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Switzerland Food Online


Table of contents:

  1. Basic food items

  2. What do people eat and drink

  3. Going out to eat

  4. A few typical menus

    1. Create the right ambience

    2. Bürli (small bread)

    3. Dreikönigskuchen (Epiphanies cake)

    4. Zopf (bread)

    5. Birchermüesli

    6. Fondue

    7. Pastetli (Meat pie)

    8. Rippli (Rips)

    9. Sauerkraut

    10. Teigwaren (Pasta), Vegetarian menu

    11. Wurstsalat (Sausage Salad)

    12. Zürcher Eintopf (Hot-pot Zürich style)

    13. Zürcher Geschnetzeltes (cut meat Zürich style)

    14. Apfelküchlein (Deep fried apple cookie)

    15. Basler Leckerli (Basel cookies)

    16. Brunsli (Swiss brownies, Christmas treat)

    17. Fasnachtsküchlein (Carneval cookies)

    18. Mailänderli (Milano cookies, Christmas treat)

    19. Nusstorte (Nut cake)

    20. Rüebli Kuchen (Carrot cake)

    21. Schokolade Kuchen (Chocolate cake)

    22. Zimtsterne (Cinnamon cookies, Christmas treat)

Basic food items:

Food, ingredients and the way to prepare it varies greatly all over the country. Generally speaking, basic food items include a huge selection of bread (white, whole wheat etc.), dairy products such as milk, yogurt, butter and - of course - a great variety of the world famous Swiss cheese. Also important are vegetables including beans, carrots, cauliflower, potatoes, spinach etc. Sausages and meat - mainly veal, beef, pork, chicken or turkey - are served in many different ways: grilled, cooked, sliced or cut. Side dishes include French fries, rice, potatoes and different types of pasta. Fruits are available from all over the world, locally grown fruits include apples, pears, grapes and different types of berries, such as black berries, blueberries, raspberries, red currants and strawberries. Finally, there are a lot of sweets, including the second type of food that Switzerland is world famous for: Swiss chocolate.

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What do people eat and drink:

In Switzerland, breakfast typically includes bread, butter or margarine, marmalade or honey, maybe some cheese or cereals, plus milk, cold or hot chocolate, tea or coffee.
Lunch may be as simple as a sandwich or a birchermüesli or it could be a complete meal.
Depending on what people had for lunch, dinner can be a full main course or just some bread, cheese, maybe some dried meat or any other light meal.
Drinks range from plain water, over different types of soft drinks including most internationally well known brands plus some local products, to a great variety of beers and wines. Hot drinks include many different flavors of tea and coffee.

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Going out to eat:

There are many different places to go out to eat in Switzerland. It starts with fast food, such as burger, fish and chips etc., continues with self service restaurants and what people in the U.S. use to call a family restaurant where you get all the regular menus and ends with spectacular (and very expensive) restaurants, where to eat is supposed to be an "experience".

Food is quite expensive in Switzerland, at least compared to most European countries and especially compared to the U.S. If you go to a fast food place, you may easily spend up to CHF 10 for a burger, a soft drink and a coffee. In a family restaurant, a menu will cost somewhere between CHF 15 and 50, self service restaurants are somewhat less expensive. At a more fancy restaurant, one can spend as much as CHF 1000 just for a bottle of wine ...

Common menus include a great variety of pasta, potatoes prepared in many different ways, vegetables, meat (veal, beef, pork, chicken and even horse), fish (mainly fresh water fish), but also sea food. Vegetarian menus have become more popular during the last few years, most restaurants provide at least one vegetarian menu as a main course. In addition, salad is very popular as well. The most important part of course is desert. This includes cheese, but even more important any flavor of cakes or cookies.

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A few typical menus:

As mentioned above, menus vary from canton to canton. Below is a small selection of some menus that are typical for some regions of Switzerland. Click on the image or the word recipe for a large picture and the recipe.

A few remarks:

The recipes are based on ingredients available in Switzerland. Some of them may not be available in your country or differ in their properties. Use your intuition when you need a substitute.

