Switzerland – Swiss Food
While enjoying a cheese fondue, mushrooms and sausages on an open fire in the forest, I thought of two things. First I thought of a website that existed years ago called ‘Extreme Fondue’ where a group of friends enjoyed a cheese fondue at loads of fun locations. And secondly, I thought of Swiss food and an article I wrote for Things to do in Geneva recently, as people often wonder what is considered real Swiss food! Of course, there is more to it when it comes to Swiss food than cheese fondue, but it is a difficult one, even for the Swiss, as many different foods vary per Canton. So what is our favorite Swiss Food? Find out here!
Cenovis is quite peculiar in taste, and is often compared to the British Marmite. For me, the taste is a bit like a stock cube you would use to cook, but in a spreadable form. This said, Cenovis can be your secret ingredient while cooking and is a known ingredient for a salad sauce! In Geneva people mostly eat it on a slice of bread with butter. You will either love, or hate Cenovis. The salty spread is said to be healthy and contains lots of Vitamin B. It was initially made for soldiers so they had something to eat in difficult times. Cenovis is known in whole Switzerland, but most popular in the French speaking part.
2. Meringues à la double crème
This traditional Swiss dessert can be enjoyed in many restaurants all over Switzerland and can also be bought at the supermarkets to eat it at home. The best place to eat it however is of course in the town of Gruyère on a daytrip.
3. Cheese Fondue, and eating on an open fire
Everybody knows Cheese Fondue of course! In Switzerland there are some fun locations to eat Cheese Fondue, like in a cable car, on a train, on a boat, in a forest, or in an igloo. The Swiss like to eat in an adventurous style on open fire, and not only cheese fondue. There are daycares that take children to grill sausages on open fire quite regularly, and at Oeschinensee you can even buy a ready to go grill pack before you leave on your hike.
4. More Cheese… La Croute au Fromage
For me, this is the Swiss, and more elaborated, answer to the ‘Croque Monsieur’. It literally is a slice of bread with melted cheese poured over it on the plate. It exists with a whole bunch of ingredients like tomatoes, mushrooms and other toppings.
5. Longeole, sausage with cumin and fennel…
Switzerland has a lot of regional typical sausages. In Geneva, one of the local sausages is called a Longeole. You can find a Longeole at some local festivals, buy it at traditional butcher shops, or eat it in a local restaurant.
6. La Marmite de l’Escalade, and how to eat it!
Only in November and December unfortunately, so don’t miss it when they are there.
The ‘Marmite de l’Escalade’ is eaten to celebrate the ‘Escalade in Geneva’. On that day the Genevois managed to chase the enemy, amongst others by pouring hot soup over the soldiers that attacked their city. That is why they eat soup in December, and well, because it is Switzerland, they also made a chocolate version of the soup cauldron with marzipan vegetables inside.
How it is eaten: you put your chocolate Marmite on a clean kitchen towel and fold it around it (so that you won’t hurt your hands). Then, the youngest, and the oldest person in your family put their hands together into in one big fist and break the chocolate Marmite while saying the words: ‘Et ainsi périrent les ennemis de la République!’ (Thus did perish the enemies of the Republic!). Then you fold open the kitchen towel and share the pieces of chocolate and the marzipan vegetables, yum!
7. Cheese again… Malakoff
Malakoff is a specialty in the Canton Vaud, and eaten at festivals, or in restaurants. Its name comes from a Fort called Malakoff which was besieged by Swiss soldiers that had joined the French or British army. During the siege that lasted for 11 months, they made these cheese beignets which they then named after the Malakoff Fort.
8. Cardon Genevois
Photo: from patrimoineculinaire.ch
Cardon Genevois is a vegetable which is relatively unknown outside of Geneva and almost only cultivated in Geneva! It is quite popular, and traditional, to eat it on the side of a Christmas dinner, often prepared in a ‘gratin’ oven dish. My husbands family sometimes makes this, and it’s delicious. You can buy Cardon Genevois all year round in jars in Geneva’s supermarkets, but also fresh on the markets in December.
Who doesn’t love a good Birchermüesli? This might be the most famous Swiss food besides cheese fondue. It is known as a breakfast, but the Swiss can eat it at any time of the day. It is healthy, and easy to make! If you would like to make your own Birchermüesli and eat it at a beautiful location like we did in Blatten in front of the Aletsch Glacier, then check out the recipe we use to make it, which was shared to us by a Swiss Food Blogger: https://letsexplore.ch/switzerland-birchermuesli/
The Swiss consider Rösti a national dish, but its origin lies in the Canton of Bern and is mainly eaten in the German part of Switzerland. The border between the French and the German parts of Switzerland is sometimes humorously named ‘Röstigraben’, referring to the cultural boundary between the two. To make a Rösti, potatoes are fried in a pan and look a bit like a big potato pancake in the end. Rösti is a very common dish in Swiss restaurants.
Of course, there is so much more Swiss food! Are you located in a different Canton and do you have other favorites? Let us know, we would love to hear all about it!