I have always wanted to document a shopping trip to a Swiss grocery store for you guys.
That's because I thought that the Swiss abroad (and ex-expats) might enjoy delving into this cultural experience. There are few differences between grocery stores in Switzerland and elsewhere, except that they tend to be much smaller in size. An average neighborhood Migros in Switzerland might carry everything you need to prepare a BBQ, including the food, the charcoal, recyclable plates and a portable grill.
Grab your wallet and join us for some grocery shopping in Switzerland!
It is very common that shopping carts are kept outside the store, which is why they are chained together and can only be unlocked by depositing a coin:
Due to limited floor space inside most stores, bulky items such as packs of toilet paper or club soda (it is no stereotype that the Swiss love carbonated water!) are stacked right outside the entrance.
At our local store, we will let the cashier know during checkout if we want to purchase something from there and then pick it up on the way out.
The inventory is really geared towards a practical lifestyle, and it is common for people to shop for fresh food several times a week. When it comes to staples, one can never have enough cookies...
Swiss honey comes in many varieties: Try a smooth kind from Ticino or a creamy organic kind!
Important: Produce needs to be weighed and labeled by the customer! In the US, this is done by the cashier. But here, if you forget, you are in trouble and risk getting the evil eye from the cashier and other customers as you are holding up your lane...
Trust me, you don't want that to happen!
Conveniently located close to the checkout is what I am going to refer to as "Chocolate Avenue". Needless to say, Switzerland has the highest chocolate consumption in the world.
The Swiss consume 11.6 kg per capita. Having an entire aisle dedicated to this staple of survival is normal, no?
Chocolate comes in all shapes and sizes. Ragusa is popular because of the roasted hazelnuts. I have watched many shoppers swing by the chocolate aisle to pick up a bar on their way out.
Why I was even there to witness this? Go figure...
As many chocolate there is, as many types of yogurt you can get. Even a small chain store will have an extensive selection of Swiss yogurts, many of them being organic, some even being local.
The definition of "local" is much tighter than it is, say, in the US. In our neighborhood store, the milk is probably being sourced from the town's farmers, and the yogurt and cheese is produced in the hills no more than 20 miles away.
Yogurts come in many flavors and consistencies. There are always seasonal kinds as well, such as chestnut in the winter or plum in the summer.
Cheese can be bought pre-packed in chain stores. But smaller local shops still have old-fashioned cheese counters. Either way, there is no such thing as "Swiss cheese" (there are 100's of kinds of "Swiss cheese"...)
Butter tastes like real butter!
And to the big surprise of many, the Swiss do not refrigerate eggs...
Aromat is a staple in any Swiss kitchen! Look for it in the spices aisle.
Rösti is the Swiss version of hashbrowns. There are many varieties, including one with Swiss Appenzeller cheese, or the Berner Rösti with bacon bits.
Rivella is the most popular beverage in Switzerland. It contains milk whey, which makes it taste iffy for many Newly Swissed...
While I am munching on a bar of chocolate, why don't you take a minute and let us know which other errands you would like us to document in the future!