed.
Given her passion for cooking with all parts an animal, Nicole and graphic designer Beatrice Geisser have prepared a special kitchen poster entitled, “Das Rind – Von Kopf Bis Schwanz” (Beef – From Head to Tail). Written in German, this poster give a visual guide for all the different cuts of meat you can find on a cow and suggestions for how to use them. Nicole says that her goal isn’t to increase beef consumption, but rather to encourage “the conscious usage of valuable food.”
Where to buy: zum fressn gern
Cost: CHF 25, plus shipping
4. Annual Membership to Slow Food CH
For the food enthusiast that doesn’t really need anything, I recommend a gift membership to Slow Food CH. I recently became a member myself, and membership provides certain benefits, such as exclusive invitations to culinary events and discounts on tickets for the Slow Food Market, for example. You’ll have access to written publications of Slow Food CH and know that you’re part of an organization working to support food that is good, clean and fair. Slow Food CH officially started in 1993—after a group had already organized in Ticino, the Italian-speaking canton of Switzerland. According to its website—written in German, French and Italian, Slow Food CH has approximately 4,000 members.
Where to buy: Slow Food CH
Cost: Annual membership fees – CHF 120 for an individual, or CHF 160 for two people living together. For individuals under the age of 30 years, the cost is CHF 30.
5. Hand-Carved Wooden Tools from foifedrissg
For beautiful hand-carved wooden spoons, cutting boards and more, you must check out foifedrissg. Founded in 2015 by Patrizia Keller, this designer located outside of Zurich posts beautiful images of her work via Instagram, where I first discovered foifedrissg. Many of her pieces are one of a kind, like the Schaufellöffel mit Ornament Birne, an ornamental scoop carved out of pearwood (shown below – cost, CHF 65). You can order online from her website, which is written in German and English. And, I’m not the only one impressed by Patrizia’s craftsmanship—FoodCrafters also included foifedrissg it in its “Gift Guide” for 2016.
Where to buy: foifedrissg
Cost: Prices range from about CHF 20 to 110, plus shipping
6. Cookbook from Auberge du Chalet-des-Enfants
Honestly, I have not yet eaten at the Auberge du Chalet-des-Enfants, but it has been recommended to me many times, and I hope to visit it soon in the New Year! Located in a rural setting in Le Mont-sur-Lausanne, the restaurant is open seven days a week and has a menu with an emphasis on local products. The building that houses this restaurant has a long history, dating back some 600 years, which is shared in a new cookbook, “Bonheurs Gorumands au Chalet-Des-Enfants” (in French). With photographs, stories and recipes, it gives a flavor of the rich tradition at this well-known institution in the forested hills of Lausanne. For the holiday season, there is also a special offer—you can purchase this book for CHF 29 and receive a gift certificate worth CHF 10 for the restaurant.
Where to buy: Auberge du Chalet-des-Enfants
Cost: CHF 29, plus shipping
7. Hand-woven textiles from Tessanda
Tessanda, located in Sta. Maria-Val Müstair in the Swiss canton of Graubünden, specializes in hand-woven textiles. According to the local tourism office, it’s the largest hand-weaving factory in Switzerland. If you can’t make it out to the factory, TESSANDA has an online store featuring many of its textiles (in German). You will find items like brightly-colored washcloths (Abwaschlappen Costains, as shown below) for CHF 25, hand towels for CHF 58 and placemats for CHF 65. These textiles are lovely as gifts, and they will most certainly get used!
Where to buy: Tessanda
Cost: Prices vary, depending on the number and quantity selected, plus shipping
8. Trisa Bricelet Iron
My husband gave me a bricelet iron for Christmas several years ago, and it’s one of my favorite Swiss cooking tools. If you’re not familiar with bricelets (in French) or bretzli (in German), these thin little biscuits can be sweet or savory. When the electronic iron presses and cooks the dough, it imprints the bricelets with festive Swiss designs. I love the savory ones made with cumin seeds, but the sweet versions are delicious too (see my recipe for Lime Zest Bricelets). The possibilities are endless, and it’s a uniquely Swiss gift.
Where to buy: Trisa Electronics
Cost: CHF 79, plus shipping
9. Swiss “Picknicker” Knife from Victorinox
If you’re taking a Sunday walk in Switzerland and planning on a picnic with some local Swiss cheese or salami, you need to have a portable knife to slice it up. A classic option comes from Victorinox, known as the “Picknicker.” This knife has all the following features and more: knife blade, can opener, screwdrivers (3mm and 5mm), bottle opener, wire stripper, corkscrew and key ring. What more could you need on a picnic?
10. Famiglia Nostrana and Panettone alle Castagne
Famiglia Nostrana is a lovely food-centered guidebook with beautiful photographs about Ticino, Switzerland’s Italian-speaking canton. This book, written in Italian and German, provides recommendations for restaurants, grottos, small hotels and farms you can visit to discover the culinary specialties of Ticino. For a limited time during the holidays, you can receive a copy of this special book along with a Panettone alle Castagne, a traditional yeasted bread for the holidays made with chestnuts.
Where to buy: Famiglia Nostrana
Cost: CHF 55, plus shipping
If you have any other gift suggestions for Swiss food lovers, please leave a comment below or send me an email. Many thanks, and happy holidays!
Please note: These are my personal favorites, and I did not receive any compensation from the individuals or companies listed to share information about their products. All photos were obtained from the various websites for these products, except for the Bricelet iron (that’s mine).