Perhaps one of the biggest misunderstandings about Swiss culture is that our food consists only of dried meats and melted cheese. Of course, this over-simplification has its roots in the fact that our meats and cheese are just that good. After all, once you’ve tasted the local raclette, melted over a wood fire oven in a remote chalet somewhere in the mountains, why would you ever want to eat anything else?!?
If you’re like us, you’ll eat far more than the medically-recommended quantity of cheese and meat each year under the guise of eating local and supporting Swiss culture ;). But from time to time, you’ll wish that you could explore the more nuanced side of Swiss cuisine. With the gorgeous farm land and fresh market offerings, there must be more to it, non?
For ideas, we turned to some local food bloggers here in Switzerland and asked them to help us by sharing recipes that put great seasonal products to use while also capturing the spirit of Swiss dining. We hope you’ll enjoy branching out with us and giving these dishes a try!
Bon appétit! Buon appetito! En guete! Bien appetit!
Do you like traveling? Do you like dessert? Then you are going to love the next featured blog in our local, seasonal recipe series. A self-proclaimed sweets addict, American blogger and Zurich resident Kerrin Rousset has made eating and traveling an art form on her site MyKugelhopf.ch. We first came across MyKugelhopf nearly five years ago when we were freshly-expatriated and looking for inspiration on making the most out of life in our new country. Kerrin’s spark for life and chocolate was just what we needed, and we’ve been following along her adventures ever since.
In the years that she has been blogging about her adopted country and its rich, sugary traditions, Kerrin has developed a unique and passionate knowledge of Switzerland and its history of confectionery. Her writing marries a journalistic rigor to an appropriate amount of whimsy (we are in fact talking about dessert here ;)), making Kerrin an expert who is great fun to read and follow! In case you’re in Zurich anytime soon, you’ll definitely want to check out her Sweet Zurich Tour, which provides an intimate glimpse at Switzerland’s largest city through a different – err, stickier – lens than you might find in your guidebook. The tour gets rave reviews on TripAdvisor AND has been recently referenced in The Financial Times and CNN.
We are proud and excited to have her contributing to The Lausanne Guide today. So, without further ado…
Making the most of your local market this season with Kerrin Rousset
It’s relatively easy to find me on a Tuesday or Friday morning. Just head over to the Bürkliplatz market off the lake in Zürich, and I’ll be there. Walking around, admiring the stands of fruits, vegetables and flowers. Their tables filled to the brim with colorful piles of each. Snapping a photo or two, chatting with the vendors and filling my caddy.
I love markets. Whenever I travel to new places, that’s usually the first stop I’ll make (if not the bakery or chocolate shop, of course). It’s a window on the culture, the people and the way they shop and eat. In Switzerland, we are so lucky that the concepts of local and seasonal seem to be second-nature to everyone here. That’s the way they shop, that’s the way they eat, that’s the way they think.
Nowadays, if you look hard enough, you can probably find any fruit or vegetable at any time of year. That means they are most likely coming from very far away, but perhaps won’t have any taste either (strawberries in December ?!). On the other hand, it’s a simple pleasure to buy what grew on a nearby farm, and taste it at its peak of flavor. I have two favorite farms. One is Jucker Farm in Seegräben, an amazing place to visit for pick-your-own berries in the summer and a mind-boggling array of pumpkins in the fall. The other is run by Werner Pfister in Freienstein. You’ll find me at his stand at Bürkliplatz, the always smiling Dutch gal Annic giving a mini cucumber or dried apricot to my little girl.
Right now, we are in the heart of autumn and root vegetables are in abundance: multicolored carrots, beets, parsnips, sweet potatoes and Jerusalem artichokes, to name a few. Pumpkins of incredible shapes and sizes, some just for decoration, but others to be used in an array of savory and sweet recipes. Soups, stews and purées are very popular, but I love to do trays upon trays of roasted veggies. It couldn’t be easier, and is yet so satisfying, adaptable and beautiful with such a rainbow of ingredients.
Choose any combination of vegetables and roughly chop to about the same size (so they cook evenly). Simply toss with a bit of olive oil and a pinch of kosher salt and put in a hot oven (200 C), mixing from time to time over the course of an hour until vegetables are slightly caramelized and have taken on a bit of color. You can also add sumac, sweet mustard, garlic or other spices/herbs of your choice. These roasted vegetables are great to have on hand, to serve with a piece of fish or meat, to add to a fritatta or salad, mix into quinoa or couscous, or purée into soup.
During the fall, I love to put out fresh fruits after dinner – sliced persimmons, figs and the first clementines. But on a cool evening, there’s nothing more warming and satisfying than a crumble. For this one below, I’ve used local Comice pears and an assortment of apples (Elstar, Braeburn). There are currently countless varieties of both fruits at markets throughout the country. The crumble topping is a mix of grains – oats, millet and buckwheat flour from Ticino.
Bon appétit ! En guete !
Autumn Crumble with Multigrain Topping
makes 4 individual servings
85 grams buckwheat flour
50 grams rolled oats
30 grams millet
80 grams natural cane sugar
sprinkle of kosher salt
80 grams unsalted butter, roughly chopped, cold
Whisk together the dry ingredients. Add butter and work into dry ingredients with your fingers until you have clusters and all the butter is fully incorporated. (You will have extra topping, good to keep in freezer for impromptu crumbles)
2 medium unpeeled pears, cored and roughly chopped
2 small unpeeled apples, cored and roughly chopped
20 grams natural cane sugar
Toss fruit with sugar. Fill 4 ramekins to just below the rim with fruit, packing tightly. Cover fruit entirely with topping, packing firmly into ramekin.
Bake for 40 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius. Remove from oven and let cool for at least 5 minutes.
Optional: serve with ice cream.