Preparations for the Euro 2008 soccer tournament have hit a snag in Switzerland. No, there is not a boycott yet and there is not a problem with stadiums –– other than the fact that they are undersized –– in Austria and Switzerland, the host countries for Euro 2008.
Rather, because of European Union restrictions on imports of Brazilian beef intestines –– while Switzerland is indeed neutral and not an EU member, they do observe the food regulations that come from the EU in order to maintain free trade within Europe –– Switzerland could be without its favorite type of sausage, the cervalat, in homes, restaurants and concessions stands across the country.
Small potatoes? Well, not exactly (the Swiss can still have their raclette –– also very tasty). A detailed article in Der Spiegel, Germany’s most respected newsweekly, outlines the situation. (Wurst Case Scenario – English) From the sounds of it the Swiss are trying their best not to take this lying down.
According to the article in Der Spiegel, one member of the Swiss parliament said:
“I simply cannot imagine Switzerland without the original cervelat. There is a socio-political dimension, and I want to bring the sausage issue before the voters.”
And, according to Swiss consumers and chefs, not just any intestine will do. Maintaining the necessity of the cervalat, Swiss star chef Jacky Donatz said:
“We cannot stand for this. We have to fight for our sausage!”
It’s an interesting development in a nation that has been incredibly independent for centuries. The issue with the cervalat is not just a political issue over an integral part of Swiss life, but one that spills over onto dinner tables and, now, international soccer championships.