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Swiss Birchermüesli enters Guinness Book of Records

Birchermüesli was developed by a Swiss physician, Maximilian Oskar Bircher-Benner.

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Switzerland's world famous dish, Birchermüesli, has entered the Guinness Book of Records after more than a tonne of the stuff was mixed and eaten in Zurich.

Four hundred kilos of müesli, 425 litres of milk, 20 litres of orange juice and 20 litres of lemon juice, 80 kilos of strawberry yoghourt, 200 kilos of sliced apples, 50 kilos of bananas, and 75 kilos of strawberries went into the record-breaking mixture.

Happily for the organisers, more than 5,000 people arrived armed with spoons to polish off the the mammoth Birchermüesli.

The dish was developed in Zurich at the turn of the last century by a Swiss physician, Maximilian Oskar Bircher-Benner. He created müesli after noticing that many of his patients, both rich and poor, suffered from an unbalanced diet.

Benner was born the son of a lawyer in 1867 in canton Aargau. He went to medical school in Zurich, before setting up his own business in the working class area of Aussersihl.

The Aargau physician soon found that many of his patients suffered from malnutrition. Benner grew convinced that the best way to change this situation was to invent a preparation based on raw cereals, fruit and vegetables, instead of relying on meat.

He named his receipe "Apfeldiätspeise", or "Dietary Apple Meal".

In a book about müesli, Albert Wirz wrote that friends of Benner's said he found inspiration for his recipe while visiting huts in the mountains. But other researchers say the origins of the dish lie in Pakistan's Himalayas.

Initially, Benner did not have any success with his nutrition theory. In 1900, the physician was publicly discredited by the Zurich medical profession after disclosing his innovative concept.

Good health in those days was considered to result from a sufficient amount of meat and milk.

However far from being discouraged, Benner continued to treat his patients with müesli at his sanatorium. He also encouraged physical exercise.

Today, müesli is mainly considered as a breakfast dish. It contains ground cereals mixed with fruit and nuts.

The various types of müesli available on the market, however, no longer reflect the original dish, which is considered too sour for contemporary tastes. Added to this, many brands add substantial amounts of sugar, turning the dish into a calorie bomb.

swissinfo with agencies


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