Skip to main content

Zmorge - A Typical Swiss Meal (Part 1)

In this mini series I'll write about the five daily meals people eat in Switzerland: Zmorge, Znüni, Zmittag, Zvieri and Znacht. What do we typically eat? When do we eat? What is the proper conduct at the table? Today, I'll write about breakfast.


Zmorge is the Swiss German word for breakfast. It is an abbreviated form of the two words "zu" (to, at) and "Morgen" (morning) and literally means "in the morning". This obviously makes sense, since breakfast is usually eaten in the morning hours of the day.

During the week, most Swiss people take their Zmorge between 6.30am and 7.30 am, depending on what time school starts or what time they have to catch their train to work. My guess ist that on weekends an average breakfast time is around 9am but there really aren't any statistics to back this claim. 

The hour of the Zmorge is not the only difference between a midweek and a weekend breakfast in Switzerland. During the week, Swiss people eat simpler and faster breakfasts simply because there is no time to indulge. 

Midweek Zmorge

A typical midweek Zmorge looks much like breakfast in many other places of the world. It usually includes one of the following:
  • slice(s) of bread or rolls with butter and jam; coffee, tea or hot milk
  • bowl of cereal with milk; coffee or tea
  • bowl of Müesli with fruit and yoghurt; coffee or tea
  • Gipfeli (Swiss croissant) and coffee
This list is not conclusive. Breakfast is very individual and partly depends on whether you are a morning person or not. In fact, I know quite a lot of Swiss who leave the house in the morning without eating any breakfast.

Weekend Zmorge

The situation changes on weekends, especially on Sundays. Swiss people love their Sunday brunches. Yes, we incorporated the word brunch into the Swiss German language - that's how much we like it! Sundays in Switzerland are meant for extensive and rich Zmorge and there is one ingredient that should not be missing on the breakfast table: Zopf. It is a tasty, braided bread that we prepare (and that is sold) on weekends only. Other typical dishes for a weekend Zmorge include:
  • eggs (fried, scrambled, hardboiled)
  • fried bacon
  • Röschti (potato pancake)
  • different kinds of jam
  • honey
  • butter
  • a selection of cheeses
  • a selection of cold cuts
  • juice
  • coffee or tea
We also have a word to describe the manner in which we eat weekend Zmorge: zmörgele (to eat breakfast in a leisurely fashion).

Zmorge - Andreas Hermsdorf  /

In this mini series:

Zmorge - breakfast
Znüni - mid-morning snack
Zmittag - lunch
Zvieri - mid-afternoon snack
Znacht - dinner



Popular posts from this blog

How to Spot a Swiss Person

As an expat one usually spots fellow expats right away. It's not only the language or the looks of people but rather the little peculiarities of life that seem so normal at home that give us away while abroad. Obviously, it's a cliche that all people from the same place (country, city, continent) behave in the same way and I am far from making that claim. However, growing up in a certain surrounding does rub off on people's behavior and some similarities can certainly be observed.

This is also true for Swiss people. According to the Swiss stereotype, we are a clean, punctual and strictly organized people. However, there are many exceptions like my Swiss friend who is always late or my brother whose room was a total mess while growing up. Yet, although they do not fit the description of a typical Swiss person, they still have some traits that give them away as Swiss. The same is probably true for myself - if I like it or not.
10 Signs you are dealing with a Swiss Person So,…

Schätzli, Schnüggel and Müüsli - Terms of Endearment in Swiss German

If you've ever been invited to the home of a Swiss couple, you are probably familiar with the most popular Swiss German term of endearment "Schätzli" (little treasure) or one of it's many varieties like e.g. "Schatz" or "Schätzeli". Obviously, this is not the only pet name used by Swiss couples (or parents for that matter). Like many other languages, Swiss German offers a wide variety of words and phrases that you can use to address your loved one.

What most of these pet names have in common is the ending "-li" which basically turns the thing or person a word refers to into something small. For example "Haus" means house and "Hüüsli" means small house. This ending "-li" can also be added to first names as a means of endearment, e.g. Benjaminli, Estherli or Fabienneli.

I tried to come up with a collection of Swiss German pet names but realized I only know a handful. However, after combing through the interne…

10 Fun Things to do on a Rainy Day in Switzerland

The weather has been so so these last few days and will remain rainy and rather cold. No swimming in one of the many lakes of Switzerland, going on a nice bike trip or playing soccer outside unless you are willing to endure some heavy rain. :)

However, there are plenty of fun things to do in Switzerland even on rainy days. Here's the list of my current favorite rainy day activities:
Alpamare: Biggest water park of Switzerland with dozens of water slides and pools. It's open all year round since most of the baths and slides are indoors. It is perfect for a rainy day since there are usually less people than on a sunny day.Zoo Zurich: The famous zoo in Zurich features bears, elephants, monkeys, tigers and the mazoala hall (a tropical glass house). Many animals can be visited in their houses.Swiss National Museum: The Swiss National Museum in Zurich gives an overview over the cultural history of Switzerland. Swiss Museum of Transport: The Museum of Transport in Lucerne tells the h…