The Swiss recipe book basically steals little bits and pieces of cuisine tradition from various other European nations. For instance, there are the so-called, French, Italian and German dishes as well as those stemming towards Graubünden Canton. Quite a few of the dishes you’ll find throughout Switzerland are not only healthy and delicious; they’re also typically easy to whip up in your own kitchen using readily available ingredients. Of course, if you’re going to be traveling there you aren’t going to be cooking, but be sure to take notes if you’re a dedicated “foodie”. Anyway, here are some of the typical foods you’ll come across whilst staying over in Switzerland…
Quite simply, this is a macaroni dish that everyone should find to be quite palatable and versatile. The name actually translates directly into “Alpine herdsman’s macaroni”, the idea being that this rather simplistic dish would serve as a sort of Swiss “Shepard’s pie”, if you will. Typically speaking, Älplermagronen will contain macaroni and whatever assorted ingredients might be on hand, including things like onion, potatoes, cheese, etc. Whether or not the restaurants you’ll be visiting are offering this particular dish, it’s worth ordering to try at least once, especially given its rather rural significance.
Chances are, you’ve already had Fondue at some point before paying a visit to Switzerland, of course there’s no substitute for authentic fare is there? A good Swiss Fondue will consist of locally obtained cheese (or better yet, cheeses; perhaps gruyère and emmentaler) which has been melted down in a clay pot so that additional items can be dipped into it. Naturally, you can also season your mixture with other things such as brandy, garlic or wine, depending on the chef’s particular recipe. In the country of its origin however, fondue doesn’t imply dipping any type of food in cheese, only cubed pieces of bread.
Yet another notable Swiss dish is Raclette, which is extremely cheese-centric. In essence, you start with something like a gruyere (or a Raclette, which is itself a type of cheese), you heat it up and then scrape off the melted portions onto a plate. There are also special raclette grills which allow you to both melt and scrape the cheese over the top of other cooked vegetables (if your restaurant serves Raclette with this type of device, definitely give it a shot). While it might sound like a rather bland experience, you cannot underestimate the quality of these local cheeses nor their completely organic composition. In the hands of an experienced Swiss chef, Raclette is an amazing dish.
Quite simply, Rösti is a delectable and simple starchy treat which involves using grated potatoes in tandem with cheese and/or onions as well as certain fruits or herbs. The potatoes can either be raw or cooked and are typically fried in something like butter or oil. After shaping them into rounded patties and frying them they are seasoned while cooking in the pan. For every individualized region of Switzerland you’ll find a distinctive spin on the basic Rösti recipe. Arguably, Rösti has more or less become the country’s national dish and can be found in nearly every restaurant you’ll encounter during your trip.
While you might not be able to pronounce the dish’s name properly, Zurcher geschnetzeltes is a fantastic Swiss food that is quite common as well as appetizing. The dish essentially consist of chopped meat (typically veal) which is then set alongside sliced mushrooms in a cream-based sauce. The meat of course is sautéed with onions, perhaps utilizing a small amount of butter. As far as the sauce is concerned, demiglace, white wine and cream are brought together to a simmer whereupon the mushrooms and meat are added. Additional seasonings will be added at this point as well, which might include items such as lemon juice, salt or pepper.
All you need to know about Zopf is that it’s a very scrumptious and nice-looking bread variety which is found all over the country of Switzerland. While its ingredients are extremely basic (flour, milk, eggs, yeast and butter) it is the preparation and style of the baker that brings out the dish’s true character and potential. Zopf requires that the dough strands be brushed with egg yolk, for example, which generates its distinctive brown outer crust. Likewise, the pattern that’s formed necessitates that the doughy pieces be woven together prior being plunged into the oven. As for the name, “Zopf” actually means “Braid”.
If you’re a sausage lover you’ll be pleased to know that the Bratwurst sausage is a regular in Swiss cuisine. The bratwurst is a German sausage generally made from veal; however, it can also be made from pork or beef. The sausage is cooked by either frying or grilling. The Bratwurst is often served with Rosti.