“Let's face it, a nice creamy Swiss-chocolate cake does a lot for a lot of people; it does for me.” Audrey Hepburn
Traditional Swiss recipes are a result of shortage and a lack of variety back in the days when many people lived in isolated valleys and transport routes were cut off for weeks, sometimes even months, in winter. You had to create meals from what you had in stock and this often meant that the same few ingredients, such as dairy products, dried fruit and potatoes, were used for weeks on end. The challenge was to put what you had together in constantly different ways. There was no option of creating the varied and tasty meals we can make today. Nevertheless, some of these traditional meals are extremely delicious and we would like to share the recipes with you.
PIZOKEL FROM THE GRISONS CUISINE
Our traditional Swiss recipes often resulted from a lack of products, especially in the Grisons. People often deposited, as winters were severe and the summer months were short. In many places alpine farming was the only option. You had to be inventive with the few available ingredients – milk products, dried fruit and potatoes – in order to repeatedly recombine and to provide a bit of variety on the menu. The Grisons cuisine has remained in its primary form, and being shaped by its three language areas, the Romansh, Italian and German, it is even more diverse in terms of cuisine than any other region.
The Pizokel is a flour-based meal, which is well-known throughout the Grisons. It is put on the table in myriad forms, depending on the region. The dough can be compared with that of the “spaetzle”. But in the case of the Pizokel, the dough is always spread on a wet chopping board and is cut by hand with a knife into strips or pieces and is stripped into the boiling water. Depending on the area, they are called Pizokel, Pizzöcar or Pizzoccheri. Here is a recipe for the Puschlaver Pizzöcar.
Renzo Blumenthal, a native of the Grisons Canton, is a farmer and has a picture-perfect smile that once earned him the title as the most beautiful Swiss. The charming organic farmer from Vella, in the Grisons Canton of Switzerland, had well-established career aspirations right from the beginning: he wanted to be a farmer.
Particular cheese classics, we, the Swiss, eat our fondue in all possible cheese variations. We mostly eat it in alpine huts, restaurants, at mum’s place or at tolerant friends, if necessary at our place, as well – however, we try to avoid this as the strong cheese smell gets stuck into the walls for days!
The Grittibänz is a sweet “bread man” which is brought by Santa Claus. Its delicate dough is slightly sweet and its place is on the table on St. Nicholas Day. It tastes best when you share it with dear friends!