Swiss cuisine is a reflection of the Swiss culture, especially in the aspects of simplicity and quality. Typical Swiss food recipes, mostly inspired by the mountainous nature of Switzerland, are generous in using potato, cheese, meat and cream! Discover these must-try 10 traditional Swiss food and let us know which ones you tasted or even cooked!
Swiss Fondue, the most traditional Swiss food
Fondue is a queen of traditional 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 Swiss 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 Swiss fondue pots to practice but it is great fun & yummy! As simple as it is yet Swiss 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 Swiss fondue is not only a dish but also a reflection of Switzerland as a melting pot for cultures and languages.
Swiss Raclette, another “cheesy” traditional Swiss food
Another cheesy Swiss dish from our traditional Swiss food list – Raclette. It can’t get more simple than Swiss 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 Swiss Raclette at home, a simple candle base can do the job of cheese melting. Or you might want to have a dedicated Swiss 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, Swiss Raclette is a great idea for a cosy evening among friends! In the restaurants you’ll be served Swiss Raclette melted cheese from a more professional machine that can hold half of a cheese wheel. Looks impressive!
Rösti, potato has its place in the Swiss Cuisine
Rösti is a hearty traditional Swiss food 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, Zurich’s addition to traditional Swiss food
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.
Älplermagronen, the Alp shepherds influence on Swiss cuisine
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 Swiss fondue, the origin of this typical Swiss food is with shepherds in the Alps. It was easy for them to mix pasta, cheese, cream, onions and potatoes while away from home. 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, coincidence that led to a traditional Swiss food
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 the list of traditional Swiss food dishes! If you are visiting Basel during Basel Carnival, you can’t miss the Basler flour soup.
Berner Platte, a meat mix from the Swiss Cuisine
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!
Basler Leckerli, a sweat traditional Swiss food treat
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.
Bűndner nusstorte, Graubünden addition to Swiss Cuisine
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.
Birchermüesli, breakfast on the traditional Swiss food
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 traditional Swiss food dishes 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 which of these dishes you loved the most.