Page 1

whose cleanliness and organisation in the kitchen put me to shame.

Bergli Books is the recipient of a grant from the Swiss Federal Office of Culture, 2016-2018 Copyright 2017 Bergli Books. All rights reserved. Text and images copyright Andie Pilot. ISBN 978-3-03869-037-5

2 Helvetic Kitchen


I was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta by my Swiss mother, who immigrated to Canada as a young woman. I spent my childhood summers with my grandparents on the Walensee in Eastern Switzerland, enjoying roasted cervelat, Migros ice tea, and paprika chips. I trained as a pastry chef in Canada, but the pull of cheese and chocolate brought me back to the motherland. Now living in Bern, I have to balance my desire to sample every kind of Romandie sausage with my Swiss husband’s occasional cravings for retro Swiss dishes like Toast Hawaii— and leave enough room for all the fondue. Including both modern and traditional recipes (and heavily skewed towards the Swiss German side of things), this is by no means an exhaustive survey of Helvetic cuisine, but rather a glimpse into my everyday Swiss kitchen. For best results, do as the precise Swiss and use a scale to measure your ingredients.

Helvetia is the figure you see on Swiss coins and stamps. Named for the Helvetii, a tribe of Celts who lived on the Swiss Plateau before the Roman conquest, she isn’t an actual person, but rather a symbol of the confederation. Switzerland, a diverse nation with four official languages and at least as many cultural groups, uses Helvetia to acknowledge a shared past. She also offers a unifying name for the country: Confoederatio Helvetica or CH. Uniting the many into one is akin to turning a variety of ingredients into a delicious, edible whole. Her tips can be found throughout the recipes.

Helvetic Kitchen 3

Swiss Mealtimes 6 Zmorge 7 Dr Maximillian Oskar Bircher-Benner 8 Birchermüesli 9 Beloved, Buttery, Braided Bread 10 Grossmueti Elsbeth’s Züpfe 11 Rösti 12 Znüni 13 14 A Tart for Every Occasion Aprikosenwähe 15 16 Swiss Cheese Chäswähe 17 Zibelemärit 18 Zibelewähe 19 20 Tart Dough Zmittag 21 Dinner on the Alp 22 Älplermagronen 23 A Feast Platter for the Victorious! 24 Berner Platte 25 Bündnerfleisch 26 Bündner Gerstensuppe 27

4 Helvetic Kitchen

Capuns dalla Tatta 28 Capuns 29 The Swiss Army 30 Militärkäseschnitten 31 Mushroom Hunting 32 Mushroom Pastetli 33 Vaudois Sausages and the tale of Charles the Fat 34 Papet Vaudois 35 Plain in Pigna 36 Polenta 37 Nüsslisalat 38 Tommeburger 39 Schabziger 40 Zigerhöräli 41 Zurich’s Favourite Meal 42 Züri Gschnätzlets 43 Schnitz und Drunder 44 Zvieri 45 Schoggi 46 Basler Schoggitorf 47 Engadiner Zuckerbäcker 48 Turta da Nuschs 49

Birnenhonig and Birnel 50 Fabiana’s Lözarner Lebkuchen 51 Ovomaltine 52 Chocomaltine Banana Bread 53 Helvetic Innovation in the Kitchen 54 Rüeblitorte 55 56 Spirits and Fairies Boozy Chocolate Mousse 57 Kloster St Gallen 58 St Galler Klostertorte 59 Toblerone 60 Tobleroatmeal Cookies 61 Griessköpfli 62 Znacht 63 Cervelat 64 Wurstsalat 65 Love and Fondue 66 Cheese Fondue 67 Vacherin Mont d’Or 68 Raclette 69 Alpabzug 70 Griessschnitte 71

Migros Kult 72 Toast Hawaii and Appenzeller Toast 73 Rosa von Gunten’s Bacon and Tomato Tart 74 Zfiire 75 Fasnacht 76 Basler Mehlsuppe 77 Decorating Easter Eggs 78 Osterfladen 79 80 Schmutzli’s Sack for Naughty Children Samichlaus Bars 81 My Mum’s Mailänderli 82 Basler Brunsli 83 Zimtsterne 84 Spitzbuben 85 Josy’s Rosinen Guetzli 86 Swiss Sausages 87 Swiss Cheese 88 Swiss Wine 90 Resources 92 Acknowledgements 93 Index 94 En Guetä 96

