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  #81  
Old 23.11.2015, 20:18
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Re: Swiss Supermarkets

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I'm still awaiting Urs Max's response as to what he likes better.

There have been stories of locals complaining about too much choice in Migros and all that foreign looking muck should be removed from the shelves.

Is that the way you see it Urs?

Otherwise I'm at a loss to see why more choice in food is a bad thing.
It's not a bad thing, but it's not a necessity. Believe me, I love to go to Carrefour in France, but if you're lucky enough to have a decent Coop or Micros close to where you live it's not that bad.

In any case, I make most of our food from scratch and I buy local products whenever possible. I find it disturbing when I'm at my parent's place in Québec, they have this huge supermarket with all sorts of fruit and vegetables from faraway places and very little form the area (it's in the countryside!) and almost nothing organic. Another thing I've noticed from large supermarkets abroad, is how much of the variety is about ready made food and more or less artificial foods (I can't say I miss CheeseWhiz), none of which are essential in my daily shopping.

Admittedly I've been weaned of the need for variety when I moved from Québec to Norway in the late 90s. The grocery stores then really were Soviet style (much better now though), avocados were exotic and asparagus nowhere to be found. And don't get me started on the cheese. Quality was also pretty dire (still is for many things). Switzerland is actually pretty good by comparison.

Anything I don't find in a Swiss grocery store, I find at the international or the Korean market close to HB.
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Old 23.11.2015, 20:20
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Re: Swiss Supermarkets

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You are spot on there - nothing more the swiss like than their 5 minutes of fame at he checkout as they watch their stuff sail by piling up at the end of counter. And even more enjoyable when the shop is really busy like a station and you have to be asked for your 5 rappens worth of club points and a bit of fumbling for a credit card. Oh and a good conversation about *** knows what.
Maybe you just not suited to an expat way of life, go home and have your fish and chips
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Old 23.11.2015, 20:21
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Re: Swiss Supermarkets

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then for sure Swiss cuisine is far more sophisticated.

We ate macaroni cheese tonight. It keeps warm and is good for an evening when everyone's coming home at different times.

The kids love it. It's nursery food (or comfort food) and is great on a cold winter evening. We hadn't cooked it for years but some American friends re-introduced it to us here so we do have it occasionally.

But's it's not sophisticated in the slightest and doesn't pretend to be.

But, how is cheese and potatoes (or plain dull veal sausages) or alpen macaroni, or melted cheese and bread or even meat in a cream sauce remotely more sophisticated than good old mac and cheese?
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Old 23.11.2015, 20:23
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Re: Swiss Supermarkets

E.g., you need at least a fork for the maccheroni.
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Old 23.11.2015, 20:31
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Re: Swiss Supermarkets

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Maybe you just not suited to an expat way of life, go home and have your fish and chips
Actually the dorsch fillet makes very good fish and chips. Not as good a the real thing though But make sure it doesnt have any nemotoid worms in it before you cook it.

They can be seen before you buy it unless its deliberately concealed
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Old 23.11.2015, 20:54
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Re: Swiss Supermarkets

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Old 23.11.2015, 20:55
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Re: Swiss Supermarkets

Whilst it's nice to have a selection of "foreign" food in the supermarket, the fact that there is a limited supply of such things in mass market Swiss supermarkets is no more than a minor inconvenience at best. But what really gets me annoyed are the following:
  1. Mediocre to poor quality vegetables that rot within days of purchase (despite the fact that Swiss farmers often produce very high quality vegetables [I once bought 3kg of unwashed redskinned potatoes from a Swiss farmer: they tasted amazing and lasted forever])
  2. Why is it so hard to find Northern European seasonal vegetables such as Swede (rutabaga), turnips other than the white ones, fresh peas in the pod, broad beans., etc. etc. when you can't move for falling over "exotics" like kiwis, mangoes and out of season veg (such as tomatoes)?
  3. Meat that is trimmed of all fat - whether cuts that do need to be slow cooked or can be (fairly) quickly grilled. I can't remember the last time I had a truly juicy pork chop or steak in Switzerland. Marbling and fat present during cooking add to flavour and succulence
  4. Bizarre butchering. Apart from filet, chops, cutlets and loin (and sometimes a leg) everything else from the animal - when available - seems just to be hacked off at random from the animal carcass into mysterious chunks. What happened to clod? shin? hanger steak? chuck? Silverside? or Briskett - it all seems to get lumped together as "stewing meat" or siedflesich.
  5. Having to pay high amounts for offal (CHF 7 for a single veal kidney? c'mon!), which not only has to be specially ordered but invariably arrives frozen.
When you do find a good farmer or butcher, Swiss vegetables fruit and meat are incredibly tasty and certainly bear only a passing resemblance to "edible foodstuffs" available at Coogros...


