“Easter” Eggs, all year long

Before we know it, nary a chocolate bunny ear will be found in the shops around town.  Easter accessories will soon make way for other spring-like decorations, and it will be a whole year until Lindt’s famous gold-wrapped chocolate bunnies take over the supermarkets again here in Zürich.   Hand-painted Easter eggs are no longer at the markets either, with their intricate designs and impressive handicraft.  But what you do see – 365 days of the year – are bright, colorful eggs.

Eggs !Eggs !

Blue, purple, yellow, orange, sometimes tie-dyed or with designs on a theme, linked to a holiday or season.  When I first moved here, during the summer of 2008, Zürich was all about hosting the Euro Cup (the big quadrennial soccer tournament).  So much so that eggs in supermarkets and on hotel breakfast buffets were emblazoned with the flags of participating countries.  After the soccer frenzy, the eggs lost their flags, but showed up in every color imaginable, throughout autumn and into winter.  I had never seen this before and clearly thought it was the funniest thing, especially since Easter was months away.

What were they ?  Nothing more than hard-boiled eggs.  Referred to as salad eggs or picnic eggs, for just those purposes.  Even more so, a very common snack for hikers, easy to throw in a backpack with bread, cheese and sausages. (And chocolate if you’re hiking with me.)

Eggs !Eggs !Eggs !Eggs !

I got used to seeing these multicolor eggs at the supermarket all throughout the year.  You can even get them organic if you choose, buy them individually (pick your favorite colors) or in crates by the dozen, the latter in the same packaging as a carton of raw eggs.  I’m sure there are people who have grabbed the wrong carton and wondered why their eggs were sponsored by Rainbow Brite.  (Ok, perhaps it’s a good idea to distinguish them then.) On my most recent visit to the Coop supermarket here, in addition to the many varieties of raw eggs, you also had 5 different options for hard-boiled: crates of 4 green and yellow eggs; crates of 6 blue, red and yellow eggs; one dozen red eggs; 6 “spring” pastel-colored eggs; or blue eggs and yellow eggs sold by the piece.

Eggs !Eggs !Eggs !Eggs !

Of course boiling eggs at home isn’t exactly difficult or time-consuming.  But it’s a common thing here to buy them pre-cooked, not much more expensive than raw eggs and simply fun for a change.  Most of all, I love seeing the startled reactions of family and friends when I add them to my weekend brunch buffet tables at home.  With barely an exception, I get expressions of bewilderment (or just giggles) when they see them on the table.  What are those ?! I often end up going to the pantry to show them the packaging.

“They’re eggs,” I answer, nonchalantly.  “Hard-boiled eggs.  They sell them at the store like that.  What, you’ve never seen them before ?!” 🙂 

Have you ?

16 Responses to ““Easter” Eggs, all year long”

  1. Paris Pâtisseries says:

    Awesome. I want that in the U.S. now. I think there should be festive/seasonal stuff available year-round. A little easter, Christmas, and more can’t hurt in the midst of August.

  2. Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday says:

    That’s so different! I never knew that coloured eggs were sold in supermarkets!

  3. valentina says:

    This is the coolest post i’ve read. oh my God, i would be in paradise. i’m such an egg lover. if i can already get them boiled…oh my…maybe that would kill me. from eating non stop. What a beautiful breakfast table with those lovely colourful eggs. I’m dreaming with these eggs. The day I get back to Switzerland, hopefully to do your tour, we must have a pit stop at the supermarket so that i can buy 3.

  4. Emma says:

    Silly Switzerland; how delightful and lovely. I was just thinking how the eggs reminded me of your post on the colorful homes of Burano, and then I realized that the Burano image is right next to the comment box for me:) Maybe it was subconsciously realized.

    And re: your 2008 entry – where’s the 56′ tall Fernando Torres??! Let me at him!!

  5. katy says:

    Ha! How absolutely funny. I love it. Hard boiled eggs are only sold at the grocery stores at Easter time here in Lux. I’ve never, ever seen hard boiled eggs at other times. I understand selling hard boiled eggs, but why the colors? Wonder if it is simply to differentiate them from the regular eggs.

