a peek inside the fishbowl

23 Mar, 2009

A post about wieners

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Oh! Things!|Ottawa|Recipes and Food

There’s a little shop in Carlingwood I like to visit called Swiss Pastries. It’s an Ottawa-area chain (there are 5 retail locations) and as I recently found out, was founded in 1965 by Hans Ulrich Zuberbuehler.

This is precisely the kind of store which sends me careening back to my childhood.

My parents used to bring me to a similar kind of store called Brandt. (I can’t believe they have a website. With audio!) The one we went to was located in a shopping mall in Brampton.

It was kid heaven. There were shelves overflowing with German chocolate, jams, baked goods, and in the back there was a deli counter. I loved the smell of that place. I still do. It is sweet and salty and smells overwhelmingly of salami.

Swiss Pastries gives me that same feeling, and I love it. What’s more, it’s my new source for wieners.

I want to clarify that wieners are not hot dogs. Nor are they sausages. They are the precursor of hot dogs.

The first time I brought some home I found myself explaining the proper way to eat them, or should I say, the way I ate them growing up so EasternEuro.

Buns are verboten. This is finger food, maybe the kind that is served at a cheery biergarten and eaten to the tune of a brass band playing a nice polka. Maybe someone (hopefully not you) is wearing lederhosen. Everyone is drinking beer.

These wieners are long and slim and have a delicious snap to them. These are boiled in water … 


… and served with a dollop of mustard (grainy is best but Dijon is a good substitute) and a slice of good German rye.

The bread pictured below is “Canadian Rye” a.k.a. rounded white bread. TOTALLY the wrong kind of bread. Oh well.

Wieners for lunch

I walk into the store with plans to buy our family some lunch but can’t seem to avoid the other merchandise. It is very easy to spend money at Swiss Pastries, especially this time of year. Easter is coming, and Easter is what they do best. I couldn’t get a good enough photo of the rows of smiling bunnies, all wrapped in bright foil. There are tables overflowing with chocolate ladybugs and chocolate sheep, and jellybeans and bunnies and candy eggs, of all shapes and sizes.

Me: I like good chocolate. I want my kids to have good chocolate too. So I will get them a bunny or two from here instead of buying an overpackaged High School Musical-themed-chocolate-whatever from Loblaws.

I walked away with this:

sweeter than sweet

… which I thought had a chocolate base but is actually pure sugar.

I also bought these (because they’re a classic and I like them with tea):


and this:

Easter egg dye

… which I was happy to find because it means we can colour our easter eggs and not have to buy into an egg dying kit, which is always more than we need.

I’m pretty happy with my haul. Now, for some tea and cookies.

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24 Responses to "A post about wieners"

1 | Chantal

March 23rd, 2009 at 1:18 pm


I’m all about the pure sugar and I have a dentist appointment in that mall tomorrow. I just might be leaving with my own… After my appointment of course.

2 | Loukia

March 23rd, 2009 at 1:22 pm


Mmm… yummy! I love Swiss Pastries! Doesn’t it smell heavenly?

3 | Erica

March 23rd, 2009 at 1:25 pm


Have you ever been to Dutch Groceries and Imports (on Clyde)? That’s my family’s version of the same thing – cookies and licorice and the best wine gums I’ve ever tasted.

4 | Gwen

March 23rd, 2009 at 1:34 pm


LOVE Swiss Pastries! We were at Billings this morning and I actually resisted the urge to pop in. They have the most amazing cheesecake that everyone has got to try…mmmm….For me, it is hard to resist all the little treats. I am a sucker for any type of baked good and chocolate, especially the really good stuff!

5 | Marci Simonini

March 23rd, 2009 at 1:40 pm


Okay seriously this post made me laugh, I love it! Weiners and chocolate, I have to admit, are 2 of my favourite comfort foods (not together of course)!

6 | Nicol

March 23rd, 2009 at 1:50 pm


We have a locally owned German store here that we visit every Christmas. I love getting the real chocolate advents and to sit in the cafeteria section for some weisswurst and sauerkraut. My dh can’t stand the sauerkraut but it is a part of my childhood. (Mother being part German). I haven’t been there around Easter time. Perhaps I’ll find some fun goodies for my dd basket. I know that you can find the Kindereggs there. They aren’t sold in the US.

7 | carrie

March 23rd, 2009 at 2:43 pm


Oh, you just sent me straight back to my childhood!

There was a German deli next to the Safeway that my mom shopped at when we were kids that was exactly like this! We would peer at the displays of strange candies and treats and sometimes, if we were good, mom would buy us something sweet.

Our favorite treat was when she would buy us the european weiners and let us eat them right then and there. (Like hotdogs, they can be eaten right out of the package/deli case. As a kid I would rather have them cold! As an adult, I prefer them cooked or grilled.)