Ironically, Mrs TD's aunt lives in the Suisse Romande and she has often remarked to me that food (and food culture) there is many, many times better than in the German part of Switzerland. Quelle surprise.

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Old 23.11.2015, 21:28
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Re: Swiss Supermarkets

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Whilst it's nice to have a selection of "foreign" food in the supermarket, the fact that there is a limited supply of such things in mass market Swiss supermarkets is no more than a minor inconvenience at best. But what really gets me annoyed are the following:
  1. Mediocre to poor quality vegetables that rot within days of purchase (despite the fact that Swiss farmers often produce very high quality vegetables [I once bought 3kg of unwashed redskinned potatoes from a Swiss farmer: they tasted amazing and lasted forever])
  2. Why is it so hard to find Northern European seasonal vegetables such as Swede (rutabaga), turnips other than the white ones, fresh peas in the pod, broad beans., etc. etc. when you can't move for falling over "exotics" like kiwis, mangoes and out of season veg (such as tomatoes)?
  3. Meat that is trimmed of all fat - whether cuts that do need to be slow cooked or can be (fairly) quickly grilled. I can't remember the last time I had a truly juicy pork chop or steak in Switzerland. Marbling and fat present during cooking add to flavour and succulence
  4. Bizarre butchering. Apart from filet, chops, cutlets and loin (and sometimes a leg) everything else from the animal - when available - seems just to be hacked off at random from the animal carcass into mysterious chunks. What happened to clod? shin? hanger steak? chuck? Silverside? or Briskett - it all seems to get lumped together as "stewing meat" or siedflesich.
  5. Having to pay high amounts for offal (CHF 7 for a single veal kidney? c'mon!), which not only has to be specially ordered but invariably arrives frozen.
When you do find a good farmer or butcher, Swiss vegetables fruit and meat are incredibly tasty and certainly bear only a passing resemblance to "edible foodstuffs" available at Coogros...


Ironically, Mrs TD's aunt lives in the Suisse Romande and she has often remarked to me that food (and food culture) is many, many times better than in the German part of Switzerland. Quelle surprise.
Agree entirely: the point is not the amount of foreign stuff in Swiss supermarkets, which is irrelevant. I'm in a foreign country and don't expect to find Marmite (though I do) or anything else I can buy just as easily (and more cheaply) in the UK.

It's the lack of interest in the quality of food, and how it's cooked, that's baffling, in particular meat as pointed out above. There's a different cultural attitude in the other language regions and having just moved to the sunny side of the Alps, I am now happily aware of it.
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Old 23.11.2015, 22:02
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Re: Swiss Supermarkets

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The COOP in Oberwil is a case in point.

Apparently the largest COOP in NW-CH. Instead of stocking a wider range, they simply have more of the same... sigh.
Indeed, as a counterexample, the Coop in Dietlikon (the old Carrefour) only survives by NOT trying to be just a larger Swiss-only store. However they still haven't attracted back the old clientele that used to frequent the place each Saturday
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Old 23.11.2015, 22:36
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Re: Swiss Supermarkets

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We ate macaroni cheese tonight. It keeps warm and is good for an evening when everyone's coming home at different times.

The kids love it. It's nursery food (or comfort food) and is great on a cold winter evening. We hadn't cooked it for years but some American friends re-introduced it to us here so we do have it occasionally.

But's it's not sophisticated in the slightest and doesn't pretend to be.

But, how is cheese and potatoes (or plain dull veal sausages) or alpen macaroni, or melted cheese and bread or even meat in a cream sauce remotely more sophisticated than good old mac and cheese?
In Winter I often cook Schinken Maccaroni for similar reasons.
Simply cook some maccaroni, mix with cooked ham in a dish, add some sauce made from two eggs, milk, cream, spices (nutmeg is good) scatter cheese over the top and stick in the oven for a half hour
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Old 23.11.2015, 22:39
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Re: Swiss Supermarkets

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Otherwise I'm at a loss to see why more choice in food is a bad thing.


