A Taste of the Swiss Summer

A roundup of what’s new on Switzerland’s culinary scene

There’s more to discover than cheese and chocolate in Switzerland. Did you know that Switzerland grows saffron? Or that Europe’s only tea plantation is located in Switzerland? And have you heard of the food festivals La Tavolata or Food Zurich? No? Well it’s time to find out.

The Swiss red gold

It’s above a little village where Switzerland’s most precious flowers grow – on the sunny high plateau of Mund, saffron, or better the valuable crocus sativus is still grown according to centuries-old traditions. Between 30 and 1000 flowers are harvested every day during the season between October and November. The costly spice is extracted from the flowers’ pistils. The Mund saffron guild produces between one and four kilograms of saffron every year, working painstakingly by hand.

Fine food, slow food, street food

Foodies listen, there is a new food festival to be marked in the diary: from 8 to 18 September, everything in Zurich revolves around food. During the FOOD ZURICH festival, gourmets, foodies, picnic enthusiasts, hearty eaters, meat lovers, vegetarians, vegans, gluten intolerant people, and “sweet” and “savoury” fans can sample countless culinary delicacies from all over the world.

Time for a Swiss cuppa

On the Monte Verità above the city of Ascona, on a hill where revolutionists, artists and philosophers once used to experiment new ways of life, lies Europe’s only tea plantation. This botanic miracle has become a reality on the one hand because of the unique microclimate and on the other thanks to Peter Oppliger. The expert in medicinal plants who was born in 1940 calls himself a “tea philosopher”.

Lunch is served at the Alps’ longest table

Lunch is served – Eat, drink, laugh and be merry at the longest table in the Alps. During the festival La Tavolata a 400-metres long table winds through the pedestrian streets of St. Moritz. Locals and guests sit together, eat, drink and celebrate, laugh, sing and dance. This year, the festival starts with a new secret PopUp dinner on 29 July, followed by a day of street BBQ and concerts on the 30th and finally the la Tavolata – the longest and most beautiful table in the Alps on the 31st.

The valley of mountain herbs

There is a valley in the Bernese Oberland that profits from a special climate: The Simmental. Facing both, to the east and west, the sunlight is very intense. This allows all sorts of herbs and plants to develop strong flavours. There are countless meadows with a huge variety of different mountain herbs, and many may even grow by the roadside. And if you are not sure if you picked the right plant, just ask one of the locals. Many of them have an encyclopaedic knowledge and are happy to share their wisdom.

New foody museum: nest

Nesquik, Cailler, Nescafé, Nespresso – do these names get your taste buds tingling? The museum ‘nest’, opening this month in Vevey, shows how the history of Nestlé started 150 years ago. A unique adventure, discovering treasures of the past, right up to the present day and ahead is awaiting the visitors. They can discover the relation between nutrition, health and wellness thanks to cutting-edge technology.

You may also be interested in the AboutMyGeneration review of a recent Swiss culinary event - Zürich meets London: Dada Inspired Gala Dinner