10 Facts About Maggi, A Swiss Liquid Condiment

The creator of the famous Maggi bouillon cube also developed the classic Swiss liquid seasoning that looks like soy sauce and adds a salty, savory taste to your cooking.

Maggi liquid seasoning, a classic Swiss product.

If you’ve never tried it, or even if you’ve spent a lifetime using it, here are 10 facts about Maggi Würze (German) or Arôme Liquide Maggi (French).

1. The Maggi brand started in Switzerland in 1886. Julius Michael Johannes Maggi developed several instant soups at the request of the Swiss government to augment the diets of undernourished factory workers. At the time, these products were developed as low-cost, high-nutrient food products. The Maggi liquid seasoning, Maggi Würze, was created in 1887.

2. Mr. Maggi was born in Frauenfeld, Switzerland, which is the capital of the canton of Thurgau. He died in 1912. The famous bouillon cubes that Mr. Maggi developed in the early 20th century can be purchased around the world.

Maggi’s bouillon cubes, originally developed in the early 20th century.

3. Maggi Würze contains vegetable proteins and MSG. Here is the full list of ingredients: Hydrolyzed vegetable proteins (water, wheat proteins, cooking salt), water, aroma (with wheat), flavor enhancers (monosodium glutamate, disodium inosinate), cooking salt and sugar.

4. It appears within the inventory of traditional Swiss food products maintained by Patrimoine Culinaire Suisse (Culinary Heritage of Switzerland). Described as a “basic universal condiment” in Switzerland, Maggi Würze has been part of Nestlé’s portfolio of products since 1947.

5. Swiss people often add Maggi Würze to soups and salad dressings. The bottle of this condiment also recommends using it in pasta dishes, omelets, émincés (sliced meat dishes) and vegetables. Swiss blogger Funambuline told me that similar to Worcestershire sauce, Maggi Würze adds an umami flavor to food.

6. To make Maggi Würze, a biological fermentation process is applied to vegetable proteins. While it does not contain any lovage, this product apparently has an aroma similar to this herbal plant. In the German-speaking side of Switzerland, the colloquial name for this plant is Maggikraut.

7. On the German-speaking side of Switzerland, you may hear the term Maggibrot (Maggi bread). This involves simply sprinkling Maggi Würze on a slice of bread. In comparison, the Swiss on the French-speaking side may be more likely to spread Cenovis on their bread. I have tried them both, and to be honest, I prefer the Maggi Würze.

8. The design of the Maggi Würze bottle has remained remarkably the same over time. The dark brown bottle and red cap with the distinctive red and yellow label closely resembles the original design from back in the late 19th century. You can even buy a 1-liter bottle of this liquid seasoning. In addition to the original flavor, Maggi has also created Scharf (Fort), a spicy version of its liquid seasoning.

9. During the last century, Maggi has offered “bonus items” to its customers. The Alimentarium in Vevey has several examples of these items, such as a measuring cup (from around 1900) and kitchen knife (from the 1950s). They served as a form of advertising to help promote this brand in Switzerland.

10. Like the Maggi bouillon cube, the popularity of the liquid seasoning extends beyond Switzerland’s borders. Although my family did not use Maggi Würze when I was growing up in Minnesota, a 1975 recipe for Wild Rice Soup calls for three teaspoons of this product. Published in the Star Tribune newspaper, this recipe uses Maggi to enhance the flavor of a rich, creamy soup that is well-known in my home state.

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