Cultured Palate: International Dishes from Switzerland

Sandwiched between France, Italy, and Germany, Switzerland has long been a country accustomed to living in multiple worlds. Many people speak more than one language, although having a diverse background and still referring to oneself as “Swiss” first is common.

It’s one of the most developed countries in the world, and there are tons of food options throughout the major cities, but the cuisine that most people end up going back to time and again are Swiss classics based on simple, hearty ingredients like potatoes, cheese, and meat. Each of the 26 different regions, or cantons, across Switzerland has their own culinary history, and regional dishes that have remained local favorites.

Today, we’ll introduce you to the most international dishes from Switzerland and tell you where you can go to get them.

Bircher Muesli

One of the world’s healthiest breakfast foods comes from Switzerland. Bircher muesli is named after its inventor, Dr. Maximilian Bircher-Benner, a pioneering nutritionist who tried to convince people that his proprietary mixture of grated apple, nuts, rolled oats, and seeds was healthier than the white bread and butter that they had been eating at the start of every meal.

While the Swiss embraced the doctor’s bircher muesli wholeheartedly, it never really caught on as an appetizer. It remains a Swiss breakfast staple to this day.

Maslova Valentina / Shutterstock

Rösti

Another popular Swiss breakfast dish for days when you’re feeling like you want something warm and hearty is rösti. Rösti is a potato pancake made with grated raw or cooked potato, fried in a pan with a hearty amount of oil until the outside is crisp and the inside is soft. Rösti topped with spinat und spiegelei — spinach and sunny-side up eggs — is a common breakfast in Switzerland.

Rösti was first eaten by farmers in the canton of Bern. The simple, hearty dish was filling and easy to prepare, and soon chefs all around the country adapted the dish for their customers. It’s common to find additions like herbs, bacon, or apples depending on where you’re eating it.

AS Food studio / Shutterstock

Raclette

A raclette dinner is one of the most quintessentially Swiss meals of all time and has been a popular culinary tradition for centuries. Raclette cheese is native to the Alpine region and was always formed into wheels, so it was easy for farmers and shepherds to carry around. This led to the tradition of workers placing it next to the fire each night and scraping the melted part on to slices of bread for a quick, hearty meal.

Many Swiss chefs maintain that an open fire is the only way to melt raclette, and large raclette dinners are popular in the winter time. Wedges of raclette are placed next to a flame, and as the cheese melts, it’s scraped off on to bread or boiled potatoes, and eaten accompanied by cold meats and gherkins, washed down with Swiss white wine.

margouillat photo / Shutterstock

PAGE 1 OF 4
SHARE ON

Advertisement

How to Make the Most of Your All-Inclusive Resort

For quite some time now it seems that all-inclusive resorts are all the rage. What’s not to like about them? You have pretty much everything sorted for you, from the kids’ activities to the quality fine-dining restaurants, and varied entertainment. It’s really focused on customers who don’t want to worry about any travel planning.

The 11 Best Episodes of Bourdain’s Parts Unknown

Since the untimely passing of Anthony Bourdain in June 2018, people in the food industry, as well as those who watch from the sidelines and appreciate his cooking, have been involved in a discussion about his legacy. His show Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, which ran on CNN for five years, is a treasure trove of his best and most adventurous eating moments. Here are some of the best episodes that are definitely worth a re-watch.

Martial Arts Around the World

Human beings knew how to defend themselves long before guns, tanks, or military helicopters were created and used in wars. Every civilization developed some sort of martial art in the past and they’re now part of their culture.