It’s no secret that Vince and I miss Singaporean food, and we are always trying to re-create them ourselves in the kitchen. Much as we remain nostalgic for SG snacks and tzechar dishes, there are some incredibly delicious Swiss food that we’ve acquired taste for, and loved ever since!
Right, your usual Swiss food like chocolate and cheeses are part of the list. But wait…THERE’S MORE!
I’m mindful that this list of top 10 Swiss food is not fully representative of the country’s cuisine or food preferences, since my food experience is largely limited to within the Swiss-Romande region. Definitely, there are tons of other cultural Swiss food delights in the German and Italian regions. This is just a first humble attempt to pick out and share some of my personal favourites after 1.5 years of living in Lausanne, and hopefully in time I get to taste more local food from other Swiss regions!
So here they are, and in no particular order: The top 10 Swiss food that I LOVE and would (absolutely recommend)!
1. Zweifel Paprika Chips
This is the Swiss food equivalent for Irvin’s Salted Egg Yolk potato chips, and hands-down my absolute favourite SWISS JUNK FOOD: What an oxymoron!
I don’t know what kind of sorcery goes inside this bag of chips, but it’s sooooo freaking addictive, I can easily wipe off an entire 380g pack on my own while watching Netflix.
When I first arrived in Switzerland, I’d noticed that at Migros (Switzerland’s version of Fairprice), they hardly ever stock other brands of chips. Brands like Ruffles, Calbee, Twisties, Lays…Well, they simply don’t exist here! What you have instead are rows and rows of these Zweifel chips. There’s other flavours like mustard, provencale, salt & vinegar… but trust me, this paprika version tastes DA BEST. Every time there’s a 40% off promo, without a doubt I’d make a dash for it.
Ask any Swiss from the 80s or 90s what is their favourite soft-drink, and they will probably chime Rivella in unison!
When you see Migros selling Rivella right smack at its entrance with a giant ACTION side, that’s when you know that this drink is a huge household favourite.
It contains 25-35% milk whey, along with lactose and other micro-nutrients: Sounds pretty strange to me to have a soda made from MILK, but at least it’s much healthier than Coca-Cola!
Rivella is all the rage during summer, especially for hiking, picnics, or after a sweaty workout. I like drinking the classic red version, but there’s also the blue low-calorie versioin, green tea, mango and even a RHUBARB flavoured one!
3. Lemon Tea
While we Singaporeans have our Pokka ice-lemon tea, the Swiss have their own Migros Ice Tea! Highly iconic with its blue stripes, this is the only other beverage (apart from Rivella) that has attained almost cult-like status in Switzerland: You will always find the locals stocking up boxes of it in their shopping carts.
Taste-wise, I actually prefer this to Pokka’s version, because you get a stronger taste of the brewed tea, and it’s less sweet too.
4. Tresse au Beurre
Braided bread (Tresse au beurre in French, Zopf in Swiss German) is also known colloquially as the “Sunday-bread”, because it’s traditionally eaten by Swiss families on Sunday mornings. It contains milk and butter, which gives the bread this lovely, soft texture. We love to add our own Singaporean twist to it by toasting it and slapping on generous portions of kaya!
5. Tête de Moine
Tête de Moine (which literally means monk’s head in French) is a semi-hard cheese made from sweet, alpine milk by Abbey monks in the Jura region. The cheese is traditionally shaved with a Girolle blade, and it produces this strange-looking yet beautiful rosettes! Tête de moine makes fabulous aperitifs. We often serve it with other cheeses like Gruyere AOP, as well as cured meats.
6. Lamb’s Lettuce (Rampon)
Recently, NParks distributed seeds like kang kong, chinese cabbage and ladies fingers to Singaporean households to encourage indoor gardening. Well, if the Swiss government does likewise, 90% chances are that they will distribute lamb’s lettuce (rampon in French, nüsslisalat in Swiss German) seeds!
Lamb’s lettuce was once a humble weed among cereal crops in Europe. These little leaves are the Swiss’ preferred leafy greens for making their salads. Likewise for us, it has now become a weekly staple in our diet! There are some days when we feel like we’d eaten too much meat, and we’d switch to having some tossed rampon salad for our lunch or dinner.
Rampon has this very distinct nutty flavour: Add in some good quality olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sprinkle some mozzarella cheese at the top and it tastes impeccable!
I’d never really consumed much youghurt (yaourt in French) in the past, but I’d been eating it more frequently for my breakfast nowadays, because it’s one of the rare food items that’s actually cheaper than in Singapore. 1kg of yaourt costs just about $2.40 CHF, whereas it goes up by 3 times to $8.65SGD, for an equivalent of Farmers’ Union Greek Yoghurt at NTUC Fairprice!
According to my friend’s mother, you should always choose Coop’s Qualité & Prix natural yaourt because is the tastiest and creamiest. One of the best Swiss food advice I’d received!
8. Swiss Wine
Swiss wine is the nation’s best kept secret: Only 1% of it are exported, while the rest are all consumed domestically. In 2018 alone, the Swiss drank 38 bottles of wine per capita!
Vince is morphing into a wine connaisseur ever since settling into Switzerland, and we buy wine by the crates. The Chassela-blanc is the regional specialty produced in the Lavaux vineyards, with our favourite being the Mont-sur-Rolle Les Merveilles. Light with soft fondant, citrus notes, it’s great for pairing with seafood and other soft cheeses, and also comes at an affordable price-point, below 10CHF. Even better!
9. Mövenpick Icecream
While the kid in me still pines for the good old-school $1 potong icecream back in Singapore, Mövenpick is the national icecream of Switzerland, so of course we try to enjoy as much of this scrumptious alpine treat while living here!
We especially love Mövenpick icecream for its extra-creamy texture. The few flavours that we will never get tired of are salted caramel macademia, pistachio and dark chocolate!
They recently released a new Sensations series with flavours like Cold Brewed Coffee Chocolate and Vanilla Brownie. I bought two tubs yesterday and they’re all calling out for me from my fridge already 😀
10. (But of course) Chocolates!
As far as Swiss food to buy is concerned, you will never go wrong with milk chocolate! And for that, Frey, Lindt and Cailler are the three most beloved Swiss chocolatiers. I’m Team Cailler through and through: Their milk chocolate with hazelnuts are my favourite.
We always stock up a mix of dark and milk chocolates in the pantry, and they are simply perfect for making sinful chocolate-heaven snacks like fudgy brownies and chocolate chip cookies!
So there you have it, my take on the top 10 Swiss food! I hope this post has helped shed some light on Swiss cuisine and popular local snacks. For friends and family back home: Now you’d know what are sort of treats we’d probably bring back for you guys to try when we return!
If you are a Swiss or a fellow local expat, I’d also love to hear from you about your favourite Swiss food. Are there any that I’d missed out, that tastes even better than those I’d shared? Share with me down in the comments below!
Note: All products mentioned in this post can be found in your neighbourhood Coop or Migros!