Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

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Switzerland is a place where one is never far from a bakery or pastry shop, even in rural towns and mountain villages, a fact that reflects the country’s sweet tooth. Most meals finish on a sweet note, even if that means only fruit, yogurt, or a square of chocolate. But the Swiss do not have a taste for extreme sweetness; fruit- and dairy-based desserts are popular, and local specialties continue to reflect the country’s poor, mostly agrarian roots. Breads, cakes, tarts, pies, and other baked goods make frequent appearances on Swiss tables. Whether a croissant in the morning or pastry with coffee during an afternoon work break, sweet things occupy a special place in the rhythm of Swiss life. The baked goods sold at pastry shops—mille-feuilles, baba au rhum, fruit tartlets, and chocolate slices—generally reveal a strong French influence. See baba au rhum and pastry, puff. Most shops also sell petits fours; more sophisticated ones add chocolate bonbons to their offerings. See bonbons and small cakes.