The bear is not only the 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), an airy treat made from almonds, sugar, butter and egg whites. It was invented in 1989 on the occasion of the Glatz bakery’s anniversary and has long established itself as a popular Bernese gift. Mandelbärli are available in the original vanilla flavour, but there’s also everything from chocolate and irish coffee to blueberry, chestnut, lemon, and others.
Who came up with 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 iconic 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 fiery Bernese gift!
“Hüt isch Fonduewätter” (“It’s fondue weather”) – Chäshütte’s motto on 365 days a year, which is why their aromatic and well-known fondue blend is available year-round. The Chäshütte (“cheese hut”) in Bern’s Old City has been around since 1894 and is run 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 syrup – amongst many others: there are already over 30 different flavours, and new ones are added regularly. How about a bottle of beer-flavoured syrup, for example? The delicious blends can be found in various shops and restaurants all over Switzerland – or at the Minster market in Bern. Our favourite: the classic, “Besser aus Ystee” (“Better than Iced Tea”).
Berner Matte Gin and 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. Real gin aficionados even have the opportunity to create and distill their own gin in a guided workshop. Have a sip 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 greenish blue Aare river. 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 that allows you to carry Bern with you wherever you go. “aarewasser” and “finn” are available at the Tourist Information in Bern’s main station and at the online shop at Bern.com, among other places.
Bärnhard Aare bag and towel
A must-have for water lovers and river sirens: the Bärnhard Aare bag. Whether you choose 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 entrance and exit points. There’s also a matching towel, perfect for all sunbathers and Marzili visitors: the large, fluffy Bärnhard towel. 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 made from a variety of ingredients such as buffalo milk or organic honey. The Berner Seifenbärli (Bernese soap bears) are our favourites, but the Einstein head and the Aare fish also make for great Bernese gifts. The Zibelemärit-Seife (Onion Market soap) is especially practical: it contains coffee extract which helps remove the tenacious smell of onion and garlic. The Bernese soaps are available at the Tourist Information in Bern’s main station and at the Swiss Design Market on Zeughausgasse alley, among other places.
STÖR – fischleder swissmade
Looking for a one-of-a-kind Bernese gift? Browse the unique leather collections on Sabrina Brägger’s homepage. The young Bernese woman was annoyed by the amount of resources that are wasted and decided to harvest 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. She also uses other leftover leathers and old motorcycle clothes for her creations. The unique products are available at her online shop.
Rösterei – Bernese coffee blends
Real Bernese coffee, anyone? We highly recommend the blends “Elfenau”, “Lorraine” and “Marzili” from Rösterei Kaffee und Bar. They are produced at Rösterei’s in-house roasting facility and named after some of Bern’s neighbourhoods. The perfect Bernese gift for gourmets, coffee connoisseurs and caffeine junkies. The blends “Lorraine” and “Marzili” are available at the Tourist Information in Bern’s main station and at the online shop at Bern.com, among other places.
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.
WHERE TO SHOP WITH THE BERNCITY GIFT CARD
Locals know: the 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”, made from “Tram-Märzen”, as well as “Tram-Whisky”.
Bernese hazelnut gingerbread
A classic amongst edible Bernese souvenirs is the traditional 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 of a fragrant mass of ground hazelnuts, sugar, and egg whites and traditionally decorated with icing sugar in the shape of a bear, making it the perfect gift for anyone with a sweet tooth.
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