When traveling, it is great to find a wonderful local place to eat. Sprungli is just such a place. A Zurich institution, it opened in its current form in 1939, but before the restaurant/café opened a chocolatier was there. The Sprungli family started that in 1859. It’s still family owned although the chocolate making is a separate business (Lindt & Sprüngli).
Traditionally a favorite of Zurich’s upper crust ladies who lunch (not usually a recommendation that gets me to my kind of place) these ladies know what they are talking about and it’s now a favorite of this girl. Him too. The café serves the best hot chocolate and deserts in town, but they have more substantial fare as well. Plus, when the dining room has cute details like the copper baking tins on the walls, how can you not?
They have several other satellite shops in other towns and at airports (including Geneva’s). While nothing beats that original location, they are a great place to get a quick Sprungli fix or pickup a stellar present.
We have developed a few favorite Swiss brands. Visitors favorite is always Mövenpick. After tasting Mövenpick ice cream, we had a visitor come back to the apartment and spend several hours doing a search to find out where she could get it in the US. Unfortunately, it’s not available there (another reason to visit Switzerland). They do export and you can find it in 30 countries around the world including Russia, Finland, Australia and Singapore.
Mövenpick has an astounding number of unique flavors with exotic ingredients like handcrafted Swiss caramel, fine French Cognac VSOP and vanilla seeds from Madagascar. They introduce new “Limited Editions” flavors for each season. Think cinnamon in the winter, exotic fruits in the summer… It’s not just the amazing flavors that make it exceptional. All products are made without artificial additives, flavours or colors. The quality of the dairy is phenomenal. Describing it as incredibly creamy doesn’t even begin to do it justice.
While the Swiss Chocolate flavor is good, the best flavors are the creamy ones. Our favorite is Creme de Gruyères (heavenly sweet Swiss cream with crunch bits of real Meringue inside). It’s so good that you are in real danger of sounding like Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally when you taste it. Other top flavors are Crème Brulée and Tiramisú.
They have over 30 varieties, other flavors include:
- Pistashio (another one of my favorites)
- Cocoa & Orange
- Pink rhubarb,
- Cognac VSOP,
- Caramelita (Caramel is a favorite of his),
- Mousse Aux Poires (pear mousse),
- Scottish Single Malt Whiskey,
- Absinthe & Amaretto,
- Swiss Apple, Edelweiss,
- Almond & Vanilla,
- Stracciatella (very yummy),
- Panna Cotta with Raspberry,
- White Peach, and
You can find Mövenpick in Europe at roadside kiosks (highly recommended for lakeside strolls), Mövenpick restaurants (worth going just to check out the insanely large and fancy menu of ice cream), other fine establishments and Co-op Swiss grocery stores (yep, we’re stocking the freezer if you come visit).
Mövenpick was originally produced in the kitchens of high-end Swiss restaurants. Eventually, they built factory in Bursins, then moved to a larger facility in Rorschach. In 2003, Nestlé (in Vevey) acquired the brand rights for the Ice Cream category, but keeps it as an independent unit (classifying it as Super Premium) in their in order to maintain the brand’s knowledge, innovation and quality.
Mövenpick doesn’t just make ice cream. In Switzerland, they make yoghurt, chocolate and coffee. We’ve heard from German friends that they sell wonderful jams and salad dressings there. I’ve heard they also do wines. They also have hotels ?!? Yes, you read that correctly. In case you’re wondering, they are high-end too. As you might have guessed, they also serve a phenomenal breakfast.
Here’s the deal. Charles Emmanuel I the Duke of Savoy wanted Geneva’s wealth. Genevans wanted their independence. Many of them were religious refugees and would have had no where safe to go if Geneva had fallen to Catholic France. They also wanted to keep their money instead of giving it to the Duke.
The cannon was louder than the muskets. Unfortunately, there are not enough occasions where shooting off a cannon is permitted. If you can get away with it, it definitely says celebration (or attack). There’s also a race/run that takes place weekend of or preceding the night of the 11th It usually starts in the Parc des Bastions, where the Savoy troops congregated before attacking the walled city, and goes through Geneva’s old town, before finishing near the start. It’s a big deal here and everyone gets involved; you’ll even see families and running together. There’s even a youth race and a costume run.
|One bag’s worth of candy|
10. Smaller bags of Halloween candy. There are 10-20 pieces per bag and each bag costs a lot more.
9. You have to search hard to find the candy. It’s not like the US where they sell it everywhere. There are aisles of chocolate bars in the grocery stores. Finding individually wrapped candies suitable for your Halloween candy bowl is another matter. For example, I do not think it is appropriate to hand out individually wrapped candies containing cherry liqueur to children.
8. Costumes are scary and supernatural-themed (witches, zombies, vampires, brains, blood, guts, etc.). You don’t see nurses, TV/movie characters, famous people, cartoon characters, superheros, etc. The Rocky Horror Picture Show may be lost in translation.
7. No trick-or-treaters.
Sally Brown: Do I get to go trick-or-treating this year big
Charlie Brown: Sure, Sally.
Sally Brown: Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy! How do we do it?
Lucy Van Pelt: All you have to do is walk up to a house, ring the doorbell and say “Tricks or Treats.”
Sally Brown: Are you sure it’s legal?
Lucy Van Pelt: Of course it’s legal.
Sally Brown: I wouldn’t want to be accused of taking part in a rumble.
|I am Lisbeth Salander from “The Girl With The Dragon Tatoo“; he’s in Leiderhosen.|
6. Halloween is not a huge holiday here so you get strange looks riding the tram or walking down the street looking like this. I found it helpful to wish everyone who looked at me strangely a “happy Halloween”. It usually elicited a smile.
5. No pumpkin spice lattes. We may have to bring some back with us. I have become fixated on it.
3. No pet costumes. If I happen to see a St. Bernard (or any other dog) in costume, I promise to whip out my camera and post it for you.
2. Here, pumpkins are for eating. It is hard to find carving pumpkins here and there are definitely not any pumpkin patches. For that matter, I haven’t heard of any cider mills either. Great, now I’m starting to fixate on apple cider too.
Happy Halloween! Eat, drink and be scary!
P.S. I may or may not have snuck some with breakfast. If I did, please don’t judge me.
|Skanky B, Homie G, MC Roni enjoying hot chocolate|
|Yes. It really was this cool (despite what the lady in pink thought).|
|My personal favorite|
|You can’t see our teeth because our mouths were full.|
|Manneken Pis, a famous Brussels landmark|
I don’t know if I have ever been so well looked after. I returned from Belgium last night. I spent time with my host family from Belgium. It was wonderful. I got to meet my host sibling’s children (who unfortunately for me and fortunately for them speak better French than I do). I had the best time and I miss them already.
They sent me back with tons of wonderful presents. As they are Belgians, most of it was food (and warm clothes). I came back with:
- Tins of fish from Brittany
- Giant packs of the best kind of Belgian Waffles (Gauffres de Liege) covered in chocolate
- Pralines from Leonidas
- Pralines from Corne
- A pot of Nutella (This was, unfortunately a casualty of airport security. They said it was a liquid. I think they wanted it for themselves.)
- Belgian chocolate (Yes, this is different from Nutella, pralines and chocolate covered waffles.)
- Warm, clothes that will make me look très Eurpoeanne (or at least less obviously American)
- Super cool paper placemats that teach you French (a painless way for him to learn some French)
I think they were afraid that I would go hungry in Switzerland. I ate so well in Belgium (posts to follow) that I feel a bit guilty that he wasn’t there to taste all the goodies. He was able to have yummy waffles for breakfast and will, undoubtedly, have pralines tonight. Thanks for everything.