All in Swiss Sides

Polenta Dumplings

Polenta Dumplings

Marianne Kaltenbach lists these Polentaknödel as a Bündner speciality in her Aus Schweizer Küchen and drizzles her final, already cheese strewn, product with an espresso cup's worth of melted butter.

Polenta

Polenta

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. 

Teufelseier

Teufelseier

As early as Roman times filled eggs were served as a first course for wealthy diners. Through the ages they have been enjoyed all over Europe with numerous filling variations including: cheese, raisins, herring, anchovies and even caviar. The Swiss version is like a bacon and egg breakfast with christmas spices.

Zitronensalat

Zitronensalat

According to the excellent cookbook, Kochen wie im alten Bern (loosely translated as Cook Like They Did in Old Bern), in the 1700s there was hardly a Swiss cookbook that didn't mention some sort of Zitronensalat (lemon salad).

Glazed Chestnuts

Glazed Chestnuts

Starting from the first crisp autumn days, the city of Bern is filled with the wafting aroma of chestnut vendors selling bags of the roasted nuts. For farmers, chestnut season is typically from October to December, but the street vendors stretch this time out as long as possible, selling them well into the new year (I don't mind).

Rotkohl

Rotkohl

Hildegard von Bingen wrote that red cabbage generates maladies in humans and injures weak intestines. However, in the Middle Ages, the point of contention seemed to be the colour of the plant, rather than its distressing intestinal side effects. The cabbage was known as red, Rotkohl, in certain parts of the German speaking realm, and blue, Blaukohl, in others. At the time, the German language lacked the term for purplelila, and things that today seem very obviously purple, like this cabbage, were categorized as either red or blue.  

 

Spätzli

Spätzli

I'm sure my mother never tired of my requests for spätzli when I was a child. She would boil them up and serve them warm, with a saucy, meaty stew. It was a dish that managed to seem both exotic and familiar. Most other families I knew didn't make spätzli, and yet it wasn't so different from dumplings or the ubiquitous pirogy.