Swiss cuisine is a reflection of the Swiss culture, especially in the aspects of simplicity, naturality and quality. Swiss recipes, mostly inspired by the mountainous nature of Switzerland, are generous in using potato, cheese, meat and cream!
Discover these 10 top foods to try in Switzerland and let us know which ones you tasted or even cooked!
Fondue is a queen of Swiss foods and is considered a national dish of Switzerland since 1930s. The first recipe dates back to 1699 and the legend has it that it was invented by shepherds. Leftovers of hard cheese, wine, herbs, garlic all melted together in a pot “caquelon“. It can be a bit daunting in the beginning to learn how to eat fondue. Whether you choose bread or small boiled potatoes, you’d need to practice to keep pieces on your thin fork, roll the cheese from the pot on it and not let it drop in the pot. It took us several pots to practice but it is great fun & yummy! As simple as it is yet fondue has many variations that keeps on watering your appetite: gourmet moitié moitié (in English “half half”: half Gruyère, half Vacherin fribourgeois), 100% Vacherin, natural, with herbs, tomato flavoured or mushroom! Make your pick and keep in mind that fondue is not only a dish but also a reflection of Switzerland as a melting pot for cultures and languages.
Another cheesy Swiss dish from the 10 foods to try in Switzerland list – Raclette. It can’t get more simple than Raclette’s recipe: get the right cheese (“Raclette”) and prepare your side dishes: boiled potatoes, spices, cold cuts and pickled cornichons. If you are cooking and serving at home a simple candle base can do the job of cheese melting. Or you might want to have a dedicated raclette machine if you are a bigger group. What it basically does is, it melts a slice of cheese on a small pan, and then you pour the cheese over your plate of mixed side dishes. In our opinion raclette is a great idea for a cosy evening among friends!
In the restaurants you’ll be served raclette melted cheese from a more professional machine that can hold half of a cheese wheel. Looks impressive!
Rösti is a Swiss hearty dish made of ground potatoes. It can be served with eggs on top, with mushroom, ham, sausage, cheese, and in principle with anything your soul wishes for. Rösti can also go as a side dish if you are really hungry. Simple to cook but truly mouth-watering if you are a potato-lover. There are so many recipes how to cook Rösti, and in principle all you need is to grind potatoes, season and fry it with a bit of olive oil. Et voilà!
Zürcher Geschnetzeltes is a perfect main dish to be accompanied with Rösti. As you can guess from the name it is very typical in Zurich and in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. The dish itself is made of sliced veal (sometimes veal kidneys are added too) with brown sauce, mushroom & cream.
Some consider Älplermagronen as the Swiss version of macaroni and cheese! Yes, cheese again :). We had a separate post dedicated to Swiss cheese only and you can understand now why.
As with fondue, the origin of this must-try food is with shepherds in the Alps. It was easy for them to mix pasta, cheese, cream, onions and potatoes while away from home. And the tradition kept on and now we can enjoy a hearty, easy-to-cook meal on a cold winter evening at home.
Basler flour soup
This soup has a legend that it was created when a chef forgot to switch off the pot under the cooking flour. In order not to throw the browned flour away, the chef transformed it into a soup by adding stock, onion, butter and grated Gruyère. Excellent decision as now Basler flour soup became one of the culinary treats from Basel and on a list of foods to try in Switzerland! If you are visiting Basel during Basel Carnival, you can’t miss it.
Another hearty dish but this time for meat lovers. Try to imagine a mix of all types of meat: pork, ribs, sausage, smoked bacon together with cabbage and potatoes. You will get a pretty good idea of the dish! Recommended when you are really hungry and when in Bern!
Originated in Basel (that’s why “Basler”), Basler Leckerli is a gingerbread cookie made of honey, cinnamon, nuts like almonds and hazelnuts. “Lecker” means “tasty” and you can get our word for it – you will not regret trying one of these sweet and spicy treats. You can taste them all year round in many pastry shops of Basel but during Christmas they become one of the key ingredients to the Christmas spirit.
Nusstorte means a “cake made of nuts” and Bűndner refers to its origin from the canton of Graubünden. All the pastry shops in the region serve this tasty dessert made of crust pastry, walnuts, cream and sugar. And each of those pastry shops has a twist or two to invent their own recipe.
M.D. Bircher-Benner invented Birchermüesli not more than 100 years ago. Yet, today we love it and have it regularly for breakfast. The recipe is simple but so healthy: oatmeal, condensed milk, grated apples and nuts. Important: you need to soak oats in water overnight (at least 12 hours) before mixing them with other ingredients.
Armed with this list of 10 foods to try in Switzerland we hope you’ll keep the best gastronomy memories from the places you’ll visit in our beautiful country. And…. let us know in comments which of these dishes you loved the most.