If you are interested in a) all things kitchen, b) languages, c) Switzerland and / or d) traveling in general, chances are that you have heard the word “Chuchichäschtli”, the Swiss German term for “kitchen cabinet”.
Don’t worry if you are not able to pronounce it – yet. There’s countless other words you can practice with. They might be a bit shorter, a bit less twisted, maybe (maybe!) a bit less glutteral, but fun nevertheless.
Please note that the following collection whether is complete nor should be your single source. It simply is a list of kitchen and food related terms common in the region and dialect I grew up in and with (and, to the delight of my kids, still am speaking after having lived abroad 20 years). It is a collection of words in “bärndütsch”, the language spoken in the Seeland region of Bern.
Have fun, enjoy, practice – and hopefully go use some of the words in pretty and tasty Switzerland at one point!
abchüele: to cool down.
abschmöcke: to season to taste.
Änischräbeli: A traditional Christmas cookie. Rock hard, bone white, shaped into little crescents, heavy in anise flavor.
Äuplermaggrone: The Helvetic take on Mac & Cheese. Consisting of left over boiled potatoes, hollow pasta, well melting cheese and cream.
blodere: to boil.
chätsche: to chew.
chnätte: to knead.
Chnöfpli: Literally translated: Little buttons. A hand made pasta, for which the dough is cut into random pieces straight into the boiling water. Delicious with saucy meats or tomato sugo.
chöcherle: to lightly cook.
Chochhäntsche (or: Pfanneblätz): Oven glove.
chrüsch: crunchy, crusty.
Chuechebläch: Baking sheet.
Chüeuschranktür: Fridge door.
Drü-Chünigs-Chueche: The Swiss contribution to the vast collection of Epiphamy pastries is a ring consisting of several small, sweet bread buns. The buns are decorated with coarse sugar crystals and in one of them hides, well, the king.
Düüri Bohne: Dehydrated grean beans. Even after soaking and cooking them, they remain wrinkled and concentrated in flavor.
Fleischchräpfli: The Swiss version of Empanadas. Handpies filled with ground beef.
Fotzuschnitte: Slices of bread drenched in milk, then egg mixture, and baked in a skillet. Often dusted with cinnamon sugar and served with apple compote. Comparable to French Toast.
füürheiss: hot as fire.
Ghüderchessu: Trash bin.
Griesspfluute: Sweet version of Grits. The Swiss sweeten theirs with sugar and serve it with a plum (or other fruit) compote.
gruusig: disgusting, gross.
Guguhupf: Bundt cake, yeast based.
Härdöpfutätschli: Fritters made of left over mashed potatoes, pan baked.
Hörnli und Ghackets: A simple, traditional peasant dish. Elbow Macaroni with ground beef and its juice.
Hundeli: Literally: Little dog. Cervelats with their ends cut crosswise, about 2 inches deep. When cooked, the ends will separate and make the sausage look like a dog (in case you have enough imagination.)
iifüue: to fill.
Iigmachts: Preserves (sweet or savory).
lääi: luke warm.
Meertrübelischlee: Red currant jelly.
Metzgete: The “slaughtery”. It describes a party held at a restaurant or farmhouse in the fall, when all harvests are done and some animals just have been slaughtered. Classically served are ham, bacon, blood and liver sausages, roesti and apple sauce.
Miuchcaffe: Old time “latte”. Combination of (about) half hot coffee and half steamed milk.
Miuchchanne: Milk vat (made of metal).
Panierti Plätzli: Thin, breaded pork cutlets. A cheaper version of the Wiener Schnitzel.
rüehre: to stir.
rüschte: to peel.
schnätzle: to chop.
Schüttubächer: Mixing jar.
süüferli blöderle: to carefully boil.
Suurchabis: Sauerkraut (or: Fermented white cabbage).
Teigtrööler: Rolling pin.
tünke: to dunk.
verbrösmele: to crumb up.
vermodere: to rot.
Wurscht-Chäs-Salat: A classic, rustic salad prepared of Cervelat slices and cubes of hard cheese (often Appenzeller). There can be onions, pickles, tomatoes, etc. added. Summer fare.
Zapfezieier: Cork screw.
Zigerschtöckli: A truly one of a kind cheese produced in one single dairy. It is made of whey, a secret mix of dried and powdered herbs, aged eight months and shaped into a little cylinder (to which the term “schtöckli” refers). Ziger comes in a light green hue, is mighty sharp and usually grated on or into foods.