Travel bug, culture vulture, foodie—they all go together. If you’re planning on visiting Switzerland, discovering Swiss foods will be one of the most memorable parts of your trip. With its deep agricultural roots and central European influence, the Alpine nation has unique and delicious cuisine and a list of snacks that goes far beyond the familiar Swiss chocolate, cheese fondue, and raclette.
Some of them are more suitcase-friendly than others, but you’ll want to check out these Swiss snacks to nibble on and perhaps take some samples back home. You may even be able to order a few of them online or find a recipe to make them yourself.
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The Berliner originated in Germany, but as one of its neighboring countries, you can find them in Switzerland’s bakeries and supermarkets. Needless to say, the bakery ones are best. Also known as Krapfen, the Aussies call them jam doughnuts. But in Australia, they’re filled with strawberry jam whereas the European Berliner has a yummy apricot filling.
The Berliner is like a doughnut without a hole in the middle. It’s basically a ball of sweetened yeast dough with a jam center deep-fried in oil or fat. the dough is enriched with milk, creamy butter, eggs with a little extra yolk, and sweetened with a bit of sugar and vanilla. They’re often iced or sprinkled with powdered or granulated sugar.
Munching on a warm, freshly-baked Berliner along with a cup of hot spiced cider or mulled wine at a Zurich Christmas market will be an unforgettable experience.
Zweifel Paprika Chips
America has Pringles, Switzerland has Zweifel. You’ll find tasty Zweifel Paprika Chips in every corner store, supermarket, and at every barbeque or party in Switzerland.
The paprika-flavored crispy chips are produced in Switzerland. Not far from my old house to be exact.
They’re made with fresh Swiss countryside potatoes sliced thin and deep fried in natural, high-quality rapeseed oil. Then they’re dusted with Paprika and alpine salt.
Be sure to pick up a bag or two of Zweifels while in Switzerland, some to munch on between sightseeing, and some to take back home. They’ll impress your vegan and gluten-free friends, and the good news is, you can order them online and have them shipped to wherever you are.
And interestingly, if you ask any Swiss person, they will swear that Zweifel Paprika is the best flavor in the world, and perhaps the only one you need to eat.
Until about a decade ago, it was hard to find much in the way of any variety of chip flavors in the supermarket. We used to joke “you could have any flavor you wanted, as long as it was Paprika or Salt!”Me, 10 years ago
Bündnerfleisch literally means meat (Fleisch) from Graubünden, a canton in Eastern Switzerland bordering Austria. Also known as Viande des Grisons or Grisons Meat, the meat is beef that has been left to dry in the fresh Alpine air for at least 10 weeks. The residual moisture is pressed out during the curing process, giving the meat a square shape.
The curing and drying process gives bündnerfleisch a unique flavor and one that you will pay a pretty steep price for. This Swiss delicacy travels well, and you’ll find it well worth the price when you serve it to your guests back home. Slice it thin and serve it as a charcuterie along with sliced bread, pickled onions, gherkins, cheese cubes, and cherry tomatoes. It’s also nice as a side dish for raclette, another Swiss dish you’ll fall in love with and want to prepare back home.
The word in German literally means “stomach bread” which doesn’t sound very appetizing, but it’s definitely a misnomer for the sweet, awkward-looking pastry magenbrot. It’s also known by other names including Kräuterbrot, Alpenkräuter-Brot, and Gewürzkuchen.
Magenbrot is like gingerbread on steroids and filled with spices traditionally believed to aid in digestion. Along with the warming spices, it’s flavored with a variety of ingredients which may include honey, orange, chocolate, and hazelnuts.
You may find magenbrot in the supermarkets, but you’re more likely to find it at a street fair, festival, or Christmas market. There are also a lot of booths scattered around towns and cities at Christmas time selling both Heisse Maroni (cooked Chestnuts) and Magenbrot. I can’t wait each year to get my hands on a packet of these tasty treats in its signature pink bag!
Zopf or Butterzopf is a breakfast bread much loved by Switzerland’s German-speaking cantons. An indulgent alternative to other bread, it’s wonderfully soft and has a great texture. The rich bread is traditionally served for Sunday breakfast giving cooks the weekend to prepare it.
It’s made with four, eggs, milk, sugar, and yeast. The dough is kneaded and allowed to rise until it’s doubled in size and then braided into a plait similar to the Jewish bread challah. Before baking, it’s brushed with an egg wash or milk to give it a golden crust.
