In the Swiss canton of Glarus, you will find a spiced sugar that contains a surprising ingredient. Here is my list of 10 facts about this Swiss product, which appears within the directory of traditional foods from Patrimoine Culinaire Suisse.
1. Spiced sugars date back to the 16th century in Switzerland.
The first documented evidence of spiced sugars in Switzerland is from 1588 in the Schweizerisches Idiotikon, according to Patrimoine Culinaire Suisse. It was apparently used as a treatment for Blasenleiden, or “bladder troubles.”
2. Magenträs, or Magentraes, means “stomach powder.”
In the Swiss German dialect, magen refers to stomach. Träs is a term from a Swiss-German dialect apparently derived from a word that means something like a coarse powder, Trisenet. It was given such a name because this spiced sugar was once thought to aid digestion.
3. Swiss spiced sugar goes by several names.
Patrimoine Culinaire Suisse lists the following names that have been used for this sugar: Magentressich. Treset, Träs, Träsent, Träsentpulver, Triätpulver, Trietpulver, Trietolt® and Glarner Gewürzzucker.
4. Magentraes Trietolt® was developed by Jean Landolt in 1900.
5. Sandalwood powder helps give Magenträs its reddish color.
Sugar is the first ingredient in Magentraes Trietolt®, followed by sandalwood — an ingredient that I personally do not encounter very often in Switzerland or elsewhere. It also contains cinnamon, vanilla sugar, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. The flavor of this sugar is unique — slightly sweet with a smoky or herbal flavor to it.
6. A classic way to eat Magenträs is on buttered bread.
In my opinion, Magenträs sprinkled on a piece of butter bread is a very satisfying snack — good for breakfast or in the afternoon with some tea. You really cannot go wrong using it this way, but there are many other recipes out there you can try, such as Magenträs Kugeln from dish up or Magentraes-Trietolt®-Mousse from Annemarie Wildeisen’s KOCHEN.
7. Along with buttered bread, you can use it as a sweetener for many other foods.
The package indicates you can use it in fruit salad, whipped cream, coffee or chocolate cake. Zigerkrapfen, a Swiss fritter filled with a cheese-curd mixture can also be seasoned with Magenträs.
8. The epicenter of this spiced sugar is the Swiss canton of Glarus.
The geographic area where Magenträs originated in Switzerland includes the cantons of Glarus, Schwyz and Uri. However, people often connect this sugar with Glarus because the largest producer of this sugar has historically been found there – Landolt Hauser. Outside of these areas of Switzerland, Magenträs is generally less well-known.
9. If you can’t find Magenträs near you, you can try making your own.
Amy Eber, a former radio journalist at World Radio Switzerland, has shared a recipe for homemade Magenträs via her blog, Crawfish and Caramel. In this same post, you will find her recipe for a traditional dish from Zürich that calls for this spiced sugar: Triätschnitte, sort of like a fragrant French toast soaked in red wine.
10. The package states that, “Trietolt verleiht Süshspeisen einen würzigen und bekommlichen geschmack.”
Loosely translated, this phrase found of the package of Magentraes-Trietolt® means, “Trietolt has a spicy and delicious taste.” I agree! It some ways, Magenträs reminds me of a sweetened version of the American “pumpkin pie spice.” This product can be enjoyed year-round, but I would imagine that you especially reach for it during the fall and winter months.
How do you use Magenträs? Where do you usually buy it? Please leave a comment below!