For people in Switzerland who love to cook and eat, I’ve once again compiled my annual holiday gift guide. All of the items below are available for shipping throughout Switzerland. As usual, I’ve focused on small and local businesses that need our support this year more than ever.
1. For the sweet tooth… Leibacher Biber
Handmade gingerbread wrapped around an irresistible almond paste seems like a fitting gift for the holidays, yes? Then, look no further than Leibacher Biber, a company in the canton of Zurich started by two brothers who are passionate about making a traditional Swiss product with local ingredients. I met Claudio and Silvan Leibacher last year and toured their small factory in Illnau, Switzerland. Claudio designs and carves the wooden molds himself out of pear wood, and Silvan manages the marketing. Their products come in all shapes and sizes, and with different motifs pressed into their surface. You can choose honey, vegan or white biber — all are wonderful!
Where to buy: Leibacher Biber
Cost: Ranging from CHF 5.50 to 42.00
2. For the pickle lover… Hugo Reitzel Advent Calendar
It’s no secret that I am a fan of Hugo Reitzel‘s pickles. Made with cucumbers actually grown in Switzerland (this isn’t always the case), they’re the perfect accompaniment for Raclette. Based in Aigle, this Swiss company sent me its advent calendar filled with their delicious pickles, tomato sauce, olives and more. For the pickle lovers among your friends and family, this is a fun and unique way to count down to Christmas.
Where to buy: Hugo Reitzel
Cost: CHF 49.90 – Receive 20% off this product when you enter the promo code HELVETICA*20*
3. For the restaurant enthusiast… GaultMillau Guide
The new GaultMillau restaurant guides for 2021 were recently released for Switzerland — one for Suisse Romande and another for Deutschschweiz. The Edition romande features the best 365 restaurants within French-speaking Switzerland and 150 winemakers. The German language guide provides descriptions of the 830 restaurants from throughout the country, as well as hotels and winemakers. These guides are great gifts to friends and family who like eating out at Swiss restaurants.
4. For the beer aficionado… Welcome Stranger
Two well-known brewers in Switzerland, both Americans, have teamed up to create a new brand of beer, Welcome Stranger. Katie Pietsch (formerly of White Frontier) and Dave Santiago, launched with two beers this fall: Mild Eyes (English mild ale) and Bright Eyes (extra pale ale). I’ve tried them both, and each are true to their style, which are generally underrepresented among the available Swiss beers. I am particularly fond of the Bright Eyes, which has a refreshing citrus scent and flavor. The cans have distinctive and colorful labels that come from Wonky Studio in Winterthur, which are best experienced with a black light.
Where to buy: welcomestranger.ch
Cost: 24 cans – CHF 115 for Bright Eyes and CHF 110 for Mild Eyes (smaller quantities also available)
5. For the bread baker… Walnut Bread Box (& my new book?)
With a sleek-looking design, the Walnut Bread Box made by JA\UND? combines both form and function. For the friend or family member who loves baking (or eating) Swiss bread, this elegant storage box will help to keep their loaves fresh and crisp. Available online from Vachement Suisse, this small boutique in Valais is also selling my Swiss Bread book in English and French (with international shipping), if you want to combine it with this bread box as a gift for your favorite baker.
Where to buy: vachementsuisse.com
Cost: CHF 256
6. For the Swiss gourmet… Chef’s Homeoffice Gift Set
Working with chefs of some of Switzerland’s finest restaurants, Chef’s Homeoffice has created special gourmet gift sets. Featuring food products made by Swiss chefs, these gift sets help bring the flavors of these restaurants to your friends and family — especially during a time when we have had to forgo dining out due to the pandemic. One of the boxes that caught my eye comes from Chef Silvia Manser of Restaurant Truube in Gais (Appenzell Ausserrhoden). With meringues, chocolate almonds, basil pesto, fig mustard and more, it has a nice blend of sweet and savory (cost: CHF 131.50). With a number of sets to choose from, you will certainly find one that would be appreciated by someone who enjoys Swiss fine dining.
Where to buy: chefshomeoffice.ch
Cost: From CHF 95 to 162.50, free shipping for orders over CHF 200. Also, receive 20% off your order when you enter the code: CHEF20.
