Eastern Switzerland Feature
- Places to Explore
- Travel Tips
- Fodor's Choice
- French Phrases
- German Phrases
Eating Well in Eastern Switzerland
With some notable exceptions, eastern Switzerland is not haute cuisine country, but there is an abundant of good eating here.
As in the rest of Switzerland, cooking styles represent a huge amount of cross-pollination over the centuries, across borders, and also—after more than 700 years of interacting—among the different Swiss cantons (German-speaking, French-speaking, Italian-speaking), which all have developed their own traditional regional styles and, within those styles, specific local dishes. In eastern Switzerland, that means specialty dishes from Appenzell, St. Gallen, Thurgau, and Schaffhausen, with names that—to non-Swiss-Germans—defy pronunciation, like Chäs Tschoope (fried bread cubes with cheese and cream) and Chäshappech (cheese-and-beer batter funneled into snail-shell shapes, then deep-fried).
St. Galler Bratwurst is just one of the many sausages that are popular here. Semihard Appenzell cheese has a unique taste (from a secret-recipe herbal brine that includes roots, leaves, flowers, seeds, and bark), however it and St. Galler Klosterkäse (also a semihard cheese that comes in incarnations ranging from mild to tangy) are just some among many must-tries.
Head to Böhli (9 Engelgasse, Appenzell 071/7881570 www.boehli-appenzell.ch) for biber, molded honey, spice, and almond-paste bakes, and for chrempfli, turnovers with hazelnut filling. St. Galler Klostertorte, with jam peeking through a lattice crust, is available in the tearoom and shop at Chocolaterie am Klosterplatz (20 Gallustrasse, St. Gallen 071/2225770 www.chocolateriesg.ch).
The earthy and flavorful Appenzeller cheese dates back more than 700 years and is known as the spiciest cheese in Switzerland; it makes for a pungent addition to the local fondue. If you're in the mood for something milder and creamier, Tilsiter is your best bet. Unique to Thurgau, the cheese takes its name from the town of Tilsit, Russia, where an immigrant Swiss cheese maker helped develop the recipe before coming home to set up shop.
In St. Gallen, specialty sausages abound. Try the St. Galler Bratwurst, also known as the St. Galler Kalbsbratwurst, a white, unsmoked variety that custom dictates must be made with pork, at least 50% veal, and milk or milk powder. When ordered in St. Gallen, the legendary Olma-Bratwurst, which gets its name from the acronym OLMA, the Ostschweizer Land und Michwirtschaftsausstellung (Eastern Switzerland Agricultural and Dairy Industry Exposition), must be eaten with a hard piece of bread known as a Bürli, and never with mustard.
These aren't your average hash browns. Deemed the national dish of Switzerland, Rösti is essentially grated, fried potatoes, covered with a variety of deliciously greasy toppings—bacon, bits of lard, ham, eggs, and cheese, or served alongside favorite regional main dishes. While Rösti is eaten all over Switzerland, it is traditionally associated with German speakers; the border between the French and German-speaking areas of Switzerland is affectionately known as the Röstigraben, which translates to Rösti ravine.
Popular throughout Central and Eastern Europe, dumplings have been elevated to an art form in Switzerland. These tender egg noodles come in many forms and are known as Spätzle, or if in a smaller, rounded form as Chnöpfli (literally, little sparrows or little buttons, respectively). Eat them boiled then fried in butter until golden brown and crispy, or oozing with melted cheese, a preparation known as Chäschnöpfli.
Don't let all the cheese and sausages fool you: eastern Switzerland has sweet treats to finish off any meal. Fruit reigns supreme in Thurgau, famous for its apple orchards, and there's no better way to enjoy a healthy dessert than to snack on the region's lightly dried apple rings. Those who yearn for a buttery treat can delight in Hüppen—these long, crisp waffle cookies are sometimes filled with chocolate and are thought to take their name from the Greek hopyes, meaning wafer.
Free Fodor's Newsletter
Subscribe today for weekly travel inspiration, tips, and special offers.
Fodor's Trip Planning Ideas
- Weekend Getaways: Fodor's Recommends the Best Weekend Escapes in the US
- Great American Vacation: Find Your Next U.S. Trip with Fodor's
- 80 Degrees: Fodor's Helps You Find Your Best Beach Vacation Spots
- Go List: Fodor's Top 25 Places to Go in 2013
- Hotel Awards 2012: Fodor's 100 Top Hotels
- Best of Europe: Fodor's Picks the Best Places to Visit in Europe
- Small budget: Book Dolder Waldhaus 3 Nts in May Fr $281+/Nt Expedia
- Visit Z?rich for Less: Hotels Fr $111+/Nt Travelocity
- Book in Z?rich: Save at the The Dolder Grand in May Fr $891+/Nt — $891 Expedia
- Visit Z?rich for Less: Hotels Fr $185+/Nt — $185 Travelocity
- Park Hyatt Zurich on Sale: Book 3 Nts in May Fr $973+/Nt — $973 Expedia