The Foods of Switzerland

Swiss cuisine bears witness to many regional influences, including from French, German and Italian cuisine and also features many dishes specific to Switzerland. Switzerland was historically a country of farmers, so traditional Swiss dishes tend to be plain and made from simple ingredients, such as potatoes and cheese.

Basic food items:

Food, ingredients and the way to prepare it varies greatly all over the country. Generally speaking, basic food items include a huge selection of bread (white, whole wheat etc.), dairy products such as milk, yogurt, butter and - of course - a great variety of the world famous Swiss cheese. Also important are vegetables including beans, carrots, cauliflower, potatoes, spinach etc. Sausages and meat - mainly veal, beef, pork, chicken or turkey - are served in many different ways: grilled, cooked, sliced or cut. Side dishes include French fries, rice, potatoes and different types of pasta. Fruits are available from all over the world, locally grown fruits include apples, pears, grapes and different types of berries, such as black berries, blueberries, raspberries, red currants and strawberries. Finally, there are a lot of sweets, including the second type of food that Switzerland is world famous for: Swiss chocolate.

What do people eat and drink:
In Switzerland, breakfast typically includes bread, butter or margarine, marmalade or honey, maybe some cheese or cereals, plus milk, cold or hot chocolate, tea or coffee.

Lunch may be as simple as a sandwich or a bircherm├╝esli or it could be a complete meal.

Depending on what people had for lunch, dinner can be a full main course or just some bread, cheese, maybe some dried meat or any other light meal.

Drinks range from plain water, over different types of soft drinks including most internationally well known brands plus some local products, to a great variety of beers and wines. Hot drinks include many different flavors of tea and coffee.

Going out to eat:
There are many different places to go out to eat in Switzerland. It starts with fast food, such as burger, fish and chips etc., continues with self service restaurants and what people in the U.S. use to call a family restaurant where you get all the regular menus and ends with spectacular (and very expensive) restaurants, where to eat is supposed to be an "experience".

Food is quite expensive in Switzerland, at least compared to most European countries and especially compared to the U.S. If you go to a fast food place, you may easily spend up to CHF 10 for a burger, a soft drink and a coffee. In a family restaurant, a menu will cost somewhere between CHF 15 and 50, self service restaurants are somewhat less expensive. At a more fancy restaurant, one can spend as much as CHF 1000 just for a bottle of wine ...

Common menus include a great variety of pasta, potatoes prepared in many different ways, vegetables, meat (veal, beef, pork, and chicken), fish (mainly fresh water fish), but also seafood. Vegetarian menus have become more popular during the last few years, most restaurants provide at least one vegetarian menu as a main course. In addition, salad is very popular as well. The most important part of course is dessert. This includes cheese, but even more important any flavor of cakes or cookies.