BERN, SWITZERLAND – Swiss supermarket chain Migros will undoubtedly have chocolate Santas and trees for the holiday season, but this year it’s come up with an unusual Christmas treat: a milk chocolate foil-wrapped camel fit for the Three Kings of Christmas lore.
The supermarket will stock them in 100 of its shops.
It notes that at least 21 percent of the milk is powdered camel’s milk from camel stables in the Emirates. Camel’s milk has been considered by desert nomads “since the start of time to be an elixir”. The other ingredients: natural Bourbon vanilla, acacia honey and selected cocoa beans.
The 130g treat was designed by chocolatier Al Nassna de Dubai and sells for CHF19.
Geneva, Switzerland (GenevaLunch) – Of course they are! And Switzerland’s biggest supermarket chain is ready to put cash on the table if you’ve got the most popular suggestion for a better product. You can create a completely new one or modify an existing product, on Migros’s migipedia web page for consumer input. The beta site was created in June 2010 and allows the stores clients to comment on some 5,000 Migros products.
If you don’t have decent French, German or Italian ask a neighbour to help you write up your suggestions because the money goes to the suggestion with the biggest number of votes, so yours needs to be coherent. The big prize is CHF10,000, with the winner selected by Migros, but the 10 most popular ideas are worth CHF1,000 to their authors.
The ones already posted are a curious mix, from packaged dried winter flowers for our salads and pumpkin jam in the food line to improved sports shoes and mini-Budget cars. I could do without the peppermint ice cream and vanilla coke, as well as the sauerkraut ice cream and ice tea energy drink. I have my doubts about the viability of the alcohol-free beer yogurt and washing my hair with wasabi shampoo is a scary idea, definitely one where you want to keep the suds out of your eyes.
But a tomato-flavoured Farmer bar might be worth trying at least once and black olives in quark has potential. Maybe. Porridge with apple and cinnamon is one of those things you get too often in bargain US hotels and the cheap cinnamon flavour stays with you for weeks, so I vote that one down.
Then there is the 40% hazelnut chocolate bar, not bad, not bad.
But so far, we can do better. I don’t know about you but I’m racking my brain for all those products I’ve been complaining about over the years, to remember how I thought they should improve them.
To participate with suggestions and to vote you need to register on the site. Deadline for votes and entries: 18 November 2010
Swiss food news
Zurich, Switzerland (GenevaLunch.com) – Switzerland’s largest supermarket chain, Migros, will increase by one-third its purchases of Swiss Integrated Production grains for bread at the 2011 harvest, significantly increasing its use of near-organic grains. Integrated Production (IP, or PI in French) is a label that covers a set of very high standards followed by about 20,000 of Switzerland’s 60,000 farmers for part or all of their production. It is not as strict in terms of chemical use as organic farming, but farmers commit themselves to working closely with nature and to encouraging biodiversity by helping flora and fauna thrive.
Migros will increase its IP grains by 90,000 tons, using these for bread and bakery products made by its bakery arm, Jowa, and for flour sold in its food outlets. The decision should give a boost to the label TerreSuisse, jointly created by IP-Suisse, Migros and the Swiss Ornithological Institute in Sembach.
TerreSuisse farmers, notes Migros, use no fungicides or insecticides, and they make a concerted effort to create spaces that encourage biodiversity: ponds for wild plants and wildlife, empty stretches in the middle of fields to encourage the threatened skylark to nest there, as well as hares, and fallow fields that encourage insects and cornflowers to flourish. They often heap stones into mounds that serve as shelters for lizards.
By Ellen Wallace, GL editor
The Swiss supermarket chain Migros has just introduced seven new food products from the Balkans that it will carry regularly, to answer a growing demand, it says.
