Vacationing in the stunning and picturesque Alps may be a dream of quite many travellers. But food is an essential part of any vacation as well. Switzerland food is not limited just to chocolates and fondue. Read on to know about some fantastic culinary marvels that you may get to experience while on a trip to the beautiful country of Switzerland.
The continent of Europe has many artistic and natural marvels hidden in its lap. With countries such as Italy, France, England and the Netherlands, each country in Europe is known for its undisturbed natural beauty or human-made architectural marvels. Either way, tourists throng various countries of this continent year after year, making discoveries and yearning to come back for more.
Among the various countries, nestled in the middle of Europe, is the country of Switzerland which is known as the “Play Ground of Europe”. Landlocked between Austria, France and Germany, Switzerland is a popular holiday destination for people across the Globe.
The snow-capped mountains and deep valleys are a massive attraction for travellers. What makes Switzerland more special is the fact that you can find the influence of France, Germany and Italy in one place! Be it the architecture, the way of life, the food, everything that this picturesque country has to offer, is heavily borrowed from its neighbouring countries. This makes the culture and cuisine of Switzerland unique in its own sense.
Food is a vital part of the culture of a country. A lot of culinary enthusiasts are always looking for something new to try. If so, you are in for real treat as the Swiss cuisine is a fantastic confluence of food cultures from France, Italy and Germany.
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What do the people of Switzerland eat?
Though Switzerland is famous for some lip-smacking chocolates and delectable fondue, Switzerland food indeed goes beyond that. As Switzerland relies heavily on the dairy for its sustainability, you will find a wide range of fresh cheese and other milk products such as butter, milk and yoghurt. This reliance also influences their food choices. The Swiss are known to be excellent when it comes to animal husbandry. Therefore, meats such as chicken, turkey, pork, beef and veal are widely eaten and are an essential part of the Swiss cuisine. Desserts are also a necessary part of the meal for the locals, and hence a person with a sweet tooth will be delighted with the full range of Switzerland desserts of the offer, all across the country.
If you are planning for a Swiss holiday with your loved ones anytime soon, here are some lip-smacking Switzerland food that you must try before bidding farewell to the Alps-
1) Papet Vaudois ( Leeks with potato and sausage)
This famous and widely consumed dish is an essential part of Swiss cuisine. The recipe is prepared by slowly braising leeks, potatoes in white wine, for hours together to get a flavourful mash of these vegetables. Leeks are grown aplenty in the mountainous region of the country. There are other variations of this dish where different vegetables such as the beet, onions and turnips are added to increase the flavour and to the nutrition.
The resulting slow braised mixture of vegetables and broth is topped with some Swiss sausage to make for a hearty meal. There are lots of restaurants in Switzerland which serve their version of this dish.
- Best place to eat Papet Vaudois– Pinte Besson, Cafe Romand, Cafe Du Grutli.
2) Pastetli (Meat pie)
The pastetli is a meat pie, a Swiss dish very widely eaten in Zurich as well as all over the country. This recipe is prepared on special occasions and is made of a regular pie crust filled with your choice of stuffing. Traditionally, Pastetli pies are round in shape, but the Swiss are known to customise it into heart or star shape depending on the occasion. It is most commonly stuffed with caramelised meat along with mushrooms, cream, white wine and curry.
The stuffing is then seasoned with Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and paprika. Pastetli is usually a meal, but rice or bread may accompany it occasionally. This Switzerland food is something that will leave you in a food coma for sure.
- Best place to eat Pastetli– Restaurant Brasserie 98
3) Rippli (Pork ribs)
À traditional food of Switzerland, Rippli is a delicious dish of Pork ribs cooked along with cabbage, celery, potatoes, onions and carrots. The dish is seasoned with pepper and thyme. The result is some soft meat, packed with flavour. All the ingredients are cooked on slow fire until the meat falls off the bone. It is then served alongside bacon and potatoes.
This dish is very popular among the Swiss people for its ease of preparation. However, the dish is reserved for special occasions like the arrival of guests.
- Best place to eat Rippli– Grotto Grillo, Ristorante Elimenti
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4) Polenta (Cornmeal)
Polenta is quite popular in countries around Switzerland as well. It is a simple meal of ground cornmeal that is boiled in water to make porridge. Both yellow and white cornmeal is known to be used in its preparation. The prepared oatmeal is refrigerated and left to harden into a dough. The dough is then grilled or baked and served with choice of vegetables or meat.
