Switzerland is the country of the chocolate, we all know it. This is the country of the cow Milka, which is meekly browsing grass high in the Alps, and a delicious milk chocolate is running down from its udder, chocolate, that all children (and adults) love. After this announcement, you think that in the Swiss desserts chocolate invariably exists as an ingredient?
You are wrong! When it comes to the desserts of Switzerland, the main ‘actors’ are the hazelnuts, the chestnuts, the apples and the Kirsch (cherry liqueur). The ingredients that the Swiss use in preparing their desserts are simple, but the final result is truly unique.
And so that we don’t speak in vain, we will make you familiar with some of the most popular Swiss desserts, that you must taste.
Aargauer Rüeblitorte (carrot cake)
Few people know that the popular in Bulgaria as well, carrot cake, is a typical Swiss dessert, whose recipe comes from the Northern Switzerland (Canton Aargau).
The recipe for the preparation of carrot cake is extremely easy. Simply, the dough layers of the delicious dessert are enriched with grated carrots, hazelnuts or almonds.
Depending on the region, in which the cake is prepared, somewhere they add a pinch of cinnamon and cloves or one-two tablespoons of kirsch. The Cake Cream, made of cream and cream cheese, is light and very tasty and it balances the flavour of the cake.
Without much importance of the small differences in the preparation of the dessert, you can always tell the Aargauer Rüeblitorte cake by its white icing and the decoration of marzipan carrots.
This sweet temptation is known in Western Switzerland as “Viennese croissant”. Initially, it was being prepared mainly in Bern and its district, but today, it is one of the most popular desserts in Switzerland.
This oriental desert has the form of a horseshoe and the filling is a delicious mixture of hazelnuts, sugar, cinnamon and candied fruit.
Vermicelle is a little strange in appearance, but a very popular and delicious dessert which is offered all over Switzerland.
It is prepared of chestnuts, which are boiled, sweetened and mashed in a puree of which, noodles are made. The sweet chestnut noodles are served in a cup topped up with cream and vanilla ice cream.
Although the Vermicelle is an autumn dessert, it is available for the whole year in the Swiss confectioneries.
Zuger Kirschtorte (Zuger cherry cake)
As we talk about Swiss desserts, if you have never tried Zuger Kirschtorte, do it! Zuger cherry cake is an extremely delicious dessert, that has gone across the borders of Switzerland a long time ago and has become a favourite dessert all over the world.
This dessert is called “Zug’s” dessert, as the recipe was invented in the town of Zug by the pastry chef Heinrich Holn. That happened in 1921 and since then so far, Zuger Kirschtorte has won several awards and in 2008, the recipe is included in the list of the “Swiss Culinary Heritage”.
There have been rumours, that it was the favourite dessert of Charlie Chaplin, Audrey Hepburn and even of one of the Heads of the Roman Catholic Church.
The base of the cake is from Japanese meringue layer with ground and lightly roasted almonds and hazelnuts, and the cake cream is prepared from cream, flavoured with cherry liqueur.
To make it even more delicious and succulent, the dessert is syruped with a mixture of sugar syrup and kirsch. The end result is a fantastic cake, all wrapped in cream and sprinkled lavishly with roasted and sliced almonds.
Birnbrot is a traditional Swiss dessert with pears. It is similar to our sweet rolls, but the only thing is that it is with a slim layer and instead of a cream (as it is prepared in Bulgaria), it is filled with dried pears.
This dessert is prepared in a number of variants depending on the region in which it is offered.
In the variant called Birnweggen, the cake layer is rolled in a different manner and the filling is usually from dried pears, figs, apples, walnuts, raisins, candied fruit, and spices.
In Graubünden, the dessert is called Bündener Birnbrot and during its preparation, the pears are left to soak in rose water or liqueur, beforehand.
For the “Birth” of this incredible Swiss dessert, there are not only one or two theories, and it is difficult to say which one is the true one. According to some French experts, in 1885, pastry-cooks, from Toulouse have made the cake with nuts. The dessert had such a great success that it was quickly spread in France, where quite a few bakeries started to produce and offer it.
The Swiss version of the origin of the Engadiner Nusstorte is slightly different. The Swiss say that the recipe for the dessert was invented in the 1930s of the last century in the Kochendörfer confectionary in the town of Pontresina, the canton of Grisons.` In 1934. “the cake with nuts” is presented at the culinary exhibition in Basel, and it has been among the most popular Swiss desserts ever since.
Engadiner Nusstorte is prepared from crispy waffle crusts, between which there are two or three layers of sliced hazelnuts and a delicious filling of vanilla cream. This recipe has another variant – Bündner Nusstorte and the two cakes are often confused.
The cookies are an important element of the sweet culinary traditions of Switzerland, and the Magenbrot cookies are among the most popular ones. The taste of these cookies reminds of that one of the cakes, but in fact, they are small, dark, spicy bites, flavoured with cinnamon, anise, nutmeg, and cloves.
The Swiss call these divine small bites sweetness “bread for the stomach”, as, not only are they extremely delicious, but the spices that are put into them, stimulate the digestion.
While we are on the spicy sweet subject, we are introducing Basler Läckerli. These delicious sweets are prepared from honey, spices, candied and dried fruit, Kirsch, flour, yeast, and water. All ingredients are mixed and the dough is prepared, which, then, is rolled out and cut into small rectangles, and baked. After cooling, the cookies are to be covered with powdered sugar.
Similar biscuits are Berner Honiglebkuchen, which differ from the previous ones by the sugar icing decoration and the bear featured, which is a symbol of the town Bern.
Blauer Kuchen (blue cake)
This is a typical dessert from the region of the canton Bern, which in the past has been prepared during the winter months. Today the blue cake is available all over Switzerland and is among the most popular Swiss desserts.
Despite its name, Blauer Kuchen, it is not always blue, therefore, don’t be surprised, if you order a piece of blue cake and you are brought a piece of the usual one. According to experts, the name of the cake is linked to an expression of the local Bern dialect “becomes blue” or “bigiare”, which means “not to work”.
You will recognize these colourful Basel sweets immediately. The Mässmogge sweets resemble colourful fingers with a sugar shell, which may be with the taste of lemons, strawberries, raspberries and what not, but the filling is always of cream of hazelnuts. Normally these sweets are associated with the autumn fair, which takes place every year in Bern.
Merenge or “sweet kiss” has a long history and at least a few countries have taken the great merit to themselves for inventing the recipe. We will not enter into a dispute about the origin of the Merenge, but we will only say that the popular “French merenge” is designed by the Swiss pastry-cook Gaasparini from Meirengen, canton Bern.
And if you want to try the true, genuine sweet ‘kiss’ which melts in the mouth, do not miss to do it in the area of Bern. There, they will offer you the sweet temptation with double cream Gruyere, and every single bite of it, you will find as sweet as an elixir.
We are finalizing our sweet trip with a dessert, in which, finally, the main ingredient is chocolate.
Chocolate Fondue It is perhaps the most popular in the world dessert of Switzerland and is available in all restaurants for Fondue. The dessert is prepared in a traditional caquelon, in which the chocolate is melted and served together with the pot on the table. Fondue is consumed, by dipping pieces of sponge-cake, cake or fruit in it.