Mention to your friends that you’re exploring the foods of Switzerland and I guarantee that they immediately mention cheese and chocolate. That’s a great start but there is so much more!
You can be sure that a country with 350 different varieties of sausages cares a lot about food and doesn’t put much stock in fast food. Switzerland has four distinct regions, each with its own language and culture merging time-honored local food traditions with the latest trends in culinary art. You’ll find Malakoff cheese fritters in Canton Vaud; freshly caught perch from Lake Constance in Canton St. Gallen. The Valais is famous for its raclette, melted mountain cheese served with steamed new potatoes and pickles; Graubünden for its Capuns, tender dumplings wrapped in Swiss chard leaves; Zürich for its Geschnetzeltes, creamy shredded veal; and Ticino for its luganighe sausages and fabulous risotto. Älplermakkaroni (alpine-style macaroni and cheese), or a Salsiz (cured dry sausage) can also be had if you’re in the right place at the right time.
And of course all these unique foods deserve a top notch pairing. More than 50 different varieties of grapes grow on sunny Swiss slopes including some that do not grow anywhere else in the world ranging from the Valais offering Petite Arvine and Amigne (white), the Humagne rouge and Cornalin (red); to the shores of Lake Geneva, for the rare red Petit Robert. Lake Zürich is known for its white Räuschling while in Bündner Herrschaft, the age-old Completer, a magnificent Pinot Noir grows. You are sure to come across the Chasselas, the main grape of Western Switzerland, as well as the Merlot of Ticino, and maybe even the new Swiss varieties, Garanoir and Diolinoir.
So follow me and I’ll keep you posted on what I discover…
photo courtesy of myswitzerland.com