Globus

green olives

Yes, Switzerland has a reputation for neutrality, but the food in Switzerland is often an international mix. There are some wonderful local specialties but a good number of other dishes are influenced by its neighbors; namely Germany, Italy, and France. So it seems only fitting that the most wonderful department store in the country is named Globus, because its name seem to incorporate a philosophy of not just looking within the borders of Switzerland, but outside of them as well, in search of all things good to eat. And that certainly seems true of the grand food hall in the branch of their store in Lausanne.

shrimp and dillswiss bread
raspberry jam tartswiss egg

Many department stores in cities around the world have entire floors dedicated to foodstuffs and are good places to make a whirlwind food tour, which I did with my tour group recently. But even on my own, I usually make it a point to hit one when I travel, such as the KaDeWe in Berlin, Marks & Spencer in London, or the Grand Épicerie in Paris. But whereas KaDeWe is super orderly and La Grand Épicerie can feel like a train station at rush hour, the food halls of Globus have an air of calm and comfort. And yes, even when you’re in the presence of – *gulp* – my tentacled nemesis: octopus made into sausage.

octopus sausage

It’s always a pleasure to stroll the aisles and the various kiosks at Globus, while carefully avoiding anything with tentacles, which feature everything from local seafood (from Lake Geneva, just down the hill), lots of organic fare (the Swiss have seemingly embraced organic more so than most of their European counterparts), to a fairly astounding selection of Gruyère cheeses, spanning in age from 6 months to three years. Yet it’s not all Swiss cheeses; French, Italian, and even English cheeses are well-represented, and I was especially taken with the massive cylinder of Stilton getting a good soaking courtesy of a bottoms up’d bottle of port wine.

féra Stilton with port

There are other regional specialties as well, ranging from swirls of baked meringues meant to be dipped in rich double-cream from Gruyère – which is probably the best thing you’ll ever taste in your life – to Moutarde de Bénichon, a favorite condiment of locals made from reduced pear syrup (vin cuit), spices, and a hit of mustard. Although I have to say, I bought some from an artisanal producer last time I was in the region and while it sounded like all the things I would like cooked into one, there’s something about it that doesn’t do it for me. But if you mention it to locals, they get rapturous and dewy-eyed, because many associate it with a beloved homemade version. So I think it’s just me and if you’re in the area, you should try it.

smoked cabbage sausage

It’s impossible to sell sausage in this region without offering at least a few kinds of smoked sausage with cabbage, as well as Gruyère cheese of all ages. Because it’s such a popular item, behind the cheese counter are nearly a dozen kinds but a showcase offers pre-wrapped slabs (and tastes!), ready to be taken home and grated into a bubbling fondue, or just snacked on with a glass of some of the local white wine which I like so much.

gruyere

There are extensive take-out foods, ranging from handmade Italian pasta to filets of entrecôte, spiced and seasoned, ready to be grilled off. Which I don’t think my hotel would appreciate, but am sure the locals do.

swiss beefspaetzle
torsade bionusstorte

As a lover of anything with carbohydrates, spätzle (or späetzle) is at the top of my list. Sauté up a skillet of these little irregular scraps of dough in enough butter to brown them nicely, and hold back on anything else – except maybe a few flecks of herbs, for color – and I’m happy. Very happy. Very, very happy.

pearsspiced shrimp
air-dried beefbeef from switzerland

Another regional favorite is viande sechée or air-dried beef (which, as you probably guessed…) is also a favorite of mine. And it’s best enjoyed before a rich pot of fondue. I love the stuff, although it needs to be sliced extra-thin, like a papier de cigarette, so you can see through it. And it kind of irks me when people at charcuteries in Paris cut it too thick, most likely to make some additional money off people who request ten slices, and they figure ten slices as thick as a cardboard carton are going to weigh a lot more than ten cigarette paper-like slices. So I stopped buying it in Paris because no matter how hard I try, their electric slicers never seem to be able to go down to the lower numbers on their thickness dial, to get it right. Anyone know any Swiss charcuteries in Paris?

