With the soaring snow-capped peaks of the Alps, glittering turquoise lakes, emerald valleys, and picturesque hamlets littered with ancient wonders, the European country of Switzerland is a metaphor for all the fairy tales one could ever fancy. Beyond all these, the dreamland Switzerland is also a destination for food lovers, especially those with big appetites. Influenced by French, German, and Northern Italian cuisine, Swiss cuisine is relatively plain and made from basic ingredients, such as potatoes and Swiss cheese. While the common Swiss foods we all know and love include Swiss chocolate and cheese, there is so much more to Swiss food beyond these two. Check out these 10 delicious foods you need to try during your next visit to Switzerland, among the top tourist destinations in the world.
A ubiquitous part of Swiss cuisine, Cheese Fondue is one of the popular traditional staple food that has been enjoyed by locals and visitors alike for centuries. Dating back to the 18th century, fondue began in Switzerland as a way to use aged cheeses and pieces of bread to feed families during the winter months when fresh foods were scarce. This dish is a pot of melted cheese, wine, kirsch brandy, and garlic, served on an open flame and people dip their bread pieces with long forks and eat it. Although Fondue is available throughout the country, Zurich, among the top cultural destinations in Europe is the best place to try it.
Rosti is another popular and most iconic dish in Switzerland. It is originated as a staple breakfast for farmers in Bern and now considered a national dish of Switzerland. Crisp on the outside and melting on the inside, Rosti is essentially a fried potato-based pancake that is made by frying flat round patties of coarsely grated raw or parboiled seasoned potato in butter, and is topped with salty bacon, fried egg, and melted raclette cheese. These Swiss-style hash browns are often eaten as a side dish to accompany many other Swiss foods, often replacing fries or other potato sides. Mostly found in all restaurants and street shops, one must try this food from the canton of Valais if you visit Switzerland during winter as part of Europe Tour Packages.
Bircher Muesli is a hearty, healthy breakfast dish invented by a Swiss doctor called Maximilian Oskar Bircher-Brenner back in 1900. Popular on the breakfast menu throughout Switzerland and Germany, this traditional breakfast dish is made from rolled oats, condensed milk or yogurt, grated apples or other fruits, plus lemon juice, and hazelnuts or almonds. Whether you stay at a five-star hotel, a remote mountain hut, or a cozy B&B, don’t be surprised to see the healthy and tasty Bircher muesli on the breakfast menu. This balanced food provides energy for a busy day of hiking, skiing, or exploring.
A staple of the canton of Valais, Raclette is a type of semi-hard cheese that is made from Alpine cow’s milk. It is a unique local dish that one must try as part of Switzerland tour packages. Also called ‘A Melting Wheel of Swiss Cheese’, this dish is made by grilling the Raclette cheese slowly over a fire, with layer-by-melted-layer sliced off to blanket boiled potatoes, potatoes, vegetables, and meat, accompanied by pickles and onions. This is one of the most popular local Swiss food, hence small portable Raclette grills, are seen in many native households. This dish is found all over Switzerland but the best place to savor is Whymper Stube in Zermatt and is especially eaten during winter.
If you have a sweet tooth then Bundner Nusstorte is must try for you while in Switzerland, among the top places to visit in Europe. Also known as a “Swiss nut tart,” Bundner Nusstorte is a traditional dessert tart made from shortcrust pastry. Originating in the Swiss German canton of Graubunden, the pastry is filled with caramel and a choice of nuts. However, walnuts are the most common choice to complement the caramel. The perfect fusion of cream and nuts is drool-worthy and treated as an absolute delight for dessert lovers. This true Swiss classic dish is served with coffee or tea.
If cheese is your favorite then you cannot afford to miss Tartiflette, when holidaying in Switzerland. Developed near the French-Swiss border in the department of Haute-Savoie, this is another delicious street delicacy of Switzerland and the staple dish at most of the ski resorts located in the Swiss Alps. This rustic plate is a starchy combination of thinly sliced potatoes, smoky bits of bacon, and caramelized onions, topped with oozy, nutty, and creamy Reblochon cheese. So, one can actually taste and relish the delicacies of many flavours all at one once.
Saffron Risotto is another traditional Swiss dish hailing from the town of Ticino, the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland. The main ingredient of this risotto is saffron from the local canton of Valais, which is known to be some of the best in the world. Aside from the iconic ingredient, the creamy risotto is comprising rice, garlic, onions, and butter. It is served with Luganighe – a raw Ticinese sausage that contains pork, spices, salt, pepper, and red wine. You can also add chicken, prawns, veal, or bacon to the recipe.
Just like cheese, the Swiss are all about their bread, and the country has 22 special types of bread hailing from various regions. Of these, Zopf is one of the most popular and delicious soft bread. Zopf, which translates to braid, is made from white flour, milk, eggs, butter, and yeast, and plaited into a braid. In Switzerland, Zopf bread is traditionally eaten on Sundays as a treat for breakfast or brunch and is often served with jams, Nutella, or a simple dose of butter.
Often called herdsman’s macaroni, Alplermagronen, or Alpine Macaroni is a traditional all-in-one dish that originates from the German part of Switzerland. It is the finest comfort food of Switzerland which is loved by locals and tourists for its exotic taste and presentation. It uses all the ingredients that were available to the herdsmen who were looking after their cows on the mountain pastures of the Swiss Alps. These include cheese, potatoes, onions, macaroni, milk or cream, and apples. The classic version is made by layering cooked potatoes and macaroni with cream and cheese, before baking it in the oven. People usually serve it with fried onion rings and a stewed apple sauce on top. From there, different restaurants and local homes add their own twists, including homegrown herbs and spices or bacon.
Arguably the most pettiest region in Switzerland, Ticino, has the most Italian influence of all, and that Mediterranean vibe is depicted in its language, cuisine, and culture. This brings us to, Polenta, one of the most popular street foods in Switzerland. Popular as a winter dish, Polenta is a wholesome cornmeal, traditionally cooked as a thick porridge in a copper cauldron over a fire, until thick and hearty. Also, it becomes one of the best flavorsome Swiss street delicacies when accompanied by braised beef, prepared in wine sauce. If you are visiting Switzerland in winter, one of the best places to try this dish is at a Montagnola restaurant – Grotto Del Cavicc.