Thanks for the blast from the past!

8 | andrea

March 23rd, 2009 at 3:12 pm


My mouth is watering!

Chantal: let me know what followed you home. :)

9 | andrea

March 23rd, 2009 at 3:12 pm


I forgot to mention, we got our wedding cake at Swiss Pastries!

10 | Shannon

March 23rd, 2009 at 3:13 pm


I love Swiss Pastries! My mom always bought this yummy lunch meat there when I was a kid….I should pop in one day and try it if they still sell it. We always get fruit tortes from there for b-days.

11 | Susan

March 23rd, 2009 at 4:02 pm


I adore Swiss Pastries. I wander around every one I see… especially at Xmas. Oh, those rum balls. :)

12 | Karen at Virtually There

March 23rd, 2009 at 4:39 pm


I’m so with you on Swiss Pastries. Reminds me of Fiedlers in Kitchener. You’ver reminded me how great it is and I plan to do all my Easter Bunny shopping there.

13 | Hellcat13

March 23rd, 2009 at 5:33 pm


Mmmm! I love Swiss Pastries. I spent a few weeks in Switzerland with a friend who was an au pair, and when I feel like bringing back the memories, I pop in there for a treat.

I also second Erica’s comment about the Dutch store. You’ll never be able to eat cheap wine gums again after tasting these ones!

14 | Rebecca

March 23rd, 2009 at 6:21 pm


I love Swiss Pastries, when I worked near there I used to pick up the odd treat, always delicious.

However, this post now makes me want chocolate in a desparate way…

15 | Trea

March 23rd, 2009 at 6:36 pm


Thanks for clearing up the hot dog/wiener difference for those non-Europeans out there! You are so right about no bun – my Mama always cuts her wieners up and serves them in soup. When I lived in Ottawa, I used to haunt German Town Deli, but if you’re ever in Vancouver there is an amazing German meister butcher who runs A&K sausage. I love you bratwurst!

16 | BeachMama

March 23rd, 2009 at 7:33 pm


I am all for those eggs, no chocolate needed, sugar is all good. And I love traditional wieners or sausages for that matter. I actually prefer them without a bun but something about meat without bread make my husband squirm.

17 | raino

March 23rd, 2009 at 10:12 pm


long weiners with a snap. i gotta check this spot out. thanks!

18 | Javamom

March 24th, 2009 at 6:29 am


I am SO homesick now. I lived in Switzerland as a child for 10 years and when we came to Canada, there was a Swiss pastry/cookie store in the old downtown Oakville (a town near the city of Toronto). They retired and I miss their stuff….aw. At least some of the German stores around here carry some of the Swiss stuff…

By the way, if you like these types of Wieners, go back and ask for “servelat”. They are similar in taste but shorter and fatter, and we used to stick them on sticks and grill them over a fire in the forest. YUM!

19 | ian

March 24th, 2009 at 6:53 am


We lived in Germany for a few years, and yeah those wieners are everywhere! Wiener, mustard and a roll, that’s as hard as rock on the outside, but nice and fresh on the inside.
They went very well with beers ;-)

20 | Vanessa

March 24th, 2009 at 8:23 am


I love Swiss Pastries.. my birthday cakes for as long as i remember have come from there… My kids now ask for them for theirs :) Their triple chocolate mousse is the resident favourite these days. My favourite Swiss Pastry memory: My Baba always got me a little foil-wrapped chocolate ladybug :)
Another great place is the sausage kitchen in the Byward Market :)

21 | DaniGirl

March 24th, 2009 at 9:24 am


Ah, this is straight out of my born-in-Germany-moved-to-Holland-emmigrated-to-Canada-late-in-life’s kitchen. Mmmm, my mouth is watering!

If you’re near the Market, the Budapest Deli has some great stuff along these lines, not to mention the hands-down best sandwich bar in all of Ottawa. I rarely allow myself to buy lunch these days, but when I do it’s a Buda-wich treat!

22 | LO

March 30th, 2009 at 12:04 pm


We love and eat all that stuff. I especially love Spekulatas-cookies. BUT unfortunately we don’t go to Swiss much anymore as the service is very hit and miss. I mean we want authentic European cuisine as my hubby is German but they can keep the authentic ‘rudeness’ in the home country:) Just my take..sigh

23 | andrea

March 30th, 2009 at 12:19 pm


Ha. Lo, it depends on who you get!
Funny, I find the customers to be almost as bad … demanding to look at the ham slices to make sure they’re thin enough. lol

24 | LO

March 31st, 2009 at 10:28 am


You are right-the type of customer is very particular there AND I saw the same thing when I was in Europe. Women fitting over meat slices LOL

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