All about Mardi Gras... in Switzerland
There are many traditions associated with bread connected with carnival in Switzerland, for example, the "baker's mill" (mütschil) from Zug and "Löli" bread. In Einsiedeln, clowns called "bajazzos" offer bread in an ancient ritual. In the canton of Schwytz, on the Monday of Lent, the Blötz" parades with a broom handle on which a head shaped loaf of bread is stuck. During the "Rathausteilet" in Rapperswil, buns are distributed to commemorate the famine of the 14th century. In the Valais and Tessin, bread blessing ceremonies are organized.
Each region and canton has its specialties. They include:
The famous Basel carnival lasts only three days, but the city prepares for it for 362, with a great deal of enthusiasm and unbridled creativity. This magical event has produced some specialities like
A pretzel flavored with cumin. Long known only in the Basel region, it is now a staple in many parts of Switzerland. It dates back to the 17th century and used to be eaten only during lent.
Onion tart is much loved by the residents of Basel during "Morgestraich." Although cheese tart is available throughout the year, onion tart is available only during carnival.
Mehlsuppe - Basel Flour Soup
Sharing this soup is the highlight of "Morgestraich," the raucous 3 a.m. opening to Basel's legendary carnival.
Every reveller has some of this revivifying soup, made with toasted flour, onions, butter and broth. In olden times, the girls of Basel were not eligible to marry until they had learned to make flour soup.
A good source of energy, the traditional "risotto con luganighe,", rice with local salami-style sausage, is often given out free to fill up hungry carnival revellers.
Bachenschnitte, a type of honey leckerli made with a beer dough, is the carnival specialty of Appenzell. It is cooked in hot oil and then dredged in cinnamon sugar. Some cooks include nutmeg, cloves or lemon. In the past, Bachenschnitten were made only the Thursday after Ash Wednesday.
"Zigerkrapfen," a Zurich speciality stuffed with fresh cheese, raisins, almonds, often flavoured with kirsch, are made from whey. .
Known in German Switzerland under the name of "schenkeli," these "ladies' thighs" are a great accompaniment to a hot cup of tea or coffe.
Carnival "merveilles" come from an old Basel tradition dating back to the 15th century. The recipe later spread throughout Switzerland and to southwestern France.
Top photo : Switzerland Tourism
Zigerkrapfen photo: Swissmilk.ch
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