The German for kitchen cupboard is Küchenkasten (really Küchenschrank but just to get some sense of comparison). The Swiss German for it is Chuchichäschtli. I know. It doesn’t even look the same 🙂 It’s the word you need to master in order to learn the local dialect, apparently! The word everyone tries to trick foreigners with, though the only ones you’re really tricking are Germans who speak high German and have no chance of producing the guttural “ch” sound in the throat that Swiss German requires without developing throat problems… for the rest, don’t even try and keep practicing the word Schloss (castle – that’s usually enough to confound English speakers!). LOL
Now I have been in this country for a long time and have been lucky enough to learn the language, so that now I thought I’d concentrate on what is actually in that kitchen cupboard – and you may well not know some of it!
There will, without fail, be Aromat. This spiced powder is a mixture of salts and seasonings and is one of those products you come to wonder how you ever lived without – they say (as I in fact don’t use it!). The Swiss seem to eat it on everything – I knew about sprinkling it on boiled eggs or meat, but recently came across my granddaughter eating it on bread and butter: a treat from her other granddad that he gives her for breakfast (you know how some foreign habits seem simply weird…?!). Then there is likely to be gravy in a tube. I kid you not, they sell the stuff in tubes here – I still haven’t taken that one on board, yet, though I am willing to use the product in powder form to enhance a meat dish occasionally! It has a particular flavour you will recognise if you ever have Bratwurst with onion gravy, for instance… I don’t know if it’s coincidence that those are the same brand? Probably has something to do with the fact that Knorr was early with claiming children’s interest in advertising, as my husband knows!
Next on my list is Maggi, another product that is originally Swiss – more seasonings (in liquid form), bouillon powders and packet soups. If you drive along the A1, just before you get to Winterthur, at Kemptthal, you can try and guess what flavour is in the works – there is always something wafting through the air! The inventor was actually trying to improve the diet of working families by developing better foods that were quicker to prepare, starting with flours made from protein-rich pulses (chickpeas/garbanzo) and later the famous Maggi meat extract flavouring.Another product I wasn’t familiar with were the crackers called Dar-Vida, which have been going for nearly 80 years, I discovered, 50 of those under the brand Hug, a Lucerne company that has existed since 1877. These savoury biscuits are a popular snack for children or on picnics, though these days, I see there are also sweetened chocolate versions, which kindergarten teachers would never allow! Tut tut. And last but not least, you’re likely to find some Kambly products in that store cupboard, too – both dainty biscuits/cookies to go with your coffee and something salty for that very Swiss occasion, the Apéro (what used to be known as a wine-and-cheese party!) – any excuse to ply guests with white wine and tiny snacks or nibbles – where Kambly, it seems, invented the goldfish cracker…!!