DAR-VIDA, Zwieback, Wernli & Co.: meet the HUG family

I remember quite clearly that when our older son started going to Swiss kindergarten, we got a sheet of paper with instructions as to what snack he should bring. Among the various kinds of fruits and vegetables, the unknown word DAR-VIDA stood out. I was disconcerted. What that word should mean? Any new kind of fruit? The sort of manDARin orange? The mystery was solved by the visit to the supermarket the very next day when I saw their colorful packages of DAR-VIDA neatly lined on shelves. And I found them to be grain crackers.

Another encounter with HUG’s family business came shortly. When I was in a different store, I saw an ad for a Christmas contest where the children were to send a colored picture. When we were sending the colored pictures, I didn´t have any idea that in a few days a cute booklet about the Christmas wandering of the Rica sheep to the crèches would land in our mailbox. I began to grow not only my German vocabulary but also my awareness of the products of traditional Swiss family business …

The HUG Family story

As it is customary in Switzerland, also this family business has a long tradition. More than 140 years ago the history of HUG began in a bakery in Lucerne. Josef Hug-Meyer laid the foundation stone for success in 1877  with the invention of the Zwieback (rusk).* Which is actually twice the baked bread – once in a whole and then cut into slices. Sometimes she is also called Magenbrot because it helps when one has stomach troubles.

In the course of years, HUG has introduced new products to the market and has also taken over a number of manufacturing businesses in the industry to expand its range of products. The company is still in the family holding. Today’s leadership (Andreas and Werner Hug) is already raising the fifth generation.

When our sons had a day off from school lately, I decided to go out in the footsteps of the HUG, respectively to visit the shops. As the company website says, the factory shops ‘Chnusper Shop’ in Malters, ‘Ringli Shop’ Willisau, and the ‘Wernli Shop’ in Trimbach offer a unique shopping experience: the opportunity to taste the products and also to buy large packages at favorable prices. Due to time reasons, we have just visited two shops.

NOTE: This is not a sponsored post. It’s another post in the series where I´m trying to get to know more about the traditional Swiss family businesses (such as Kambly, or Röthlisberger´s family fruit farm).

Wernli Shop, Trimbach

UPDATE 2022:

“Dear Wernli store customers
The Wernli store in Trimbach has been closed as of the end of February 2022 in connection with the transfer of biscuit production to Malters.
Our tasty biscuits fresh from production will continue to be available in the HUG Familie Chnusper store in Malters and HUG Familie Ringli store in Willisau.
The practical large bags and special packs can also be ordered online at www.brack.ch/hug practically directly to your home.”

HUG Ringli Shop, Willisau

The flagship of this shop is the “Willisauer Ringli”. I admit that I have not known anything about these until now, nor am I sure whether I registered them in the shops. This biscuit is more than 170 years old! :O

Immediately after you step out of the car, a sweet smell will hit you in the nose that lures you to quickly enter the shop. Besides, you can also taste the products here (which will definitely make your shopping experience more enjoyable), here you can look through the window directly into the production.

You will learn about the history of the company from the panels on the walls, and the kids will surely enjoy the touchscreen. Here you can play two short videos, or choose a camera that shows them a live stream right from the production.

Loaded down with bags of Dar-Vida, Ringli, Zwiebeck, we got into the car and got home. We’ll visit the third store in Malters sometime the next time. At least we have something to look forward to 🙂

And what about you? Have you visited the HUG family shops? Do you have your favorite flavor of Dar-Vida? Tell me in the comments!

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*Source: https://www.hug-familie.ch/en/unternehmen/

Categories: Switzerland, Traditions
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Hana Hurábová

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