There’s nothing quite like a sugar hit, is there? And, like heroin, it’s always the first rush that’s the strongest, with every following bite a mere attempt at replicating that initial thrill. If I am guilty of one vice, it is sugar, hands down; and I know I’m not alone. Whether it be for energy to get my sleep-deprived and droopy-eyed self through another two-hour class, a necessary epilogue to a meal, or in answer to a sudden late-night craving, sugar reigns supreme.
So you might venture to say Switzerland, home of Lindt, is the right place for me to be right now – or the worst place possible! In any case, I have wasted no time in trying out the local sucreries – sweet things. From local patisseries and their deliciously fresh (though overpriced) goods, to the impressive sugared bulwark that is every supermarket’s chocolate section, to the mouthwatering treats on offer at the university canteens, there is certainly much to keep a sugar fiend busy here.
Bizarrely, the one thing I have not seen much of is chocolate fondue. Cheese, yes, but not chocolate. I think I’ve just discovered my next mission… In the meantime, have a taste of some of the saccharin surprises I have encountered thus far.
Chocolate – it’s an obvious one; in fact, I’ve started to take it for granted. The chocolates that I am used to seeing in England (Snickers, Maltesers, etc.) are still readily available, with some interesting variations, such as white Kit Kat Chunky, or almond Mars. But of course it is the national brands such as Lindt, Sprüngli and Cailler which hold more interest. You can find some seriously interesting chocolates in the local supermarket, which in England you could only find in a specialist chocolaterie.
Carac – ahh, this most Swiss of sweet treats. When I first got here I was instantly intrigued by this omnipresent green tartlet, and it was only a matter of time before I sunk my teeth into its gooey, chocolately depths. It is intensely sweet; a bit too much for me. To have only when you are braced for a serious sugar shock.
Prune tart – On offer in impressively large slices at university cafeterias, dusted with white icing. Not something I would usually go for (probably too close to something “healthy”), but it is traditional, and good for keeping you regular!
Mövenpick ice cream – originally a chain of hotels, this Swiss company has branched out into ice cream, and at 12.95chf per tub, you know it’s gotta be something special. How can I describe their double cream (from nearby Gruyère) and meringue flavour? I don’t even normally like meringue. I haven’t tried any other flavours, and I don’t feel the need to. This stuff is so good I’m kind of too scared to buy it. Thank god for the ridiculous price tag.
Gaufres – or waffles, as we know them. I’m thinking specifically about the ones they sell at Coop. Big, chunky, with little bursts of sugar lumps at intervals; sure they may be from packets but these things are way better than the stuff you can buy from street vendors.
Chocolate truffle cake – get from a local bakery. I don’t even know if this the correct name for these little rectangular slices of heaven, but they are chocolate, with a definite truffle-y texture inside, and again, extremely sweet. A struggle even for me to finish a slice.
Tarte au citron – The nicest one I have tasted so far has been at Anthropole, the university building where I have most of my classes. They have these sort of square-shaped pastry cases, filled with a deliciously thin lemon curd and topped with tiny curls of chocolate. Beautiful.
There’s more; you know there is, I know there is. I just have yet to try them out. I probably ought to be careful though, seeing a dentist here certainly won’t be cheap…