Before you think that this is going to be a blog entry about Swiss practices and culture when it comes to food, it isn’t. This is about what happens when you cross the border into Switzerland; in my case, it’s from France.
We have known for quite a while that certain goods will be taxed upon arrival through any Swiss border, be it via train, plane or car. It doesn’t matter what passport you hold; although Nil swears that it’s easier to pass through customs without any problems with a French passport rather than a Malaysian one.
Just to give you an idea of things that will get taxed – meat (dried or frozen or fresh), dairy, seafood; basically anything will is costly in Switzerland and cheap in France.
Meat in Switzerland retails for anywhere between 39 CHF to 65 CHF (non-sale price) per kilo of either beef, lamb and pork, seafood is naturally a bomb because the country is landlocked, and cheese can go up to 20 CHF per kilo. Meat in Switzerland retails for anywhere between 7 euroes to 16 euroes (non-sale price) per kilo. I have yet to check out cheese prices but in general, things are cheaper in France (even geraniums retail for 2 euroes compared to 7 CHF).
Once you do the math, you’d realise that if people had a chance, they would do their grocery shopping in France since it’s just right next door. But naturally, there is a limit to how much you can buy – 500 grams of meat per person. It doesn’t matter if it’s dried, smoked, fresh or frozen. Declaring the excess will rake in 20 CHF per kilo from you. Of course you could try to smuggle some in but if you get caught lying, the fine would be more than just that amount.
We have gotten away with this a few times before but today was an exception. Upon entering from Le Locle (and heading on to Neuchatel), we got stopped at the border and as you guessed, we ended up paying an additional 50 CHF for nearly two kiloes of additional meat. He’s still beating himself up over it but me? I just find it amusing. Even after you add the fine, the meat is still cheaper!!!!!!!
So yes, the freezer is well-stocked and I’m looking forward to having some grilled lamb. *beams*