Olympic Gold Medalist Simon Amman: Profile of Swiss Cuisine

Switzerland's Simon Amman is the first Gold Medalist of the 2010 Vancouver and Whistler Olympics

The Multi Cultural Cooking Network is taking a look at foods from the nations of some of the athletes of the Vancouver/Whistler 2010 Olympics. Switzerland has received the first gold medal from the 2010 Olympics, and they have ski jumper Simon Amman to thank for their victory. The 28-year old Grabs, Switzerland native adds a little more bling to his collection with his third gold medal coming from the normal hill jump in Whistler, B.C..

Switzerland’s cuisine has its own winning tradition. The Swiss have a multitude of influences coming from their other Europen neighbors: France, Italy and Germany. However, the Romansh region is where most of the traditional Swiss dishes hail. With Switzerland’s long-time history of farming, it’s not surprising that some of the more unique dishes incorporate the use of potatoes and cheese (Rösti, Fondue, and Raclette).

What They Eat in Switzerland

Meant to be shared, a group enjoys the Swiss favorite, fondue cheese.

Cheese: The most identifiable cheeses are the Emmental, Gruyère, Vacherin, and Appenzelle. Cheese dishes include fondue (communal dish where diners use forks to dip bits of food in semi-liquid sauce — often cheese) and Raclette (melted cheese eaten with boiled or roasted potatoes with small gherkins and pickled onions).

Rosti: Much like “hash browns,” the Swiss have eaten Rosti for generations. Considered a national dish, this a popular potato entree which used to be eaten for breakfast by many farmers in the canton of Bern. Now it is served as an accompaniment  to dishes like Cervelas (cooked sausage) or Fleishkase (specialty meat found in Switzerland, Austria and Germany consisting of corned beef, pork, bacon and onions)

Chocolate: When you think about Switzerland, it’s hard not to think about chocolate. Ever heard of Toblerone? Yes, the chocolate bar with the funky pyramid shape — a Swiss man James Tobler started that business in 1867. Nestlé, Kraft, and Lindt, all had their start as chocolate factories founded in Switzerland.

Callier chocolate

François Louis Callier (Vevey, Switzerland) opened the first chocolate factory in his country in 1819. It is now owned by Nestle

Bread: The Swiss quite enjoy the simplicity of bread. Bread rolls  come in all kinds of varieties and  for breakfast or  dinner, the Swiss eat sliced bread with butter and jam. Bread and cheese is also commonly eaten for dinner.

Cultural Influences

Italy: Zürcher Geschnetzeltes– thin strips of veal with mushroom and cream.

France: Papet vaudois –  leeks with potatoes, served with Saucisson, and/or with ‘Saucisse au foie’ and ‘Saucisse au chou’ (smoked liver or cabbage sausages).

Germany: Birchmuesli (known more commonly as Muesli) – a popular breakfast food made of uncooked rolled oats, fruit and nuts.

Graubünden Canton in Switzerland: Chur(er) meat pie– a popular dish from Graubünden in south eastern Switzerland.

Article by Monica Johnson