Swiss Chalet: A Christmas Tale Of Two Different Buns

A Christmas Tradition: Remember the old Swiss Chalet Bun from the 70s, 80s, 90s? What kind of bun was it?

There are many time-honoured Canadian traditions and institutions around Christmas time, including The Festive Special by Canadian chicken chain, Swiss Chalet. Let’s just say, the times have changed. Gone are the 80s brown plates and accompanying cups that doubled as both gravy boat and finger bowl (not at the same time, jeesh). Also, gone was the more substantial Toblerone Bar, in its place melty, palm oil goop that is Lindt. But what stands out and is most sorely missed is the old and infamous Swiss Chalet bun.

My gosh. $6.99 for a festive special only 30 years ago. Gravy tears. If inflation continues is will cost you $69 dollars in 10 years.

The Swiss Chalet bun was this half brioche/ half shitty hamburger bun with a shiny dome of pillowy perfection that was the perfect accompaniment to the Festive Special. The choice was yours: you could dip it in the gravy or, for the more advanced, you could use it to build your own chicken sandwich. The sky’s the limit. However, around the late 90s, a dynamic shift took place at the lodge that was Swiss Chalet. Gone was the bun we all knew, into something that was more like half-cafeteria/airplane food, prison bun. Which is preferred by convicts because it can double as a blunt, heavy weapon in its density. Nothing festive about that, hence this “festivus” air of grievances.

Not these buns. What were the original Swiss Chalet buns even called (brioche? Dinner Roll?) Hopefully I will “Get Lucky” and a reader will know.

So, for this year’s lockdown dinner, me and my lady are going to attempt to recreate (elevate) the Festive Special for Christmas dinner. Going to roast a chicken, make the gravy, etc. Except there is something missing under the tree and it’s not a sled, named “Rosebud”. I want my 1980’s Swiss Chalet bun back! But how do you remake a memory of Christmas Past? What are the ingredients for a taste long savoured and lost through time.

If anybody can point me in the direction:

What kind of bun, was the Swiss Chalet bun from the 1980s? Is there a comparable recipe? Comment below


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