Polenta is quite versatile, just like pasta, and can be used as a base for meat, vegetables along with sauces. In fact, polenta is more popular than pasta in many Swiss cities. Certain restaurants in Switzerland serve pizza with polenta as the base. Your trip to the country can never be completed by trying out this unique Switzerland food.
- Best places to eat Polenta– Grottino Ticinese, Al Grott cafe.
5) Alplermagronen (Alpine herdsman’s macaroni)
This Swiss version of Mac and Cheese, it is known to be a comfort food of the Swiss cuisine. A slightly varied version of the American favourite, the addition of fried onions, garlic and potatoes add a bit more body to the recipe. Many Swiss restaurants serve finger-licking Alplermagronen, which is a delight if eaten with applesauce. A unique gastronomical experience for sure, it will undoubtedly leave you wanting for more.
The Swiss take their mac and cheese a bit further by adding a particular type of cheese known as Appenzeller, something that is specially made to be used in the preparation of this dish.
- Best place to eat Alplermagronen– Kornhauskeller, Restaurant Rosengarten.
6) Zurich Geschnetzeltes (Sliced meat Zurich style)
The dish originates in the Zurich region and is very popular among the locals. Most Restaurants in the country have it in their menus as a rather expensive item, due to its ingredients. Zurich Geschnetzeltes is made with veal, Young white wine, calf’s kidney, mushrooms, shallots, thickened with corn and wheat flour and seasoned with Lemon juice, thyme and paprika.
The dish is usually had with a glass of dry white Swiss wine, so as not to interfere with the delicate taste of the dish. People typically like to accompany the dish with a generous helping of vegetables on the side to make for a filling meal. This amazing Switzerland food should surely be a part of your meals during your Swiss holiday.
- Best Place to eat Zurich Geschnetzeltes– Kronenhalle
7) Wurstsalat (Sausage Salad)
Sausages are an important part of Swiss cuisine. So much so that the Swiss have found a way to add it to their salads as well. This salad is made by cutting a Swiss sausage into long julienne and seasoning it with vinegar and salt. Though it is widely eaten in Germany and Italy, the Swiss like to add cheese to their version. After all, Swiss and cheese go hand in hand right? And who said that a salad has to be vegetarian and healthy? The Swiss believe in extravagant eating. Swiss cuisine is indeed a class apart.
- Best Place to eat– Wurstsalat- Sternen Grill
8) Rosti ( grated Potato dish with cheese)
Rosti is a famous and widely consumed street food in Switzerland. It is made with grated potato and cheese. Green chillies are added for an extra punch. There is another version which includes a layer of caramelised onions just below the layer of cheese. A generous helping of cream cheese on the side will leave you wanting for more.
Most of Swiss people consider Rosti as their national dish. It is most commonly served along with other dishes such as spinach and eggs. People add bacon, onions and apples to personalise the dish according to their taste. You can find Rosti widely served along the streets of Switzerland.
- Best place to eat Rosti– Rheinfelder Bierhaus
9) Bundner Nusstorte (Traditional swiss sweet pastry)
One of the most popular Switzerland desserts, Bundner Nusstorte, is a sweet pastry that is filled with caramel and nuts, mostly walnuts, milk and cream. It is commonly known as Swiss walnut pie and widely available as street food in Switzerland.
It is quite similar to the traditional cake but differs in its fillings. These pies are cut into pieces before being served as they are known to be laden with calories. But it is sure to taste like heaven for anyone with a sweet tooth. Swiss cuisine certainly has something for everyone to enjoy.
- Best place to eat Bundner Nusstorte– Backerei Erni.
10) Basler Leckerli- ( Spiced hard biscuits)
Basler Leckerli is a type of a hard biscuit originating in the region of the Alps. Another favourite street food in Switzerland, it is made of almonds, glazed ginger, honey and hazelnuts. It is widely known to be a traditional recipe for Christmas celebrations in Switzerland. They differ from the traditional biscuits by being a bit spicy and warm, something which is apt to be eaten in the winter months.
- Best place to eat Baster Leckerli– Sternen Hill.
The Swiss people are known to be quite welcoming and friendly but are known to guard their secret recipes quite closely. If you want to taste the traditional dishes of Switzerland, finding accommodations in Homestays may be your best bet. This way, you will get to enjoy the local culture of the place along with gorging on some delicious food made with secret family recipes. Of course, you will have a hard time burning off those calories once you are back home, though!!!!
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