Helvetic Kitchen 5

Unlike their cows, the Swiss are not prone to grazing throughout the day, instead limiting themselves to five distinct mealtimes with an Apéro or two thrown in every other weekend. In Switzerland, the mealtimes are literal. Das Morgenessen (morning meal), das Mittagessen (midday meal), and das Nachtessen (night meal), simply get shortened to Zmorge, Zmittag, and Znacht. Additionally, there are two other smaller mealtimes, Znüni and Zvieri, which refer to the Swiss German words for nine (nüni) and four (vieri), denoting the proper time of day to have them.

Apéro is an honourary Swiss mealtime and can be held to celebrate a wedding, a birthday, or simply Feierabend (the end of the working day). At the most basic Apéro there are glasses of cold white wine and bowls of paprika chips. And if you get a little square of Swiss chocolate on your pillow before you retire, this is one form of Bettmümpfeli, something sweet that you eat en route to dreamland. En Guetä!* *see page 96

When trying to decide the order of recipes I had my Swiss family and friends say which meals belonged to which mealtimes. The consensus was…there was no consensus. Some people were happiest eating Birchermüesli for dinner rather than breakfast, and others wouldn’t dream of having Rösti before noon. In the end, the order is simply a suggestion. I don’t know about you but the occasional cookie for breakfast suits me just fine…

6 Helvetic Kitchen

/ˈtsmɔrgə/ noun 1.

shortening of ‘das Morgenessen’, ie. breakfast


a small snack to tide one over until Znüni e.g.

for city dwellers: a cup of coffee and maybe a Weggli for farmers from the Emmental: a plate of Rösti, eggs, cheese, sausages, apple juice…

Helvetic Kitchen 7

During the early 20th century, Switzerland was not just an alpine paradise for skiers and adventure seekers, but also for patients seeking retreats and cures in the fresh mountain air. Sanatoriums dotted the landscape, and one of the most famous belonged to Dr. Maximilian Oskar Bircher-Benner, the creator of Birchermüesli. In Dr. Bircher’s Sanatorium on the Zürichberg, your day would have looked something like this: ** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** **

Wake up at 6 am Walk around the clinic before breakfast Three daily meals consisting of raw vegetables and a small dessert Absolutely NO coffee, chocolate, tobacco, or alcohol All manner of physical training As much fresh air as possible Gardening work Hydrotherapy (mostly cold showers) and sun treatments Bedtime at 9 pm (lights out by 9:30)

And to precede every meal, Dr. Bircher’s Müesli. Müesli means ‘little mush’ in German, and this combination of grated, mushed apple, oats, condensed milk, lemon juice, and nuts embodied Dr. Bircher’s nutritional ideas about the importance of raw food in the treatment of disease. Raw foodism, like other food trends, seems to fade in and out of popularity, but Bircher’s Müesli is something that has crept into the common culinary pantheon. Although the Müesli you find today is a departure from Dr. Bircher’s refreshing apple mush, it often still attempts to embody his ideas of health and nutrition.

8 Helvetic Kitchen

My grandmother made her Birchermüesli in the style of Dr. Bircher, using oats and condensed milk, but no yogurt. For a more modern Swiss version, I asked my Aunt Vreni, who simplifies by using packaged Müesli from the supermarket. Both recipes serve about two people.

140 g (1 ½ cups) packaged Müesli about 350-400 g (1 ½ cups) fruit yogurt 125 ml (½ cup) apple juice or milk 400 g (1 lb) seasonal fruit cornflakes for garnish and crunch

125 g (½ cup) condensed milk 200 ml (¾ cup) water 100 g (1 cup) rolled oats 400 g (14 oz) seasonal fruit

AA Mix the Müesli, yogurt, apple juice or milk, and fruit together and let sit for a few hours or overnight. AA Garnish with a handful of cornflakes before serving, if desired.

