The bear is not only the proud animal on Bern’s coat of armour, it also serves as inspiration for Bernese inventions and creations – one of which is the Mandelbärli (almond bear) made from almonds, sugar, butter and egg whites. It was invented in 1989 on the occasion of the Glatz bakery anniversary and has long established itself as a popular Bernese gift. Mandelbärli are available in the original vanilla flavour, but also with chocolate, irish cream, blueberry, chestnut, lemon and others.
Who invented it? Philip Jenzer, or Peppe, from Bern. In the beginning, the tasty liqueur made from ginger was an insider’s tip from the trendy Lorraine neighbourhood. Now, it’s on all the drinks menus in Bern (and the rest of Switzerland). The cool drink will warm you right up from the inside and becomes stronger the more you shake the bottle. The best way to enjoy Ingwerer is pure or as a refreshing Bern Mule in a copper mug. A spicy Bernese gift!
“Hüt isch Fonduewätter” (“It’s fondue weather”) – Chäshütte’s motto on 365 days a year, which is also why their aromatic and well-known fondue blend is available year-round. If you don’t know it, you’re missing out on something. Chäshütte (“cheese hut”) in the lower part of Bern’s Old City has been around since 1894 and is managed by the fifth generation of the same family. You can purchase the classics as well as special cheeses that have matured in the shop’s own vaulted cellar for several months. Whether you choose a creamy fondue blend or a nice piece of cheese – we’re sure you’ll find a delicious gift here.
Sirupier de Berne
At Sirupier de Berne in the Breitsch (Breitenrain neighbourhood), second-generation syrup makers produce treats such as blossom, quince, cassis and ginger syrups – amongst many others: there are already over 30 different variations, and new and original flavours are added all the time. How about a bottle of beer-flavoured syrup, for example? The delicious mixtures can be found in various shops and restaurants all over Switzerland – or on the Minster market in Bern. Our favourite: the classic, “Besser aus Ystee” (“Better than Iced Tea”).
Matte Gin and Matte Absinthe
The Matte neighbourhood is the oldest part of Bern and even has its own language, Matten-Englisch. What was once the port and workers’ neighbourhood is now a place where gin and absinthe are manufactured by hand. Hand-picked ingredients and blackthorn from the banks of the Aare river – the Matte distillery turns natural ingredients into high-quality liquors for connoisseurs. Their newest triumph: they’ve teamed up with Ingwerer and developed “Gingwerer”, a distillate made from leftovers of the Ingwerer production. Have a taste of Bern!
The Bern Collection from the perfume studio “art of scent” is a fragrant ode to Switzerland’s capital. “aarewasser” (“Aare water”) is inspired by the crystal-clear, greenish-blue Aare river, the freshness and the smooth movements of the waves. The second Bernese perfume was named after Finn the bear: “finn” combines the mystical personality of the bear with the earthy scent of his surroundings and the Aare flowing by the BearPark. The scents are produced in Bern and tell wonderful stories – the perfect souvenir to carry Bern with you wherever you go. The “aarewasser” and “finn” are available at the Tourist Information in Bern’s main station and selected retailers.
Bärnhard Aare bag and towel
A must-have for water lovers, Aare sailors and river sirens: the Bärnhard Aare swimming bag. Whether it’s turquoise like our favourite river or yellow and black like Bern’s soccer heroes – the Aaresack (Aare bag) is the perfect accessory in the summertime and keeps everything dry during your swim. And, what’s especially practical: the course of the river is printed on the bag, including all the entering and exiting points. There’s also a matching towel, perfect for all sunbathers and Marzili visitors: the fluffy Bärnhard towel which, at 180 cm length, is long enough for Aare enthusiasts of all sizes. The Bärnhard Aare bag and towel are available at the Tourist Information in Bern’s main station or at the online shop at Bern.com.
In the “bblubb” soap manufactory, handmade Bernese soaps in all shapes, sizes and colours are crafted. They are melted and poured and contain a variety of ingredients such as buffalo milk or organic honey. The Berner Seifenbärli (Bernese bear soaps) are our favourites, but the Einstein head or the Aare fish also make for great Bernese gifts. The so-called Zibelemärit-Seife (Onion Market soap) is especially practical: it contains coffee extract to remove the tenacious smell of onion and garlic. The soaps are available at the Tourist Information in Bern’s main station and selected retailers.
STÖR – fischleder swissmade
Looking for a one-of-a-kind Bernese gift? Browse the unique leather collections on Sabrina Brägger’s homepage. The young woman from Bern was annoyed by the amount of resources that are wasted and decided to use the potential of residual materials: She receives sturgeon skins from the Tropenhaus Frutigen, which she tans and then turns into handbags, bracelets and belts that she designs herself. Apart from sturgeon leather, she also uses other leftover leathers and bison wool for her designer pieces. All of her raw materials are produced in Switzerland. The unique products are available at Sabrina Brägger’s online shop.
Blaser Café: Bernese Coffee Blends “Marzili”, “Elfenau” and “Lorraine”
Real Bernese coffee, anyone? We highly recommend Blaser Café’s blends “Elfenau”, “Lorraine” and “Marzili”. They are produced in Blaser Café’s very own roasting facility and named after some of Bern’s neighbourhoods. The perfect Bernese gift for gourmets, coffee connoisseurs and caffeine junkies. The coffee blend “Marzili” and “Lorraine” are available at the Tourist Information in Bern’s main station and selected retailers.
BERNcity Gift Card
Searching for coins in all of your pockets and waiting in line at the ATM? Not with the BERNcity gift card. It’s a movie, restaurant and boutique coupon in one and the perfect solution for cash-free shopping. The gift card can be purchased online as well as at the Tourist Information in Bern’s main station and can be used as a form of payment at over 200 locations in the entire city.
💳 All information available here
All the locals know it: Altes Tramdepot has great beer. The unfiltered and natural beers are brewed in huge tanks in the middle of the restaurant. There are two traditional types, “Tram-Helles” and “Tram-Märzen”, as well as seasonal beers, and they’re available in bottles or kegs – depending on how thirsty the recipient of your gift is. If you prefer something stronger, there’s also “Tram-Bierbrand” and “Tram-Whisky”.
Bernese Hazelnut Gingerbread
A classic amongst edible Bernese souvenirs is the hazelnut gingerbread. Strictly speaking, it’s not actually gingerbread, as many of the typical gingerbread ingredients – flour, water and gingerbread spices – are nowhere to be found in the recipe. The sweet treat is made out of a fragrant mass of ground hazelnuts, sugar and egg whites and traditionally decorated with icing sugar in the shape of a bear, which makes it the perfect gift for anyone with a sweet tooth.