The world-wide varieties and uses of yoghurt are highly fascinating as both vary greatly across the globe and are closely linked to the countries and their cuisines. In Switzerland you can find lots of flavours from fruit to coffee, they’re creamy and very sweet and count as breakfast or snack. In China most people drink their rather liquidy yoghurt, while in France yoghurt is mostly eaten as a dessert. Bulgarian yoghurt is traditionally made of sheeps milk and tastes tangy and tart. The Iranians don’t mix fruit into their yoghurt but savoury ingredients such as cucumbers, shallots, spinach or garlic. And in Scandinavia people eat yoghurts with a slimy consistency.
The Swiss eat a lot of dairy products and yoghurts are no exception. Everyone eats them, and if you peeked into a fridge of a family with teenagers, it would probably be stacked with lots of yoghurts. Swiss yoghurts are stirred instead of strained (set), which results in a creamier consistency. In fact, if you Google stirred yoghurt, it often comes up as Swiss yoghurt. There are only a few exceptions to this in Switzerland; the chocolate, coffee and toffee yoghurts are set ones, all other ones are stirred. Yoghurts are being eaten as a snack or as a quick, everyday dessert in Switzerland. The fact that a standard, one-serving tub (180g/6.4oz) contains five sugar cubes on average technically classifies them as dessert rather than a breakfast or snack though. Which is why in our house we don’t buy them often, we prefer to mix plain yoghurt with fresh or stewed fruit for a much healthier alternative. We nonetheless love many of the Swiss yoghurts, but rather indulge in them as a dessert or mix them with plain yoghurt to make them less sugary. As for the plain yoghurt, I mostly buy the Bifidus one as the Bifidus bacteria are beneficial for a healthy intestinal flora. Most of the yoghurt flavours I grew up with in the 1980ies are still around, and here are my personal top picks!
Toni chocolate yoghurt. The Toni joghurts, traditionally in glass jars, used to be hugely popular in the 1980ies when I was a child. They’re still on the shelves but not equally sought after anymore. Chocolate yoghurts are a must in Switzerland, and our family like the Toni ones the best – especially the deep dark bit at the bottom of the jar!
Apricot quark. Quark is similar to yoghurt, albeit different in texture and higher in protein and it’s actually classified as cheese. The plain quark is great for cooking, for example for this delicious pineapple quark cake, but in Switzerland you can find various fruit-flavoured quarks too. My all-time favourite is the apricot quark.
Hazelnut. This one contains grated hazelnuts and therefore tastes a bit richer than the standard Swiss fruit yoghurts. I wouldn’t want to eat it every day but it’s a great alternative to the fruity yoghurts.
Pear and chocolate (Belle Hélène). Pear and chocolate just goes so well together and always reminds me of one of my mum’s childhood Sunday lunch desserts, cooked pears with chocolate sauce. So this yoghurt goes very well as a chocolaty dessert for me.
Banana split. This yoghurt combines mashed bananas and chocolate. I’m a huge fan of banana split ice cream, chocolate covered bananas and campfire chocolate bananas, so this yoghurt is a winner too.
Mocca. The taste combo of coffee and the sourness of a yoghurt is not to everyone’s taste. Like the chocolate yoghurts, this one is also a set yoghurt. If you like the combination, it’s a great yoghurt thoug!
Birchermüesli. Although it contains grains and fruit, this yoghurt doesn’t much resemble a real Birchermüesli (try our recipe for the real deal). But it’s delicious anyway and very much reminds me of my childhood.
Forest berries (Waldbeeren). With its deep purple colour and juicy berries, this is probably the most fruit-intense yoghurt available in Switzerland. There are entire berries in it too which is why I love this yoghurt so much.
Maple syrup (Ahornsirup). This set yoghurt is only available in Migros. It’s less sweet than the fruit yoghurts and has only a slight hint of maple syrup. This yoghurt has been around for decades but has never been copied by any other Swiss dairy company which is quite unique. I’ve heard it several times that Swiss who live abroad very much miss the taste of this yoghurt.