Savour Switzerland: Lakes, Peaks and Eats
Not only is Switzerland famous for its iconic lakes, watches and on-the-dot trains, it also serves up a feast for the tastebuds. Check out our guide to Switzerland food and drink to explore all the tasty treats it has to offer.
Traditional Switzerland Food & Drink
Think Swiss food is just chocolate and cheese? Think again. Sure, we all love a silky bar of Swiss chocolate, and who can say no to a pot of melty fondue? But there’s a lot more to Switzerland than these iconic treats. Venture beyond these classics, and you’ll find a world of food delights just waiting to surprise your tastebuds.
Hold on to your napkins…
Rösti | Raclette Cheese | Fondue | Papet Vaudois | Geschnetzeltes | Landjäger | Malakoff | Älplermagronen | Saffron Risotto | Swiss Chocolate | Leckerli Biscuits | Zuger Kirschtorte | Switzerland Drinks
Rösti: The Potato Pancake That’s Basically a National Treasure
Let’s start with breakfast. Rösti, the crispy, golden Swiss potato pancake, was originally a farmer’s breakfast in Bern, but something this tasty should be shared!
This shredded and pan-fried spud delight is now a staple across Switzerland, and if you want to treat those taste buds, look out for the Rösti Valaisanne, which is topped with bacon, eggs, and melted raclette cheese.
Raclette: Cheese the Swiss Way
This goey, melty marvel involves scraping off molten cheese onto boiled spuds. Hailing from the canton of Valais, it has become a go-to dish in Geneva and beyond.
This mountain cheese is now a highlight at Swiss markets and popular across borders in Germany and northern Italy, raclette is typically served over boiled potatoes, accompanied by cornichons, pickled onions, and an assortment of vegetables.
Fondue: Because Sharing is Caring
If you go to Switzerland and don’t dunk bread into a pot of melted cheese, did you even really go? Fondue is Switzerland’s heartwarming traditional dish. It’s like a hug in a pot - perfect for when the Alpine air gets a little too brisk. It’s also a social food, meant for stirring, dipping, and chatting amongst friends.
Papet Vaudois: Leeky Potatoes with Sausage
This is a simple, local dish from the Vaud region of Switzerland. It’s leeks and potatoes slow-cooked into a tender mash. The dish is topped with a large, tasty sausage.
Zürcher Geschnetzeltes: The Zurich Shredded Delight
This is a classic dish from Zurich, featuring thinly sliced veal in a delicious, creamy white wine sauce. While traditionally served with Rösti, it’s also delicious with pasta, rice, or mashed potatoes.
Landjäger, is a smoked sausage made mainly from beef, and is known for its distinctive square shape. Often found in pairs, this sausage is a common find across Switzerland.
They are seasoned with a special mix that includes salt, red wine, and a blend of spices like cumin, pepper, coriander, and garlic.
They’re perfect as a portable snack for outings like picnics or hikes, or for just a satisfying bite during the day.
Tartiflette is a warm, cheesy dish made with layers of sliced potatoes, bacon, caramelised onions, and melted Reblochon cheese. It’s rich and comforting, great for refueling after a day of walking.
Malakoff is a dish of fried cheese balls that you’ll find in the villages along Lake Geneva in the Vaud region. The name comes from the Fort Malakoff battle, and it’s said that Swiss soldiers created it during a military siege.
The cheese is wrapped in a dough, fried until golden, and can be enjoyed as a main meal or a starter. It comes in two shapes: cylinder-shaped using sticks of Gruyère cheese and ball-shaped using grated cheese. They are traditionally eaten hot with a side of pickled onions, cornichons, and mustard.
Älplermagronen, also known as Alpine macaroni, is a hearty Swiss comfort food straight from the mountainous heartlands. "Älpler" refers to the Alpine dairy farmers, while "magronen" is a hat tip to the Italian "maccheroni" for pasta.
This dish consists of tubular pastas like hörnli or penne, with chunks of potato in a creamy blanket of melted cheese.
To crown it all, a sprinkle of golden-browned onions adds a crunch. And sometimes, it's served with applesauce on the side, because who says you can't mix a little sweet with your savoury after a day in the Alps?
Saffron risotto is a Swiss classic, showcasing the prized saffron from Valais, often called "red gold."
Originating in Valais and Ticino, this dish combines saffron with traditional risotto elements like butter, onions, garlic, tomatoes, and stock.
It's flavored with thyme and typically includes veal and bacon, cooked with risotto rice slowly alongside sautéed onions and garlic in olive oil.