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It's not a bad thing, but it's not a necessity. .
said kim jong un...
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Old 23.11.2015, 23:33
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Re: Swiss Supermarkets

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We ate macaroni cheese tonight. It keeps warm and is good for an evening when everyone's coming home at different times.

The kids love it. It's nursery food (or comfort food) and is great on a cold winter evening. We hadn't cooked it for years but some American friends re-introduced it to us here so we do have it occasionally.

But's it's not sophisticated in the slightest and doesn't pretend to be.

But, how is cheese and potatoes (or plain dull veal sausages) or alpen macaroni, or melted cheese and bread or even meat in a cream sauce remotely more sophisticated than good old mac and cheese?
I made Shepard pie tonight. Steak, mais, patate. Steak, sweet corn and potato.

Delicious!
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Old 24.11.2015, 00:11
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Re: Swiss Supermarkets

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said kim jong un...
Possibly, but even though we're considered food snobs by everyone who knows us, I still think that lack of variety as described here is very much a first world problem. It's not like we have to survive on a diet of rice and yams 3 times a day.

But, again before anyone throws the first stone, I'm spoiled by local standards. The Migros 100 m from my house is pretty good and the fruits and vegetables are usually very nice, there's also a Globus 400-500 m from the flat. As we only eat meat once week so we don't mind splurging and I buy mostly seasonal vegetables, preferably from CH. I buy what looks good and work with it.

The only thing I miss is a wide choice of fresh fish and shellfish, but given the country's location it didn't come as a surprise.
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Old 24.11.2015, 00:14
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Re: Swiss Supermarkets

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I made Shepard pie tonight. Steak, mais, patate. Steak, sweet corn and potato.

Delicious!
We also went for comfort food, I made a chowder with cod and corn.

Tomorrow it's quinoa pilaf style with broccoli and almonds.
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Old 24.11.2015, 00:29
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Re: Swiss Supermarkets

We had onion gravy with pork sausage and steak strips, served on a hefty dollop of mashed spuds with greens on the side. Yum. Is obviously the weather for it!
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Old 24.11.2015, 02:09
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Re: Swiss Supermarkets

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Swiss cuisine is known for its sophistication, especially in countries with less attention to culinary stuff like Germany, Russia, GB, the US and others; which is not only a single outstanding quality with regards to this very sector. Btw much more adapted to a normal life-style than that terribly fatty overcaloried stuff from all the aforementioned.
I like Swiss food, especially from Graubunden.
Still, I had a good, loud laugh when I read the above. Mostly, it's a bunch of mountain food that was meant to be sturdy, filling, and that poor folks could easily scrap together. Much like our (northern Italian) polenta and mushroom, polenta and cheese, etc.

Tasty - maybe. Sophisticated - not a chance.

Last edited by BokerTov; 24.11.2015 at 16:35. Reason: typo
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Old 24.11.2015, 02:38
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Re: Swiss Supermarkets

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I likes Swiss food, especially from Graubunden.
Still, I had a good, loud laugh when I read the above. Mostly, it's a bunch of mountain food that was meant to be sturdy, filling, and that poor folks could easily scrap together. Much like our (northern Italian) polenta and mushroom, polenta and cheese, etc.

Tasty - maybe. Sophisticated - not a chance.
Well, I would like to see another (rather small) country with a similar range of Food, from many regions and cultures, in many fields, don't matter if we are talking bread, cheese, desserts, tarts, cookies, coffee, beverages or wine.
I honestly don't think many countries, where simply much less of the ingredients grow or must be imported at a high price, could compete.
Apart from California, do they have any wine production in England and the US? Do they understand anything of coffee and cakes? How many different types of cheese do they have?
I think in England I even saw spaghetti in tins ... never tell that to an Italian. Or if you want to see him cry out of despair, do.
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Old 24.11.2015, 03:50
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Re: Swiss Supermarkets

