The Swiss Food Museum, oh, I mean the Alimentarium, turns 25 this year. Free entry for all!

What's New — By Sonja Holverson on October 30, 2010 at 6:55 pm
Officially known as the Alimentarium – “Musée de l’alimentation”, most of us English speaking locals call this the “food museum”.  You can look (even take photographs), but you can’t taste! This unique concept (which just happens to be down the road from Nestle in Vevey, Switzerland, near Montreux on Lake Geneva) has welcomed over a million curious visitors and is the only museum in the world dedicated solely to nutrition.

Vevey, Switzerland. Image courtesy of Dominique Schreckling

They call it a journey into the inner dimensions of the human body and provide sample videos (even 3D cinema) and other illustrations to make the point. It’s early Saturday night right now, so I can stand it but I may have less enthusiasm tomorrow morning to make that digestive journey once again.

Historical and Modern Food Displays: image courtesy of alementarium.ch

However, I must admit the first time I went to this museum, not knowing what to expect, I was overwhelmed with the displays. And continue to be so. There have some amazing additions and activities of all kinds now.

They had one display once with the entire amount of food that a rural Swiss couple would eat in one year in the last century. I’m sure it’s the same amount  today but we have no more farms in which to  burn our calories and all that stuff is being put in while we type on our laptops (like I am right now) or play our video games, etc.. Scary, scary things to think about at the Alimentarium! That’s the point, of course.

Once I went and there was a display on sugar. All the sugar content in anything you could image. Do you have any idea how much sugar is in ketchup?  Don’t even think about it!

Museum's Vegetable Garden: image courstey Alimentarium.ch

There’s even The museum garden, facing the lake, showing a selection of the main food plants according to the seasons including a vegetable patch and aromatic plant section, interspersed with picnic areas. This is similar to a petting zoo where you can teach your children that vegetables do not actually originate in warehouses and grow in spongy boxes with plastic coverings.

In the afternoons, there are Cookery Workshops to teach your children what cooking is in case they’ve never seen it, especially if you’re arriving from large urban areas. A chef will be there and children over 9 years old participate in cooking something nutritious to take away. The classes are in French but there’s nothing to worry about. Children learn new languages in about 10 minutes – even less if they’re actually doing something together.

Opened June 21, 1985 supported by Nestle, the Alimentarium is well worth a visit. More than 8’000 visitors have helped them celebrate their 25th anniversary this year.

All About Popcorn: image courtesy of the alimentarium.ch

Speaking of food (and we are). You can, in fact, eat at the Alimentarium in the new “A Taste of the World” restaurant in their newly transformed glasshouse café restaurant with 6 different international meals of discovery from which to select.

A Taste of the World café restaurant: image courtesy of Alimentarium.ch

Bon apetit!

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Tags: Alimentarium, café, digestive, French, ketchup, Montreux, museum, Nestle, nutrition, restaurant, Swiss, Switzerland, taste, Vevey, “ Lake Geneva”, “25th anniversary”, “picnic areas”, “Swiss Food”