Switzerland is a beautiful country with many nicknames such as the Land of Chocolates and Cuckoo Clocks or the Land of Four Languages. But I’m not going to tell you about the silk-smooth chocolate factories or about the variety of outdoor opportunities that the country offers. I’m going to take you on an infamous tour of Switzerland’s cuisine, combustion of various aromas and flavours with influences from Italian, German and French cooking.
Let’s mix all the culinary influences that Swiss cuisine received and “taste” the final product.
When you think Switzerland, you think fondue, Raclette, Bernerplatte or Zurcher Geschnetzeltes, traditional dishes in a Swiss menu. Fondue is a simple yet sophisticated recipe. It’s made from Vacherin and Gruyère cheese mixed with flour, wine, kirsch and garlic and it’s always served in a pot along with crusty bread.
Raclette however is the perfect choice if you are a vegan. The dish is very popular throughout alpine regions and it’s made from cheese with pickled onions, gherkins and jacket potatoes. I find it appealing the process of preparing the cheese – held over heat and afterwards scraped into the bowl as it melts.
Bernerplatte however is for those that crave for meat. It’s a plate with different types of meat like smoked beef tongue, chops, pork or Bernese sausages served with sauerkraut or green beans. Speaking of meat, Zurcher Geschnetzeltes is a delicious dish made from diced veal, simmered with mushrooms, onions, cream and wine.
Breakfast. A traditional breakfast consists of bread with butter, cheese or cereal. Zopf for example, braided egg bread, is preferred by locals over breakfast.
Lunch. Usually for lunch locals opt for a simple sandwich. Businessmen often have a fuller, a leisurely meal.
Dinner. Rarely will you see a three course meal for dinner. Cheese and bread on the other hand are very popular for dinner.
Dessert. I bet you couldn’t wait to have dessert. Let’s start with dark chocolate mousse and chocolate fondue. Locals love them so why wouldn’t we? Another popular dessert is Zuger kirchentorte, a pastry made of ground hazelnuts soaked in cherry brandy. How about Apfelküchlein? It’s a tasty deep fried apple cookie that can be eaten cold or hot with or without vanilla sauce.
As I was saying, Swiss cuisine was influenced by German, French and Italian cuisine. So, what are the specific dishes from each country? Let’s see.
Dishes from the French cuisine
Carac: a pastry with chocolate.
Fondue: melted cheese with a mix of garlic, wine and flour.
Meringue: a dessert made from sugar, whipped egg whites and cream of tartar of a pinch of vinegar.
Raclette: hot cheese scraped over potatoes and served with pickled onions among others.
Dishes from the Italian cuisine
Polenta: a simple cornmeal boiled into porridge, often a poor’s meal. Maybe won’t impress much but served with different meats it’s to die for.
Pizzoccheri: a type of short tagliatelle cooked with cubed potatoes and greens.
Dishes from the German cuisine
Rösti: a very simple dish that it’s often associated with hash browns. Consists mainly of potatoes and is served along with spinach or fried eggs.
Zopf: braided egg bread, typical served on Sundays.
Kalberwurst: a sausage made from veil, ground crackers, milk and various spices.
Landjäger: this semi-dried sausage is similar to dried salami and is very popular among hikers.
Tirggel: traditional hard, thin, sweet Christmas biscuits made from flour and honey.
A little bit about Swiss etiquette. When you dine out, keep your elbows off the table and don’t drink before the toast. Also, is very impolite to ask for salt and pepper unless they are on the table and keep in mind to cut your potatoes, fruits and salad with a fork, not with a knife.
I wish you all En guete! and a wonderful vacation in Switzerland.
My name is Andreea Neagu and I’m a travel writer. To find out more about me and my travels in Europe and other parts of the world you can check out my e-squezz-it travels blog. You can also find me on twitter.