The amount of the ingredients are specified in metric and U.S units. However, if you are not familiar with our metric unit system, you may be interested in the explanations about metric versus U.S. unit system.

Please remember, even these pages were written by a computer engineer. If some incorrect terms were used or you have comments or suggestions how to improve these pages, please feel free to write to the author.

[ Betty Bossi ]

Note: All recipes and pictures by Betty-Bossi, used with permission.

Create the right ambience

[ Table decorated for a Christmas dinner ]

Swiss people do not only love good food, they also appreciate a beautiful decorated table, like the table shown on the left, decorated for a Christmas dinner.

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Bürli (small bread)

[ Bürli (small bread) ]

Bürli are small breads served for breakfast or at BBQ parties.


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Dreikönigskuchen (Epiphanies cake)

[ Dreikönigskuchen (Epiphanies cake) ]

Dreikönigskuchen (Epiphanies cake) is a special cake served on January 6 ("Dreikönigstag", Epiphanies day)


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Zopf (bread)

[ Zopf (Bread) ]

There are dozens of types of bread in Switzerland. However Zopf is a very special bread, typically served on Sunday for breakfast.


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[ Birchermüesli ]

"Birchermüesli" was invented around 1900 by Dr. Bircher, a pioneer of the biological health medicine and an early promoter of unprocessed food that retains its full nutritional value ("Vollwertkost").

Recipe and history

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[ Fondue ]

This is probably the most famous swiss menu. Fondue is made out of molten cheese. We eat it by dipping small pieces of bread in the molten cheese. The secret lies in the right mixture of different flavors of cheese. Typically, fondue is served on cold winter days, but many restaurants serve it all your round.


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Pastetli (Meat pie)

[ Pastetli (Meat pie) ]

Pastetli usually come in a round shape. The picture on the left shows a very special shape, perfectly suited for a romantic dinner for two. There are different styles of fillings, it may include mushrooms and meat on a creamy sauce. They are usually served with rice and peas.

Recipe (with mushrooms)

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Rippli (Rips)

[ Rippli (Rips) ]

Rippli means, rips taken from pork. In the region of Bern, it is served with bacon, beans and potatoes.


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[ Sauerkraut ]

Sauerkraut is a very traditional menu. There are dozens of different recipes for Sauerkraut, some include potatoes or meat.


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Teigwaren (Pasta), Vegetarian menu

[ Teigwaren (Pasta) ]

Pasta tri colori (three colors) in the colors of the italian flag red, white and green with vegetables.


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Wurstsalat (Sausage Salad)

[ Wurstsalat (Sausage Salad) ]

This is a perfect meal on a hot summer day. Often, it is served with bread and ice tea or beer.


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Zürcher Eintopf (Hot-pot Zürich style)

[ Zürcher Eintopf (Hot-pot Zürich style) ]

Meat and vegetables are all served in the same pot.


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Zürcher Geschnetzeltes (cut meat Zürich style)

[ Zürcher Geschnetzeltes (cut meat Zürich style) ]

While it is possible to use any type of meat to prepare this menu, the real Zürcher Geschnetzeltes is made with cut veal. Traditionally, it comes with hashed potatoes, but it could also be served with rice, pasta or mashed potatoes.


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Apfelküchlein (Deep fried apple cookie)

[ Apfelküchlein (Deep fried apple cookie) ]

"Apfelküchlein" (deep fried apple cookie) taste great either warm or cold, with or without vanilla sauce.


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Basler Leckerli (Basel cookies)

[ Basler Leckerli (Basel cookies) ]

These are very special cookies made with lots of honey - very sweet, they taste just wonderful ...


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Brunsli (Swiss brownies, Christmas treat)

[ Brunsli (Swiss brownies) ]

"Brunsli" (Swiss brownies) also a traditional Swiss Christmas treat.


