Switzerland’s culinary landscape is as diverse and rich as its cultural heritage, offering a palate-pleasing array of traditional dishes that are a must-try for any visitor.

ByAndrea Thompson

April 4, 2024

It always amazes when travelling to other countries hardly anyone knows their traditional dishes.  So our top ten from Switzerland.

Fondue

Originally a peasant dish, it was a way to use up hardened cheese and stale bread during the winter.  Fondue mans “to melt”.  Around the 19th century fondue was considered to be Switzerland’s national dish.  Today, it is a must-have for any local or visitor to the country from autumn to spring. Dunk rustic country bread into melted cheeses infused with lashings of wine and garlic, paired with a cold glass of wine or schnapps chaser, an epic winter meal.

Chocolate

Swiss residents eat a stunning 23 pounds of chocolate per year per person on average—and one taste of high-quality Swiss chocolate, and you’ll understand why. Characterised by its smooth, richness, and high-quality ingredients.  Pioneers like François-Louis Cailler, who opened the first mechanical chocolate factory to Philippe Suchard and Rodolphe Lindt.  All of whom are global names in chocolate.

Papet Vaudois

A traditional dish from Swiss Canton of Vaud, consists of  mashed leeks and potatoes that are stewed for hours. The result is an earthy, onion-tinged mixture that makes the perfect root bed for a Saucisson Vaudois (fat crimson sausage, unique to the canton of Vaud) the perfect winter comfort food.

Rosti

A dish deeply rooted in the country’s farming traditions and an iconic national dish. Though no one knows when the first rosti was cooked-up, farmers in the canton of Bern would traditionally eat it for breakfast. It is now found throughout the country and across mealtimes consisting of grated potatoes, butter and cooked until crisp and golden.  Despite its simplicity it is very popular  side dish to accompany meals.

Basler Mehlsuppe

It was once said that a girl from Basel could not marry until she knew how to make roasted flour soup. There are countless ways to make the dish, but basically, it is simply flour, butter, onion and beef stock, topped with a grating of Gruyere. Legend has it the soup was created when a distracted cook was chatting away, leaving flour cooking in a pot until accidentally browned. Rather than ditch the mishap, it was turned into a dish that has endured and typically eaten during Basel’s festival celebrations.

Raclette

Hailing from the canton of Valais, Raclette is a local cheese customarily grilled slowly over a fire, with layer-by-melted-layer sliced off to blanket boiled potatoes, pickles and onions. The name means “to scrape” which is precisely how the melted cheese is served.

Älplermagronen

Often referred to as the Alpine farmer’s macaroni. This hearty and rustic dish hails from the Alpine regions of Switzerland. It’s a comforting meal that combines the creaminess of macaroni and cheese with the earthy flavours of potatoes.

Bratwurst

Closely associated with German-speaking Switzerland, Bratwurst is another common menu item. Bratwurst has a long history, with the first documented evidence dating back to 1313 in the Franconian city of Nuremberg, which is still famous for its Bratwurst production today.

Biberli

Appenzeller biberli, is a delightful Swiss confection that has been cherished for generations.   A dark gingerbread cookie stamped with folk designs that range from simple to very intricate scenes, legendary figures or local symbols.

Tartiflette

France, Italy, and Switzerland all lay claim to the Tartiflette, a savoury pie developed in the Haute-Savoie, near the shared border. Its principal ingredient is Reblochon cheese.  Enjoyed during the colder months or after a days skiing, this is a meal that warms you from the inside out.

Whether dining in a cosy mountain chalet or a sophisticated city restaurant, indulging in these traditional Swiss foods is an experience that connects you to the heart of Switzerland’s culinary traditions.