Favorite Swiss Dishes

Fondue: a traditional Swiss dish

Dining in Switzerland is a real treat. Not only is the food hearty and delicious, but traditional Swiss restaurants with ancient wood beams and Swiss kitsch galore allow you to soak up the quintessentially Swiss Alpine vibe.

Swiss cuisine centers around dairy. It’s hard to find a meal without cheese, milk, butter and/or cream. Of course, there’s nothing better than pulling up a bench and tucking into a big dish of cheese! Just make sure you plan a long Alpine hike for the after-meal activity.

The Swiss take cheese as seriously as the French take wine. It only makes sense since cheese has been an institution in Switzerland since Roman times. Traditionally, Alpine cheese is made during the summertime on mountainous pastures. Farmers spend the entire season in isolation with their herds, toiling to turn out superior product by hand. The cheese is made from raw milk from cows that consume only fresh grass and wildflowers. Pasteurization is frowned upon since it compromises the body and aroma.

I know I’ve gone on and on about fondue before, but every time I visit different regions of Switzerland I learn more about it. Fondue is a delicious wintertime staple. It is actually a specialty of French-speaking Switzerland, but is now served in most regions. The classic style is moitié- moitié, typically using Gruyère (yum! A rich hard cheese with salty-dry sharpness) and Emmental (55,000 tons of this are produced annually) or some sort of mix of Alpine cheese, raclette (soft, melty cheese that also has its own namesake dish) or different grades of Gruyère, and a bit of alcohol such as kirsch or white wine.

Mm, bread, wine and cheese

Croûtes Suisse was a new delicious discovery. It’s a very simple dish: fried bread with white wine, baked in an oven. With cheese.

Yet another delicious way to serve a dish of cheese and butter

One of my favorite dishes is spätzli, this region’s version of mac and cheese. There’s nothing better than these boiled dough bits served with butter and, of course, cheese.

, , , , , ,