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Fasnachtsküchlein (Carnival cookies)

[ Fasnachtsküchlein (Carnival cookies) ]

"Fasnachtsküchlein" (Carnival cookies) - also known as "Chnüblätz" ("knee cookies") - are traditional cookies served during carnival season. Carnival festivities usually take place in February throughout Switzerland. Some towns are very famous for their carnival parades, the most famous takes place in Basel city. Carnival in Switzerland is similar to Mardi Gras in the USA.


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Mailänderli (Milano cookies, Christmas treat)

[ Mailänderli (Milano cookies) ]

There are many different Christmas treats in Switzerland, "Mailänderli" (Milano cookies) are amongst the most famous.


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Nusstorte (Nut cake)

[ Nusstorte (Nut cake) ]

There are different recipes for "Nusstorte" (nut cake), the most famous is probably the one from the Engadina (a well known valley in the canton Graubünden).


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Rüebli Kuchen (Carrot cake)

[ Rüebli Kuchen (Carrot cake) ]

In the opinion of our kids, this is the best way to serve carrots. It could be made as a cake - as shown here - or even more often as a pie. Often, it is decorated with little carrots made out of marzipan.


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Schokolade Kuchen (Chocolate cake)

[ Schokolade Kuchen (Chocolate cake) ]

This is my personal favorite - a real dream come true when prepared by my wife. We call it "spider web pie" ...


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Zimtsterne (Cinnamon cookies, Christmas treat)

[ Zimtsterne (Cinnamon cookies) ]

"Zimtsterne" (Cinnamon cookies) are another traditional, very delicious Christmas treat.


More from

SWISS Taste of Switzerland

The best in Swiss and international cuisine meet aboard Swiss International Air Lines. Inflight cuisine and beverages on long-haul flights departing Zurich and Geneva feature a selection of highlights from the SWISS Taste of Switzerland program that has run for the past year. On board, passengers experience Switzerland’s unique culinary variety with regional specialities, which change with the seasons. Meals are created by leading chefs from the region in focus and accompanied by a selection of suitable wines.
Through May, specialities from the regions of Thurgau and Lake Geneva are featured. From June through August, passengers will be able to savor culinary creativity from the Lake Lucerne region, followed by Switzerland’s Northern wine country in the Fall and the region of Wallis starting in December.
SWISS offers award-winning non-stop service from eight North American gateways (Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, New York’s JFK and Montreal) to Switzerland, connecting to 70 destinations worldwide and, together with codeshare partner American Airlines, connecting service from an additional 45 cities in North America. SWISS is a partner in the American Airlines AAdvantage program.
For reservations and information call 1-877-FLY SWISS or visit


For reservations and information call 1-877-FLY SWISS or visit


Neuchatel Bistro

Right above the city of Neuchatel lies the Pinte de Pierre a Bot, a lovely wood-paneled bistro with outdoor terraces for dining in warm weather and a great view of the town below. Marc Lenggenhager, the owner, makes a specialty of fondue and serves more than twenty different varieties. He also has a side business of preparing fondues off site for large parties, and you might see his little fondue-mobile, a compact car rigged up with a fondue pot on the roof, traveling around the streets of Neuchatel.
Now, I get to eat fondue as often as I want, so even though Pierre a Bot’s fondue has a reputation for excellence a mile long, I decided to try some local specialties when I ate there. I tasted Jacquerie, an interesting dish of snails prepared with sauerkraut – a lively variation on the typical Burgundian-style snails with garlic butter. After that I had some perfectly sautéed lake perch – hard to resist when the fresh fish come from walking-distance away. Don’t get the wrong impression, though, there’s lots more here besides snails and fondue. Interesting pasta dishes abound and great grilled meats and fish are also available all the time.
The bistro opens at ten in the morning and closes when the last diners leave at night, seven days a week. Don’t miss this one for a fun, casual meal in Neuchatel.

