Most people associate Swiss food and cuisine with cheese and chocolate. Who could blame them? After all, the Swiss have been making them for so long that they have become synonymous with them.
Yet, if you are visiting Switzerland and want to experience the authentic Swiss cuisine that the people eat every day, there are a few additional meals you should try. There are more selections than you may have heard about, beginning with breakfast and concluding with some desserts to go with your coffee.
Therefore, without further ado, let’s look at some traditional Swiss cuisine. Although the nation may be impartial, there is nothing neutral about Swiss gastronomy.
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- 1 Birchermesli
- 2 The Zopf Bread
- 3 Swiss Cheddar
- 4 Fondue with Swiss Cheese
- 5 Raclette
- 6 lplermagronen
- 7 Rsti
- 8 Polenta
- 9 Chocolate from Switzerland
- 10 Nusstorte
- 11 Leckerli, Basler
- 12 Biberli
- 13 The Finest Swiss Cuisine
- 14 Which of these classic Swiss cuisines do you wish to taste the most? Please share your thoughts in the comments box below!
Let us begin with breakfast. After all, they say it is the most important meal of the day. And what better way to start your day than with a bowl of nutritious Swiss Birchermuesli?
You’ve definitely heard of Muesli, which is also a classic Swiss cuisine, but Birchermuesli is a unique combination that originated in Switzerland more than a century ago. And, as the name suggests, the originator of this morning wonder was a physician called Maximilian Bircher-Benner!
Birchermuesli comes in a variety of shapes and styles, but the traditional is to soak oats in yoghurt overnight before adding fruit. Of course, there are no hard and fast rules on what you may put in it, so have fun! Every sort of nut, literally, goes well with any flavor of Birchermuesli.
Birchermuesli may be found at various outlets in Switzerland, as well as on the breakfast buffet in hotels. Just inquire if you are unclear what you are searching for!
The Zopf Bread
The Swiss, like most Europeans, like their bread. They also provide a wide range of regional specialities and alternatives. In reality, there are almost 200 types, with 22 regional specialities, if you want to crunch the figures. That is one bread-loving country!
Yet one bread stands out on every breakfast table in Switzerland, and it is adored by those who try it: Zopf.
This traditional Swiss meal consists of a super-fluffy white bread that is wrapped into a knot before baking and emerges from the oven like some kind of Gordian Knot. Usually people eat it with local jams or Nutella, although it may also be eaten with only butter. Yeah, it’s that delicious; you’ll want to eat it till the cows come home!
If you want to experience some spectacular Zopf while in the nation, simply go to the local bakery or even the most prominent stores. They all have it since it is such traditional Swiss fare, and the locals would be shocked if it was not on their Swiss menu.
The last general topic I’d want to discuss in terms of breakfast is cheese. Northern Europeans, unlike most English speakers, like a little cheese for breakfast. Cheese is a popular Swiss cuisine, whether served with the aforementioned excellent breads or just on its own.
And, of course, you’re familiar with and like Swiss cheese. But, the cheese you are familiar with is called Emmental. It is the holey cheese branded as Swiss by outsiders, yet most Swiss never eat it. They offer a plethora of different fantastic cheeses to pick from that are even more delectable. From the hard and savory to the soft and smelly, cheese is a national pleasure in Swiss cuisine that you should not miss if you are in the area. Even if you just have a bit of Gruyere, which is available in most delis throughout the world, you will reconsider the good ol’ Swiss cheese you used to consume.
I have two recommendations for trying Swiss cheese. Then, go to one of the main supermarkets’ cheese sections (Coop or Migros) and take 50 or 100g of whatever appeals to you. They offer a huge assortment of everything from soft to hard cheese, and even goats cheese, since they are an important component of Swiss gastronomy.
Finally, if you’re in the highlands, keep an eye out for alpkse, which is sold by local farmers. Nothing beats purchasing and eating fresh Swiss cheese from a Swiss farmer.
Fondue with Swiss Cheese
And, since we’re on the subject of cheese, let’s look at other winter dinners that the Swiss like. Fondue de fromage!
Swirling it into the hot cheese. A little flame burner underneath the fondue pot keeps the cheese hot and melted. You’re in for a treat if you’ve never heard of it. Fondue is just melted cheese in a large pot that is shared by a large group of people. The cheese is consumed by dipping a little piece of cheese, bread, or fruit on a long fork.
It’s a terrific way to pass the time after a day of skiing or during the holidays when it’s dark and chilly outdoors. Even if you visit Switzerland in the summer, you will find it on the menu, and certain restaurants specialize in this classic Swiss meal.
Certainly, the Swiss have invented a plethora of various ways to consume cheese. Very hot melted cheese. This time, they had a particularly special form of cheese called Raclette, which originated in the Wallis area. It is available in blocks but is also available in many places in handy sliced pieces for use with your Raclette machine.
