From my experiences in being immersed with a Swiss family, I have come to find that the Swiss people love to be around family and friends. When I get together with my American family it seems that the visits get shorter each year. For large gatherings such as Thanksgiving or a Birthday, or just for the heck of it gathering, everyone comes, eats and then leaves. Maybe there is some conversation after dinner, but most of the time, everyone leaves after. In Switzerland a family/friend gathering is a big deal, and they make the most of the evening. After dinner they gather around the dinner table and talk and talk until the wee hours of the morning with conversation and laughter filling the air. It is not uncommon to be leaving after 12AM! After experiencing this in Switzerland, I found myself to be very frustrated that my family gatherings end at around 9pm promptly, it would be nice if we could do it the way the Swiss do.
Some traditional Swiss foods are:
- Different types of cheese such as Emmental and Apenzeller.
- Fondue and Raclette are very popular. I will explain what Raclette in the following pictures.
- Swiss chocolate is very important to mention.
- Papet vaudois which is a potato and leek dish
- Carac, which is a swiss pastry made of chocolate
- Rösti, which are similar to hash browns
- Zopf, which is twisted bread
- Cut meat is popular with potato dishes
- Älplermagronen, which is an all in one dish that can have pasta, onions, potatoes and ham or bacon
- Polenta, which is a flour and cornmeal dish
- Meat pies
- Rivella which is a popular carbonated swiss drink
- Apple juice, both sparkling and regular
- Ovomaltine, which is malt flavored chocolate powder that you can mix into milk. It has a bunch of vitamins and minerals added to it as well. It can be in a spread form as well for breads.
- Riesling X Sylvander white wine, Chasselas white wine, Pinot Noir and and Merlots are all popular wines. Beer and wine can be purchased at age 16, an liquor at age 18.
- Here are some more:
Spending time with Grandma and Uncle, enjoying coffee, cake and cookies
Spinach salad with cheese, cranberries and french dressing. The dressing is most always served on the salad.
A close up of the spinach salad
Rösti on the left and Zürcher Geseschnetzeltes or in the SwissGerman dialect, Zürigschnetzlets. Zürcher Geseschnetzeltes is little veal pieces cooked in a cream sauce.
Älplermagronen here made with pasta, cheese and ham slices
Again the Älplermagronen with some very tasty spiced chicken and a little salad mix with french dressing.
Rösti and Zürcher Geseschnetzeltes.
For dessert we have some cookies, chocolates and nuts
After dinner Schnapps!
Chicken, salad and sliced potatoes
Mini strawberry pies filled with whipped cream. You would say Erdbeertürtchen or in the SwissGerman dialect, Erdbeertürtli
Chicken pieces with a rice mound, carrots and peas…..In German you would say: Reis mit Geschnetzeltem, Erbsen und Karrotten or in the SwissGerman dialect: Riis mit Gschnetzlets, Ärbsli und Rüebli
Chicken, cheesy potatoes, corn, grilled zucchini, mozzarella cheese with tomatoes and balsamic vinaigrette.
Another version of Älplermagronen. Bread is usually served with dinner. I love the taste of french dressing so much I requested to have it to dip my bread in. To drink you can see some some SonnenBrau beer, fizzy orange juice, and Rivella.
A family lunch gathering. For appetizers we have parmesan cheese with cantaloupe fruit. To drink we have Bernecker Rosenberg Wine and Halden Krom beer, iced tea and sparkling water
Notice that the Swiss eat with two hands. The knife is in the right hand and the fork is always in the left hand, unlike American’s who eat with just a fork in the right hand. I tried to eat this way, and it took some time to learn. Note: It is easier to cut with a knife than a fork! 🙂
Our dinner at the family gathering. Salad again (can you see a trend with the salads?), grilled chicken, potatoes, fresh vegetables, green beans, and some yummy bread
Now we come to the very popular dish in Switzerland….Raclette! This was my first time with the raclette experience, it was a very interactive meal. Raclette cheese is a special type of cheese made from cows that is used for melting. This is how it works….You sit with your favorite people around a table surrounding a plethora of toppings such as onions, cocktail onions, pineapples, pickles, ham, cocktail sauce, tarter sauce, paprika, gherkins, bananas……
you are served a boiled potato and on the raclette grills you can a variety of meat such as grill bacon, chicken and beef pieces….
You place the raclette cheese under the hot grill in the little plates.
Some more meat being grilled and some fun being had!
It is an interactive process, once the meat is done you can put it on your potato or eat it on the side.
Once the cheese has been melted you pore it all over your potato, and top with meat and any topping, and sauce you would like.
You can see that this plate has a potato with melted raclette cheese, pepper, onions, ham, pineapple and cocktail sauce on the side. Raclette is obviously not the healthiest meal to have, but it is usually only eaten on special occasions and especially in the Christmas season/winter time/ski season. It was a lot of fun and a great experience!
My next and last blog will be about my Out and About experiences in Switzerland with food!