lardo

I often warn friends and guests not to try lardo when in Italy (or in Switzerland) because once you try it, you’ll get hooked and you’ll never want to stop eating it. Lardo di Colonnata is cured in marble and has a delicate taste; it should be very thinly sliced and is best when draped over grilled bread, still warm from the fire, drizzled with good olive oil and perhaps a few flecks of fresh rosemary leaves. And that’s it. There’s really no need to do or add anything else to it.

crusty bread blue eggs

Even though the electric meat slicers seem to have different settings than those in Switzerland, one thing France does have over this part of Switzerland is the bread. I’m always sorry when to go to a bakery and find that even the heartiest, roughest looking loaf disappoints when sliced open. Invariably under the earthy crusty, the interior is airy and tasteless. I always make a pit stop at Brezelkonig just outside the Globus entrance for a pretzel (sometimes split in half and layered with a few thin slices of viande sechée), and it’s nice to know that the bakery counter in the store offers the loveliest breads I’ve seen in Lausanne in case I ever decide to make the big move.

It’s generally associated with France, mostly because of the folklore surrounding it, but Absinthe was invented in Switzerland, and it’s a distillation of various herbs, including wormwood, which gives absinthe its unsavory reputation. I’m not a huge fan – perhaps because I’m more sweet than savory? – although I do use it for making absinthe cakes. But since the other day, I’ve never seen it used for baking anywhere else, until now. Absinthe is baked into, and flavors, hyper-thin wisps of Les Biscuits de la Fée Verte, each with the strong scent of anise and absinthe packed into each undulating, potato chip-like cracker.

Swiss lemonademoutarde de bénichon
swiss abstinthe biscuitsabsinthe biscuits

Of course, there’s the various eaux-de-vie distillations that Switzerland is known for, and Globus carries over four thousand different labels and brands of wines, liquors, and spirits.

meringues swiss eaux-de-vie

There’s also a riff on the caramelized almond tart from Chez Panisse, who version possibly precludes the one from the restaurant in Berkeley…

almond tart

…and it wouldn’t be Switzerland without rösti, shredded potato cakes cooked until golden and crisp, when done properly. Rösti is one of the few things I never order in a restaurant unless I can see one first, because it’s so, so disappointing when one is set down in front of you and you eagerly stick your fork it in, only to find it’s soggy. So when I saw these, I was ready to take a few home with me, to avoid future disappointment.

rosti

And being Switzerland, there has to be chocolate of all sorts. The dark chocolate-covered hazelnuts with a roasted Italian hazelnut in the middle are ridiculously addictive (I made the mistake of opening a package shortly before dinner, and ended up eating nearly all the way through it by myself), and hazelnuts find their way into tartufi, soft truffles made with ganache.

swiss yogurt

But I thought the prettiest were the tablets of chocolate. And yes, eating all this chocolate means I will never have tablettes de chocolat, or six-pack abs, as they say in French. But I’m comfortable with that. (Okay, not really. But what am I going to do?) So it’s a good thing is that Lausanne is a city of hills, which makes rolling home easy. And that’s exactly what I did.

swiss milk chocolates bars



Globus
5, rue du Pont
Lausanne, Switzerland

(Check website for other stores and locations in Switzerland.)



Related Links

Blondel Chocolate

Now THAT’S What I Call a Swiss Cheese Sandwich

Librairie Gastéréa: Gastronomic Bookstore

Vert d’Absinthe: Absinthe in Paris

Spaetzle (Smitten Kitchen)

Lausanne, Switzerland

Kasespätzle (Delicious Days)

The Vevey Market

Making Swiss Cheese Fondue

47 comments

  • Oh David – do you mean to say you were in London and only went to M&S? That’s like going to Paris and basing your judgement on what’s available on what you saw in Monoprix – the two chains are very similar in many ways.

    If you want something to compare with Le Grand Epicerie, or KaDeWe (or the department store on Alexanderplatz whose name escapes me but whose food hall we preferred to that of KaDeWe, largely because the latter was far too hot), you should go to Fortnum & Mason’s, or Selfridges Food Hall, or even Harrod’s Food Hall – I don’t shop in Harrods because of the owner, but really, their Food Halls almost make me break that rule!

