Blocher and his nationalist Swiss People’s Party (SVP) have made international headlines in recent years with their tough stance on immigration. The straight-talking politician has earned plenty of critics but also plenty of admirers – including former Donald Trump aide Steve Bannon who recently described the Swiss politician as “Trump before there was a Trump”.
Now, however, the 67-year-old former member of the Swiss government, has received an usual honour: he has had a sausage named after him. And there’s a twist in the tale: its creator is a foreigner.
The man behind the meat product is 68-year-old Markus Martin Fliri, from Italy’s German-speaking region of South Tirol, Swiss tabloid Blick reports.
— Blick (@Blickch) March 20, 2018
Fliri, who for a long time worked at the iconic Badrutt’s Palace Hotel in the Swiss luxury resort town of St Moritz, put the Blocher sausage into production in 2017.
“Christoph Blocher is a striking figure, like someone carved out of wood and not as wishy-washy as other politicians,” Fliri told the Blick newspaper, explaining his reasons for creating the Trockenwurst, or air-dried sausage.
The 200-gram wurst produced by the family-run Saxer butcher in Santa Maria, Graubünden even has the seal of approval from the politician himself: Blocher gave the go-ahead for both his photograph and signature to be used on the packaging.
Fliri says he is willing to share the product’s recipe and name with other producers but that take-up has been sluggish because butchers are reluctant to use such a controversial name for a speciality sausage.
But he believes they are missing out on a potential bonanza. “If all SVP voters bought an original Blocher sausage, butchers would earn a fortune,” Fliri said.
Blocher, one of the seven presidents in the Swiss cabinet from 2004 to 2007, recently announced he was giving up his role as chief strategist for the SVP and leaving the party’s leadership committee.
But he is unlikely to quietly head off into the sunset. An SVP party spokesperson said he would remain involved in politics, concentrating his energy on a party committee which aims to limit European Union involvement in Swiss affairs.
Meanwhile, Blocher's daughter, the politician and businesswoman Magdalena Martullo-Blocher has been touted as a favourite to replace her father in the SVP's top committee.