kids in Zurich

Jucker Farm Photos

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We went to Jucker Farm for brunch last weekend.

About a 20 minute drive from our apartment in Zurich / Oerlikon, this place is somewhat of an institution for family days out. The jury is divided on whether people love or hate Jucker (yes, their logo font makes it look like it’s called Fucker, haw). As far as I can ascertain, the hate is mostly due to parking nightmares – even the Jucker-lovin friends we went with mentioned that in summer the whole nearby town becomes an extended parking lot with long walks up the hill for the unlucky.

But we were there on a snowy Sunday in February and parking was no problem!

Our friends had booked brunch in the Hof Restaurant, which was great. A big, rustic table that would have comfortably sat eight for us four adults, one toddler and two babies. We were right by a large glass door and windows with impressive panoramic views down over snowy fields to the half-frozen Lake Pfäffikon (Pfäffikersee) and the mountains beyond.

Have I talked about Sunday brunch in Zurich before? It’s A Thing here. Perhaps even more so because the shops are closed. Most places seem to do similar brunch arrangements with a fixed-price, all you can eat buffet. Food comprises:

  • hot stuff: bacon and eggs, wurst (sausage), plus Jucker had fried eggs on rösti – which is a traditional Swiss farmer’s breakfast, I’m told.
  • several kinds of bread: proper loaves that you slice yourself including the tasty Zopfli (a buttery braided loaf) and gipfeli (croissants).
  • There’s deli meats and a plate of different cheeses – what European breakfast would be complete without?
  • Then there’s a load of jams – in this case all homemade Jucker farm products.
  • A range of fruit juices. Here, they were Jucker juices too.
  • Cereals including another Swiss specialty, Bircher museli – I’m a convert to this healthy wet dish!
  • There were also tasty cakes, which I was almost too full to eat. Almost. Mmm. (Thankfully, breastfeeding makes you ravenous and you can eat what you like. Not that I usually stint myself anyway!)
  • You order coffees separately but they were included in the price (as many as you want).

It cost chf32 per adult. Our toddler’s meal cost chf2 per year, so chf6 because he’s three. Most places do this kids’-age-price thing and I reckon it’s a nice touch.

So far, we’ve been to a few brunches in Zurich and I look forward to many more. This was the fanciest yet and just lovely. The room was stylish-rustic, lots of wood with delicate touches, vases of branches and classy gauze table runners, tea light candles in glass, vaguely “woodland”-themed decor. And not too crowded. Our friends had warned the staff we’d be arriving with two buggies so they had kindly put us to the far side where both prams could sit easily by the wall and be out of the way. It’s so nice to have room to manoeuvre, rather than extra tables shoved in where they barely fit just to maximise profits. I do love Switzerland for this (the restraint of easy affluence!?)

Afterwards we had a wander round the farm grounds. Himself and P-boy went further afield than S-baby and me. As well as three separate-but-together function rooms making up the restaurant, it’s a proper working farm with fruit orchards, animals, kooky straw statues (!!) and a prime lakeside position close to Zurich. Apparently “they” tried to buy it several years ago for redevelopment but the owners held on and now it’s a popular and profitabile attraction. It was fairly uncrowded when we went but you can see how it would be rammed in spring, summer and autumn when they also have demos and kids’ activities such as showing how cider is made etc.

I’d definitely book brunch again, particularly for a special occasion such as a birthday or with visitors in tow. As stunning as the farm was under a light a blanket of snow, my pals assure me it’s even lovelier in warm weather. And the farm activity days sound fun if you can find a parking spot. Roll on spring!

The Pricetag of a Freitag Bag

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I went to the Freitag store yesterday with P. Pretty much a must-do pilgrimage for anyone visiting Zurich. Man, those bags are expensive!

Freitag bags are a Zurich invention and they have a funky store made from a vertical stack of old shipping containers in Zuri West (the newly hip, ex-industrial, inner-city area of town). I’ve been past the store a few times but this was the first time I entered it. As you can imagine, it’s not exactly a buggy (stroller) friendly building.

We’ve been experimenting with leaving the buggy behind, which is what we did. The transport here is so easy and there’s LOTS of it. So we caught a tram to a park I’d spotted a few days ago on an earlier random tram trip. Then I checked the map and realised I could get a bus across to Hardbrucke/ Zuri West to Freitag. Win.

I’m hoping to get one of the bags as a gift for someone back in London. It seems like a useful, cool, practical thing that is also very “Zurich”. They do cost a lot and I am happy to pay the money, but what if the recipient doesn’t like it? They’re all a bit old and beaten-up looking (which is the point – the bags are made out of recycled truck tarpaulins) but it might not be to everyone’s taste. I find present buying so hard, for pretty much this exact reason. I want to get people something great, but if they don’t love it, I’d rather not spend so much, add to the unwanted tat of the world etc. And, if I’m brutally honest, maybe I’m just worried they won’t know how much I paid and therefore, how much I value them… it’s awful that it feels like money= an expression of worth/value in this instance.

On a positive note, you get an amazing view from the top of Freitag tower, although I didn’t take any pics, d’oh – next time! And it was fun to browse all the different bag designs. Plus I’m sure hefting a 15kg? child the whole way to the top was good exercise.

I came home and looked Freitag up and, grudgingly, can kinda see why they cost so much. I guess, like most Swiss-made things I’ve come across so far, it falls into the “reassuringly expensive” category. If you pay that much, you’re hopefully buying something that’s very good quality, sustainably & locally produced, non-sweatshop etc. And hipster as hell, of course.