Hearty cuisine is a given in Switzerland where you can feast on carb-rich, filling savoury and sweet dishes. Let’s start with the cheese – around 450 different kinds, predominantly made from cow’s milk but a small percentage using sheep or goat’s milk.
While multiple copy-cat ‘Swiss’ cheeses can be found in other parts of the world, Emmental, Gruyère, Appenzeller, Sbrinz, Schabziger, Tilsit and Vacherin-Fribourgeois are just some of the native cheeses that are worthy contenders for your palate. Not surprisingly, cheese forms the base of many customary recipes, such as: rosti – like a hash brown comprised of fried grated potato, onion and cheese; fondue - where bread is dipped into a concoction of melted cheese, wine and garlic; ‘raclette’ - comprised of raclette cheese melted in layers over boiled potatoes, pickles, onions and sometimes cured meats; and ‘tartiflette’ - creamy Reblochon cheese melted over potatoes, bacon and caramelised onion.
Supposing cheese isn’t your thing, other popular foods that are readily available include delicious breads, sauerkraut, meat dishes (mainly veal, beef, pork, chicken or turkey) accompanied by potatoes and generous servings of vegetables and many pasta dishes. If you’re the sort that lives for dessert, Switzerland will be good to you, with heavenly chocolate in abundance and treats like meringues, Apfelküchlein (deep fried apple cookies, accompanied with vanilla sauce), wonderfully sweet Basel cookies, Nusstorte (a short crust tart with a nut filling), Vermicelles (a pastry tart filled with puréed chestnuts refined with butter or cherry brandy) and Engadiner Torte (a layered cake with vanilla butter cream and a Florentine top).