Ässä und Trinkä

The Skintflint's guide to Swiss Food

This is an expensive place to live and food is mostly dearer than in the UK - especially when you're not here on someone else's expense. Some local products are good value for money and tasty. Try this for a laugh in the local Swiss Lädäli:

  • Fantastic bread!  Try something called Burgunderbrot. Crusty outside, moist inside, full of seed, tasty and very hearty! 
  • Italian wine: Do not be tempted to buy Swiss wine. It is crass and should only be bought by tourists who like the pretty red bottle with the white St John's cross on it. For CHF 3.65 (about a quid fifty) you can get a good Italian Montepulciano or a not so good Spanish Rioja. And don't even think of trying a cheap French wine. 
  • Rössti: Refried potato patty. You can buy this in packets in the supermarkets for very cheap. God only knows what goes in it. I suspect that this stuff has the same class-connotation as Microwave Chips in the UK has.
  • Pasta: Supermarkets sell a budget brand saghetti - CHF 1 for a kilogram of the stuff.
  • Fondue: The best cheese fondue to be had by going to the cheese merchant (lots of these around) and paying top dollar for a hand-made mixture of the ingredients. All you do is add the alcohol-containing ingredients. Or you can buy the stuff in packets in the Lädäli and heat it up - not that good but cheap. What the locals do when one reaches the nice crusty cheezy bits at the bottom of the pot, is to break an egg in it which lifts the remaining crusty cheese from the pot's bottom. Surprisingly, the egg does not scramble.
  • Kirsch: An essiential ingredient in your fondue. Tastes like vodka with a wiff of cherry. If you like head aches, do not restrict its use to fondues.
  • Cheese: Every kanton and area has a number of local cheeses. Some are quite expensive and exotic tasting, but well worth it. There is definately a linear relationship between price and quality, so if you like your cheese, don't go cheap.

 

Every supermarket sells a large range of fondue sets. How 70's - retro! Switzerland is presumably the place where all those unwanted wedding-present-fondue sets go to when they die and go to heaven.