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The faces behind food

TA 2018 - boulanger - banner
From fruit picking to a master chef’s prowess, humans intervene on every level to make, combine and enhance the food we eat. Directly reflecting the growing collective awareness of issues related to food, the annual theme 2018, The faces behind food, showcases expertise in food professions.

By choosing to throw the spotlight on the people themselves and the skills they use to give food an extra special touch, the Museum is celebrating the talents and the quest for a whole palette of different flavours, both uniquely human as we are the only species that cooks. Through a variety of exhibits and activities, food becomes the axis of a human and social adventure, from the most basic flavours to a sophisticated art form.

Five professions in the spotlight

The passion for food-related professions is often handed down from one generation to the next. Over the course of the year ahead, the Alimentarium’s new annual theme will present five different lines of work. Each particular craft will be highlighted with in-depth explanations and themed activities. The year gets underway with a discovery of vocations related to dairy products, until May. Confectioners will then take centre stage in June and July, before making way for those working in the field of fruit and vegetables, in August and September. This is a particularly demanding profession, as it involves dealing with live and fragile products. Meat-related trades will be featured from October to December. Finally, from the beginning of 2019 through to March, the theme will focus attention on the bakery sector.

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The Food Sector

From the beauty of human movement to robotics, this sector looks at the actions and handling of tools and utensils in the 5 lines of work presented. The watchwords here are craftsmanship and industry.

Whether you are in your kitchen at home, or you are a small-scale producer or a major food manufacturer, it takes more than just a pair of hands to work wonders. The Food sector puts objects specific to the bakery, meat, dairy, confectionery, and fruit and vegetable professions on a pedestal. Eagle-eyed visitors will definitely find the answers, without peeking at the explanatory texts provided.

Are you intrigued by the texture and flavour of Japanese Mochi? Is French Mousline instant mashed potato your comfort food? This part of the exhibition is right up your street! Visitors can learn everything about their favourite food. The display terminals screen videos of the custodians of traditional or industrial know-how.

The Society Sector

Sharing the passion: Handing down the taste for cooking from one generation to another

Thème annuel Secteur Société - Cuisine


The highlight of this sector is the reconstruction of a typical 1950s kitchen, with period utensils for visitors to touch or handle. In the Game of Trades, visitors can view videos to identify a whole range of professions from the precise actions and movements they entail. Professionals from Switzerland and abroad talk about their jobs in video testimonies also screened in this area. Another game consists in turning the crank handles of various machines to guess their purpose. There are also peep boards where visitors can have a photo taken of them ‘wearing’ various work clothes. The perfect keepsake of a visit to the Museum to post on Instagram!

The Body Sector

Focusing on two little known cross-disciplinary professions in the food industry: A sensory analyst and a flavourist. A possible vocation for our younger visitors?

Taking on the role of an artisan producer or a specialist is surely the best way to understand the ins and outs of their work. Hence, the labyrinth of senses invites visitors to try out two cross-disciplinary professions related to the food industry, both relatively unknown to the general public: a flavourist and a sensory analyst. You can take control of one of two aroma pipe organs, a poetic name for an instrument with something of a steampunk look about it. You can open and close the valves of your choice, and work the pump to mix aromas and smell the result. This is an opportunity for visitors to dive into the universe of aromatic composition as they create aromas fit for a confectioner or a chef.

Who knows, maybe these experiments will inspire our younger visitors to envisage joining these professions?

For teachers

Download the Teachers’ Guide & Pupils’ Guide to the new annual theme to help prepare your visit to the Alimentarium.

Teacher Pupil