by Rosa Mayland
Switzerland (also known as “Confoederatio Helvetica” or “die Schweiz”, “la Suisse”, “Svizzera”, “Svizra”) is a federal republic composed of 26 cantons and 4 different linguistic and cultural areas (German, French, Italian and Romansch). It’s therefore not surprising if its cuisine reflects its rich heritage and highly diverse cultures. It is rather like an island in the middle of Europe, like a tiny kingdom.
Each region and canton has its very own traditional dishes and specialties as well as produce, and they defend and even protect it fiercely, because there are dishes, cheeses, wines, breads, and many more food items that are now protected by AOCs in Switzerland.
Even if this tiny piece of land stuck between Germany, Austria, France, Italy has its own highly diverse culinary identity, one cannot refute that each part of the Swiss Confederation has, to a certain extent, been influenced by its neighbors, and vice versa. For example, a sausage resembling the anise-flavored Geneva sausage called Longeole can also be found in Chablais (Haute-Savoie); a cheese similar to Valais raclette is made in Savoie too; the Swiss German spätzli seem to be of Swabian (German) origin. Then there is polenta or risotto which evoke the Apennine Penninsula, and are often found in Ticino, and, well, the list goes on. As it is the case with every place that is not in total isolation, the borders are quite permeable, so it is pretty understandable that ideas, information, arts and science cross back and forth across the borders.