One of the most adorable things about Christmas in Switzerland has got to be Grittibänz. These “sweet bread men” (rough translation) can be seen all over the place and are a typical Christmas-time food in Switzerland. They start popping up in bakeries around December 6th, for the feast of St. Nicholas, and no Swissmas gathering would be complete without one!
Public opinion is split over whether they are meant to represent Samichlaus – “Santa Claus” in Swiss German – or just regular ol’ bread men. Either way, these lil’ guys are very cute!
The bread itself is sort of like a challah bread and the Grittibänz can be decorated with twigs, chocolate sticks, or raisins. They sometimes even have a little clay pipe (not edible … I found out the hard way, thinking it was hardened sugar … bleagh!).
*Fun Fact*: when my family was visiting me here in Switzerland for Christmas a few years back, I told my brother that “Grittibänz” meant “hello” in Swiss German. He basically went around Zürich saying “bread man” to one and all. What a guy! Luckily, he can take a joke and I’ll definitely be bringing him a Grittibänz for Christmas in NYC this year to make up for it!
Happy Holidays from Change of Underwear!