A Swiss Brunch: All you need for your 1. August Brunch
The Swiss love brunch and they especially love brunch on the 1st of August, Swiss National Day. All over the country, you will find farms and restaurants serving up a Swiss-style brunch with fresh loaves of bread, golden röstis and other local specialities.
But what if you want to create that Swiss brunch feeling at home? It isn't as hard as you may think, with a little preparation you too can wow your guests with a traditional swiss brunch. So invite a group of friends or family over, get your swiss decorations out and celebrate Switzerland unity with the following:
1. Fresh Bread
No Swiss brunch table would be without fresh bread. The bakeries will be mostly all open on the morning of the 1. August so pick up a loaf or two of your favourite (mine is Zopf), not forgetting the soft fluffy 1. August Weggli, with their swiss flags on top.
If you prefer to skip the bakery, why not make your Zopf at home the night before. It isn't as hard as you think, all you need is a good recipe, 10 minutes of arm power to knead your dough silky smooth and a good youtube video showing you how to braid.
Switzerland's hash brown, the crispy golden rösti is a standard at any good Swiss brunch. The Swiss make rösti with potatoes cooked in their skins from the day before. Just before serving, peel with a butter knife, the potatoes grated on the Rösti Raffel (a large-holed grater), seasoned and then fried in plenty oil - flipping to make sure both sides of the round potato disk are golden brown.
3. Eggs and Bacon
A sunny side up egg and a couple of slices of crisped swiss bacon make an excellent accompaniment to the rösti.
Pop to the local cheese shop or the grocery cheese counter for your best selection creamy, stinky cheeses My current preferences include:
Something hard and ripe: like Sprinz, the kids love the thinly sliced pre-rolled up version you can get at the supermarket.
Something fancy: The rose-shaped Tête de Moine cheese is always on our table for special occasions. This cheese requires a special circular cutter to create the elegant rosette shape, but you can buy them pre-shaved at the supermarket.
Something everyone loves: Cheese such as Gruyere or Appenzell is always a safe choice that most people enjoy. We prefer this type of cheese with a bit of a bite and choose a riper version (look for "Reif" or "Surchoix" on the packaging), but they come in more creamier versions too.
Something from the mountains: Cheese made from the milk of alpine grazing cows is called either Alp or Berg cheese and usually is a little milder. I love the cheese from Gerschnialp in Engelberg.
Something soft: While a lot of soft cheese is from France, you can find Swiss versions of Camembert and Brie. As I am the only one in our family who likes soft cheese, I try something new each time I visit the local cheese shop.
5. Jams & honey
One of the jars of homemade jams that I have picked up over the past months will always make it onto the brunch table. Homemade jam is so much more flavorful than store-bought and can I pick them up from the local farmers market or when I pop by a farm shop. Try Zwetschgen (plum), Erdberren (Strawberry) or Quitten (Quince). While you have your eyes peeled for local produce, look out for local honey too.
6. Meat plate
For those wanting to make the brunch table more substantial, put together a plate of different types of Swiss cured meats. Popular meats include hams and salamis as well as local specialities such as Bündner Fleisch, Landjäger and Mostbröckli.
While you are at the cheese shop, don't forget to pick up some locally made butter. I find the butter bought here a lot creamy than from the supermarket.
8. Bircher Museli
No Swiss brunch table would be complete without Bircher Müseli, which is easy to make yourself at home. Soak some oats in milk, preferably overnight, and if you are using dried fruit throw those in now too. The next morning add natural yogurt, berries and a grated apple (grated on a fine grater). From here you can make it your own: add some sugar or maple syrup to sweeten or add nuts for some crunch.
Traditionally apple juice is served in Switzerland thanks to its sizeable apple-growing tradition, especially in the canton of Thurgau, and many farms across the country grow and press their own. My kids, however, prefer orange juice.
10. Coffee, Tea & other drinks
For the most part, Swiss drink Coffee for breakfast, but you will find some herbal teas on offer too. You won't often see much black tea, but you will at our house. The kids also love to have a cold hot chocolate too.
With your brunch ingredients all bought, all you need now is a festive table. Grab some swiss flags, Swiss napkins and why not grab a pot of edelweiss from the local garden centre and you have the makings of a beautiful table.
Put some Swiss music on, I suggest looking up the Swiss playlist I've put together on Spotify, and sit down to enjoy your hard work. The best part of brunch is that all the hard work can mostly be done beforehand so that you can relax and enjoy the meal. And don't forget to get the rest of the family involved - the kids like to organise the cheese and meat platters, and I can usually convince them to set the table.