  • You make Globus sound so romantic and lovely…or, maybe it is in Lausanne. When I lived in Germany, it was my favourite place to grab lunch and go shopping for groceries. Of course, I was young, naive, and knew very little about where my food came from ;)

  • Kaitlin: I always think these kinds of stores with food halls are great places to get an overview of the foods from the region, as well as seeing what kinds of international foods appeal to the locals (and visitors.) Of course, not everyone does their daily shopping in places like this, but living in Paris, I enjoy going to some of the department store food halls just to poke around and see what’s new.

    Annabel: I’ve been to all the other stores in London, but on my last visit, I was at M&S, so I chose that one since it was the most recent. The one thing I like at M&S is that it’s not about the label or the name, but the products are of good quality and many are typically British.

  • I thought it was squid that gave you the creeps…or is all things with tentacles?

    Lovely post, wish we could put Lausanne on the vacation list…

  • Like you, I love these food emporiums and always try to visit when we are in town where they have great ones. I will definitely be going to Globus when we are in Switzerland in two weeks. Thanks for the heads up.

  • Globus’s food store is great looking and like a fairy land of food, of course, but prices range from a bit overpriced to wtf?. I usually only go there if I’m looking for some ingredient I cannot find anywhere else.

  • Octopus ANYTHING is good David, try it. Those sausage are intriguing. Lausanne would be the place I visit if I ever find myself heading to Switzerland.

  • deadlock: Most of these food halls in upscale department stores aren’t inexpensive, but on the other hand, they often have a lot of different things (and usually the best of the lot) in one place, making them handy for visitors. I don’t do my daily shopping at La Grand Épicerie or Lafayette Gourmand in Paris, but if I go and spend €20 on a few bars of interesting chocolate, and other items, I can exit with a nice little bag of goodies.

    Marie: Yes, anything with tentacles is frightening…eeps!

  • Globus was always my “go to” store for hard to find food when I used to live in Switzerland. Way back in 1983, it was the only place where you could find ingredients for making Asian dishes. Now things have changed and there are more ethnic food stores.

    Thanks for reminding me about spatzle! I’ll have to dig out my spatzle form (?) and make some. And speaking of spatzle, are there any good restaurants for “la chasse” in Paris? It’s one of my all time favorite seasonal foods and I haven’t heard of a restaurant here that serves it. I hope that you had some while you were in Lausanne, although it may have been too early in the season.

  • I was just in Switzerland last summer, and I can still taste the rösti. I tried to recreate it a few days ago, but it wasn’t the same. I never made it to Lausanne, but I absolutely fell in love with Lucerne.

  • Lausanne is a city of hills, indeed. I got shin splints walking up and down Lausanne, but I love that city. For me, it’s the perfect city. I thought the food was especially good, but also I was especially hungry from the exercise. Great post.

  • As always, you got it right – very right!
    GLOBUS is our Swiss Food Heaven. Point!!! Sadly, we cannot affort to shop there too often, it DOES have superior quality products and sky rocketing prices; so it’s a bit like Harrods in London – you walk for an hour and go out with two sandwiches in two gorgeous little ‘hand bags’… :)

    Spätzli: I add grated cheese over the nicely browned buttery spätzle!

    Bündnerfleisch / Viande sechée: I buy mine at AUCHAN, but I guess they have no shops in Paris intra muros. Auchan sells them by 80-100gr packages or also by 8-10 slices, depending on their charcuterie department. It’s very good quality but it seems to me that it’s far too salty. I still buy it however, because it calls out HOME!

    I agree with you on the bread being USUALLY better in France than Switzerland. But not always!! It pays for us who live(d) there to shop around until you find THE bakery. In Western Switzerland it’s even easier to find the best bread because the bakeries have far longer opening hours than in German spoken Switzerland.

    Yoghurts: You show pixie of Amselspitz joghurts. I have learned to try – everywhere I go and visit – LOCAL produce and have made wonderful discoveries. Here in France it’s the 2 vaches bio joghurts…

    Thank you for making me HOMESICK – again!!

  • Awesome post. Only you can make a trip to the grocery store sound so romantic!

  • I always get excited when I see another post about Switzerland! I haven’t been to the Globus in Lausanne, the one in Geneva is equally awe inspiring. The only thing better than Globus is Globus at Christmas. Now craving bretzelkonig, roasted chestnuts, and rosti!

  • Looks like heaven. So interesting to see all the pictures and tasty offerings.

