Zürich Street Food in Autumn

Sometimes when you return home from vacation, it seems as if nothing has changed.  It’s like you never left.  Other times, it’s quite the opposite, and you feel like you’ve been gone for ages.  When coming back to Zürich after 10 days away, we certainly felt the latter- time did anything but stand still.  There wasn’t a trace of summer for us to grab on to.  Just as many people were outside as during those hot summer months, strolling along the lake, sitting on benches, reading or picnicking with friends.  But this time, they had on long coats, scarves wrapped around their necks, and brown paper cones in their hands.  Brown paper cones?

Heissi Marroni, Zürich, Switzerland

It’s autumn, and autumn in Switzerland can mean only one thing… heissi Marroni. Hot chestnuts of course!

Walking through town, green wooden stands selling chestnuts are ubiquitous.  As New York is full of tantalizing hot peanut stands, Paris has its crêperies, yet autumn street food in Zürich is all about the chestnut.  Whether they are called heissi Marroni here in the Swiss German region, heisse Marroni in German, or châtaigne in the Swiss French region, they are delicious by any name.

Heissi Marroni, Zürich, SwitzerlandHeissi Marroni, Zürich, SwitzerlandHeissi Marroni, Zürich, SwitzerlandHeissi Marroni, Zürich, Switzerland

Pre-split individually, the chestnuts are slowly cooked over charcoal in huge iron pots, stirred regularly to ensure even roasting.  Sold by weight, they are scooped up into brown paper bags or cones, just like the British eat their fish and chips.

Heissi Marroni, Zürich, Switzerland Chestnut Tree, Zug, Switzerland

Heissi Marroni, Zürich, SwitzerlandHowever, there’s one chestnut bag that is uniquely Swiss, and representative of the Swiss culture as a whole.  It has two pockets.  It’s as if a large and small bag were mistakenly glued together.  But you can be sure this was no accident, just another example of the Swiss attention to detail.  One side has your hot chestnuts, the other is for the shells.  Because, after all, where would you put them otherwise?  Zoom in on romantic lakeside scene, but something astray: couple sitting on a bench, overlooking the water as it glistens in the sun, his arm around her shoulders, single bag of chestnuts between them… and the large pile of chestnut shells at their feet.

I don’t think so.


“Eight Great Street Food Vendors in Zürich” on Gourmet.com

4 Responses to “Zürich Street Food in Autumn”

  1. Lani says:

    I can smell the chestnuts roasting on the open fire. Love the romantic ambiance of a couple sitting on a bench with the chestnuts between them….love it.
    What a great idea the bag having 2 sections….how unique…love it!!!!

  2. anushruti says:

    Love the first photo and you have shown such a wonderful side of Zurich.

  3. Dimitri (Newly Swissed) says:

    What a tease! Roasted chestnuts are my bread during Switzerland’s cold season, and I think I would give up chocolate before chestnuts (to prove my point)…

  4. Sarahlynn Pablo says:

    What a charming piece! Reminded me of the chestnuts we saw roasting in Barcelona during November, but no such ingenious brown paper bag!

    I am working on an article on Swiss street food, and I was wondering which city to visit. Suggestions?


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