Gift to bring Swiss Family from USA??

Old Jul 18th, 2009, 02:14 PM
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Gift to bring Swiss Family from USA??

Visiting a friend in Switzerland this Sept. His parents have invited me to their home for dinner and I certainly don't want to show up empty handed! Any suggestions on US gifts to bring?
Thanks.
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Old Jul 18th, 2009, 02:24 PM
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Hello mikitaylor, personally I would buy a lovely bouquet of flowers or a box of good chocolates the day of the dinner. That makes a good and very acceptable hostess gift. Unless you know your friend's parents it is hard to figure out a gift that they would enjoy or use. But if they enjoy wine you could bring them a bottle of wine from the US. Or if they enjoy cocktails you could bring them a bottle of liquor, assuming you know or could find out what they like to drink. Some people suggest a gift of some locally made item from the American's local area. That can be hit or miss depending on their style and taste. I have always found that flowers or chocolates are the best hostess presents when invited to an European's home for dinner. Best regards and enjoy your time in beautiful Switzerland!
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Old Jul 18th, 2009, 02:58 PM
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HI M,

Good advice from LI.


I was once visiting friends in Copenhagen very early in the Spring, and their flowers were not yet in bloom. I bought a beautiful bouquet in Paris and kept careful charge of it as I changed trains, crossed on the ferry and got on the train from Copenhagen to their little town.

There they were to meet me. I was so absorbed in greeting them that I forgot to take the flowers with me.
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Old Jul 18th, 2009, 03:14 PM
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There are a few Swiss fodorites, so I assume that you get some first-hand advice soon.
Getting invited for dinner to one's home is not THAT big of a deal in Switzerland as in some other European countries. You can assume that your potential hosts would be a bit surprised if you went to great lengths and actually bought them a real or expensive gift.
If you can think of a nice souvenir from your hometown or area which also travels well, it should be fine. Otherwise flowers or a bottle of wine always work. I assume that 95% of all people in the German-speaking countries choose either one as a gift.
Regardless of local customs, you will probably get bombarded with so many alternatives later on that you will regret to have asked
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Old Jul 18th, 2009, 03:18 PM
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Bring Starburst candy. You can't buy them on the continent.
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Old Jul 18th, 2009, 06:58 PM
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wine from the state you live in. if none,we always bring long island or california wine
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Old Jul 18th, 2009, 08:56 PM
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Hi mikitaylor

I always take some calendars and just bought 16-month "National Parks" calendars for $13.99 at Barnes & Noble. Appointment books with photos from the US are also very nice. There will be many more available by September.

Have a great trip!
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Old Jul 18th, 2009, 08:56 PM
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Hi mikitaylor,

I'm going to argue against bringing wine -- Switzerland produces a lot of wine, great wine, and they drink most of it with not enough left over to export. This would be sort of like taking a bottle of wine to a hostess who lives in Napa.

Unless, of course, you live in Napa or another great wine-producing area, and you guys could compare your wine to theirs.

I've found that flowers are the usual hostess gift in Switzerland.

Have fun!

s
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Old Jul 18th, 2009, 09:01 PM
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Hi mikitaylor,

I'm going to argue against wine. Switzerland produces a lot of wine, great wine, and they drink most of it with not enough left over to export. It would be like bringing wine to a hostess who lives in Napa.

Unless you live in Napa or another great wine-producing area! In that case, bring the wine, and you guys could compare your wine region to theirs.

I've found that flowers are the usual hostess gift in Switzerland; you can't go wrong there!

s
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Old Jul 18th, 2009, 09:08 PM
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Yikes! Hate it when that happens. Sorry for the double post!
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Old Jul 18th, 2009, 09:23 PM
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If you want to bring something from the U.S. find a specialty from your home area. A small box of chocolates, berry jam, honey, pnut brittle, nuts, dried fruits... if any of those are made/grown where you live.

Otherwise take a bottle of wine, but wait and buy it there. The Swiss wines swandav mention are fabulous and not expensive! You can find a nice bottle of white in the 10-15 range.

I have a friend who lives in Vevey/Montreux I visit often. *everyone* without exception takes a bottle of wine when you're invited to someone's home for a dinner. They joke because they have to make sure when they grab a bottle from their cupboard to take to the next dinner party, that it's not the same bottle same people brought to them last time!
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Old Jul 18th, 2009, 11:50 PM
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It is indeed difficult.

