Swiss Cuisine

When Holland-born Peter Bergstein became a naturalized U.S. citizen, he celebrated by riding his motorcycle from his home in Lubbock, Texas, to the Statue of Liberty in New York City. In addition to motorcycling, he also enjoys sailing, fly-fishing, and skiing. Peter Bergstein especially enjoys taking his family to Switzerland, where he indulges both his passion for skiing and his love of Swiss cuisine.

Switzerland’s cuisine reflects its strong agricultural traditions and often features potatoes, grain, and cheese. Fondue is perhaps the dish most frequently associated with Switzerland. It most commonly consists of a mixture of melted gruyere and emmentaler cheese with garlic, white wine, and sometimes other ingredients, served in a small pot called a caquelon that sits over a flame to keep it hot. The Swiss eat fondue by using long-handled forks to dip chunks of seasoned bread. A very popular variation of the fondue method is to dip fresh fruits, such as strawberries, into chocolate that has been melted in the pot.

Another traditionally Swiss dish is rosti, a small fried or baked breakfast pancake made of shredded potato and sometimes other ingredients such as bacon, cheese, onion, or even apple. Another popular Swiss breakfast is muesli, often called birchermuesli in honor of its inventor, Dr. Maximilian Bircher-Benner, who developed the cereal, fruit, and vegetable mixture around 1900.

Zurchergeschnetzeltes, made of small veal strips, sliced mushrooms, and cream, is a favorite entrée, especially when served with rosti. Further, the Swiss make a famous bread called Zopf, very similar to the Jewish challah, a braided loaf made with flour, milk, and butter, and brushed with an egg-and-oil mixture to make a nice glaze. For dessert, bundnemusstorte is a pie-shaped pastry with a filling of chopped nuts, cream, and caramelized sugar.


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