La Pinte de Pierre a Bot
Rue de Pierre a Bot 106
CH-2000 Neuchatel
Phone from the US: 011 4132 725 3380
Fax from the US: 011 4132 725 3572


Restaurant Calanda, Chur

Great grilled chicken and a host of other specialties are available at this large restaurant with streetside terraces in the heart of Graubuenden’s capital, Chur. A popular gathering place for locals and tourists alike, Calanda is named for a mountain peak near the city and it’s also the name of a popular local beer.
Open from 9AM to midnight every day, the restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and is also a perfect place to stop in for a coffee, a light snack or a random drink at any time of the day. And there’s a blues or jazz evening every month if you need more entertainment than people watching and excellent food.
Chef Stephan Ineichen hails from the Lucerne area, but he has had no trouble adapting to the local fare. There are also great grilled lamb, pork and shrimp dishes as well as creative pastas and garden-fresh main-course salads. Swiss wines are well represented, especially those of the Buendner Herrschaft, made nearby. When in Chur, eat like a native and give Calanda a try.

Restaurant Calanda
Postplatz 1
CH-7000 Chur
Phone from the US: 011 4181 253 0880


Off the Beaten Path in Ticino: Ul Furmighin

Just a couple of miles from Chiasso in the southern end of Ticino is the picturesque Val di Muggia, a countryside of game, mushrooms and chestnut trees, all waiting for the eager and hungry traveler. Ul Furmighin (the little ant in local dialect) is a wonderful country inn with fine country food and rustic accommodations in the tiny village of Sagno. A great place to hike to or from, it’s open for both lunch and dinner and every day except Tuesday. You’ll delight to excellent home-made pastas and gnocchi, and in season they take advantage of the local game and use it in many dishes on the menu. The local mushrooms and chestnuts become a hearty soup – a zuppa di funghi e castagne.
In warm weather there is outdoor seating and light food. Springtime brings roast kid and suckling pig and summer menus abound in cool dishes, salads and grilled meats and fish.
The current owners are the Poggi-Biffi family. The family’s mother, Anna, is in charge of service and makes the wonderful desserts, including a justly famous apple tart and the classic torta di pane (bread cake) of Ticino. Son Andrea is the kitchen’s chef and is in charge of menu planning and executing the excellent dishes served. Local wines are available, and when you go, don’t neglect to try Ticino’s justly famous Merlot.
At about 2300 feet of altitude, Sagno’s hill will afford hikers an unusual sight – the little statue of the Madonna atop the cathedral in Milan (about an hour south by car) is visible from here in good weather! If you’re not driving, it’s not a prohibitively distant cab ride from the train station in Chiasso and there’s always the bus that runs on a regular schedule to and from Sagno.

Ul Furmighin, closed January and Tuesdays
CH-6839 Sagno
Phone from the US: 011 4191 682 0175
Fax from the US: 011 4191 682 0176


How does the pear get into the bottle?

Martigny in the Valais is famous for its beautiful village situated over Roman ruins, its world-class museum, the Fondation Pierre Gianadda, and its exquisite pear brandy, Williamine, made by the Morand company. Like all fruit brandies, pear eau de vie is made from a mash of fermented fruit that is distilled but not aged in wood, to help preserve the fresh perfume of the fruit. Morand is reputed to be the first company of distillers to bottle the brandy with a fresh pear in the bottle. This is how it works: After the pear trees blossom and the pears begin to form, a bottle is slipped over a pear on almost every branch of the tree. The bottles are supported by wire or plastic cages and are placed upside down over the pears to avoid collecting rainwater and possibly causing the pears in the bottles to rot. The other pears are removed from the branches containing bottles to channel all the tree’s nutrients to the pears that are growing in the bottles. When the pears are mature, the bottles (and pears) are given a quick washing and drying and the bottles are filled with the pear brandy. A wonderful gift or a fun conversation piece, pear brandy with the pear in the bottle will astound everyone who sees it. Besides that, it is the perfect after-dinner drink, especially if it is sipped chilled from chilled glasses – the low temperature cuts down on the perception of the alcohol and brings out the fruit’s perfume.
If you visit Martigny for a look at the museum, or to attend one of its frequent summertime outdoor concerts, don’t neglect to pick up a bottle or two of pear eau de vie – you won’t regret it.

