Appenzeller spiced bread, or Gewürzbrot, is considered the ancestor of the traditional and popular breads filled with dried pears called “Birnenweggen”. Pear and nut trees have been part of the Appenzell agricultural landscape for a long time, and are used in all kinds of preparations. This type of bread was once very common on the foothills of the Appenzell region, but also in other parts of Switzerland. Its production is rooted in the long alpine tradition of preparing festive types of bread for special occasions and winter celebrations. Its popularity was partly due to its long shelf-life (3 to 4 months). The tradition has since almost disappeared, and the production of this bread almost completely stopped. It was rediscovered by some bakers in the region who, based on an old recipe, have been able to revive its production.
The bread has an oval, elongated shape, with irregularities due to the added nuts and dried fruits that make it special. The basic process is the same as other more common Birnenweggen breads that can still be found, but it is made with spelt flour. Other ingredients are then added, including nuts and dried fruits such as pears, raisins, prunes, figs, but also sugar, candied orange peel, salt, rum and some spices (anise, nutmeg, cinnamon, clove and fennel).