With the arrival of the holiday season, I am pleased to share the second edition of my holiday gift guide for people in Switzerland who are passionate about food and cooking. Once again, these are my hand-picked favorites, with a range of prices, and in no particular order.
Nearly 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.
1. Helvetic Kitchen
I have been following Andie Pilot’s blog, Helvetic Kitchen, for at least a year now. This fall, she published her first cookbook, Helvetic Kitchen: Swiss Cooking. The English-language cookbook contains 51 recipes, ranging from Aprikosenwähe (an apricot tart) and Älplermagronen (a Swiss-style macaroni and cheese), to Zimtsterne (a popular Christmas cookie) and Züri Gschnätzlets (a veal ragout with cream and mushrooms).
Where to buy: Bergli Books
Cost: CHF 24.90
2. Sel à l’Ancienne
During the last two years, I have received Sel à l’Ancienne as a gift from Lausanne à Table, and I love it. This coarse-grained salt is a Swiss product from the salt mines in Bex, Switzerland. It comes in a lovely little glass jar with a wooden lid. Any home cook can use salt like this in their kitchen, so I think you really cannot go wrong with this product!
Where to buy: Mines de Bex
Cost: CHF 9.90
3. Swiss cheese knife from Sknife
Sknife is a Swiss company that I first learned about at Chef Alps 2017 in Zürich. These high-quality, knives are made with wood from trees grown in the Swiss canton of Graubünden, and they are designed to stay sharp for a long time. The company began producing knives about two years ago, and in September 2017, it celebrated the making its 10,000th knife. Forged in Emmental, Sknife’s Swiss cheese knife is made with surgical steel and either local walnut or black-colored ash wood.
Where to buy: Sknife
Cost: CHF 239.00
4. Schweizer Brot
I first discovered the incredible talent of Katharina Arrigoni via Instagram, where she posts amazing photos of her homemade bread. She also shares recipes via her blog, BesondersGut (in German). This fall, Katharina published a beautiful book titled Schweizer Brot: Einfach Gutes Brot Backen (Swiss Bread: Simply Baking Good Bread). I was delighted to receive a complimentary copy in the mail from her. She has included recipes for traditional breads, like Weggli (little bread rolls) and Sonntagszopf (a braided bread for Sundays) and others, like Rüebli-Baguettes (carrot baguettes) and Insider-Brot (a bread filled with cheese).
Where to buy: Besonders Gut
Cost: CHF 39.00
5. Girolle for Tête de Moine
Tête de Moine AOP (Appellations d’origine protégées) is a semi-hard Swiss cheese made from raw cow’s milk. A common way to serve Tête de Moine involves scraping it into thin shavings with a knife. This process was greatly aided in 1982 by a Swiss invention called the Girolle. To use it, you stab the Girolle in the middle of the cheese, and then swing the blade around the wheel of cheese to create a perfect rosette.
Where to buy: Maison de la Tête de Moine
Cost: The Girolle® Original, CHF 37.00
6. Gift Box from Helvetimart
You may have seen my recent blog post about Helvetimart, the little shop in Lausanne with Swiss food from every canton. It now also offers themed gift boxes, which make for easy holiday shopping. Currently, you will find eight different types of gift boxes, with a range of prices. These boxes contain regional food products that have been hand-selected by the owners of Helvetimart. The themes for these boxes include the following: Chocolate Factory, Festive Terrines, Granny Box, Luxurious, Pastabox, Valaisanne, Withdrawal of Licence (i.e., alcoholic beverages and products) and Tutti Frutti.
Where to buy: Helvetimart
Cost: Ranging from CHF 58.00-472.00
7. Salt and Pepper Mills from JA\UND
JA\UND is another company I discovered via Instagram, which offers a variety of items for your home and kitchen. This company works with Arwole, a foundation that provides employment opportunities for people with mental and physical disabilities. I love the look of JA\UND’s wooden salt and pepper mills, made with a CrushGrind® ceramic grinding mill.
Where to buy: Vachement Suisse
Cost: CHF 110-118
8. 26 Choses à Goûter Absolument en Suisse
I had already chosen Tatiana Tissot‘s new book for this holiday gift list, and I sent her a quick message to let her know. She quickly replied and wrote that she had included my blog in the back of the book under the category, “Pour Aller Plus Loin” (which translates to something like, “To go further”). It was very thoughtful of her and such a lovely surprise to find my name in her book! 26 Choses à Goûter Absolument en Suisse is like a bucket list of foods you must try in Switzerland.The usual suspects are there, like absinthe from the Val-de-Travers and rye bread from the canton of Valais. However, there are some foods that might not immediately come to mind, like white carrots from Aargau or a fish-shaped cake from Toggenburg.
Where to buy: Helvetiq
Cost: CHF 26.00
9. Spätzli/Knöpfli Maker
In Switzerland, especially during the autumn and winter seasons, a popular side dish is spätzli and knöpfli. These delicious dumpling-noodles are popular in Switzerland, Austria and German. The same mixture used to make knöpfli is generally used for making spätzli, except knöpfli are typically a bit smaller and have a rounded shape, while spätzli are longer and thinner. You create these shapes by pressing the dough through a special device with small holes, directly into boiling water. I never made this dish when I lived in the United States, but I make it frequently here in Switzerland. It’s simple, delicious and very kid-friendly!
Where to buy: Galaxus
Cost: CHF 14.90
10. SinStella Flutes
Like Sknife, I first learned about Vera Pure at Chef Alps 2017. Dominique Crenn — who earned the title of World’s Best Female Chef in 2016 — served the dishes she prepared on stage in Vera Pure’s SinStella glassware. Designer Vera Purtscher, who is based in the Swiss canton of St. Gallen, created these unique blown-glass champagne flutes that fit into a polished glass base. I am currently collaborating with Vera Pure to promote their MoonLashes cutlery, so I am obviously a fan of her work! Her SinStella flutes can also be engraved, to create a very personalized gift for someone special during the holidays.
Where to buy: Vera Pure
Cost: For current prices, please contact Vera Pure at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any other Swiss gift suggestions for people who love to eat and cook, please leave a comment below. 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 these specific products. All photos were obtained from the various websites for these products, except for first one, which is mine.