Distillerie Morand
CH-1920 Martigny
Phone from the US: 011 4127 722 2036
Fax from the US: 011 4127 722 7530


Cheese Corner: Vacherin Fribourgeois

First cousin to Gruyere which is also produced in canton Fribourg, Vacherin Fribourgeois deserves to be better known. Long a choice of fondue makers for mixing in with Gruyere and Emmentaler, this versatile cheese is equally at home in recipes (see this month’s recipe, below) or on the cheese board. Personally, I love it in a simple sandwich with buttered rye or whole wheat bread, but it’s much more versatile than that.
First mentioned in historical manuscripts at the middle of the fifteenth century, Vacherin Fribourgeois has had a long history like Gruyere. Applicable to many of the same uses as Gruyere, Vacherin Fribourgeois is somewhat milder and slightly more tender in texture. Look for it in large wedges as you would Gruyere in specialty cheese stores.



Getting to Know Swiss Wines Chapter XII: Eastern Switzerland, Part 3, the Eastern Region

The Eastern region is composed of vineyards in three cantons: Graubuenden, St. Gallen and Appenzell.
Graubuenden: Most of the wine produced in canton Graubuenden is made in the Churer Rheintal region. The heart of this little region is the group of small towns comprising what is referred to as the “Buendner Herrschaft:” Flaesch, Maienfeld, Jenins, and Malans. This region has the highest incidence of the South wind known as the Foehn, which drastically influences its microclimates.
Pinot Noir is grown in 90% of the region, while the remainder is planted in Riesling x Sylvaner and similar varieties. A few red grapes are also used for producing a white wine called Federweisser and also for some roses.
St. Gallen: Many of this canton’s vineyards are situated on extremely steep slopes impossible to work mechanically and must therefore be exclusively cultivated by hand. The Rheintal, also blown over by the Foehn, has the following wine growing municipalities: Berneck, Thal, Altstaetten, Marbach, and Balgach. The Oberland area is composed of Mels, Sargans, Bad Ragaz, and Walenstadt. There are some vines at Quinten, a former Roman settlement, on a side of Lake Walen only accessible by boat or by foot. The highest vineyard in Eastern Switzerland, at an altitude of over 2300 feet, is at Porta Romana, downstream from Pfaefers. Near the St. Gallen end of Lake Zurich there are vineyards at Rapperswil and Jona. Bronschofen and Wil, two villages with tiny vineyards planted entirely with Pinot Noir, are situated at the extreme northwest of the canton.
Much Riesling x Sylvaner and Pinot Gris are planted here, though there are small quantities of other grapes cultivated
Appenzell: Composed of two half-cantons, this area has two distinct regions.
In Appenzell Ausserrhoden there is the famous Wienacht-Tobel vineyard which produces a red wine of fine quality called Wienachtswy. In Appenzell Innerrhoden there is the Katzenmoos vineyard in the village of Oberegg producing a Riesling x Sylvaner
Next Month: Ticino


Recipe: Aelplermagronen (Swiss Macaroni and Cheese)

A simple homey recipe, this is perfect for the last cool days of Spring, and good at any time of the year. By the way, the typical Swiss accompaniment to this is applesauce.
Makes about 4 servings
12 ounces elbow macaroni, boiled al dente in salted water and rinsed
2 medium yellow onions, about 12 ounces total, thinly sliced
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
6 ounces Vacherin Fribourgeois or Gruyere, coarsely grated
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
Freshly grated nutmeg
One 2-quart gratin dish or other serving dish, buttered
1. Melt half the butter in a large sauté pan and cook the onions over low heat for about 20 minutes, or until they are limp and just beginning to color.
2. Add the rest of the butter and the cream and bring the mixture to a simmer. Add the macaroni and the seasonings, tasting to make sure there is enough seasoning.
3. Heat through until very hot, stirring occasionally. Stir in the cheese and allow it to melt, then scrape into the prepared dish and serve immediately.


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