With its lakeside charms, stunning architecture and popular events, Zürich has the power to capture your heart and soul.
But to truly immerse yourself into the local culture, look no further and head for Zürich's delicacies. These are the snacks the locals will eat during the afternoon “Zvieri” break. And they are popular dishes for lunch or dinner in Zürich.
Zürich is an ideal destination to savor Switzerland's culinary delicacies. Whether you are an expat resident, a local who has been living under a rock, or you are planning to travel to Switzerland, here are nine sweet and savory delicacies to try in Zürich.
No trip to Zürich is complete without trying Züri Geschnetzeltes. This ragout of veal with onions and mushrooms in a creamy white wine sauce is commonly served with a side of Rösti. (This dish of grated and slowly fried potato is as close to the Swiss national dish as it gets, and the best one is served at Weisser Wind or at my house...)
Zürcher Geschnetzeltes is available at historic guild house restaurants throughout Zürich. But for the most authentic experience, make a reservation at the legendary Kronenhalle. There, you can enjoy Zürcher Geschnetzeltes surrounded by original Mirós, Picassos and Giacomettis!
Bratwurst at Sternengrill
Having a quick Bratwurst at Bellevue’s Sternengrill after a movie screening is as "Zürich" as it gets. This take-out grill has been in business since 1963, although in a different location. It is the grill of choice where you will see construction workers, bankers, tourists and old ladies.
Apart from the main dish, the St. Galler Bratwurst, I love the crunchy bread bun and the spicy mustard.
Wiediker pork sausage
This local staple has been around for decades, but we have only discovered it in recent years: Wiediker pork sausages. The locals refer to them as Wiedikerli for their production location, Wiedikon.
In this Zürich neighborhood on Manesseplatz, the Keller Butchery has been manufacturing the skinny Wiediker grill sausages likely since 1934. There are four varieties: classic, veal, fennel and hot. So, if you are looking for an authentic Zürich delicacy to try, trust the family recipe of the Kellers and grab a hold of some Wiedikerli.
Stadtjaeger pork sausage
The Stadtjaeger is another Zürich specialty from the sausage category. We honor this dried pork sausage because of its claim: 100 percent Zürich inside. Not only is the meat from city raised organic pigs, the processing and drying happens entirely within city borders.
Find a retail outlet.
Confiserie Sprüngli Luxemburgerli macarons
Moving on to sweets, Zürich has its own variation of macarons known as Luxemburgerli. Made with almond meringue and butter cream filing, this local Zürich delicacy is exclusively available at Confiserie Sprüngli. The name Luxemburgerli pays tribute to Camille Studer, a confectioner who came from Luxembourg to Zürich to sell his sweets at the Sprüngli sweet shop. His macarons ended up flying off the shelf, and he was constantly down in the basement making more.
As the sales clerk would call him downstairs, people adopted the name: “Luxembourger! We need more!” Confiserie Sprüngli has been selling Luxemburgerli since 1957 and produces 1430 pounds of this typical Zürich delicacy – daily!
Straumann Hüppen biscuits
The word Hüppen is said to come from the word "hopyes", which is Greek for wafer or biscuit. In Zürich, