Europe

22 Dishes to Try When You’re in Switzerland

Switzerland, the lank of exquisitely crafted watches and melt-in-the-mouth chocolates. The country known for its snowy peaks and exhaustive amounts of delicate cheese, its cuisine is heavily influenced by Dutch, German and French styles. Here are 22 dishes that are spread over different regions of Switzerland. And rest assured, all of them have the cheese factor you’ve been expecting.

Fondue

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The most iconic dish that everyone associates with Switzerland and now popular worldwide, the Swiss fondue is a large melting pot of cheese along with ingredients like garlic, white wine, a little cornflour/corn starch and cherry brandy. Fondue, literally meaning ‘melted’, is typically served in a special ceramic pot that has a burner underneath that keeps the cheese mixture at a constant happy temperature. Fondue is eaten with pieces of bread, veggies, meat or pickles dipped into the cheese melt using long-stemmed forks. This DIY dish is excellent for people to break the ice as they sit around the warm cheese after a long day at the chilly slopes.

For the most delicious Fondue, head to Zurich to a restaurant called Chasalp. Or even try out Le Dezaley and Swiss Chuchi.

2. Rösti

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The Swiss love their potatoes, so much so that they made it into a national dish of Switzerland. This famous dish that originated in the German-speaking part of Switzerland,  is as simple as peeling and grating semi boiled potatoes, adding in salt and pepper and shaping them into a patty that it fried in a pan with butter.

These potato pancakes are crispy on the outside and melting on the inside. Depending on the region where it is being eaten, apples, cheese and onions are also added to make it more flavourful. Eaten with a side of almost everything but mostly fried eggs and spinach or sausages, Rösti was originally eaten at breakfast but is now enjoyed at all times of the day and all over the country.

For the best Rösti, one should Fritschi, Farm Bözenegg or Wirtshaus Taube, located in Lucerne where it is served with salty bacon, fried eggs and melted Raclette cheese with pickled onions.

3. Birchermüesli

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They have a saying, “muesli in the morning expels sorrows and worries”. Everyone has tried muesli but little do people know it was invented in Switzerland in 1900 by Dr. Bircher-Benner who introduced the modern muesli called birchműesli because he believed it was a healthier option than heavy meat-based breakfasts. Made from rolled oak flakes, milk, yoghurt and a choice of chopped fruits like apples, nuts, berries and topped with a dash of lemon juice. Condensed milk can also be used in place of milk. A popular breakfast and evening snack options, muesli is prepared in every household.

4. Raclette

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Raclette is originally the name of a slightly nutty Swiss cheese that is famously eaten as a Raclette dish where the cheese is melted and then scraped off over grilled vegetables, boiled potatoes with their skins or slices of meat. In the earlier days, the entire wheel of cheese was held in front of the fire and the melted cheese was then scraped off on a plate. Today households or restaurants have a modern raclette grill which allows one to melt cheese on one grill and veggies, potatoes, pickled gerkins, onions and bread on the other. No one doubts how tasty melted cheese is especially when eaten over the top of anything edible on your plate!

The best places to have your bite of a Raclette is the Raclette Stube, Restaurant Les Armures or the Raclette Factory in Zurich.

5. Bünder Nusstorte

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A yummy nut-filled tart, Bünder nusstorte is made throughout the canton of Graubünden where it had originated. Each of the bakeries has their own recipe but the traditional pastry is made from a short crust pastry with a filling of caramelized sugar, cream and chopped nuts (especially walnuts). This rich sweet pastry can be enjoyed with your cup of tea of coffee to fulfill your sweet cravings as you bite into something creamy, soft and tasty!

It is suggested that the best Nusstorte can be had at the famous Hanselmann café at the ski resort of St. Moritz.

6. Saffron Risotto

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One of the specialties of the Swiss cuisine, this risotto is a unique blend of the cultures of Ticino and Valais. Saffron is harvested in the Swiss canton of Valais. Ticino is a southern canton of Switzerland which has its own official language that is famous for this risotto. Made from risotto rice cooked slowly with onions, vegetable stock, “red gold” (that is saffron) and the Swiss constants –wine and cheese, this creamy dish is topped off of with fresh thyme. And if you are a lover of meat, then you can add bacon or veal before serving.

7. Zürcher Geschnetzeltes

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Tough sounding word, but simply meaning “Zurich style cut meat”, this official dish that originated in the German-speaking region of Zurich. Made from strips of veal (calf meat) and sometimes veal liver, along with onions, brown sauce, cream and white wine, this dish can be found in most restaurant menus of Zurich. Often veal kidney and mushrooms are also added to this flavorful dish and sometimes veal is substituted with chicken or pork in certain households. Traditionally eaten with Rösti, rice or noodles, this meaty dish is a must-have. To have the best Zürcher Geschnetzeltes in Switzerland, head to Zeughauskeller Restaurant in Zurich

8. Älplermagronen

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Originating from the slopes of the German-speaking part of Switzerland, this dish is called the herdsman’s macaroni because it uses the ingredients that the herdsmen utilized who looked after their cows on the Alps. An interesting variation of macaroni and cheese, this hearty dish is made by layering cooked potatoes and macaroni in cream and cheese. After baking, this comes out nice and cheesy and is served with fried onion rings, stewed apples and crispy bacon.

A warm dish that warms you up on cold Swiss nights, one serving might not be enough! To taste the best Älplermagronen around town, you should visit Restaurant Brante, Obermatt or Pilatus Kulm.

9. Basler Leckerli

This sweet dates back to 600 years when the local spicy merchants of Basler invented this biscuit which is a delicious indulgence during the Christmas. These glazed gingerbread-like biscuits made from hazelnuts, almonds, fruits, honey and Kirsch, Leckerli which literally means ‘delicious’, has a treasured place in Switzerland’s history. Sweet and savory, yet spicy and sticky, you don’t have to wait till Christmas to bite into these honeyed delights.

These can be found all year round in most bakery’s around town. To fulfil your Swiss culinary journey, visit Zeughauskeller and Sternen Grill for the best Basler Leckerli.

10. Tartiflette

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No Swiss dish is complete without a dose of characteristic cheese, and Tartiflette is no different. Made from creamy, nutty Reblochon cheese over a plate of thinly sliced potatoes along with smoky bacon, caramelised onions and cream, this is a dish that is a potpourri of flavours.

A staple dish in most ski resorts, this cheesy goodness is not to be missed if you ever visit the snowy Swiss mountains! Restaurant Le Flore and Verbier mountain restaurants offer the best Tartiflette if you ever decide to grab a bite.

11. Papet Vaudois

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Papet means a mash, and Papet Vaudois is a dish made from a mash of leeks and potatoes that is stewed long enough to create a thickened creamy bed for the fat Saucisson sausage with fluffy meat. Sometimes cream and white wine or vinegar are added for a extra twist. The papet is usually eaten with the cabbage sausage or the sausage liver that rests comfortably on top of the mash bed. A dish not to be missed with its onion tinted earthy base and loosely stuffed plump sausage, the most authentic dish can be had at the canton of Vaud where it originated.

12. Basler Mehlsuppe

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Soup warms you up any time of the day especially if you are in the cold Swiss areas. Basler Mehlsuppe is basically roasted flour soup that is a delicacy in the Basel region. As the tale goes, a Basel girl was not allowed to marry unless she knew how to make this soup. Made from roasted flour, butter, beef stock, onions and grated Gruyere. The interesting thing to this soup is that it is roasted with a burnt smell which imparts the uniqueness to this dish.

Enjoyed the most during carnival time, it is one of the famous street food items in Switzerland. To have the best Basler Mehlsuppe, make a visit to Sternen Grill, Lötschberg or Treff.

13. Sprungli’s Luxemburgerli

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You think the best macarons in Europe must be found in France but you would be proved wrong once you have a bite of Sprungli’s macarons which are called Luxemburgerli. Sprungli’s is a Swiss luxury confectionery with no outlets in other parts of the world and is internationally famous for these macarons.  A small and light macaron which has a light and delicious centre filled cream mousse that melts at higher temperatures, which is why they encourage you to have it immediately.

Feather-light and super sweet, they are found in a host of flavours and beautiful colours ranging from champagne deluxe, chestnut, chocolate, hazelnut, lemon, mocha, raspberry to Bourbon vanilla, Caramel Fleur de Sel, coffee, amaretto and more. They are seasonally inspired too because in summers you get the light citrus and fruit flavours while in winters it had a twist of cinnamon for the Christmassy feel. You can’t leave Switzerland before trying these internationally famous little macarons from Sprungli!

14. Swiss Chocolates

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The thing that immediately comes to our mind when hearing Switzerland is definitely chocolates. Famous internationally for its cocoa treats from some of the best chocolate creators in Switzerland, the selection of amazing chocolates will leave you coming back for more. A few of the confectioners that are a must visit to indulge your sweet tooth are: Max Chocolatier – try their seasonal truffles like chestnut flavor in autumn and caramel and pink pepper in winter. Sprungli – handmade pralines, truffles and nougats. Läderach – makes blocks of fresh chocolate called frischschokolade which are loaded with nuts and dried fruits and sometimes peppercorns and honeycombs. Also try their fluffy mini mousses coated with rich Swiss chocolate.

15. Swiss Cheese

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Cheese, yet another thing you can’t miss in Switzerland where almost every dish has a healthy dose of rich cheese. Real cheese, not the market version has a range of different flavours, some subtle, some strong, each with its own characteristic taste. Every region of Switzerland has a different taste of cheese from their own cow pastures, and one could go cheese tasting from one dairy to another. Here are a few types of cheese that are common and should be tried.

ALTER SCHWEIZER – Direct translation means “old Swiss”, this cheese is firm and easy, mild but with an earthy nutty aftertaste that goes with just about everything. FÜÜRTUFEL – Also called the fire devil, this cheese has a mixture of black peppers, cayenne and jalapeno that are infused directly into the milk during early stages of cheese-making. This spicy cheese is creamy and melty and livens up a classical cheese spread. APPENZELLER – This is another spicy cheese which has wine, cider and herbal spices infused into the cheese and imparts its own characteristic flavor.

16. Croute au fromage

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Have cheese on toast Swiss style with this dish which is famous in the Fresnch speaking part of england called Romandie. Slices of bread dipped in white wine and then layered generously with cheese and popped in the oven till the cheese is perfectly melted and golden. Served with a poached egg on top, you can’t resist dipping your forks in to this one!

17. Cholera

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Hailing from Valais in, this dish got its name during the cholera epidemic that was widespread in 1832. People were afraid to venture out of their homes in fear of getting infected, which is when they put together a tart made from whatever they could find in the larder and came up with a tasty dish with a not so tasty name. a savory dish involving veggies, dried and cured meat, potatoes, onions, leeks and full flavoured raclette cheese baked in a pastry shell. Not very popular in all parts of Switzerland today except Romadie, this is a dish you must try for its historical background story.

18. Dessert Gâteau du Vully

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A celebrated dish around Mont-Vully that tastes best with a Fribourg wine from the same place, it is made from a yeast-based dough that is airy but thick. Topped with plentiful of cream and sugar which is pushed into the dough before baking the pie, it comes out a light golden from the oven. There is also a delicious version made from bacon and caraway seeds.

19. Bratwurst

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Made from pork, veal or beef, this German sausage is considered one of the favorite sausage for frying or BBQ, it is best eaten without any dressing because it allows one to enjoy the full impact of its flavors and aroma. Served with a traditional Burli roll read, it is a common item sold on the street food stalls around St. Gallen and is also very popular in most German-speaking parts of the country. Enjoyed with drinks at pubs or at barbecue parties, it is sometimes also served with Rosti in a pan to serve up a savory Bratwurst with onion sauce dish.

20. Berner Platte

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Not to be confused with a stew, the Berner Platte is a savory dish that is made from an assortment of meat like beef, smoked pork, beef tongue, bacon, sliced sausage, pork chops and pig ears and tails that is cooked with juniper spiced sauerkraut, string beans, onions, potatoes and pickled turnips. Served up on a platter with an assortment of mild to hot mustard sauces as well as dry white wine, sweet butter and rye bread, this is a traditional meat dish in Bern, that is served as a buffet where each meat ingredient and side dish is first cooked separately so that the individual tastes are retained.

21. Zibelechueche

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A traditional dish in Bern that makes an hearty breakfast, lunch or dinner, this is an Onion tart that is pale in color and very fragrant, filled with delicious seasonings, onions and cheese. Pale looking but amazing to eat, these are found at the Onion Market in Bern that starts at 4am and continues till the early evening.

22. Pizzoccheri

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A homemade delicacy that most people from the Bündner region associate with their mother’s kitchen, and is now a widespread dish. A flat ribbon pasta made with buckwheat and wheat flour, they are cooked with a lot of greens like Savoy cabbage, Swiss Chard, sage and cubed potatoes. This mixture is topped with a thick layer of Valtellina cheese and dressed with butter fried garlic and hot melted butter itself. This dish dates back years and is a traditional delicacy of the region

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Shatorupa Ghosh

A young college goer with a love for travelling, reading, creative writing and a can't-say-no attitude towards everything edible, she found her interests at Bitemeup where she could help other food-loving travelers like her to know the ups and downs of food native to a place.

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