From A as in Älpler Magronen to Z as in Zürigschnätzlets

Traditional Swiss cuisine varies from region to region. In today’s globalized world, however, many once local dishes have become popular throughout the country.

Switzerland
Switzerland is divided into a German-speaking, a French-speaking, an Italian-speaking, and a Romansh-speaking region. SOURCE: WIKIMEDIA

A country of just under 16 square miles, Switzerland is half the size of South Carolina. Nonetheless, this tiny nation is divided into four linguistic regions: a German-speaking, a French-speaking, an Italian-speaking, and a Romansh-speaking part, from largest to smallest.

Influenced by neighboring Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, Italy, and France, each region has its own culinary specialties. In addition, Switzerland’s local cuisines are strongly connected to the mountainous landscape and the historical ability or inability to grow certain crops.

In this post, I want to introduce you to seven traditional Swiss dishes that, in recent times, have become popular throughout the country.

Älpler Magronen
Most stores in Switzerland carry readymade, microwavable versions of these dishes.
SOURCE: Tamara Marie Johnson
  • Älpler Magronen

Älpler Magronen is the Swiss version of macaroni and cheese. Depending on the region, it can be made with potatoes, bacon bits, and other ingredients, too. The Swiss serve Älpler Magronen with applesauce or apple slices. If you want wine with your meal, opt for a Merlot or a Rioja.

Ready to try it? Get the free recipe at myswitzerland.com.

  • Birchermüesli

Birchermüesli is a lot like oatmeal. Its basic ingredients are oats, water, milk, and grated apples. Depending on the region and the season, Birchermüesli can contain a number of other grains and fruits, nuts, and spices. This dish sounds like a healthy breakfast or snack but the Swiss actually eat it for lunch and dinner, too.

Ready to try it? Get the free recipe at myswitzerland.com.

  • Gerstensuppe

The main ingredients in Gerstensuppe or ‘barley soup’ are pearled barley, dry-cured beef, and the vegetables typically found in soup such as carrots and celery. Gerstensuppe originates in the Grisons, the largest and easternmost canton (or state) of Switzerland. This region is famous for its dry-cured meat, e.g. Coppa (pork neck). Gerstensuppe is served with bread. If you want wine with your meal, opt for a medium-bodied Chardonnay or Pinot Noir.

Ready to try it? Get the free recipe at myswitzerland.com.

  • Fondue

What comes to mind when you think of fondue? Cheese, right? In Switzerland, however, there are two other variations: fondue chinoise with meat and Schoggifondue with chocolate. But no matter which one you choose, fondue is always a pot of hot liquid that you stick a long, slender fork of something into: bread into cheese, meat into bouillon, fruit into chocolate.

Ready to try it? Get the free recipe at about.ch.

  • Raclette

Raclette is another cheese-based dish: the Swiss cut blocks of semi-hard cheese into quarter-inch slices and slide them into special raclette ovens placed in the middle of the dining table. Once melted, the cheese is scraped off of the pans and served with potatoes, pickles, pearl onions, and spices such as paprika and nutmeg. If you want wine with your meal, opt for a fruity, fresh rosé.

Ready to try it? Get the free recipe at valais-terroir.ch.

  • Rösti

Rösti is the Swiss version of hashbrowns. Depending on the region, the fried potato dish is served with eggs, melted cheese, bacon strips, creamy mushroom sauce, onion sauce, or pork links. If you want wine with your meal, opt for a full-bodied cabernet sauvignon.

Ready to try it? Get the free recipe at myswitzerland.com.

  • Zürigschnätzlets

Zürigschnätzlets is veal ragout served with basic Rösti. Loosely translated, the name is Swiss German for ‘meat cut into strips the Zurich way.’ However, nobody knows which region the dish comes from originally. If you want wine with your meal, opt for a full-bodied negroamaro.

Ready to try it? Get the free recipe at myswitzerland.com.

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