Cultured Palate: International Dishes from Switzerland

Chocolate

Swiss chocolatiers have gained a worldwide reputation for the quality of the chocolate that they produce. The earliest manufacturers set up shop in the 17th century, and since then there has been a steady production of chocolate within Switzerland, spearheaded by well-known producers like Lindt, Suchard, and Teuscher.

In 1901, a coalition of chocolate producers founded a syndicate to protect their interests and ensure that all chocolate coming out of the country was of the highest possible quality.

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Meringues with La Gruyère Double Cream

One of the most decadent desserts on Earth is distinctly Swiss in origin and is nearly impossible to find anywhere outside of the country.

Early on in their cheese manufacturing history, producers of Gruyère whipped their cheese with heavy cream to form a deliciously sweet, spreadable confection that retains all the earthiness of the cheese mixed with silky whipped cream. This amazing invention, while delicious on its own, was soon being enjoyed as an accompaniment to meringues. The combination of crunchy, light meringue with earthy, sweet La Gruyère Double Cream is out of this world good.

Absinthe

One of the world’s most misunderstood beverages is absinthe, which was first invented in the Swiss canton of Neuchâtel in the late 18th century. Absinthe is a spirit flavored with anise and a variety of other herbs, including wormwood. It has a long history of being enjoyed by poets, philosophers, and artists all across Europe, although its psychoactive and hallucinogenic effects are now considered to have been grossly exaggerated.

Absinthe was banned from Switzerland in 1908 following a series of high-profile murders that were apparently caused by the murderer drinking absinthe — a rumor which has since been debunked. Now, absinthe is seeing a resurgence in popularity, and has sparked a whole new industry spearheaded by small craft absinthe distillers.

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