Swiss food revolves largely around cheese, and many visitors understandably try some fondue when in the country. This national dish consists almost entirely of cheese, which is melted with white wine and seasoned with things like lemon juice, garlic, paprika, and pepper. Fondue is very much a social dish, in that people surround the pot of melted cheese and dip bread into it using long forks. Bread isn't the only thing that can be dipped in fondue. The Swiss often dunk grapes, cubes of ham, olives, shrimp, apples, and other things into their fondue pots. No trip to Switzerland would be complete without trying fondue, nor would it be complete without indulging in some chocolate.
Like Belgium, Switzerland is known for its chocolate. These two countries produce some of the best chocolate in the world, and the Swiss have been making it since the 1700s. It wasn't until the end of the nineteenth century that the country earned its chocolate reputation, however. By the late 1800s, tempering, conching, and other modern techniques for making chocolate were employed, increasing the level of quality. One of the Swiss food heroes is Daniel Peter, who was a renowned chocolatier of his time. In 1875, Peter made the world's first chocolate bar. Peter also played a major role in the invention of milk chocolate. He was one of two men who founded the Nestle Company, which is one of the world's most successful international food companies. From Geneva to Davos, chocolate shops abound in Switzerland, so finding one won't be hard. The duty free shops at the country's various airports are full of it as well, so visitors can stock up before catching their planes home. It isn't all about chocolate when it comes to the food in Switzerland, but it's surely something that many visitors seek out most.
In terms of cheese, Switzerland is known the world wide for its varieties. Among the most popular, and most highly copied, are Emmenthal (Swiss Cheese) and Gruyere. These two cheeses are often used in tandem with local cheeses when making fondue. Cheese making has been a Swiss food tradition for centuries on end, starting as far back as the Roman times. Fondue is usually named as the national dish, though one could also make an argument for raclette. This is a type of cheese and a term that applies to the process of melting any number of cheeses in an oven or over an open fire. Both raclette and fondue hit the spot during the cold winter months, especially after a day spent skiing the slopes of the majestic Swiss Alps. In the Swiss Alps, warming up with some alplermagronen is also an option. This traditional dish features a mix of potatoes, melted cheese, macaroni, onions, and small pieces of bacon. Applesauce often accompanies alplermagronen.
Getting some good food in Switzerland is made easy by the fact that the country is home to an array of excellent restaurants. Some of the best can be found at luxury hotels, though some mid and lower-range hotels also feature good restaurants that can keep guests satisfied during their stay. These days, the Switzerland restaurants offer every kind of international cuisine. For some time, the food scene was heavily tied to Italian, German, and French cuisine. The various regions of the country still exhibit the culinary tendencies of the neighboring countries, though there are some dishes that are popular throughout the land. One of them is Rosti, which consists of grated and fried potatoes. Butter, fat, salt, pepper, and oil are often used when making Rosti. Whereas Rosti used to be the country's most popular breakfast food, it is now eaten at all times of day. Muesli has essentially taken over the role of chief breakfast food when it comes to Swiss cuisine. This energy-providing cereal consists of oats, nuts, and fruit.
The various regions, or cantons, in Switzerland tend to have their own special dishes, and visitors are encouraged to explore the local culinary scenes while traveling through this beautiful land. In the German speaking areas, Zuri gschnatzeltes is a popular dish. It features Rosti, which is often paired with strips of veal that have been cooked in a cream and mushroom sauce. Zurich is just one destination where you can expect to find Switzerland restaurants that serve this dish. Heading south to the Italian-influenced parts of Switzerland, pasta and pizza are in good supply. While visiting Italian-speaking Lugano, those who are hoping to enjoy everything that the Swiss food scene has to offer will want to visit a Grotto. These rustic eateries, which are usually fashioned out of stone, are generally intimate and inviting, especially during the warmer summer months. Traditional Italian fare is on offer at the various Grottos of southern Switzerland.
Many Switzerland restaurants feature award-winning chefs who are helping to keep the country's dining scene fresh and exciting. The country ranks number two in the world in terms of chefs per capita who have been awarded Michelin Guide stars. This fact alone makes the notion of dining in Switzerland a very attractive one. While searching for a good place to get some food in Switzerland, those who are interested in enjoying some haute cuisine will be in luck, as the country's fine dining establishments are in good number. While enjoying some good food at the Switzerland restaurants, guests can also indulge in some good wine. Switzerland has been making wine for centuries, and the Ticino, Valais, Vaud, and Zurich cantons are the most renowned wine making regions. Chasselas, which is a white wine, and Pinot Noir, which employs red grapes, figure among the most popular wines made in Switzerland. Merlot is also popular, especially in the Italian-speaking region of Ticino.