More than 350 farming families from all corners of Switzerland will open their doors on 1 August and invite you to enjoy a very special morning. Brunch on National Day has almost become a tradition. For the Schwarz family from Thunstetten BE, too, the last week of July is all about August 1: decorating, baking and cooking to perfection. All this in order to offer an unforgettable morning to the hundreds of guests who spend the “Swiss Birthday” at the Brotheiteri farm.
Why we celebrate August 1st
Based on the Federal Letter of 1291, the Federal Council declared 1 August a national holiday in 1899. In this letter, the valley communities of Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden in central Switzerland secure mutual help and support. The Federal Letter, as the “oldest Swiss constitution” so to speak, was conducive to national cohesion in the democratic federal state. It symbolized a centuries-old, binding tradition of a freely invoked community. For him, the Federal Letter Archives were even opened in Schwyz as a place of remembrance. And even if unsolvable problems of interpretation suggest that the importance of this document has probably been considerably overestimated in recent times, this does not alter the great cultural value of the Federal Letter.
Today, August 1 is still celebrated extensively as “Switzerland’s birthday”. Children carry lanterns through the streets, mountain fires are lit and fireworks illuminate the night sky. Not to forget the celebration on the Rütli at Lake Lucerne, the scene of the “Rütlischwur”, and the corresponding speech by the Federal President.
Here you can find a German translation of the Federal Letter of 1291 (Sources: Bundesbriefmuseum Schwyz, www.admin.ch)
Everything is homemade
The 1st August Brunch was launched by the Swiss Farmers’ Union in 1992. The Schwarz family has also been involved since 2016. Serving guests is almost in their blood, as Anita and Hanspeter ran a mountain restaurant in the Emmental region for 27 years. And now their daughter has also successfully passed the landlord’s examination. “It is important to us that all our guests feel at home with us, and that includes a special wish,” says Hanspeter Schwarz.
Whether Rösti with fried egg, alp cheese or homemade bread with jam – everything is homemade. “With the brunch we want to make the regional products palatable to the population, so that more and more people buy directly from the producer,” explains Hanspeter Schwarz. The jam contains its own fruit, the meat is made from its own animals and the alp cheese from the milk of its own cows. For the big buffet on the national holiday the Schwarz family spends the whole week before with decorating, cooking and baking. There’s always one good thing about it, says Mr. Schwarz, who is always available for fun: “At least everything is cleaned and tidied up”.
Together with the helpers, the host families lovingly arrange everything so that it is perfect for their guests. To ensure that there is no shortage of space, cheese, meat or Rösti, you must register directly with the farmer’s family by 30 July. So if you would like to enjoy a fresh and glowing breakfast on the farm on this year’s National Holiday, you can register now with the family of your choice at www.brunch.ch