All in Classic Swiss Recipes
Schinken im Teig
Schinken im Teig just means ham in dough.
The Swiss love wrapping their meat in dough, whether it be a light, flaky pastry or a thick, chewy bread crust. Sometimes the pork is first studded with dried fruit and carefully wrapped with bacon.
This impressive, golden encrusted meat is often served for special occasions or Sunday dinner.
With a few humble ingredients you can make this classic dish from canton Uri—pear mashed potatoes, crowned with onions.
There is a persistent rumour that the dish is indeed named for the disease Cholera, after a particularly bad outbreak in the 1830. People in the Wallis stayed home to avoid contamination and were forced to use things they already had in their larder and gardens to feed their families.
More likely, however, is that it's named after the glowing coal in the fireplace where the pan would have sat to bake.
Grittibänz, sweet doughy bread boys, are the featured baked good to go along with the visit from Samichlaus.
Tarte au Vin Cuit
The name is misleading—vin cuit (cooked wine) is actually a thick syrup made from boiling down pears, sometimes apples, and rarely grapes, until they become dark, sweet, sticky, and molasses-y. Traditionally, this was done in big copper pots over open fires.
Apple juice naturally ferments after a few days, so it wasn't until until the early 1900s when pasteurization made it possible for a non-alcoholic version to be stored and sold at market. Süssmost then became popular with children and athletes...and the government, who was trying to combat alcoholism.
When I asked Sam about his favourite Swiss summer dishes the classic, meaty, Siedfleischsalat was at the top of his list.
While it does take some time to make perfectly creamy and tender polenta, it doesn't require the labour-intensive work that is often associated with the dish. You don't have to constantly stir for an entire hour. You just need to frequently stir for about 45 minutes.
Aunt Vreni's Birchermüesli
With the mercury just over 30°C at the moment, it's certainly too hot to cook, and luckily my Aunt Vreni recently gave me her super quick and easy recipe for Birchermüesli.
Turta da Nuschs
Wandering bakers ventured forth from Graubünden and eventually made it home—then baked this delicious caramel and walnut tart.
Wähe makes an excellent breakfast, lunch or dinner and whether sweet or savoury, it's a great way to use up any sort of surplus—fruit, vegetable, or a pile of mystery cheese in your cheese box.
Holunderblütensirup (elderflower syrup) is a syrup of many uses. In Switzerland it is added with abandon to sparking water, wine or cocktails (Hugo) for a light and floral summery taste. There is Holunderblütencreme and you can even batter and fry the blossoms.
They weren't kidding when they said there were as many versions of Capuns as there are grandmothers in Graubünden.
Capuns are basically a kind of dumpling, wrapped in greens, and simmered in milk or cream.
Have some dried pears? Make your own Schlorzi!
My grandmother was an expert mushroom hunter. She would take morning hikes through the forest, collect them in an old wicker basket, and then make Pastetli with mushroom filling for lunch. The secret of which mushrooms to pick was then passed on to my aunt and cousin.
Because mushrooms can definitely kill you.
There are 150 valleys in the canton of Graubünden and each probably has a different version of this, the region's most famous soup.
Different meats and vegetables can be used, but the unchanging ingredient is pearl barley, and it's the texture of the barley that makes this soup particularly satisfying.
Schnitz und Drunder
The name Schnitz und Drunder (which to me evokes a metal song or German comedy duo) varies from region to region, but the contents are basically the same—potatoes, dried fruit, and often bacon or smoked meat.
Plain in Pigna
Wikipedia describes it as:
...a Swiss dish consisting mainly of potatoes, in the style of a fritter.
Rösti is my nemesis.
Swiss families celebrate the sixth of January, Epiphany, by eating Dreikönigskuchen. This holiday celebrates the three kings finally reaching Bethlehem, and so a small plastic king figurine is baked into the bread. Whoever finds it is king for the day.
In Switzerland there typically isn't a set food to eat during the holidays, but somewhere between Christmas and New Year most Swiss families eat a fondue. Whether Cheese or Chinoise, forks are dipped.