This Bizarrely-Named Bakery Is A Tasty Option For Tourists On A Budget In Switzerland

It's fair to say that the Swiss have a knack for baking that's evident in their flourishing bakery scene. Bread, especially, is a daily staple in Swiss households, meaning tourists and locals have the privilege of indulging in some of the best baked goods in the world. There's a certain Swiss bakery that's well worth a trip should you find yourself in Switzerland — don't let its moniker fool you! Äss-Bar is a bustling quirky hot spot known for its large selection of quality baked goods from Switzerland's top bakeries, affordable prices, and sustainable approach to food consumerism.

Budget-friendly finds are a traveler's best friend, especially in Switzerland where prices don't always align with your budget. It has been named the most expensive country to visit by several reputable outlets, including The Independent, Business Insider, and Gitnux. The price of food has been a notable factor that contributes to high expenses in Switzerland. However, not every meal has to break the bank, with options, like Äss-Bar, helping visitors spend less on food when traveling. This bakery's unique name comes from the Swiss German word, "ässbar," which translates to "edible." The company fights food waste by collecting day-old baked goods from nearby bakeries that would have thrown the food away, and selling them at a lower price the next morning.

Äss-Bar's passion for sustainability

Tucked in the center of Zuirch's old town district in Niederdorf, Äss-Bar is an Insta-worthy pastry shop that deserves a top spot on any traveler's bucket list. The company was founded by four friends with entrepreneurial spirits in 2013 who were inspired by efforts made by other local brands to end food waste. It was a venture founded not on a gift for baking, but a passion for sustainability. The company claims that their customer base is split between those seeking quality baked goods while maximizing their travel budgets and those who support sustainable initiatives.

Stocked with traditional bakery finds like bread, pastries, sandwiches, and even salads, customers would never guess they're purchasing day-old goods if it weren't for the prices. Each item is priced at around half the cost of pastries baked and sold on the same day, making them a bargain find for the frugal shopper. The owners collect leftover baked goods unsold by their partnership bakeries that supply Äss-Bar's shelves with a rotating selection of heavenly pastries that are just as good as their freshly baked counterparts. In addition to flour-based goods, the bakery also sells what they call "supplementary products" like cheese, olive oil, honey, jam, and produce. Many of these items end up in the garbage with best-before dates that are fast approaching or have already passed before the item has been used. However, each product is tested to ensure it's still in perfect condition before it's placed on the shelf.

Eat bread, conserve waste

Switzerland is a melting pot of innovative eateries that provide more for the community than just quality ingredients — they're guided by mission-minded founders. Äss-Bar isn't only a unique gem that caters to budget-savvy shoppers. The bakery is also a creative brand pioneering the way toward a zero-waste food landscape within a culture that understands the importance of sustainable tourism. The bakery is a proud local partner of Food Waste, an independent non-profit organization committed to fighting systemic issues that cause food waste in Switzerland. This Swiss association works closely with Swiss market vendors and hosts frequent events that aim to educate the public on the issues of waste and create positive change in Swiss communities to work towards creating a sustainable food system.

Data gathered by ETH Zurich in 2019 revealed that 210,000 tons of food goes to waste in the Swiss food service sector every year, which leads to a negative environmental impact. However, Switzerland is working towards several sustainability goals that include improvements to recycling programs, reduced carbon emissions, and a cleaner natural environment. The country consistently ranks as one of the "greenest" or most sustainable in the world and aims to use 100% renewable energy by 2050. Businesses like Äss-Bar working toward a zero-waste reality deserve credit for challenging wasteful norms and coming up with creative ways of recycling goods instead of letting leftovers get tossed at the end of the day. The company's flagship location in Zurich struck a partnership with a local brewery that uses leftover bread to replace the malt in their brews, so the movement is certainly growing.