UPDATE: Please note that Helvetimart closed in December 2019.
In Lausanne, you’ll find a delightful shop with a national selection of Swiss food. What makes Helvetimart so special is that unlike other shops — which may specialize in products from a particular canton or linguistic region of Switzerland — this one stocks food specialties from all across the country.
After traveling around Switzerland in search of regional foods for over a year, Helvetimart co-owners Alexandra and Guillaume found what they needed to officially open their shop in the spring of 2017. Not only do their products come from both sides of the Röstigraben — the fictional line dividing Switzerland’s French and German-speaking regions, but they also carry foods representing all 26 Swiss cantons. Via Instagram, they often use the hashtag, “#RIProestigraben,” to describe their products and the overall goal of their shop.
Within a 10-minute walk of Lausanne’s main train station, I popped into the shop a few months after it opened and had the chance to talk briefly with Alexandra and Guillaume. These two graduates of the Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne told me about how they work directly with producers to obtain the hundreds of products they have hand-selected for their shop. Their shelves are lined with delicious baked goods, craft beers, Swiss cheeses, artisanal chocolate, bottles of wine and spirits, and so much more.
During my first visit to Helvetimart, I eagerly browsed through all the different regional products, some of which were previously difficult to find outside their canton of origin. For example, I came across a small peach-colored packet of Magenträs Trietolt. This spiced sugar from Glarus contains sandalwood powder (for more info, see my July 2017 post about Magenträs). Before my visit to Helvetimart, I had never heard of this product, which — like many of the their products — appears on the directory of traditional Swiss foods from Patrimoine Culinaire Suisse.
In addition to their shop full of Swiss products, Helvetimart offers catering services for businesses. Need a platter of Swiss cheese and charcuterie with fresh fruit juices for an upcoming meeting? For dessert, how about some bricelets from Fribourg or leckerli from Basel? Helvetimart has you covered.
Alexandra and Guillaume also recently launched a new range of “coffrets cadeaux” (gift boxes) starting from about CHF 55. You’ll find themes such as “Tutti Frutti” with confiture from three different cantons, as well as dried apple rings and apple juice from Thurgau. “La Luxueuse” features products like a bottle of sparkling wine from Zurich, marrons glacés (candied chestnuts) from Ticino and caviar from Valais. These gift boxes can be shipped throughout Switzerland and abroad.
Helvetimart will help you discover regional Swiss foods from all over the country and in one convenient location. You can also find unique gifts for your family and friends, pick up some sandwiches for a Swiss-style picnic beside the lake or place an order for locally-sourced food and drinks for your next work event. Whenever I find myself in Lausanne, Helvetimart is always on my agenda.
Helvetimart, Rue du Petit-Chêne 3, 1003 Lausanne, Tel. +41 (0)21 626 33 33.