My Swiss friend Tanja had promised me cheese fondue when we arrived in Switzerland. I couldn’t wait to try it, but other than this I didn’t have much of an idea about other Swiss foods, except for Swiss cheese and Swiss roll!
Tanja, who is a local, loves cheese fondue herself and was really excited to prepare this dish for us. It is made with cheese (obviously) but a combination of Gruyere, Emmental or other swiss cheese, garlic, corn starch, and with quite a bit of white wine which surprised me, slowly melted and served at the table with fresh bread squares and long skinny forks. It is so moorish, we all ate too much, but the strong wine flavour definitely put the kids off.
Tanja also prepared for us another cheesy food from Switzerland, Raclette, which is simply boiled chat potatoes with melted cheese and sour cream, but the production process is what is cool. The ‘raclette cheese cuts’ go on a ladle, with a choice of sliced pear or onion (or both), sprinkled with raclette spice mix (which is paprika, cayenne pepper, nutmeg and herbs) then placed under a mini-grill which sits on the table and melts in front of you. When it’s ready you scrape it off onto your steaming potatoes. Top with sour cream and sliced gherkins! The kids loved this dish, it was a great success.
Swiss cheese is not called this in Switzerland, of course! It is just cheese, and there are many different types of cheese with holes in it, in fact I’m still not sure which of them we actually get in Australia and call Swiss.
As with Swiss cheese, what we call swiss rolls in Australia is just a roll, or a roulade. You can get them with chocolate, or cream and jam. They are just as delicious and with more varieties here.
We can’t go past the breakfast staple that the Swiss made famous, muesli. There are many more options here than other places in Europe we have been to. They regularly eat the Bircher style which is oats mixed with yoghurt, fruit and nuts – a breakfast I really enjoy!
Apparently the Swiss are famous for their chocolate too. Toblerone, which even has an image of the Alps on the box, and Lindt. There are others but these two brands we’re most prominent in the shops and tourist locations. We didn’t travel around too much to find any others, but I was surprised not to see any factories luring us in…
Switzerland has its own soft drink called Rivella, which is made from milk whey (but doesn’t contain any protein). It is a typical soft drink with a slightly quirky taste, with seven different flavours, the traditional flavor, a low-calorie version, green tea, rhubarb, peach, cranberry, and a plant derived version. We only tried the original and rhubarb.
Some people believe that the meringue was invented in the Swiss village of Meiringen, though there is evidence of it being made elsewhere. It is much like the Australia versus New Zealand battle over pavlova, a meringue based desert.
Meiringen was very close to where we were staying, and of course we had to have some meringue from Meiringen.
More Swiss Food …
There are other local specialties, such as pork schnitzel with creamy mushroom sauce, Lucerne veal pie, veal with creamy sauce and rosti (hash brown) from Zurich.
We didn’t eat out much during our stay in Switzerland due to the expense, so we unfortunately didn’t try any of these.
We noticed some eggs being sold in the supermarket that were coloured. We had to look it up. Apparently they sell cooked eggs as well as raw, and they colour the boiled ones to distinguish them!
Another weird thing was that our host told me that Swiss people don’t do toast? We can’t imagine what would a life without toast be?