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Well, I would like to see another (rather small) country with a similar range of Food, from many regions and cultures, in many fields, don't matter if we are talking bread, cheese, desserts, tarts, cookies, coffee, beverages or wine.
I honestly don't think many countries, where simply much less of the ingredients grow or must be imported at a high price, could compete.
Apart from California, do they have any wine production in England and the US? Do they understand anything of coffee and cakes? How many different types of cheese do they have?
I think in England I even saw spaghetti in tins ... never tell that to an Italian. Or if you want to see him cry out of despair, do.
Please stop now. You're just embarrassing yourself with your ignorant statements. One could counter with "have you ever left Switzerland?". Or question whether there is any (potable) wine production in Switzerland -- I know they produce vinegar in some of the low-lying parts, but what about wine? (Actually, there are some -- a very few -- decent-ish Swiss whites, but they pale (ha!) in comparison to wines from France, Italy, Australia, NZ, South Africa, Chile, Argentina,... you get the picture.)

Your question about wine production in England is laughable. Although there are 135 wineries with 470 vineyards in England and another 22 vineyards in Wales, you know very well that the climate there is not well suited to most grape varieties. Yet one can buy pretty much any wine from anywhere in the world, in London. What does your local Denner offer?

10% of all American wine is produced outside California, with Washington state alone producing more wine annually than Switzerland. California produces 27 times as much wine as Switzerland. Again, just about every wine imaginable from anywhere in the world can be purchased in Beverly Hills.

But if the origin of the food you eat is important to you, consider Rösti, a Swiss favourite -- presumably one of your vaunted sophisticated dishes. It's made predominantly from potatoes. Switzerland produces just over 300,000 tonnes of potatoes per year; the UK grows over 6,000,000 tonnes, and the US, more than 20,000,000. That makes food in the UK 2,000% more sophisticated than in Switzerland, and Swiss food only 1.5% as sophisticated as American food. The facts don't lie.

You mentioned cheese. And coffee. The UK produces more than 700 different varieties of cheese. Switzerland produces only 450. Which sounds the more sophisticated? As for coffee, well, you've got me there. England grows exactly the same amount of coffee as Switzerland. However, coffee is produced commercially in Hawaii (and in Puerto Rico). Even Australia grows more coffee than Switzerland -- pushing Swiss food even further down the Ladder of Sophistication!

In other words, what's your point? You love your Swiss food and you come over all warm and patriotic when you see a plate heaped with shredded fried potato with a slab of pork and a fried egg on top. Just because you love it, doesn't make it "sophisticated". I love Australian meat pies with sauce (none of this "ketchup" nonsense). Believe me, they're far from sophisticated; delicious, though. And I love Swiss food, too, but I'm sufficiently dispassionate to tell that it isn't sophisticated, either.

You really should try visiting these countries you're so quick to disparage, and try "going native". Don't stick to McDonalds or the big-chain take-aways -- find local restaurants and give the local cuisine a try. Naive, outdated statements about the quality of food abroad just show you up as parochial and ignorant.

Last edited by 22 yards; 24.11.2015 at 04:05.
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Old 24.11.2015, 07:47
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Re: Swiss Supermarkets

This thread make me miss when Carrefour was still here.
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Old 24.11.2015, 08:46
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Re: Swiss Supermarkets

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I made Shepard pie tonight. Steak, mais, patate. Steak, sweet corn and potato.

Delicious!
That sure has hell is not a shepherds pie. For a start there is no lamb in it and sweetcorn has no place in a Shepherds pie. Peas and carrots yes, sweetcorn, no.

Cottage Pie uses beef mince - not steak.

<GENERAL RETORT>

I love the fact this same rant comes up time and time again - Swiss Supermarkets are so crap and the food is so bland. And?? It is a different country, it is a different culture. You may have missed that memo when you passed through passport control and they tutted because you didn't speak the language. Switzerland was a poor country for a very long time - so its traditional diet is based on products available - one of which was dairy from a specific breed of cow. Meat was butchered into good cuts (to be enjoyed on high days and holidays) and the rest turned into sausages to be cooked, dried or smoked.

You can bitch and moan, and complain on EF, and bitch and moan as much as you like - but unless you get off your backside and communicate directly with the supermarkets about stocking a broader range of products nothing will change.

I'm not sure I need a range of 50 breakfast cereals, 160 jams, 94 table sauces, 12 types of tinned tuna, 75 flavours of cordial etc etc, I am more than happy sticking with the limited range that your average Swiss supermarket supplies as long as the range of wine remans as broad and single malt whisky prices are lower than the UK

</GENERAL RETORT>
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