7. For the fashion forward… Carac Pin
An “atelier créatif” based in Vaud, cullycully offers up shopping bags, pins and more with whimsical designs. Their products feature Swiss expressions and iconic food products, such as the Rakete popsicle and my personal favorite, the Carac. That little green dessert with a chocolate dot in the middle has been reinvented as a bright lapel pin. Perfect for a child’s backpack or for the young at heart, this is a sweet little treat for someone special.
Where to buy: cullycully.ch
Cost: CHF 7.90, Free shipping for orders over CHF 40
8. For the chocolate lover… Noz Chocolatier
Nicolas Noz makes excellent chocolate specialties in Lausanne, and now you can find his sweet creations available online. For over 25 years, he and his wife, Anne-Lise, have managed Noz Chocolatier at Rue Marterey 11. They’ve developed a strong reputation for their award-winning chocolates. They sent me a package of their specialties as a gift, which included chocolate bark with caramelized almonds (my kids liked this the best), chocolate squares with a dried Physalis, a beautifully decorated box of Prunoz (for people who like prunes, they contain a dried plum with an eau-de-vie de pruneaux ganache and crisp chocolate coating). This new online service allows easier access for people in Lausanne and beyond to enjoy their artisanal chocolates.
Where to buy: www.noz-chocolatier-boutique.com
Cost: From CHF 4.70 to 137.00, you can receive 10% off your first chocolate purchase with the code NOZeboutique.
9. For the wine connoisseur… A Monthly Subscription
A cozy little wine shop in Neuchatel’s old city center, Le French Paradoxe also offers a monthly wine subscription. Owner Guillaume Godet works closely with wine producers to handpick his favorite wines for this monthly delivery. Whether you choose a subscription for 3, 6 or 12 months, each time you will receive two 75-cl bottles of wine. As part of the subscription, he also prepares a the Tannique newsletter, which offers some background information about the wines in your monthly box.
Where to buy: Le French Paradoxe
Cost: Wine abonnement (subscription), CHF 34.50 per month
10. For the local food supporter… A Panier Gourmand
With hundreds of food exhibitors under one roof, the annual Salon Suisse des Goûts & Terroirs takes place each fall in Bulle, Switzerland. Even though this major culinary event for Suisse Romande had to be cancelled this year, the association has found another way to support and promote the local food producers that typically showcase their sausages, cheese, baked goods, wine and more at this event. For the holiday season, you can order a Panier Gourmand (gift basket) with products representing a particular region. For example, the “Le Gourmand” set (cost: CHF 50) for Fribourg includes classics, such as Cuchaule, Moutarde de Bénichon, bricelets and much more. It’s a nice way to support this event, since we can’t all enjoy the real thing.
Where to buy: https://shop.gouts-et-terroirs.ch/boutique/
Cost: CHF 30 to 95
11. For the lover of spirts… Nocino
Nocino, the diminutive of noce (walnut in Italian) gets it flavor from macerated green walnuts. Grappa, a brandy made from grapes, serves as its base ingredient. Picked early in the season, sliced walnuts still in their husks soak in the grappa to develop its flavor. Sweetened with sugar, Nocino also contains spices, such as cinnamon, cloves, vanilla and lemon peel. The Ticinese apparently sometimes use Nocino to “correct” their coffee. Known as a Caffè corretto, it’s when you add a dash of liqueur to your coffee or espresso for a little extra flavor. I like using it for holiday baking or perhaps with a slice of panettone.
Where to buy: gustoticino.ch
Cost: CHF 28-29
12. For the Rakete fan… A Special Scarf
Rakete, a popular tri-colored “rocket” popsicle, has influenced the creations of Swiss artists and designers. One of my favorites comes from Swiss textile and fashion designer Carla Rickenbacher. She makes three styles of scarves emblazoned with Rakete, also known as Fusée (French) and Razzo (Italian). Made with 100% cotton, they are a fun gift for fans of this Swiss frozen treat.
Where to buy: musterkitz.com
Cost: CHF 158
For additional ideas, I recommend checking out my holiday gift guides from past seasons. And, if you have any other suggestions for culinary gifts in Switzerland for 2020, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Happy Holidays!