Monday, November 25, 2013

Onion Market: Zibelemärit in the Swiss capital

This was not the longest arrangement, a 2 m long one carried a lable "SOLD"

The last Monday in November is Zibelemärit (Onion market for the less eloquent in Swiss German) in Berne, the Swiss capital. This is a big event for the locals. We are even granted half a day public holiday and some schools let the children to mark and enjoy the event. The true fans of this day start off at four or five in the morning, the public transport starts an hour earlier than on other days. It is a good idea to come by public transport as many will be keeping themselves warm drinking Glühwein (mulled wine) or Punsch.

Stalls and people everywhere

The market really is about lots of stalls selling onion wreaths and garlic wreaths and all sorts of creative onion and garlic decorations. Funny enough, the market does not smell of onion at all. Occasionally the nose catches the inviting garlic bread aroma from some catering stalls.

Smiling onion ladies

There is lots of typical food to choose from on the onion market: onion pie, cheese pie, fondue, potato rösti, bratwurst, Lebkuchen. Specialties from other Kantons (Counties) can be bought as well.

Onion and cheese pies in all sizes

Speck from Kanton Glarus
If the Swiss food is not your favourite, burgers, hot dogs, roasted almonds, chinese fried specialties or even Dutch sweet poffertjes will not leave you hungry.
Roasted almonds and Lebkuchen
Even the Dutch are claiming a stand at the onion market

A portion of 5 poffertjes with sugar and butter go for 6 Francs
Over the years the market seems to have expanded and is now occupying most streets in the city center including the Parliament square.

Garlic, Onions and Lavender from Provence, France

A loooong salami that was
I mentioned that most of the children are free from school on this day. To fill their time adequately, they walk around throwing confetti at everyone and hitting the passers-by with plastic hammers. Confetti and hammers are probably the best sellers in the non-food segment items on this day. A day well spent.

Walking around the streets in the city center the scents and sensations of the brewing wine in huge kettles is inebriating the market visitors to the beat of the 80´s "Voyage, Voyage" or to Lenny Kravitz´s desire to get away and fly away. Listening to some of my non-Swiss friends they would join in with Lenny trying to escape the crowds and being hit on the head with a hammer.

The colourful confetti is cleaned fast in the evening and before the night falls the streets shine as a new pair of glasses.

A piece of cheese pie and that´s dinner sorted. If you´d like to learn a Swiss German word, try "Chäschueche", it means cheese pie.
Swiss chäschueche or cheese pie