Food in Switzerland isn’t just cheese and chocolate (or so we hear). Okay, fine, the majority of the Swiss fare is cheese and chocolate, but if you dig a little deeper into the menu you’ll find a plethora of tasty options. Each region has its own magnum opus, as well as seasonal specialties–which we were lucky enough to encounter on our last trip.
The following is a primer of our most recent eats. AKA, things you should try if you ever get the chance.
Etivaz–An alpine cheese that cannot be officially named as such unless the milk comes from cows that graze at an altitude higher than 1000M. Depending on age, Etivaz can range from spicy to downright smooth and rich. This is a specialty cheese of Vaud canton, which also encompasses Montreaux and Lausanne. This is only one of 10 AOC cheeses in Switzerland (and also my favourite).
Papet Vaudois–A very traditional dish found only in the Vaud canton region. Primarily, it consists of stewed leeks and potatoes. The star of the dish is a loosely stuffed sausage filled with meat (usually pork or beef) and cabbage, which is cut open and eaten along with the thickened potato and leeks underneath. This is the ultimate comfort food.
Apfelkuche–Okay, this one is almost everywhere in Switzerland, but man is it delicious. The Swiss German take on strudel, this cake is typically served warm, alongside a hot vanilla sauce and fresh cream. Our most recent foray into apfelkuche was at a tiny restaurant in Rutti,down in the valley past Lauterbrunnen. The sweet cake was a welcome midway point to an incredible bike ride through the mountains–done on electric assist bicycles that you can rent in Interlaken.
Wild Game Menus–A specialty only in autumn, many restaurants offer a seasonal menu filled with wild game and delicious accompaniments. The game can range from rabbit, venison and boar to goose, quail and partridge. Dark meats are usually served with a gravy made from drippings and blood (sorry vegetarians, it’s good). Other amazing sides include freshly picked chanterelles, a poached apple or pear stuffed with homemade cranberry or other local berry sauce, brussel sprouts and caramelized chestnuts. A side of freshly made spaetzle is usually always found on the plate as well. An incredible meal, and perfect for those nights that are on the chillier side.
Nussbogli–A new discovery for our family, even for those who live in Switzerland. Nussbogli seems to be a specialty of Luzern, and consists of a rough nut dough baked into a crescent shape. It’s soft, nutty and delicious. Don’t let my wife know if you have one, she will hunt you down (seriously).
Mike Poppe has a secret stash of Nussbogli hidden in his garage. If you call him up and whisper the secret code (ZRH), he might let you have one.