Switzerland is a country rich with incredible vistas plus a commitment to excellent (and locally sourced) eats and drinks. The country’s varied and visually stunning geography creates the ideal conditions for producing a number of delicious treats, including fine cheese, chocolate, whisky and meats. Read on for a regional guide to unforgettable food and drink in Switzerland.
Tucked into a northeastern corner of Switzerland, the Appenzell region is home to a memorable way to sample local spirits. Sprinkled within the mountain inns of this ruggedly beautiful region lie casks of uniquely crafted whiskey. Pair a day of scenic hiking with a reviving glass of whisky served in a mountain inn and you’ll find the perfect antidote for whatever ails you.
Central Switzerland is home to Obwalden, a region that includes portions of several picturesque lakes, including the twisting and turning Lake Lucerne. Obwalden is a great place to try some quintessential Swiss comfort food, including alplermagronen, a creamy dish of macaroni, cheese, roasted potatoes and onions that will put your mother’s mac-n-cheese to shame.
Another bite to enjoy while in central Switzerland is a taste of sbrinz, the region’s signature cheese. Sbrinz is an extra hard, dense cheese that offers a rich, full fat taste and a pleasantly salty bite. You can find large wheels of sbrinz around the country, but it’s best to purchase some close to the source at a local cheese shop in one of Obwalden’s towns. Be sure to buy a wheel and some fresh fruit for a picnic at Älggi-Alp, the geographical center of Switzerland. The spot includes ample room for picnickers and barbeque facilities, which allows for a restorative and memorable DIY meal.
This western region of Switzerland includes several well-known towns, like Gruyères. Enjoy a self-guided hike through the areas that make up the “Cheese Trails” and be sure to sample some locally indulgent fondue at a cozy cafe in the town.
For a sweeter bite, be sure to visit Nestle’s Cailler factory in the town of Broc. Far more than a place to purchase their delicious chocolates, the Cailler factory also offers education on the history and culture of chocolate making in Switzerland. Finish your visit with a taste of freshly made chocolates, then take stroll and refresh your palate with a beer in a local pub.
Vaud is another western region of Switzerland and is the third largest region (or “canton”) by geographic size. Vaud is also one of the largest producers of Swiss wine, second only to coastal Valais. Like much of the country, Vaud produces both red and white wine. Many of the vineyards are clustered along the sunny slopes above Lake Geneva, which makes a trip to this wine country a splurge for both the eyes and palate. While you’re here, try pairing a glass of crisp Pinot Gris with this region’s signature dish, the indulgent papet Vaudois. Created from a bed of stewed, mashed leeks and adorned with the area’s signature plump red sausage, saucisson Vaudois, this dish is hearty, unique and utterly Swiss.
The southwestern coast of Switzerland boasts impressive mountain views, alongside a culture of wine and fine, handcrafted meats. The imposing scenery also contains ample fields for free range animals. Enjoy an unforgettable meal in in the rustic setting of world famous Chez Vrony, located in the town of Findeln. This slopeside cafe, and others in Valais, offer homemade sausages and fresh burgers made with grass-fed beef.
Valais is also a great place to enjoy raclette, a deliriously tasty cheese dish made by heating cheese over an open flame and scraping the soft cheese onto a plate. The name of the dish comes from the French word for racler, meaning “to scrape off.” You can enjoy raclette on its own or with dark bread, pickles or boiled potatoes for a slightly heartier meal. While in Valais, be sure to pair every dish you try with a taste of locally produced wine. Valais is the top producer of Swiss wine thanks to the grape friendly climes of the Upper Rhone valley. With multifaceted, full-bodied whites and deep, rich reds, wine in Valais truly offers something for every palate.
Plan Your Getaway to Switzerland
With a rugged, appealing landscape and amazing cuisine Switzerland is a must-visit spot for the wandering soul. Enjoy creating your own food adventure in Switzerland and allow your belly and spirit, to get completely satisfied.
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