I was back in Bern on Saturday and I realised it was my first time to be there while shops were open! My previous visits were in the evening, on a Sunday or on a bank holiday. I was therefore happy to walk around the city less this time and take a leasurely look at some nice shops.
You need to look carefully to spot some of Bern’s highlights.
Looking for the bears
It takes a few minutes to find the bears in Bern’s famous 6500 sqm. bear park! You can visit the Bärenpark for free and observe the bears from the surrounding paths. The Nydeggbrücke bridge leading to the park also offers a good view of the park. The three bears were chilling in the grass when I saw them!
Bear Park address: Grosser Muristalden 6, CH-3006 Bern
Pretty shops nested in the 6 km-long medieval arcades
Did you know you can find one of Europe’s longest covered shopping miles in Bern? Spittalgasse, Marktgasse, Kramgasse and Gerechtigkeitsgasse in the Old Town are lined with 6 km of arcades (“Lauben”), with all kinds of little shops. It’s really nice to stroll under the arcades and window shop! I found the arcades make it necessary to walk under the arcade of each side of the street, to find out which shops are nested there.
There are also many underground cellars in the Old Town of Bern. Upon my previous visits I had been intrigued by all the closed shutters and had wondered their purpose. This was my first time to see the cellars open! 🙂 I now know that some are used for storage for the shops above, while others have been turned into cosy cafés or trendy shops.
Ice cream inside an antique shop
The wishlist for my day in Bern was rather vague:
- purchase chocolate bars from Swiss chocolate makers Taucherli, Choba Choba and Casa Nobile
- go see the bears at the Bärenpark
- get ice cream from one of the shops I tested before in Bern
- check out the shopping scene
By late afternoon, I had accomplished all I wanted, when a flyer about “the best ice cream in the world” caught my attention!
I stepped into the shop selling “Cuckoo ice cream” and had a look at the ice cream counter to see if it looked that good, when one of the 5 founders of Cuckoo Ice Cream started talking to me and gave me some background information:
- the company was created by 5 partners who have a combined experience of over 50 years working with ice cream for a well-known Swiss company, before launching their own project
- it turns out the Cuckoo Ice Cream shop in Bern had just opened one week before! They sell their ice cream within a beautiful Antique shop on Gerechtigkeitsgasse.
- Cuckoo ice cream is made with carefully selected natural ingredients: milk and cream from Switzerland, vanilla from Madagascar and Papua New Guinea, chocolate made with beans from Dominican Republic, coffee from Honduras, etc. It contains no artificial flavours, colours or preservatives.
I tried 3 of the 9 flavours on offer and really enjoyed them all. They all had a nice texture, and were not overly sweet:
- “Heumilch” – I believe the English translation for this is either “pasture milk” or “hay milk”. It means the ice cream was made with milk from cows that were fed fresh grass and herbs in Summer time and natural fodder like hay in Winter, as opposed to fermented silage.
- Double cream from La Gruyère – In case you have never heard about double cream from Gruyère in Switzerland, trust me when I say that it is a real delicacy! It’s quite likely the best cream I have ever eaten! It should have a minimum of 45% butterfat. Cuckoo’s double cream ice cream is made with 55% fat double cream. It had a delicious intense milky-creamy taste. Fyi Gruyère double cream is traditionally served with meringues.
- Cold brew coffee – I had a sample of this flavour made with Hondurian coffee: it really was the frozen version of a real good coffee. (Read more about cold brew coffee)
I was very happy about my surprise encounter with this new ice cream shop in Bern! 🙂 Pots of Cuckoo vanilla, chocolate and coffee ice cream can be purchased throughout Switzerland in Manor Food stores, as well as some Eni shops.
Cuckoo Ice Cream addresses:
– Gerechtigkeitsgasse 35, CH-3011 Bern (inside Carmine Home antique shop)
– They have another shop in Vevey, near Lac Léman: rue du théâtre 9, CH-1800 Vevey