What exactly is a Raclette machine? Normally, it is a round metal machine with an element on top and a space beneath where you insert your Raclette holder. The cheese is then carefully melted until it begins to bubble on your plate. You then take it out and (typically) pour it over some pre-boiled potatoes that have been removed from their warming bag.
This is again another of those winter dining activities that is best done in groups! Even if you are not currently in Switzerland. The difficulty is just getting the correct cheese outside of the nation.
This will be a hit with both Americans and Canadians. Alplermagronen is essentially a Swiss version of Mac & Cheese, but with a little twist.
This typical Swiss meal combines macaroni noodles, potatoes, cheese (again), and onions. Other ingredients like as bacon and other herbs and spices are sometimes included. To finish, an apple puree is traditionally spooned on top!
Like most weird foreign meals, you have to eat it to believe it and actually appreciate it.
This is something you may have tried before, pronounced Rir-stee by the Swiss and Rosti by everyone else. It is a traditional Swiss dish, although some of you may have had hash browns, which are extremely similar in many aspects.
I learnt to make this at a local culinary school over a decade ago and have never looked back. It’s a timeless classic!
Just grate a large amount of parboiled potatoes (completely boiled does not work) and set them aside overnight. When you’re ready to prepare your newfound Swiss supper, pour enough onto a hot, deep-sided skillet to produce a very thick pancake. You cook it gently but steadily, adding butter as you go. After one side is finished, turn it over and repeat.
The result is an immensely wonderful potato delicacy to which the Swiss will add anything, including a fried egg, melted cheese (there it is again), bacon, and a variety of other ingredients. A true typical Swiss dish for any occasion.
I have no doubt that if you cross the Alps and arrive in the Italian-speaking region of Switzerland, you will be able to have the classic Swiss-Italian supper polenta.
It’s a fine grain that reminds me of couscous, but the ways it’s used, presented, and cooked vary so much that defining normal is difficult. It is often served as a puree in Swiss cuisine, although it may also be served fried.
Needless to say, it’s more of a side dish, and you’ll find it all throughout Tessin. That may not seem attractive based on my description, but it may be rather nice. If it is cooked by a professional!
Chocolate from Switzerland
I’d be remiss not to include Swiss chocolate in this essay. After all, that is one of the things for which the Swiss are famed.
You’ve surely heard of Toblerone, which famously resembles the form of Switzerland’s most recognizable mountain, the Matterhorn. And, of course, you’ve probably experienced Lindt’s most popular chocolate, their delectable truffles.
But, Swiss chocolate is much more than their most popular commodity. Their chocolate is one of the most genuine Swiss meals, and one of the most unforgettable Swiss sweets. If you go to the store, you’ll find additional local names like Frey, Callier, and other generic brands. And if you walk the streets of any major city, you will undoubtedly see Lderach or Sprngli, who will give you unforgettable pralines or pieces of chocolate!
Yet, if you go a bit further, speciality establishments such as Du Rhne Chocolatier in Geneva and Max Chocolatier in Lucerne and Zurich exist in every major city. If you are in the Zurich region, there are many exciting chocolate experiences you may have with producers like Lindt and Lderach. Chocolate is the epitome of Swiss cuisine.
The difficulty with Swiss cuisine is that it is renowned for just few distinct meals. One of the causes is that Switzerland is a melting pot of cultures, regions, and languages.
Nusstorte is a regional cake that originated in Graubunden (Grisons) in the southeast and is now available worldwide. Hence, if you happen to be nearby, you can typically get it at hotels, stores, and ski resorts. It’s a really popular snack.
It’s difficult to explain to the uninitiated, but it’s essentially a hybrid between a cake and a cookie, made with shortcrust pastry and filled with crushed almonds and sugar. If you stumble across this Swiss delight, don’t pass it up; they’re worth tasting, particularly after a long day in the mountains!
Since I’m on the topic of excellent Swiss regional desserts or sweets, if you’re in the northern border city, you must have Basler Leckerli. These are little gingerbread cookies coated with frosting that go well with an espresso coffee. And, of course, after a hearty Swiss lunch.
These are difficult to locate outside of Basel, so don’t be disappointed if you inquire. Nevertheless, if you are in the area, keep an eye out. It’s time well spent!
Biberli is a very similar gingerbread that I have eaten more times than I can count. It is a speciality of Switzerland’s Appenzell area in the northeast. It is often pre-wrapped in various forms and is much bigger than the Basler Leckerli described above.
If you go trekking in the Santis region of Switzerland, which I highly suggest, you will come across these everywhere!
The Finest Swiss Cuisine
There are certain definite musts you should try no matter where you go in Switzerland. You won’t go hungry with Birchermuesli for breakfast and cheese delights for lunch. These dishes not only represent the greatest Swiss meals in general, but they are also superb examples of Swiss cuisine.
And be sure to seek out some of the greatest chocolate in whichever region you are visiting, since you may only have one opportunity to taste genuine Swiss chocolate!