When touring the village of Appenzell, we stopped in a market called Wetter Metzg specializing in a wide selection of cured meats. This place certainly didn’t resemble a deli or meat market you’d see in the United States.
Even in my short time in Switzerland, I learned that these meats are staples for hiking. They are easily packed, don’t spoil, and provide ample protein for the rigors of the trail. Happily, we were treated to a tasting platter so we could sample some of Switzerland’s most characteristic meats:
Here are some descriptions to get you started. Better yet, visit in person and taste for yourself!
Made exclusively from Swiss cattle leg of beef which is marinated in salt and spices, rinsed off and hung up to dry in the air, an edible mold forms on the drying meat yielding a distinct flavor.
The most popular of all Swiss meat specialties, a tradition that began in the Middle Ages, choice cuts of beef are dried in the pristine mountain air of Grisons and preserved by natural curing. It is then pressed, seasoned, and served cold in finely shaven slices.
A raw-meat sausage preserved in dry salt and seasoning, then smoked and dried often eaten as an appetizer.
Traditional veal-based bratwurst of St. Gallen, the original recipe dates back to 1438 which combines veal, bacon, spices and fresh milk. Unlike other bratwursts, it is traditionally served without mustard.
Considered the national sausage of Switzerland, Cervelet is popular with hikers who frequently spear it onto a self-carved skewer roasting it over the camp fire. Or it is sliced up into slivers as the main ingredient of the unique cold-sausage Swiss salad known as Wurstsalat.
A smoked raw beef and bacon sausage eaten cold. It was registered in the official Swiss Food Manual as a national specialty in 1999.
Video and picture courtesy of Steve Mirsky