“Processed meat” sounds really sterile and gross, doesn’t it? Generally, this term refers to meat preserved by smoking, curing, salting or adding preservatives. For those of you like us that still eat processed meats, I want to share my Top 5 list of dairy, egg and nut-free options (similar to my list of allergy-friendly Swiss snacks).
I’ve spent a lot of time reading labels on meat products in search of my son’s allergens. As such, I’m hoping this information might be useful to someone out there, either living in Switzerland with allergies or traveling here and looking for a quick and safe meal from the grocery store.
Please keep in mind though… A recent study in Europe links processed meat with “early death.” Yet, people have been eating this stuff for generations, right? How bad could it be? As always, my non-medical opinion is “everything in moderation.” Plus, my kids really like hot dogs…
So, without further ado, and in no particular order, here’s my short list of allergy-friendly, Swiss processed meats. I purchased all of the products shown below at Coop because I find its food labels easier to read in comparison to other stores.
1. Cervelas – Apparently, the Swiss consider Cervelas (or Cervelat in German-speaking Switzerland) to be their national sausage. Made with a mixture of pork and beef, I think these fat, little sausages taste a little like hot dogs. People eat it raw or cooked. One of my Swiss cookbooks has a recipe for raw cervelas and cheese salad—hunks of sausage and Appenzell cheese mixed with sliced onions and served on a bed of lettuce leaves. And, as an aside, cervelas almost disappeared in the last decade over fears of mad cow disease from the Brazilian cow intestines.
2. Viande séchée extra fine: More commonly known by its German name of Bündnerfleisch, these are thin slices of beef dried for about 10-15 weeks in the alpine air. I grew up eating dried beef in rural Minnesota, so this reminds me of it—minus the alpine air, of course. My mother served it for dinner in a white sauce served over toast, which you may know as “Chipped Beef on Toast” or by its other less flattering title, “Sh*t on a Shingle.” Today, I use Bündnerfleisch for making quick after-school sandwiches for my boys.
Please note: Some of these dried beef options (e.g., the Appenzell versions) contain lactose, but do not have a clearly marked allergy label like other Coop-brand products. I contacted Coop’s customer service department and received confirmation that it will be updating the labels for this product as soon as possible.
3. Saucisses de Vienne or Wienerli: As I mentioned, my boys like hot dogs. In the United States, however, a lot of them contain milk. My husband came across these at our local Coop in the last month or so. Now, we use them as a quick meal when we don’t have a lot of time to cook.
4. Bâton du Maréchal (a.k.a. Marschallstab): We buy several different kinds of the Coop-brand dry sausages, including this one—the Gruyères Bâton du Maréchal. Apparently this long, narrow sausage gets its name from the baton of a Marshal, a person of the highest military rank. We typically slice it up for breakfast.
5. Prosciutto and bacon: These two aren’t terribly groundbreaking suggestions, but it’s been a relief to easily find these products without my son’s allergens, both at Coop and at Migros.
I never thought I would ever have a reason to write a boring blog post about Swiss processed meats and their ingredients! Yet, you can routinely find me reading food labels on these products in the aisles of a grocery store, just to make sure they’re safe. Hopefully someone out there can benefit from my informal research on processed meats. Please remember though, labels can (and do) change, so always check and double-check ingredient lists and allergy warnings. It’s something my husband and I are both constantly reminding each other…
Please note: As always, this is not a sponsored post. I have not been compensated. These are my independent opinions.
If there’s an allergy-friendly, Swiss processed meat out there we haven’t tried yet (especially a traditional one), please leave a comment below or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Bon week-end!