Breakfast and snacks in Switzerland
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Most Swiss eat their breakfast at home, and it’s not that much different in essence from the kind of fare served up in hotels (above the very cheapest establishments anyway). Hotel breakfasts tend to take the form of substantial buffets of juices, butter croissants, fresh-baked crusty bread, a choice of hard and soft cheeses, boiled eggs, an array of cold meats and salamis, and tea or coffee. At more expensive places you’ll also find a range of muesli and cereals with lashings of fresh milk, but despite marketing techniques across most of the world extolling the Alpine virtues of Swiss muesli – Dr Bircher-Benner of Zürich invented muesli at the end of the nineteenth century to serve to patients at his health clinic – the Swiss themselves seem to steer clear of the stuff at breakfast, a few older mountain folk instead indulging in a bowl of cold Birchermuesli (a stomach-lining porridge with plenty of fruit and rich yoghurt already mixed in) in the afternoon or even at night with bread and milk.

Bread is different from canton to canton, but as a rule you’ll find light, white breads in the French- and Italian-speaking regions, and more substantial loaves in the German-speaking cantons: Basel’s double loaf is thick and doughy, Zürich’s drier and oval shaped, and so on. Rye bread abounds in Graubünden (Poschiavo’s is flavoured with aniseed) and in the Valais, where nuts are often added. The Emmental has its own delectable Züpfe, a plaited white loaf rich with milk.

In the towns and larger resorts, you’ll have no trouble finding chances to snack on the universal standbys of burgers, pizza slices, kebabs and falafels. You’ll also find various different kinds of sausage (Wurst, saucisse, salsiccia) around the country served as chargrilled fast food in a warmed breadroll with mustard; the similarity with limp US-style hotdogs is purely cosmetic. The most popular are pork Bratwürste, but you may also find smoked Frankfurterli and Wienerli, Blutwurst made from black pudding (blood), and Leberwurst or liver sausage. One seasonal treat, in late autumn and winter, are delicious and filling roast chestnuts (Marroni, marrons, marroni) sold by street vendors countrywide.

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