AA In a medium pot, bring the condensed milk and water

to a boil. Pour it over the rolled oats and let cool.

AA Mix in the fruit and let sit for at least an hour.

AA Packaged Müesli is usually a mix of oats, raisins, nuts, and other dried AA AA

fruit in varying degrees. A popular brand outside of Switzerland is Alpen. You could also just use rolled oats and add dried fruit and nuts at will. If you use apples, these are usually grated rather than chopped. After sitting, the Birchermüesli can be a bit stodgy so I usually stir in a good splash of milk before serving.

Helvetic Kitchen 9

Ever-present in Swiss breadboxes and on the Sunday breakfast table is the plaited golden Zopf, Tresse, Treccia, whose name literally means ‘braid’ in German, French, and Italian. Braided breads have a long history. In some ancient societies if a married man died, it was the duty of his wife to follow him to the grave and be buried at his side. Later, the actual wife was replaced with a braid of her hair, which eventually became a loaf of braided bread. Bernese bakers began making Zopf, or Züpfe as they call it, in the late Middle Ages. By this time these ancient customs had likely long been forgotten and the golden braids were simply a beautiful addition to the table. By law, Bernese bakers could only produce Züpfe for the feast day of St Thomas and New Year’s Day, but in 1629 they petitioned the government and were granted the right to make it all year round. Züpfe makes some memorable appearances in the works of the famous Swiss novelist Jeremias Gotthelf. He mentions it in his classic allegorical horror story, ‘The Black Spider’: Neben den Käse stellte sie die mächtige Züpfe, das eigentümliche Berner Backwerk, geflochten wie die Zöpfe der Weiber, schön braun und gelb, aus dem feinsten Mehl, Eiern und Butter gebacken, groß wie ein jähriges und fast ebenso schwer; Next to the cheese, she put the mighty Züpfe, that singular Bernese baked good, braided like a woman’s hair, beautifully brown and yellow, baked from the finest flour, eggs and butter, as big as a year-old child and almost as heavy…

10 Helvetic Kitchen

My friend Annina gave me her grandmother Elsbeth’s Züpfe recipe saying that it was the easiest and best. It did not disappoint.

Dough 500 g (4 cups) flour 12 g (1 tbsp) salt 250 ml (1 cup) milk, room temperature 20 g (0.7 oz) fresh yeast or 2 tsp dry yeast 1 egg yolk 1 tsp sugar 80 g (⅓ cup) butter, soft Glaze 1 egg a pinch of salt

AA Preheat your oven to 230° C / 450° F / gas hour or until the dough has doubled in size. mark 8. AA Split the dough into three and roll each out into a AA In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. long strand. Braid your bread. AA In another bowl, whisk together the milk, yeast, yolk AA Place on your baking sheet and let rest for about and sugar. 20 minutes. AA Make a well in the flour and add the liquid AA Whisk together the egg and salt, then brush the ingredients. Stir this together until a dough starts to dough. form, then add the butter and begin to knead it on A A As soon as you put the bread in the oven, turn the the table. Knead for about 15-20 minutes, or until heat down to 200° C / 400° F / gas mark 6. it is smooth and elastic. Alternatively, mix for about A A Bake for about 25-30 minutes. The Züpfe is fully 10 minutes in a stand mixer with a dough hook. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about an

baked when you tap the bottom of the bread and it sounds hollow.

AA The Züpfe can be formed in to a two-, three-, four-, or more strand loaf. There are lots of videos online to help with braiding.

Helvetic Kitchen 11

Originally a farmer’s breakfast, the Swiss now enjoy their grated, fried potato pancake, Rösti, at any time of day—either as its own meal or as a side dish. Rösti recipes vary wildly in the type of potato, fat, and method for cooking, but my mum swears by this one.

