Moving to Zurich last year was an exciting journey for both me and my stomach. Being the capital of a multilingual and cultural country, Zurich’s food scene is influenced by German, Italian and French cuisine. The city of Zurich however, is situated very close to Germany and the food here shows its influence. If, like me, you love German food come to Zurich and spend a day eating your way through the city.
To start the day off right in Zurich, one should definitely start with a large bowl of Birchermüesli. Birchermüesli traditionally consists of Muesli (a mix of rolled oats with dried fruits) and then mixed typically with fresh strawberries or apple slices as well as yogurt. The Muesli is mixed with the yogurt the night before so as to have a porridge-like consistency when eaten the next morning. It was originally created by a Swiss doctor in the 19th Century as a health food—a perfect way to start your day!
It can be found in many restaurants and cafes but my favourite place to grab a bowl is Spheres Café. Located near the trendy neighbourhood of Zurich West, Spheres café is a great way to relax, grab breakfast, get your caffeine fix and read a book from their library.
Spheres café, Hardturmstrasse 66
Once you’ve worked up your appetite again and are ready for lunch I would recommend the classic Swiss dish, Rosti. Rosti is a potato-based dish similar to hash browns and typically pan-fried. Rosti is often cooked with bacon, herbs and topped with a fried egg. It started out as a breakfast dish but is now often found as the main course or as a side dish accompanying many lunches and dinners. Your best bet for a great Rösti is the German restaurant Zeughauskeller in downtown Zurich.
Zeughauskeller, Bahnhofstrasse 28A
After lunch it is time to explore the local countryside! Going out for an alpine hike is a great way to spend a sunny afternoon and you’ll see all the locals on the trails as well throughout the week. The perfect snack for your hike is a Landjäger or three. A Landjäger is a smoked sausage, typically made with pork and beef as well as some spices, wine and sugar. Trust me they are delicious! Landjägers can be found in most grocery stores as well as any deli or food market.
Typically, I will buy them at my local grocery store but the best can be bought at a food market such as the Wednesday market at Zurich main train station.
Zurich main train station, street level on Wednesdays or any grocery store
Now it’s time for dinner and you can’t leave Zurich without sampling the local cheese! My recommendation is the local favourite, Raclette. Raclette is a semi-hard cow cheese that is melted and pour over your food (typically a selection of bread or potatoes, cured meats and pickled vegetables).
In Zurich I would recommend the Raclette-Stube restaurant in the old town of Zurich, where the cheese is melted by a fireplace and scrapped onto your plate to cover your food!
Raclette-Stube, Zähringerstrasse 16
To end your day in Switzerland you need a dessert. After a day of eating meat and cheese I would recommend a light dessert—a cookie, locally called Spitzbube. First a layer of the dough is spread on a baking pan and then a layer of red currant or apricot jam is spread over the dough and finally another layer of dough is spread over top. Before baking, small circles are cut out of each individual cookie (1 or 3 typically) and then baked and decorated with powdered sugar. Another popular variation is to cut out a face in the dough of each cookie and is sometimes called a rogue (apparently in the 18th century these faces looked like petty criminals!
All bakeries and many restaurants will offer this delicious cookie. However, you must try them at the Conditorei (café) Péclard Schober in Zurich’s old town, where you can order take away or stay to eat at one of the loveliest cafes in Europe!
Café Péclard Schober, Napfgasse 4