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Swiss Kiss #11 – Omeletten

cheese omelette

They are not pancakes and they are not crêpes and they are not omelets. They are something in between all those. They are very Swiss. And they are called Omeletten.

omeletten stack

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Swiss Kiss #4 – Rösti

cooked rosti

Rösti just has to be the most Swiss of all Swiss dishes. – It is not tied to a season as for instance Fondue (melted cheese) or strawberries with the insanely sweet cream from Gruyère are. It is not as expensive as is Zürcher Geschnetzeltes (strips of veal and kidney, served in a creamy sauce with mushrooms). It is not limited to a region like Luganighe (pork sausages) are to Ticino. It is never as time consuming as are Capuns (chard leaves with a filling of cured meats from the region, served with a rich cream sauce) or Pizzoccheri (hand cut pasta made of spelt flour, mixed up with greens, squash and/or meat, plus cheese).

And certainly no other dish lends its name to express an unofficial yet mentality wise very much existing division of the country: The so called Röstigraben (Rösti ditch) separates the vast eastern and central (Swiss German) part of Switzerland from the one to the west of Bern, a much smaller area in which people speak French. The Easterners always blamed the Westerners to be more French than Swiss – and used a dish to state the difference between the two regions: True Swiss eat Rösti. And halfway ones don’t. (So, and this now is official: Even tiny countries have their inner, little battles.)

Historically, Rösti is connected to the Bern canton, an area widely populated by farmers and mainly living of agriculture. Until this day the potato cake – what Rösti basically is – remains a popular breakfast on farms, where the workers eat it after a first round on the field or in the barn. And not only in Bern. Nowadays Rosti is cooked all over the place – including western Switzerland.

A plain Rösti usually stands as an accompaniment to some other foods. Classic partners are Bratwurst with an onion gravy, grilled Cervelats, blood and liver sausage, or chunky apple sauce. Often Rösti simply is topped with an egg sunny side up (or two), and served together with a salad. One or two easy additions can turn Rösti into a full and satisfying meal. Bacon cubes, grated cheese, onions or julienned vegetables* can be added to the potatoes. Or the finished Rosti can be covered with slices of cheese and broiled in the oven. – There’s no limits when it comes to Rösti. And not even the Röstigraben can change this…

potatoes, resting for roesti

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