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Zmorge - A Typical Swiss Breakfast

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 in Switzerland.

Zmorge - Breakfast in Switzerland

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 leave for work. On weekends, breakfast starts much later but the actual time depends largely on the person and things planned. My guess is that on weekends the average Swiss 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. On weekends, we like to indulge a bit and enjoy large breakfasts - food-wise and time-wise. 

Midweek Zmorge

A typical Swiss midweek Zmorge looks similar to a breakfast in many other places of the world. It usually includes one of the following combinations:
  • 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 what and how much you actually eat for breakfast also 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. Unlike on a regular weekday, there is time to prepare and enjoy breakfast on a Saturday or Sunday. A Sunday Zmorge with friends or family can easily last an hour or two!

Swiss people love their late hour weekend breakfasts and we like to call them brunches, just like English speakers. Yes, we incorporated the word brunch into the Swiss German language - that's how much we like it!

Sundays in Switzerland are not only meant for long but also for extensive and rich breakfasts. There is one very typical ingredient that should never be missing on the weekend breakfast table: Zopf. This is a very tasty, braided Swiss bread that people 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 Swiss cheeses
  • a selection of cold cuts
  • fruit salad / slices of fruit
  • slices of tomatoes
  • juice
  • coffee or tea
Weekend breakfasts in Switzerland are so great, we even have a word to describe the manner in which we eat weekend Zmorge: zmörgele (to eat breakfast in a leisurely fashion).

Zmorge - Andreas Hermsdorf  /

All articles of the Swiss Meal mini series:

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



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