08/02/2009 10:44 PM
Dubai: Hundreds of Swiss expatriates celebrated their country's national day in Dubai this week.
The event, held at Sezzam restaurant in the Kempinski Hotel, featured traditional Swiss fare such as Raclette du Valais (a type of cheese served with boiled potatoes, pearl onions and paprika), imported sausages and Zuri Gschnatzeltes (sliced veal on cream sauce),
Executive chef Fabrizio Zanetti from Switzerland's renowned Reto Mathis restaurant prepared dishes for the assembled guests and there was also live chocolate making with Sepp Fassler of Confiserie Sprungli. The evening's special guest was Obaid Humaid Al Tayer, Minister of State for Financial Affairs.
Swiss National Day is a ceremonial day that marks the founding of Switzerland as a nation in 1291, although its independence was not held until 1648. It is celebrated on August 1 every year with lantern parades, bonfires and fireworks.
Gerhard Bruegger, Consul General of Switzerland in Dubai, said: "This is an important day for Swiss people all over the world as it is an opportunity to celebrate our origins and roots. Swiss National Day is a very laid-back event; it is a time to meet with friends and neighbours and enjoy a cosy meal and some music."
There are approximately 1,700 Swiss people living in the UAE and working across a variety of different sectors including banking, hospitality, aviation, retail and distribution. Some of Switzerland's largest companies are also based in the UAE such as ABB Group, Pilatos Aircraft and Credit Suisse.
Bruegger added: "Switzerland's trade and relations with the UAE are excellent. The UAE government has been very supportive of our initiatives and we are a strong importer of goods to the country. Our most important products are watches and jewellery, which account for 60 per cent of all our exports to the UAE. The GCC/MENA market is very important to Switzerland.