I’ve recently returned from a week away visiting a friend (well mostly her new kittens) in Zurich. When I think of food and Switzerland, chocolate of course comes to mind. Chocolate and the ever so precision cooked rösti, the perfected hash brown; the perfect way to eat potato. Okay, chocolate, rösti, and Luxemburgerlis.
The cost of heaven comes at a premium, but what can I expect when my pearly gates exist as the doorway into any shop in Switzerland? Similar to the French macaron, but lighter, a trip to the city of Zurich cannot be complete without a visit to Confiserie Sprüngli for a taste of their divine Luxemburgerlis.
At 10.30 CHF per 100g you will easily spend your daily travel allowance in one go, but after one bite I promise you won’t regret your decision. A shame the recipe is a secret kept close to the heart of Sprüngli.
The oldest vegetarian restaurant in Europe
Opened in 1898, Hiltl claims to be the oldest vegetarian establishment on the continent. When in the city of Zurich I inevitably find myself here enjoying a selection of perfectly cooked seasonal vegetables and moorish treats. Is it the best food I’ve eaten? I won’t lie, because I can turn out similar flavours and presentation from my own kitchen, but it’s really a lovely place and well worth a try.
They have both a sit down menu with service and a buffet (price by weight), the latter a process of serving yourself and weighing the end result for the price. The portions from the buffet versus the menu seem to come out at similar prices (between 25-35 CHF) so don’t try to dupe yourself into saving money. Just sit down and enjoy a treat! The rösti is good and my friend swears by the madras banana.
Pure vegetarians beware as they do use rennet in some of their cheeses. This is evident and marked on the buffet bar but not on the English sit-down menu. Also note there is a special daily menu in German that doesn’t feature on the English menu.
…and of course chocolate
To many people the idea of Switzerland is synonymous with a luscious indulgence in tempting chocolates, and I will agree they do have a way with cacao. But, like any other place associated with a fine food, you can substitute quality for cost or embrace those establishments worth remembering (your wallet never forgets). Teuscher is one such institution, one which will cost you more than you’d ever think to spend on chocolate but which will leave you considering brands like Cadbury’s and Hersheys to be anything but chocolate.
Americans might enjoy Teuscher’s US based stores while the rest of us have to wait for a trip to Switzerland or Germany. Try anything. Everything! Something?
In Switzerland I remind myself, oh I have to, that I must listen sometimes only to what my mind desires. Every once in awhile, it’s okay to ignore that voice of reason in your head and opt instead for sheer ignorance of the fact that you could remortgage your home and still only just afford a meal out. This is what I tell myself. My Luxemburgelis and me.