What to eat in Switzerland?
Updated: May 9
Recognizing that diversity is at the heart of Switzerland - the influence of neighboring countries France, Germany, and Italy can be seen in everything from language to food and drink. Switzerland has combined the flavors of its best local produce to create Swiss dishes that are not to be missed. One cannot help but be amazed at the number of mouthwatering dishes that take simple ingredients like bread, potatoes, and cheese and elevate them to new heights. If you've only thought of Swiss cheese and chocolate, reconsider and prepare your taste buds for your next Swiss vacation.
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Don't miss the 'Cheese Fondue,' a signature Swiss dish made with famous Swiss cheese. Depending on the region of Switzerland, a Swiss cheese fondue is traditionally made with two different types of cheese. It is served in a casserole with a candle underneath to keep the cheese melted. Served with bread cubes and potatoes dipped in hot cheese. It may appear to be overly cheesy and greasy, but trust me when I say it is incredibly tasty and delicious!
Another well-known traditional Swiss dish. Raclette, like fondue, is a cheese dish in which a piece of cheese is placed over a stove. You scrape the melted cheese onto a melted plate as it melts. Melted cheese is typically served on top of boiled potatoes, pickled onions, gherkins (pickles), cured meats, and occasionally pickled fruit. While Raclette can be found everywhere, the best place to try it is where it was invented. Raclette tastes absolutely delicious in Valais.
Don't forget to try the traditional Swiss dish, Rösti, while in Switzerland. Usually made with potatoes, but sometimes with eggs or meat. Thinly grated potatoes are baked until crisp and golden in a pan with butter. It tastes like a harsh brown where the outside is crispy and the inside is softer. Rosti with fried eggs, pork, bacon, and spinach is a popular dish. The iconic national dish is popular throughout the country, and almost every restaurant will serve rosti. Bern is the birthplace of this hearty dish, and it is the best place in Switzerland to try it.
Zürcher Geschnetzeltes is a type of regional Swiss cuisine that is especially popular in Zurich. Simply translated as "Zürich style sliced meat," it can be found on the menus of many Zurich restaurants. The dish is made up of thinly sliced veal and mushrooms that are topped with a creamy white wine sauce. This hearty dish is frequently served with rösti, noodles, tagliatelle pasta, or rice. One of the best foods to eat in Zurich is Zürcher Geschnetzeltes. Don't forget to try it next time you're in Zurich.
We couldn't end this list without talking about Swiss Cheese. One of the best foods to eat in Switzerland is its delicious cheeses, the most well-known of which are Emmental, Gruyere, and Appenzeller.
Emmental (from the same-named town near Bern's capital city) is a savoury medium-hard yellow cheese.
Gruyere (named after the small town where it was created) is another hard yellow cheese. Why not take an interesting tour of a Gruyere cheese factory and learn about the cheese-making process (while sampling some samples)?
Appenzeller is another delicious hard cheese from Switzerland's Appenzeller region in the northeast. This 700-year-old recipe is only made by a few small dairies in town. This entertaining Switzerland itinerary teaches you more about cheese and tours.
It's no surprise that Switzerland has the world's highest per capita rate of chocolate consumption. The average Swiss consumes approximately 10 kilograms of chocolate per year, and we don't blame them! Their chocolate truly is world-class.
Swiss chocolate brands such as Lindt, Caillers, Toblerone, and Milka have become world-renowned for their creamy textures and wide range of flavors. There is even a chocolate train in the country! With a visit to the Nestle-Cailler factory, you can board the Chocolate train and get an up-close look at the process of making chocolate. There are numerous other chocolate factories in Switzerland that you can visit.
Apricot and Raspberry cakes
If you visit Switzerland during the summer, you're likely to see apricot and raspberry cakes in bakeries' display cases and on restaurant menus.
Aprikosenkuchen, as it is known in German, is a simple but delicious sweet treat. Apricot halves are often pushed into the buttery base of the cake before baking, which is often done in a deeper tray rather than a round cake pan.
There aren't many cakes we recommend over the raspberry cake. With a light sponge base and a layer of whipped cream topped with a thick layer of raspberries.
Although not technically Swiss, apple strudel (Apfelstrudel) can be found on the menus of most Swiss restaurants. Wrapping multiple layers of super thin pastry around a tasty filling of sliced apples, sultanas, and cinnamon creates this delectable dessert. After that, the strudel is dusted with icing sugar and baked until golden brown. According to purists, the pastry used to make apple strudel should be so thin that you can read a newspaper through it!
Glühwein - Spiced red wine
This is a Christmas special drink but also consumed all winter in Switzerland, GLÜHWEIN - mulled/spiced wine. Majorly available in all the Christmas markets, this drink warms your body from tip to toe. It is not the typically sweet kind of wine but a richly spiced wine - one of its kind! An excellent way to kick off the festivities.
The most popular Swiss spirit is absinthe, which is made from a neutral spirit that has been infused with a botanical blend. In most cases, the leaves of Artemisia absinthium are added to a neutral spirit to give it a distinct flavour.
An honourable second place goes to Swiss Brandy. In most cases, the distillate contains more than 40% alcohol by volume and can be served neat or chilled with certain cocktails or desserts. Most commonly found are cherry and apricot brandies. Their often subtle colour is overpowered by their nuanced taste.
We hope that this article made you seriously consider a visit to the wonderful country of Switzerland. We suggest you read other food guides that we created - Albanian food guide, Montenegro food guide, and many more! Follow us on Instagram @thewalkingparrot to be alerted when new articles are published!