  • This reminds me of my visit to Zurich. I also went to Globus and had a look around the delicatessa floor. Lovely food of all kind, and as you said, it is quiet and very relaxing strolling around. I also enjoyed testing some food and went home with some culinary souvenirs. “Delicious” photos…

  • Kaitlin – I am certain the German and Swiss Globus chains are not related.
    I’ve been to both and they are worlds apart. You are right, there really is nothing romantic about the German one, it’s just a large soulless supermarket, but ok for everyday stuff.
    I get to visit the Zurich branch of Globus about once a year and it’s always a pleasure, similar to Harrods or Selfridges food halls.

  • Gee thanks for making me drool! I lived in Lausanne for a year in college. Every time you write about Switzerland it makes me crave things I cannot find here. Thanks a lot.

  • Did you know globus is the medical term for ‘feeling of something in the throat’? Unfortunate name for a food store! Looks good though.

  • Actually, Globus was/is a department store. It used to be number 2 in Zürich, but with the decline of department stores, it hat to reposition itself, and with the current owner (Migros), it is now aiming at a bit a higher level.

    The comparision with the international department stores (when it comes to the food halls) is definitely appropriate.

  • Hmm, that octopus sausage looks terrifying to me! But the air dried beef and stilton more than make up for it.

    I was just in London today and stopped by M&S for food for the journey home – it’s usually a safe bet! I also picked up a copy of Jamie Oliver’s magazine and was pleasantly surprised to see your article.

  • Hi David –

    I love Rösti, but love even more the German version — Kartoffelpuffer,- wonderfully crispy, served directly from the fryer with applesauce or herb sauce. Or if you’re a kid, I’ll allow you ketchup. And put some shredded carrot or zucchini in for a boost. ON THE OTHER HAND, I though I’d died and gone to heaven when I had my first Rösti in Bern – with bacon and onions. Yum.

  • Funny to see a blog post about a store I’m so familiar with! I often stop at the one in Zurich to pick up a special treat for dinner. It is indeed a great store, although be sure to bring a very heavy wallet…it’s tremendously expensive, even for Switzerland. One time the guy in front of me bought a bottle of champagne, a teeny tin of caviar, and nothing else… for just under CHF1000.

  • Oooh, I love those egg labels…

  • Any idea what the crunchies are on the bar to the far right in the last photo? Looks really goooood.

  • I love octopus. Is the one pictured the Sardinian tenerezze di polpo, or it is indigenous to Switzerland. Any ideas how to make it? Bet it would be wonderful with some preserved lemon. I readily have access to fresh octopus a couple blocks from my place.

  • hi david, if you’re in the lausanne – geneva region you should visit Tristan Chocolatier. The drive into the mountains (not very far actually), is totally worth it. Bring a suitcase C:
    http://www.chocolatier-tristan.ch/

  • I worked in Switzerland for three years and spent A LOT of money in Globus, it was a foodie’s heaven!

  • Hi David
    I too was a bit surprised to read your reference to M&S in London, but maybe more because there are branches in every town in the UK so we never think of it as special. Exciting it isn’t but it does have its place. I rarely shop there but they are about to revamp their foodhalls so it might be worth a look when this happens. Apart from Fortnum & Mason, you’ll struggle to find an” English” foodhall in London. I think that’s because London embraces all cuisines so completely that the Englishness gets subsumed. By coincidence, Selfridges is currently running a “Best of British” food promotion but it doesn’t meet my criteria of the best.

    At your mention of lardo I swear I could taste the sublime hot fried ceps drapd with wafer-thin slices of lardo I ate on Saturday at Gergovie Wines 40 Maltby Street http://saffron-strands.blogspot.com/search?q=gergovie+wines

  • Lardo di Colonnata is the best food ever.

    I read that you like spätzles and bretzels and I wonder, have you ever been to Alsace, in the east of France ? You might taste more bretzels and spätzles there – actually, it’s where they come from – and lots of other delicious specialties full of carbohydrates.

  • As a Swiss, I always enjoy your praise of Switzerland! Have you been to other areas other than the Lac Leman region? The Nidelkuchen or Gâteau du Vully shouldn’t be missed, and I would love to hear your thoughts about restaurants in Lucerne.

