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Famous Swiss Food and Drinks

What food is Switzerland famous for? A common answer to this question is chocolate. It's true, there is a huge selection of chocolates in Switzerland and most of it is very tasty. However, there is so much more other good food in Switzerland too! There are sweet and savory dishes, lots of pastries and cakes, candy and even soft drinks that originated in Switzerland. Most of these remain popular in Switzerland to this day!

Famous Food and Drinks in Switzerland

This short (and incomplete) overview of very Swiss dishes and foods will give you a taste of the great variety of Swiss foods. You can find recipes and more information on specific items when you click the link.


Famous Food

  • 1st of August Buns: One of the typical ingredients of a Swiss 1st of August celebration, our national holiday, is the 1st of August Bun. This soft sweetish bread appears on almost every table that day - bought or home made. They are tasty and great with cold meat, cheese or jam and taste best when coming straight from your oven.
  • Biberli: This marzipan filled pastry is originally from the canton of Appenzell - thus the full name 'Appenzeller Biberli' - but is produced and eaten all over Switzerland nowadays. It's main ingredients are honey, flour, gingerbread spice and baking marzipan.
  • Carrot Cake: The full name of this cake is 'Aargauer Rüebli Torte' which means 'Argovian Carrot Cake'. It is named after it's place of origin, the canton of Aargau,  which is also called the 'carrot canton' of Switzerland. carrot cake is now an extremely popular cake in all of Switzerland and even abroad.
  • Cervelat: This typical Swiss sausage is also called Chlöpfer ("banger" or "burster"). It can be found at cookouts, school trips, barbecue evenings and even in salads. It is made of pork and beef and has a very unique pink color that sets it off against most other sausages available in Switzerland.
  • Cheese Fondue: Cheese fondue is made of melted cheese mixed with white wine, kirsch and spices. This mixture is placed in a pot over a small burner in the middle of the table. Once everyone is seated you start putting bread on the extra long fondue forks and dip your bread in the hot cheese mixture. 
  • Chocolate Fondue: The concept of chocolate fondue is very similar to regular cheese fondue. However, instead of dipping bread in cheese you dip all kinds of sweet things in hot melted chocolate.
  • Gipfeli: The most famous of of Swiss pastries is the Gipfeli (croissant). This flaky moon shaped pastry is very similar to its French relative but slightly less buttery. You can find Gipfeli in every bakery, café and supermarket. Many times you can choose between the classic Buttergipfeli (butter croissant) and it's variants such as Schoggigipfeli (chocolate croissant), Laugegipfeli (lye covered croissant) or Vollkorngipfeli (whole-grain croissant).
  • Luxemburgerli: Luxemburgerli are delicious bite-sized pastries that look a bit like a sweet hamburger. They are made of two biscuits and chocolate or other cream filling in between. Luxemburgerli also come in all colors and flavors, among them vanilla, chocolate, pistacchio, cappucino, chestnut, fig, champagne and raspberry.
  • Magenbrot: Magenbrot consists of square sized, chunky pieces of pastry that contain cloves, cinnamon, anise and nutmeg (similar to gingerbread spices) that are usually sold on street fairs or Christmas markets during winter time. Magenbrot literally means 'stomach bread', a reference to the health benefits of the spices used in it. 
  • Marroni: Marroni are edible chestnuts with a nutty sweet flavor. You typically buy them roasted with the peel still on. They are sold at markets and by street vendors during the cold season of the year.
  • Müesli: Müesli, a mix of cereal with fruit and cream or yoghurt, was invented by Swiss physician Bircher around 1900. In Switzerland Müesli is also called Birchermüesli. It was and is considered a healthy dish perfect for starting your day and is very popular in Switzerland. Some even like to eat it for lunch or dinner.
  • Ricola: These herbal cough drops are popular all over the world. Ricola cough drops used to be square shaped and were available in large tins. Nowadays, there are many flavors and packaging options available. 
  • Rösti: Rösti is a tasty dish very similar to potato pancakes or latkes. It is made from grated raw or cooked potatoes and baked in a pan until it is golden and just a bit crunchy. You can add bacon, onion or cheese to enrich the dish.
  • Swiss Omelette: Although Swiss omelettes are savory just like American ones, they are made with eggs and flour and not just eggs like their American counterpart. Swiss omelettes are also quite thick and large so the comparison to French Crepes or pancakes doesn't work either. 
  • Three Kings Cake: This cake is made from six balls of sweet dough that are stuck to a bigger central ball of dough and then baked into one piece. Additionaly, a king (usually an almond) is hidden in one of the seven pieces. Whoever gets the piece with the king inside is crowned king for a day and receives a paper crown and special privileges.
  • Toblerone: This triangular chocolate bar is known all over the world and can be found in the shops of most airports. It might not be the best chocolate Switzerland has to offer but it certainly is the most well known one.
  • Vermicelles: Vermicelles is a southern Swiss speciality made from chestnuts, butter, sugar and Kirsch. It is sold in big chunks of Vermicelles dough that then is pressed through a perforated sheet to create about 15 cm long 'worms' of Vermicelles. They probably got their name from Latin since in Latin 'vermiculi' means 'worms'. I still think it's nicer to say that they look like brown spaghetti.
  • Zopf: In Switzerland, there is one ingredient that cannot be missing from a Sunday morning brunch: a fresh plaited bread, called 'Zopf'. Zopf is a bread made from slightly sweetened yeast dough. It actually is quite similar in shape and taste to the Challah bread that Jewish people eat on Shabat.

Famous Drinks

  • Ovomaltine: In Switzerland, hot chocolate is not made with hot milk and melted chocolate cubes but with hot milk and chocolate powder. The most famous of these chocolate powders is Ovomaltine.
  • Panache: The most famous of Swiss mixed beers is the Panache, pronounced 'Pah-nash'. It is a mix of Swiss beer and lemonade. It tastes fresh, a bit sour and sweet.
  • Rivella: Rivella was invented by Robert Barth and is a Swiss soft drink that in addition to the traditional sugary and flavory ingredients includes milk serum. The taste is quite unique and people who try it for the first time don't always like it.


© 2019 IRENE WYRSCH "A HUMOROUS GUIDE TO SWITZERLAND" ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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