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?
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.
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.
However, 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