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Zvieri - A Swiss Snack in the Afternoon

In this mini series about Swiss meals, 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 Zvieri.

What exactly is a 'Zvieri'?

Zvieri is a Swiss German word and literally translates to 'at four'. It refers to a small meal or snack Swiss people eat around 4 pm. This snack is customary for almost everyone in Switzerland; school children, families, working people and university students all like to enjoy a Zvieri at some point during the afternoon.

A real Zvieri must be eaten mid-afternoon. The unofficial time range for a Zvieri is 3 pm to 5 pm. If a meal is eaten before 2 pm or after 6 pm it is usually considered lunch or dinner

What do the Swiss eat at their 'Zvieri'?

Much like the Swiss Znüni, a Zvieri is more like a snack than an actual full meal and usually consists of cold foods like fruits, a small sandwich or a pastry. 

In summer time ice cream is a popular Zvieri treat. Other summer Zvieri favorites are the typical Swiss summer fruits like grapes, strawberries, cherries or apricots. If it's hot people tend to skip coffee and go for a cold drink like juice or soda.

During the colder months a hot beverage, e.g. tea or coffee, is almost a must for every Zvieri break. It is usually accompanied by winter snacks like mandarines, peanuts or a (Christmas) cookie.

Zvieri - S. Hofschlaeger  / 

Other articles in this mini series:

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



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