    I’m going to look more carefully next time I shop. Maybe I’ve missed something. I’ll get back to you if I see some.

  6. Kerrin says:

    Paris Pâtisseries, oh I am so with you, nothing like a little holiday celebration (and presents !) during the summer time. I love it ! Thanks for the fun comment.

    Samantha Angel, neither did I before moving here ! 🙂

    valentina, an egg lover ? Then this post really is just for you ! And I already can’t wait for your trip to Switzerland – we’ll find you the very best sweets… and eggs ! =)

    Emma, don’t you just love Silly Switzerland ?! I do. And we can pretend the Burano image next to your comment is pure coincidence. So… that’s really cool ! 😉 As for the giant soccer players in the train station in 2008 – crazy, right ?! Torres, huh ?

    katy, I think the hard-boiled eggs must have originally had a slightly different color to differentiate them. And them some people in the packaging department decided to have a little fun. Or rather, perhaps in the marketing department. 😉 I wonder if you’ll find some there too… Have fun checking it out !

  7. Nicky says:

    Ahhhh Kerrin… I recognized that set table there… 😉
    It’s always fun to find out what strikes expats as new or odd, never thought about the colored hard-boiled eggs though.

  8. mayssam says:

    That is very strange! I mean, how hard is it to boil an egg?? I guess the Swiss must be busier than others and have no time to waste on such trivial things! 🙂 But I must admit that it would make a great snack, and such a colourful one too!

  9. Lora says:

    We have the same colored eggs here in Germany and when I moved here years ago I also thought they were strange. I am used to them now but my USA visitors are always intrigued by them.

  10. Julia @ Mélanger says:

    Well, I be! You can buy hard boiled eggs, and coloured ones to boot. That’s outgrageous – and I thought those Swiss Germans would be conservative people? 😉

    You know what I thought about when I read this post? How in the US, candy like M&Ms have promotional colours throughout the year depending on the holiday. Pink for Valentines day. Green for St Patricks Day. Red, white and blue for 4th of July. etc. etc.

    Wonder which came first? The M&M or the egg? 😉

  11. Kerrin says:

    Nicky, good catch, I thought you might recognize that spread ! 🙂 And yes, it’s so fun to see what makes us laugh and what seems totally bizarre — yet is completely normal for others, and doesn’t even make them bat an eye. Like you !

    mayssam, now now, don’t get feisty here 😉 The Swiss are anything but lazy, that’s for sure. They would take these eggs on a quick hike straight up the mountain for their lunch break ! haha !

    Lora, same exact thing here !

    Julia, I love it – what came first, the M&M or the egg, HAHA !

  12. Andrea M. says:

    The colored eggs there are so vibrant (still think its really weird, but wonderfully Swiss, that they do this year round) I wonder what they use to color them. Any ideas?

  13. Sarah says:

    What extravagantly colored eggs. I have never seen such a rainbow of colors. I guess its a good way to keep track of the eggs if you have a roommate.

  14. Alessandra says:

    I never thought it might be different elsewhere, I just considered pre-boiled eggs as practical, and the reason for them being coloured as simple as not to confuse them with raw eggs when putting into the egg-compartment of the fridge. (as not everyone knows how to tell a boiled egg from a raw one – by spinning them around)

  15. Kerrin says:

    Andrea, “weird but wonderfully Swiss” – that describes a lot here, haha ! As for what they use to color them, I just assumed your basic commercial food coloring, but I’m not sure. I’ll check the packaging next time…

    Sarah, aha, another good idea – a labeling system for roommates ! 🙂

    Alessandra, practical indeed they are. And it’s like the local market story I just posted – what is ordinary to one person is extraordinary to another ! As for not confusing them, I actually keep them in the cupboard, not the fridge (they’re sold on the regular shelves in the supermarket too.)

  16. Matt says:

    I have been here in Switzerland for 6 months now and only just realised this today. I originally thought they were for kids to try and make them more appealing to them! Good job I didn’t get these to make some cakes 🙂 great idea though.

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