To bring over:
- Peanut Brittle is a good idea
- Starbucks candy? That's a good idea
- I wish marshmallows would transport better but they get all mushy and gooey coming over.

or

- Buy a nice bottle of wine
- or bring flowers
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Old Jul 19th, 2009, 12:25 AM
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Bring wine. Switzerland is among the world's leading wine-drinking nations. I see no reason why someone would object to wine just because they live near a winery. Just make it a good one. Switzerland really doesn't see many quality US wines, and any serious wine-drinker would love to try a good one.
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Old Jul 19th, 2009, 01:02 AM
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Could someone please point me towards a good Swiss wine? On our trip to Switzerland in April I couldn't find a decent Swiss wine to save my life and ended up buying OZ wine from the bottle shop. I'm asking so I can make notes for my next visit.
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Old Jul 19th, 2009, 01:21 AM
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Bring a bottle of very good U.S. wine and a nice bouquet of flowers.
Don't try to be a representative of your hometown tourist board, loading up the family with local souvenirs they may not be interested in.
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Old Jul 19th, 2009, 03:17 AM
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Many Swiss may not care much for our bold style Napa wines since they are more used to the more subtle tasting wines. They have their own preconceived notion on how a cabernet (bordeaux) or chardonnay/pinot noir(burgundy) should taste. A good bottle of medium bodied red Zinfandel however may be interesting enough because it's a varietal that's so uniquely american.


Melnq8:
Here's a short list of good swiss wines that have been available in the US. I do agree with you that there are plenty of kiwi wines which are out of place but tend to be better (fruitier) buys in Europe. I tend to drink wines from the neighboring Alsace when I'm in Switzerland, try the dry Alsatian Riesling or Pinot Blanc.

WHITE WINE:
Cave de la côte Oenoline la Côte ($21)
light-bodied, refreshing white, from a winery on the shores of Lake Geneva, is made with Chasselas—Switzerland’s most widely planted grape.

Robert Gilliard les Murettes Fendant ($31)
From the Valais region near the Italian border, Chasselas is called Fendant. Gilliard’s floral, citrusy bottling is a standout.

Serge Roh Les Ruinettes Amigne de Vétroz Grand Cru ($45)
Also from the Valais, this silky, honeyed white is made with Amigne, a local grape. Bright acidity gives Roh’s full-bodied, semisweet wine a nice lift.

RED WINE:
Château d’Auvernier Oeil de Perdrix ($38)
Winemaker Thierry Grosjean produces this berry-rich, Pinot Noir–based rosé in a centuries-old castle. Oeil de perdrix (“eye of partridge”) refers to the earthy wine’s pretty salmon color.

Caves Cidis Gamaret la Côte ($22)
Gamaret is a Swiss hybrid grape created in the 1970s by crossing Reichensteiner with Gamay, yielding spicy, rustic wines. Caves Cidis’s version is slightly smoky, with cassis notes.
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Old Jul 19th, 2009, 03:57 AM
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Thanks Dax, I'll look into those.
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Old Jul 19th, 2009, 04:07 AM
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>>>>>>
This would be sort of like taking a bottle of wine to a hostess who lives in Napa.
>>>>>>>

and what would be wrong with that? are people in napa so provincial that they only drink napa wines??? and are swiss wines just so great and varied that the swiss would never drink anything else? this is bizarre thinking.

just like everywhere, you will find wine snobs, casual drinkers and non-drinkers in switzerland. so without knowing your hosts, it is simply not possible to predict their internal reaction to different wines (well unless they are rude, they will react with a simple thank you).

perhaps a little impersonal (perfectly appropriate if you don't know them well) and lacking in creativity but i would struggle to think of a safer gift for a dinner party...even if it were (gasp) california wine!
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Old Jul 19th, 2009, 04:35 AM
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Coals to Newcastle??

Ice to Eskiomos??

s
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Old Jul 19th, 2009, 04:59 AM
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None of the Swiss we know would turn their noses up at a good California wine--they are not remotely as provincial as Dax suggests. We were recently at a party in Zurich with a Swiss host who was a huge fan of California wine.
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