Recipes in the alp areas of the Berner Oberland are uncomplicated, easy and delicious due to their high quality ingredients and fresh preparation without mixing too many flavours and different ingredients.
Breakfast could be fresh bread, with a lot of butter and choices of honey, marmalade or Nutella. Maybe a mixture of grated apple with some quark, yoghurt, raw oats, sultanas and raw nuts may also be served. And coffee.
Bread with cheese or fruit may be eaten at the 10 minute morning tea break, called “Shnoonies”. Often it is the “second breakfast” for outdoor workers.
The famous Fondue (melted cheese with bread cubes) or Raclette (melted cheese over boiled potatoes and condiments) or roasted sliced meat are special occasion meals.
The main hot meal is mostly eaten around 12:30 and usually a green salad is enjoyed first after being tossed in a light dressing.
Simple potatoe and noodle dishes are common. Such as, boiled potatoes served with quark mixed with dill or shallots alongside 20 minute boiled, then 10 minute baked sausage (smoked or plain) with their ends pre-cut 2 cm deep in a cross. Or perhaps a vegetable pie, lentil soup, goulash or plain hot pasta garnished with caramelised onions could be midweek favourites.
The evening meal is often simply bread, butter, cold meats and several different cheeses. Hot tea made with fresh lemon balm leaves or mint with boiling water and a little honey makes a refreshing accompaniment.
When visitors arrive for “cake and coffee”, the much loved sweet treats appear like Apple strudel or cake or the renown Käsekuchen (Cheese cake), a baked semi sweet cake made with quark - so delicious on its own without any garnish.
Rösti (Swiss) pronounced “roerrshtee” is a Swiss dish, mostly of potatoes, in the style of a fritter. It was originally a breakfast dish. But now eaten as a main midday dish, often with a fried egg on top. It is very filling.
4 medium potatoes
1⁄4 cup butter or 1⁄4 cup margarine
1 small onion, chopped
1⁄2 cup diced gruyere or
1⁄2 cup swiss cheese
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons water
Heat 1 inch salted water to boiling. Add potatoes. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and cook until tender, 30 to 35 minutes. Peel and shred potatoes or cut into 1/4 inch (2cm) strips.
Heat butter in skillet until melted. Add potatoes, onions, and cheese.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook uncovered over medium heat, turning frequently, until potatoes start to brown, about 10 minutes, adding 1 to 2 Tblsp. butter to prevent sticking if necessary.
Press potatoes with spatula to form a flat cake; sprinkle with water. Cover and cook over low heat, without stirring, until bottom is golden brown and crusty, about 10 minutes. Place inverted platter over skillet; invert potatoes onto platter.
To make the Alp Noodle version:
Take out 2 potatoes and add in a handful of pasta noodles and cook the pasta and potatoes (cut into small pieces before cooking) together. Don't shred the cooked potatoes.
Then heat butter, or oil in skillet/pan as above. Just before serving stir through half a cup of apple sauce. (The Swiss serve the apple sauce cold on top, but I think it is easier to stir in before serving so it heats up a little.).
Basic Swiss Salad dressing for Soft Leaf lettuce
3 tablespoons quality White wine vinegar
a third teaspoon salt
Mix together so salt dissolves.
Then add in a teaspoon or 2 of mustard, a pinch of ground black pepper, stir so that mustard breaks down.
Lastly stir in 4 tablespoons Oil. No need to shake the dressing.
Pour over Soft leaf lettuce and decorate with nuts, pumpkins seeds, finely diced radish or carrot strips. Always simple.
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