• Björn Hansen

10 typical Swiss dishes

Updated: Aug 1, 2020

Whether you look into private pots or read the menu of Swiss taverns and restaurants: you will always find these ten dishes everywhere. Especially the last one is one of my favourites which my Swiss girlfriend has to cook regularly.


Ok, no arguing here - Fondue deserves the first spot on our list. Isn't it fascinating how only melted cheese, wine, garlic and cornstarch creates one of the most delicious and world-famous dishes? And probably one of the most unhealthy that you could eat (unfortunately). The discussion about who invented it - the French or Swiss - will probably never end. But one thing is pretty certain: Even though fondue is mostly famous in the winter, its origin is the summer where alpine farmers bring their cows up into the mountains where they stay for the entire summer. In order not to have to return to the valley every week, the farmers live from what they have on their site - which are obviously their cows and the cheese they make from the milk.


For this Swiss classic, grated potatoes are fried crispy in butter. Although it is not very popular in the western part of Switzerland, Rösti deserves a spot on this list. In fact there runs an imaginary line through Switzerland - more or less between the German and French-speaking part - which is also called the "Röschtigraben" or literally translated the Rösti ditch. Do you prefer your Rösti plain, with fried eggs, a cervelat (Swiss sausage) or "Fleischkäse" (some kind of meatloaf)?


Yeah, in the end of this article you probably think: "is there any kind of food in Switzerland that does not involve cheese in enormous amounts?" - The answer is pretty easy: "Not many" :-) Raclette is another example of that. During my first experience with this dish I had the same question all the time in my head: "Ok guys, so we're now taking all the leftovers like potatoes, gherkins, onions, meat and whatever we find in the kitchen, put it in a small pan, add cheese on it and that's it? Great!" Traditionally a scraper continuously serves all in the restaurant or even at home from an oven placed on a separated table or near a wood fire.

Bratwurst with onion sauce

I doubt that there is an agreed recipe for this meal. The only things that cannot be missed are the bratwurst and onions. Everything else is up to cook itself. Some insist it should be aromatic and saucy, rich and strong, and have a smooth consistency, other cooks believe it can be lumpy and gooey, thick or thin, flour-based or tomato-based, with wine or without. The only thing that is probably for sure is that the best version is cooked by your mum.


To be honest, I would be surprised if you have ever heard about Wähe. It is a flat cake typical for the Swiss and German cuisine. A Wähe is prepared basically with short pastry and a topping of either fruit, vegetables or of course cheese. Furthermore you add a mixture of milk (or cream) and eggs. The fruits or vegetables are baked together with the Wähe.

Zürcher Geschnetzeltes

or also known as "Züri Geschnetzeltes" is one of the best known and most popular Swiss specialities.

The popularity of a dish is not automatically an indication that it is a traditional food. That is also the case with Züri Geschnetzeltes. You can find recipes for sit in older Swiss cooking books, but they still have little in common with the meal we know today. “Züri Geschnetzeltes” is first mentioned in a cooking book in 1947 in the “Golden Cookbook” by Rosa Graf. There it is described as a dish made from veal, white wine and cream. Neither the mushrooms, which are also part of it today, nor the veal kidneys, which occasionally enrich the dish, had been included then.


Polenta is typically made from corn/maize grits and is very popular in the northern part of Italy and therefore also in the beautiful Ticino of Switzerland. In the old days it had been a poor people's meal and could also been made out of or enriched with millet, spelled or chickpea flour.


Something that can't be missed for a Swiss breakfast. Around hundred years ago, a doctor from Zurich named Maximilian Bircher-Benner (1867-1939) developed the Birchermüesli. The original recipe only contained apples, oatmeal, hazelnuts, water, lemon juice and sweetened condensed milk. As a convinced representative of a vegetarian raw food diet, the main ingredient for Bircher-Benner were the freshly grated apples with skin and core. Today you can all kind of fruits and / or cereal flakes.


It's aperotime!Swiss love their aperitifs incl. wine, cheese and Bündner meat. This air-dried meat is typically produced in the canton of Graubünden (Grisons) in eastern part of Switzerland. The beef, taken from the upper thigh or shoulder - fat and sinews being removed. Before drying, the meat is treated with white wine and seasonings such as salt, onion and assorted herbs.


And finally one of my favourite Swiss dishes. Proven and simply good. Fine mashed apples work well with this traditional dish. This is one of the meals you will always find when dining or sleeping in a mountain hut. Pasta, potatoes, ham, broth and you can probably guess it - cheese! A lot of calories so for long days of hiking, biking, climbing or whatever you prefer to do in the mountains.

So we hope you enjoyed this piece of content and got some inspiration for your home kitchen. Leave us a comment for any dishes that might miss in your opinion, subscribe to be the first for new blogs and info or follow us on Facebook or Instagram.


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Hi there, 
I am Björn, the founder of CYou in Switzerland. Guiding people through our beautiful country is the best part of my day. Any questions? Do not hesitate to contact me.

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CYou in Switzerland is a travel agency for customized private tours in Switzerland. 

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