Saturday, March 26, 2011

Glorious Swiss Food

Carbs.  Ya gotta love 'em.  At least if you're traveling in Switzerland's heartland.  This is the German part of the country and good hearty fare is the rule of the day.  

My first Swiss meal was in the small town of Giswil at the Bahnhof Hotel, across the street from the train station.  They specialize in traditional Swiss cuisine, which does not include a lot of vegetarian selections unless you like beets and brussel sprouts.  So, I tended to stay away from the salad bar. 

Älpermagronen became a favorite of mine. It's the Alpine farmer's mac and cheese.  Macaroni, potatoes (yeah, all in one dish --carb heaven!), onions, cream and Gruyere cheese served with applesauce on the side.  I never was sure what the proper way to eat the applesauce was, so often ended up spooning it over the Älpermagronen. It might not have been the way the Swiss eat it, but it was delicious and something I would never think of doing at home.  

Another popular dish in Switzerland is rösti.  Rösti is basically hash browns covered in melted cheese and served with sausage.  On Mt. Schilthorn I found a vegetarian version: rösti with vegetable bouquet and sour cream.  Notice the brussell sprouts. 

In Lauterbrunnen, hard apple cider was ordered and arrived at the table in a fancy bottle.  Notice the line on the right side of the wine glass?  Wine in Switzerland is ordered by the deciliter.  It arrives at your table in a clear glass carafe which has the measurements clearly marked on it.  The correct amount is then poured into your glass leaving no room for anyone to complain to the bartender that they've been cheated.

This was my favorite meal the entire trip: rösti again, but this time served with poached eggs and slices of tomatoes on top of the hash browns and then smothered in delicious Alpine cheese.  And no brussel sprouts!

Ever wonder where meringue was invented?  In Switzerland!  In the town of Meiringen which sounds like meringue when pronounced correctly.  Meiringen was a favorite town of Sir Arthur Conan  Doyle and I'm sure he must have sampled an ice cream sunday topped with meringue and a cookie.

No trip to Switzerland is complete without sampling fondue.  In Spiez we ate at a wonderful restaurant with a beautiful view of Lake Thun (pronounced Toon) and enjoyed cheese fondue.  The fondue usually includes a mixture of several different cheeses and is served with crusty bread.

Of course there was lots of chocolate.  The Swiss invented milk chocolate, which is my favorite.

No matter how delicious the food, after two weeks, I'm always happy to see something familiar.  In this instance it was an English pub in Lucerne that served fish and chips.  What wasn't familiar was the price.  Eating out in Switzerland is expensive.  This plate (1 piece of fish and fries) was the equivalent of $25.

But where else can you watch swans swimming under a 600 year old bridge while you eat?

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