No doubt when you think of Switzerland, you’ll think of smooth, luxury chocolate and maybe a healthy dose of cheese, preferably not mixing the two together. But beyond these obvious dishes there’s a whole world of food waiting to be discovered within the Alpine country. Here, we’ve brought you 11 dishes that’ll make you want to pack your bags straight away.
Things don’t get much more Swiss than a cheese fondue. The Swiss love this dish, so much so that it’s their national dish. Eating fondue, basically melted cheese in a pot, is a communal affair and comes with its own rules and regulations. This highly filling meal is a great way to get a deep-dive into Swiss Alpine traditions.
Switzerland’s answer to macaroni and cheese is Älplermagronen. Also known as herdman’s macaroni, this dish started as a staple food for Alpine cow herders. It consists of potatoes, onions and cheese under an apple sauce. Give it a try and you might be tempted to take this recipe home with you.
Eaten primarily in the German-speaking cantons, Rösti is a potato heavy dish that’s cooked in hot butter or fat and smoothed over with cheese. These days you can find Rösti across the country.
Breakfast is arguably the best meal of the day. Switzerland is where you’ll find plenty of agreement on this as it’s where muesli, a mix of milk, honey with nuts and dried fruit, was born. Nowadays you can find this nutritious and healthy dish almost anywhere around the world, but there’s nothing quite like the way the Swiss do it.
Head to the canton of Vaud, near Lake Geneva, for some of the best sausages in Switzerland. Saucisson Vaudois is one of speciality meats that you must try and its usually served up with some light vegetables and a little sauce. There are however, plenty of other fine Swiss sausages to sample in this part of the country.
The people of Zurich bring you Zürcher Geschnetzeltes, a dish that combines thin strips of veal with a healthy portion of rösti and a smooth sauce of mushrooms or white wine and cream.
Before you turn up your nose at this one, which granted has a rather unfortunate name, you should give it a shot. It’s a mish-mash of egg, potatoes, flour and a handful of other vegetables, which are cooked in pastry. The dish comes from the Valais region and dates back to the 1830s when Switzerland was in the midst of a cholera epidemic. Locals chucked any leftovers they had to hand into a pastry and this interesting dish was born.
An age old tradition of air-drying meat in the eastern part of Switzerland continues to this day. That’s basically bündnerfleisch, meat that’s been left out in the Alpine air for several weeks (usually between 10-15 weeks at a time) to give it a rich and totally unique texture and flavour. However, this delicacy doesn’t come cheap.
Basel’s favourite sweet treat, Basler Leckerlie is a hard biscuit packed with flavour. Ingredients may vary but usually it includes nuts, honey and a slathering of Kirsch, a fruit brandy that’s all the rage in Switzerland.
Like fondue, but with a little more variety, raclette is a mainstay in the Swiss culinary experience. Many families have their own raclette making machines which come with little trays to grill your cheese. Generally, the cheese is eaten with onions, gherkins, potatoes and a variety of meats. In restaurants, they’ll keep refilling your plate until you’ve eaten your fill.
Hailing from the canton of Graubűnden, Bűndnernusstorte is a nut-laden pastry dish that’s heavy on the sugar. It’s rich, packed with cream and a sure-fire must-try for anyone who wants to step away from chocolate for a little while.