  • What a fab tour! Hungry now.

  • Octopus sausage? Well any kind of sausage–well-crafted–usually pleases me, so maybe….

  • Oh! As someone who has traveled, lived (and eaten) all over the world, and following your blog for at least the last 4 years, I thought I was dead right, and set in forcing my fiance (who has a house in Vevey) in getting him to stay in the US. But this might pull me the other way. I wonder if he bribed you. He’s coming back from there on Thursday, and I’m hoping the Creme de la Gruyere makes it back with him… I don’t know whether I should thank you or not. (considering the “derriere” expansion, the relocation, etc..)

  • I LOVE THOSE OLIVES! I GO BUY THEM EVERY WEEK AT GLOBUS! ESPECIALLY FOR THE WEEKEND. sure are the best olives i’ve ever eaten. proof on my blog, here: http://beautifulinsidemyhead.blogspot.com/2010/08/perfect-olives.html

    thx for the inspiration and the swiss praise… i love my home.
    saluti
    scarlett

  • Hi David, I love your blog, its my divine inspiration during work. I’ve been trying to play your videos on the visit to Rodger’s chocolaterie/etc…none of them seem to work, not even on Vimeo – have you removed them? Please do put them back up!

  • Alishka: I just checked the Patrick Roger video and it worked on my end. It also worked on Vimeo. Am not sure why it’s not working for you but sometimes those things have temporary hiccups.

    Nadia: Yes, I’ve been up and around that region a few times and it’s lovely. And the food is great, too. (Like my meal at Le Pont de Brent… but am always happy to go back for more!

    sj: I’ve been there and spent some time in their workshop about a year ago.

  • As an aussie living in Geneva, it always makes me giggle to hear other peoples takes on switzerland, for which we have dubbed the tag line “c’est pas possible” which is their first response to everything. It has taken me 4 years to work out that you just have to keep on asking. Globus is great if PRICEY (I once accidentally bought a pineapple for CHF19. Seriously). Viande sechee is a firm favourite and I have been spoilt for any other type of chocolate forever. Except perhaps some french and belgium. Just as an aside, do you ever get to Geneva? You should check out the food section of Manor in the city centre, its not as niche but fabulous none the less, and has a great fresh fish section. Shana Tova David.

  • David, to get over your fear of tentacles, go visit 8legged.com. Its one of my favorite sites.

  • until a few years ago, we used to go to switzerland to buy products impossible to find in italy.

  • Thank you so much for this post! Only you could tempt me to now place Switzerland ahead of Italy and Paris on my travel list! (Of course, wait until your next post about Rome or a charming bistro in Paris…)

  • David, I live in Basel, and yet you have reminded me of the treasure available at Globus (with prices to match!). I see a treasure hunt in my near future…thanks!

  • As others have mentioned, it’s so wonderful to see you writing about a store I am so familiar with! This is such a comprehensive review of the Globus food hall, and your photos are just beautiful. I haven’t been to the Globus in Lausanne but am familiar with the two in Zurich. Their food is a little pricey, but very high quality if that’s what you’re after. I often go to Globus for items that can’t be found in the normal supermarket, such as baking products from the UK and US. But their fresh meat and fish counter is wonderful, and so is the cheese stand. I was there just this weekend buying a selection of dried fruit for some baking, and they had the most gorgeous selection of dried raspberries, dried strawberries, dried plums … It’s not a place where I would shop everyday, but I do love shopping there :-)

  • Interesting to read all this upon our return from Switzerland. It would have been more helpful prior our vacation there. But our hotel in Lucerne (Flora) was next to Globus and we checked it out. The food floor was pretty fabulous and tempting but we resisted as we were traveling. Now I am sorry I didn’t indulge a bit. I did purchase a woolen plaid (blanket) that was reasonably priced.

  • Everything looks so delicious. Wish I could visit there someday.

  • Oh man … if you ever make it to Japan, the basement food hall at the Isetan department stores is heaven.

  • Globus is certainly Switzerlands best food departement store. I love to stroll through their shelves and explore. If searching for exotic foods, you’ll probably find it in Globus. But for the daily nourishment Globus is unfortunately way to expensive for the average person. So my tip is: don’t go in there hungry ;-).