Like many Swiss snacks, Zopt has a history. It is thought that bread was invented in the mid-15th century. During that period, widows would cut off their braided hair and bury it with their husbands. The word “Zopf” literally means braid. The practice later turned to plaited braided loaves of bread instead.
Zopf isn’t very suitcase friendly, so be sure to sample it while it Switzerland. You can find it in most supermarkets. You can also find recipes for Zopf online.
Schümli is a small cookie made of chocolate meringue and lightly baked. It’s unclear what the word “schümli” translates to, but there is a Swiss-style breakfast coffee of the same name so don’t get them confused.
The tiny cookies are very festive and melt in your mouth with chocolatey goodness. They aren’t considered as a dessert on their own but are served with other items like fruit salad or chocolate mousse.
You can find schümli in Swiss supermarkets and grocery stores. You won’t find them anywhere else and there’s no recipe online, but a close second would be meringue cookies.
This delicious Swiss snack is similar to a Kit Kat bar but more delectable. Light, crispy-baked wafers and a mousse-style filling are coated in the finest Swiss chocolate. Kägi Fret also comes in other flavors including coconut, orange, and Japanese matcha. They’re a popular snack for hikers to take along on treks through the Swiss Alps.
The snack bars were named by founder Otto Kägi using a combination of his name and “gaufrette,” the French word for a wafer. The Kägi factory was founded in 1934. These Swiss treats are still produced today exclusively from a secret recipe in Toggenbug near the Churfirsten mountains.
Kägi Fret is easy to find in Swiss convenience stores and supermarkets. You can also order this Swiss snack online.
Luxemburgerli is a light and airy bite-sized macaroon that come in an array of flavors. The boxed assortments include choices like chocolate, hazelnut, cinnamon, raspberry, vanilla, and more as well as seasonal creations like Black Forest.
According to legend, Swiss confectioner Richard Sprüngli discovered the delectable treats 60 years ago in Luxembourg and brought the recipe home to Switzerland. The beloved mini macaroons became known as Luxemburgerli.
The basic ingredients are sugar, eggs, and almonds. The cream is added to make the filling smooth. They’re available with or without alcohol.
You can order boxes of assorted Luxemburgerli from the Sprüngli shop. But since they’re best when fresh, try them locally in Switzerland. At Sprungli’s headquarters in Zurich, you can sample them in the cafe. They’re also sold in Sprüngli stores all around Switzerland. Be prepared for a bit of sticker shock when purchasing them.
This traditional hard-spice biscuit type of gingerbread originated in the Swiss city of Basel. It is said to be first created by local spice merchants over 700 years ago. During the 11th century, wealthy monasteries used the oriental spices that reached Europe to flavor honey cakes. The custom spread, and by the 15th century, the townsfolk began the craft of gingerbread-making.
Today, the Swiss treat is made mostly from wheat flour, honey, candied orange or lemon peel, and hazelnuts or almonds. A colorless brandy called Kirsch is often added. The dough is flattened, baked, and brushed with a sugar glaze while still hot. After cooling, the Basler Läckerli is cut into rectangular pieces.
Basler Läckerli is sold all over Switzerland and can be ordered from Swiss shops online.
One of Switzerland’s biggest cookie factories produces Kambly Bretzeli, a thin, buttery biscuit containing almond slivers or hazelnuts in a Coeur aux Noisettes (heart shape) topped with a layer of rich Swiss chocolate. Bretzeli is the German word for cookies.
The history of Kambly Guezli dates back to 1906 when a young Swiss gentleman fell in love and moved to the farming village of Emmental in the Swiss canton of Bern. He became an apprentice pasty chef there and laid the groundwork for the Kambly empire.
For over 100 years now, the Kambley company has produced all kinds of biscuits adored by the Swiss and around the world. You can find them in chocolate, pistachio, orange, or in the original waffle-style biscuit. They’re best enjoyed with a cup of tea or coffee.
Kambly Guezli is available in more than 50 countries around the world, but they’re best in Switzerland. If you are visiting near Bern in the municipality of Emmental, you can purchase a whole bag of assorted biscuits at a reduced price. Otherwise, they’re available at supermarkets and grocery stores, and they’re travel-friendly.
Frequently Asked Questions
What candy is from Switzerland?
Two of the most renowned candies from Switzerland are Sugus, from the chocolate maker Suchard, and Cola Fröschli from Basel, a popular hard candy.