The products, from Croatia, Slovenia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, are:
- Vegeta, a trendy mix of spices and herbs, from Croatia
- Podravka beef slices, Croatia
- Podravka goulash, which has won a Superior Taste Award, Croatia
- Argeta chicken-based spread, with no preservatives, from Slovenia
- two prepared vegetable products, Ajvar, one strong, one mild
- coming in autumn: peppers stuffed with sauerkraut
Free drinking water starting to disappear in Switzerland
I went to the renowned Sprüngli pastry shop in Zurich a few months ago with my chocolate-lover soul-mate, Tina Daub. Not having been there since our college days, we were excited and our taste buds were tingling at full speed before we even sat down.
We ordered our pastries and tea. Her sons ordered ice cream instead of pastry, so they were thirsty afterward and asked for a glass of water. (We all know that ice cream can make you thirsty, don’t we?) The waiter said we would have to order from the water menu.
This really rubbed me wrong. I said I’d never heard of a restaurant or café in Western Europe that refused to give you a glass of water free of charge. We argued about it, and he asked if I would like to speak to the manager. “Of course,” I said.
Migros’s home delivery service is perfect during this period of icy, snowy streets
Since I live in the old town in Geneva, I walk everywhere. A few years ago, I had shoulder and wrist injuries from carrying too many heavy shopping bags, and ever since, I’ve had to do my heavy grocery and household shopping with a trolley. A couple of years ago, after regularly hearing the leshop.ch ads on WRS (formerly WRG), I decided to try and avoid pulling my heavy trolley, filled with milk, detergents, and other heavy products, up the hill from the Coop 2000 and the Boulevard Helvétique market to the Russian Church, so I tried leshop.ch. With the ice and snow on the streets over the last few weeks, home delivery can definitely be a godsend.
Online supermarket shopping, a luxury that fits every pocked
Although the leshop site is not the most user-friendly and not everything is translated into English, it is still quite functional for a non-French-speaker. The process is simple. Start by opening an account. This allows you to have a shopping cart, which you can use just like a shopping list that you put on the front of the refrigerator, adding things as you run out of them (I just leave my leshop.ch shopping cart open on the screen and add things as needed). When you are ready to order, send it in before midnight, and it will arrive on your doorstep between 5 and 8 p.m. the next day.
For classic cake and dessert recipes: Joy of Baking
Her recipes are designed for use in North America, so the measurements may have to be adapted to your taste and the raw ingredients to what is available in the Lake Geneva region. For one thing, North Americans tend to put more sugar in their recipes. My rule of thumb is to cut the amount of sugar in half, but I have every kind of tooth but a sweet one, so three-quarters the amount would probably work for those who do.
I’m dying to try her pumpkin cheesecake recipe, but the graham crackers would have to be substituted by some other sort of whole-grain, slightly sweet biscuit or cookie. I think spelt and sesame Wasa or whole-wheat Krisprolls mixed with a spoon of brown sugar/cassonade could also give somewhat the same texture.
Cookbooks: Mathilde’s Cuisine
Mathilde Delville’s food blog is great for foodies like myself who have lived in a French-speaking country long enough to not know whether we’re more French, Swiss or Anglo. She rambles about all sorts of food-related topics, in both French and English.
I particularly like her post about cookbooks.
Gourmet recipes you can do at home: Citron et Vanille
Silvia is of Italian origin, grew up in Nancy, France, and has lived in the US for thirteen years now. She is a personal chef, and adds contemporary, gourmet recipes to her site almost daily.
She has the right origins (Italian and French) to know about good food and she is living in San Francisco, certainly one of the food capitals of the US, thanks to all the high-quality ingredients available year round.
Fusion, sugar-free and low-carb recipes: Café Nilson
The Virtual Chef, whose real name we don’t know, runs an on-line “café” consisting of recipes that people donate, to which she adds her own highly creative recipes. She leans toward light, healthy fusion cuisine, and offers two interesting categories we don’t often see: sugar-free and low-carb.
We still have strawberries in the Lake Geneva region, and they are extra-sweet right now, so I am strongly tempted by her Sugar-free Strawberry Soufflé recipe.