AA Ideally the day before, boil the potatoes in about 800 g (2 lbs) potatoes nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste enough fat to cover your pan


their jackets. You are looking for potatoes that are cooked, but still a little firm. Cool them completely. Peel the potatoes, then coarsely grate with a cheese grater or Röstiraffel (of course Switzerland has its very own tool for grating Rösti potatoes) and season with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Heat a cast iron pan over high heat. Add a big knob of fat to the pan and when this starts to splutter, add the grated potato and press it

down around the edges. Turn the temperature down to medium and let it cook without disruption for about 10-15 minutes. Try to give the frying pan a shake and if the pancake moves, use a spatula to peek underneath. If it’s golden brown you are ready for:


AA Legend has it that you can flip the Rösti in the pan, but for the rest of us just turn the whole pancake upside down onto a plate, add a little more fat to your pan, then slide it back in. Cook for another 10-15 minutes.

AA The Swiss supermarkets designate potatoes to use for Rösti, but a good choice overseas would be Yukon Gold or similar AA The best fat to use is clarified butter. In Switzerland this is called Bratbutter/Beurre à rôtir/Burro per arrostire and is found in most supermarkets. If you don’t have this you can use lard, or just heat oil in the pan and add a little butter for flavouring.

12 Helvetic Kitchen

/ˈtsnyːni/ noun 1.

A light snack eaten at nine in the morning


When your local Migros is suddenly overrun with students buying Gipfeli and Wähen

Helvetic Kitchen 13

Wäje, Kuche, Chueche, Flade, Tünne, Tünnele, Tüle, Dünne, Dünnle, Dünnet, Turte, Gâteau, Torta, Crostata, Tuorta, wherever you are and whatever you call it, the Wähe is one of Switzerland’s most beloved and versatile baked goods. The Wähe of today is prepared as follows: a base of buttery pastry, the sweet or savoury filling (seasonal fruits, cheese, vegetables, or meat), and the liquid element, which is usually some mixture of eggs, milk, and cream. The Swiss have been making their Wähen for centuries. In 1586, the Zurich courts recorded a case of a thief who stole flour and used it to bake nine loaves of bread and two “wäyen”. The Wähe probably originated in the central, flat part of Switzerland, because it requires an oven and these were not often found in higher alpine settlements. For many Swiss families who would traditionally eat a meatless meal on Fridays, it was an easy way to do this while using up leftovers from the week. Both the sweet and savoury varieties would be used as a meal. My grandmother made Wähe every Friday night for dinner, and my mother-in-law still makes it almost once a week. You’ll find three popular variants on the following pages, as well as a recipe for dough on page 20.

14 Helvetic Kitchen

1 portion tart dough (see page 20) about 800 g (2 lbs) fresh apricots 125ml (½ cup) milk 125ml (½ cup) cream 2 eggs 3 tbsp sugar 1 tbsp vanilla paste or extract 1 tbsp cinnamon 60 g (½ cup) ground nuts

AA Preheat oven to 200° C / 400° F / gas mark 6. AA Roll out your dough and line a 28 cm (11 inch) round springform or tart pan. AA AA AA AA

Poke the bottom of the dough all over with a fork then keep the tart shell cool (preferably in the freezer) until you have the filling ready. Halve and pit your apricots. Whisk together the milk, cream and eggs, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. Place your tart pan on a parchment-lined baking sheet, sprinkle with the nuts, then arrange the apricots in rows on top. Pour in the liquid. Bake for about 50 minutes, or until the liquid has set and the fruit juices are bubbling.

AA To save time, you can use use store-bought dough like Kuchenteig/Pâte Brisée/Pasta per Crostate to line your pan. AA If the apricots are particularly sour, you can sprinkle them with a tablespoon of sugar. AA Many different fruits work in this recipe—you could use plums, cherries, etc. AA Always place the tart pan on your baking sheet before pouring the liquid over.

Helvetic Kitchen 15

Profile for BergliBooks

Helvetic Kitchen  

This adorable little book contains our favorite Swiss recipes. Find it here: http://bit.ly/2AzTFDs

Helvetic Kitchen  

This adorable little book contains our favorite Swiss recipes. Find it here: http://bit.ly/2AzTFDs

Profile for bergli