Fat Tuesday 2011 in Switzerland

08 Mar

de drey scheenschte dääge, “the three best days in the year”

Bacon Onion Tart

Zwiebelwähe - Swiss Bacon Onion Tart

The Meal

If you can’t get to Rio or New Orleans there are all sorts of places around the world to get your pre-Lent party on. Of all the options Switzerland did not come to mind, but across the internet there is a plethora of information on the customs and culture of Mardi Gras in Switzerland.

Similar to the volunteer organizations that tend the Rose Parade floats in California year in and year out, small clubs throughout the Catholic Cantons (states) of Switzerland meet to plan and create elaborate papier-mâché masks and costumes for months.  All of the work culminates in 72 hours of parades and parties filled with merriment and great food:


Saucisson de Lyon brioché – Sausage wrapped in a sugared dough isn’t specific to just the Fasnacht festival, but with all of the onion cheesy goodness to  follow you may have a meat eater to feed.

Zwiebelwähe or KäsewäheBoth are onion and bacon tarts and for good measure here is a more generic version from Sauver – Swiss Onion Tart.

Side Dishes

Basler Mehlsuppe / Carnival Soup – Beef stock, onion, butter and browned flour seasoned to eat with Red wine and an alternate recipe that uses red wine in the soup.

FasnachtskiechliSugar coated Lenten fried pastery  that is a cousin of the funnel cake.

Fastnacht Kuchen – Potato based pastry closer to an American King cake than an individual pastry.

Fastenwähe – A caraway-seed pretzel in a diamond shape.


Fasnacht 06

Bankers and Bakers getting their Party on!

The View

The stoic and orderly Swiss let is all hang out with a vibrant gusto as they consume all the rich food and drink that is forbidden during Lent so that it does not spoil during the fasting season.  Much of the consumption is public, communal, and with alcohol.  There are plenty of alcohol free options… but this is not a low calorie festival!

Top 7 spots to party for Mardi Gras around the World (

Hotels Packages to party from Carnival to the Asparagus Festival Costumes from past parades (suitable for family viewing)
Helvetia, West Virginia, USA also celebrates following Swiss traditions of the town’s founders.

Descend into the hidden world that organizes these parades (Sauver)

( Fasnacht 06 photo is the work of Sascha Erni and Zwiebelwähe photo is the work of kochtopf and both are used under Creative Commons)


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