When embarking on a European city break, there are many things that may make their way onto your itinerary. You may want to visit some of the local art galleries, you might want to explore a museum or two and you may even want to take a trip to the zoo, but one thing that should definitely be on your list is dining in some great restaurants. Even if you don't necessarily think of eating as part of the holiday experience, it is something you have to do anyway so why not use it as another way to explore your destination?
Every country has its own national dishes that the locals love to prepare and eat. In the UK, it's fish and chips, pie and mash or a hearty roast dinner, but what should you try when travelling during your holiday in Switzerland?
Potato rosti are found throughout countries such as Germany, Austria and Switzerland and make a great side dish to whatever it is you have ordered. Word has it that these fried discs of grated potato were traditionally eaten for breakfast by farmers in Bern, but now they can be found on the menu for lunch and dinner too. Valais is a Swiss region just outside of Geneva and their version is more of a main dish than one which is served with something else. The grated potato forms a base which is then fried, topped with bacon, cheese and a fried egg and served with pickles or a salad.
Translated as Bernese Platter, this is a great dish to try if you are really hungry or if you’re sharing with others. That’s if you can even call it a dish; as it’s more like an entire feast. Featuring a range of different meats, along with potatoes and sauerkraut, the Berner Platte originates from when the Bernese army defeated the French in 1798. To celebrate, all of the farmers brought everything they could lay their hands on to a giant feast and that’s why you can expect to find many different types of beef and pork on this plate.
If there’s one thing that you have to try at least once before you leave Switzerland, it has to be a cheese fondue. Literally everything is made better by smothering it in cheese and when you add tiny sticks and a large melting pot you have the recipe for joy. The fondue creates a feeling of community and togetherness; as each person takes their turn to dunk a piece of rustic bread into the cheesy, garlicky, winey goodness. If you get the chance to choose which cheese you have, opt for a mix of Gruyère and vacherin and you won’t be disappointed.
This rich, sweet dessert can be found all over the canton of Graubűnden, hence the name. Like most local delicacies, each person who makes it will tweak the recipe to ensure it’s unique to them, but the basis is a shortcrust pastry filled with chopped nuts and caramelised sugar. A small piece of this with a cup of tea is the perfect way to round off a meal.
Found in gift shops and supermarkets all over the Swiss city of Basel, these spiced biscuits make an excellent souvenir. They may not be a dish as such, but it is still worth trying these little bundles of sweetness whilst you are in the country. The almonds and kirsch that are included as ingredients, along with hazelnuts, honey and candied peel, give Läckerli a flavour similar to a Bakewell tart. It’s no surprise that their name comes from a German word meaning delicious.
If you want to try any of these dishes for yourself, we have many different Swiss holidays for you to choose from. Cities like Zurich, Geneva, Bern and Basel are just the start of what we can offer in this fantastic country.