When it comes to chocolate, Swiss chocolatiers are the true masters of their craft. They are the chocolate masters who turned it from a hot drink, into the dreamy treat we love today.
And when you’re in Switzerland, it’s hard not to indulge in the chocolate scene. From museum tours to supermarket chocolate sprees, there are many ways to delve into it.
If you’re visiting Lucerne, make sure to check out the Lindt Experience at the Museum of Transport. You can learn about chocolate and even taste some famous Lindor truffle balls. It’s both educational and delicious.
Learn the Art of Swiss Chocolate Making
If you want to learn about and create Swiss chocolate, join a workshop at Funky Chocolate Club in Interlaken. Put on an apron and chef's hat and make chocolate from bean to bar under the guidance of experts.
Discover the origins of cocoa beans, how chocolate is made, and insider tips for crafting irresistible chocolate treats. Get hands-on experience making your own chocolate creations to take home as edible souvenirs.
At the end, you'll have a greater understanding of Swiss chocolate and new skills as an artisan chocolatier. A tasty, fun way to dive into Swiss culture and cuisine.
A Sweet Ride
The Chocolate Train running between Montreux and the Cailler-Nestlé chocolate factory in Broc is a must for chocolate lovers and train enthusiasts alike.
This special train by Montreux-Berner Oberland railway features stately “Belle Époque” Pullman 1915 vintage coaches to transport you in first-class style.
Enjoy coffee and chocolate croissants after departing Montreux. Then visit the Maison du Gruyère show dairy for a free tour and tasting.
The highlight is free admission to the Nestlé Cailler chocolate factory, where you can learn about chocolate production and sample tasty treats.
If you’re a fan of festive treats, you can’t miss out on Bern-style Leckerli biscuits. These spiced, gingerbread-like delights have a special hazelnut twist. They’re spicy, sweet, and absolutely worth adding to your Switzerland culinary checklist.
Zuger Kirschtorte is a delicious cherry cake with layers of nut meringue (often made with almonds or hazelnuts), sponge cake, buttercream, and a cherry liquor called kirschwasser.
Swiss Wine - A Rare Treat
Switzerland is a wine lover’s paradise. The country grows over 250 grape varieties across diverse terroirs, giving its wines unique character. The top 10 grapes range from floral Riesling to earthy Pinot Noir.
Swiss wine is hard to find outside of Switzerland. Only about 1% of the country's wine production is exported.
This is because Swiss wine is in high demand domestically. The Swiss prefer to keep most of their wine for themselves rather than export it.
The tiny volume that leaves the country provides just a taste of this rare and delicious wine.
To fully experience the complex flavors of Swiss wine, you need to visit Switzerland. There you'll discover why the best bottles never make it across the border - the Swiss love their wine too much to share it all!
Why not head to the UNESCO site of Lavaux, (close to Montreux) where you can meander through beautiful terraced vineyards along the shores of Lake Geneva.
There are walks of varying difficulty depending on how high you want to climb. Or visit the 'Grangettes' nature reserve, rich in diverse flora and fauna.
Start in Villeneuve, then take a short 15-minute walk along the lake shore to Le Bouveret. Admire the variety of plants and over 270 species of birds that can be found here. Bring your binoculars to spot wildlife along the way.
Ovomaltine: A Malty Beverage
When you visit Switzerland, you might just see the bright orange Ovomaltine can on breakfast tables.
This malt-based powder is mixed with cold or warm milk and is a popular way for many Swiss people to kick start their day.
Ovomaltine is available in its classic powdered form, just like it was over 110 years ago.
Nowadays, you can also find it in ready-mixed versions. The legendary "Ovi" comes in various other delicious forms, including chocolate bars, breakfast cereals, spreads, and cookies.
Rivella - The Swiss Soda with a Dairy Twist
If Switzerland had a national drink, then Rivella would be the superstar. It isn’t just ordinary soda,- it’s made from 35% milk whey, which is a bit unusual for a fizzy drink. But that's what gives it its special flavour.
You’ll find all different kinds of Rivella, some sweeter and lighter, while others, like “Rivella verte” have green tea in them.
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**Up to two guided walks per week are included in the following resorts: Mayrhofen, Seefeld, Saalbach & Hinterglemm, Chamonix, Morzine, Limone, Merano, Selva, Champoluc, Cervinia, Kranjska Gora, Grindelwald, Wengen, Zermatt, Funchal and Caniço. All walks are subject to availability of local guides, weather conditions and maximum numbers. Where we cannot confirm your preferred option in resort, we will endeavour to offer an alternative subject to the above conditions.