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Bizarre Swiss Christmas Traditions #5: Edible gingerbread trees

Bizarre Swiss Christmas Traditions #5: Edible gingerbread trees
Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP
Next in our series on odd Swiss Christmas traditions we go to Appenzell Innerrhoden, Switzerland’s smallest canton.

Appenzell Innerrhoden’s isolation has meant it is home to some of Switzerland’s oldest and most unique traditions – including an edible gingerbread Christmas tree. 

This does not mean however that the Swiss have found a way to slice and dice your traditional pine or fir Tannenbaum – the edible structure is instead made out of gingerbread. 

In living rooms in Appenzell Innerrhoden, in addition to a traditional Tannenbaum, you’ll likely find a beautifully decorated gingerbread tower called a Chlausezüüg. Between these “Bickli” hang white “Devisli” made of egg white and sugar dough.

These elaborate pyramid-like structures were once completely edible, down to a centre baked with a highly secret bread recipe. 

However, nowadays most people use a wooden frame to attach the Chlausebickli, or the intricately adorned gingerbread panels.

 

 

But good luck trying to make remake this tradition yourself: The recipes for every part of the tower are kept secret, and apparently it takes over a week to bake a “Bickli” properly. 

The following video from Swiss regional newspaper Bauern Zeitung shows some modern examples, complete with edible gingerbread panels and Swiss-German narration. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tA9e3pmzAMs

Nowadays, most of the Bickli and Devisli are considered too beautiful to be eaten, and instead are carefully preserved between holidays.

Therefore, we recommend checking with the owner of the Chlausezüüg before you tuck in for a delicious Christmas snack. 

Weird Christmas Traditions Series

Weird Swiss Christmas Traditions #5: Make an edible tree

Weird Swiss Christmas traditions: #6 Geneva's 'Coupe de Noël'

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