When you think of Switzerland food favorites, perhaps Swiss cheese or chocolate immediately comes to mind. While we, the Swiss, are certainly known for these famous food choices we have much, much more to offer as well.
We serve various types of breads with nearly every meal which are often accompanied with flavorful
cheeses from the area.
Raclette is a popular favorite. It is a smoothy, creamy textured cheese that is absolutely delicious! It has become one of the best-loved mountain cheeses of Switzerland. Raclette is made from unpasteurized cow's milk, and is often served with cured ham. The Swiss like to enjoy Raclette with kirsch or beer. Order some delicious Raclette and see why so many love this cheese.
Spinach, beans, cauliflower, carrots, and potatoes and various types of meat are served as well. Fruits and vegetables are important food additions to our meals. Some of the locally grown fruits include apples, pears, grapes, and many varieties of berries are also favorites.
The Swiss make fine alcoholic liquids, or liqueurs, from nearly every fruit growing in Switzerland. These are used in pastries, in main dishes, and are added to coffee as well. Two special coffees are the Luz, mainly drunk in the canton of Lucerne, and Kaffee Fertig, translated "Finished Coffee".
This is similar to hash browns and considered to be a Swiss-German favorite, but you can have it all over Switzerland. Rösti are a traditional Swiss food made of potatoes. All over the world, cooks have tried to copy this traditional recipe, but the best Rösti is still served in Swiss countryside restaurants. Emmental Rösti is made with apple. The best Rösti I've ever eaten were those made by my grandmother and were made with lard, cooked on a wood stove. Delicious!
Italian traditional cooking has influenced popular dishes such as polenta and risotto. Switzerland food favorites also consist of varieties of many foods that Americans know and love, such as pasta and pizza, again influenced by the Italians.
In the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland, unique restaurants called grottoes can be found. These are rustic eateries usually built near a forest or rocky backdrop. Grottoes are often remodeled from ancient wine caves. The façade, benches, and tables are usually fashioned out of granite block.
Most grottoes don't have a written menu card. You have to ask about the dish of the day, and the quality of the food is always very good - I've never been disappointed when I ate at one of the grottoes. They serve sausages such as Luganighe and Luganighetta as well as other popular Ticines and Italian dishes.
Tarts and quiches are also traditional Swiss food favorites. In addition, cervelat is the national sausage and is well loved all throughout the country.
In the bigger cities you'll find cheap eateries with good menus inside supermarkets, so there is great food available for every budget.
Mealtime Traditions in Switzerland
Breakfast food usually consists of bread with butter,
honey, or jam.
Lunch and dinner will consist of one light meal of bread, cheese, and dried meats and a heavier meal of perhaps pasta, meat, and vegetables.
Sauerkraut with sausages, lard and potatoes
To help you understand Switzerland food a little better, here is a glossary of some of the native dishes and what they include.
The name simply means Alpine herdsman’s macaroni. It consists of common ingredients—macaroni, potatoes, onions, bacon bits, and melted cheese. It is usually served with applesauce. It dates back from times when most people in the countryside still had physically hard labor.
This is a breakfast cereal consisting of rolled oats, fruit, and nuts. It is often used as a light evening dish. Its was invented by Maximilian Oskar Bircher-Benner (1867-1939).
This is a refined bread eaten on special occasions like birthdays and wedding days.
Zopf is a another special bread for celebration days, such as birthdays, marriages, baptisms and so on. It is a typically shaped type of bread. In earlier time girls prepared their hair like a "zopf".
This is another brand of Swiss cheese. Emmental means "valley of the Emme". The Emme is a river across the canton of Bern, so the cheese is named for this.
A very popular dish of melted cheese - this is Switzerland food as people know it worldwide. When you order Swiss cheese fondue in Switzerland, you will be served cubes of bread or small bits of potato which are then dipped into it. According to tradition, should you lose your bread cube, you have to pay the other a bottle of white wine.
It is recommended to have a good digestion afterwards by drinking some tea and a little bit of Swiss white wine. For those who like to try strong alcoholic drinks, a small glass of Kirsch, a liqueur made from cherries, is recommended. In the French speaking part of Switzerland, this is called le Coup du Milieu which means "the middle hit".
This is a Swiss food traditional dish made from stale slices of bread. Never ones for wasting food, the Swiss make use of everything.
This dish consists of leeks with sausage and maybe some potatoes. Other variations include smoked liver with cabbage.
This is hot cheese dribbled over potatoes and is usually served with gherkins or pickled onions. Picture just here below.
The Swiss are very proud of their native cuisine and as a result, you will not see many ethnic restaurants in this country. Switzerland food can satisfy almost any palate all by itself.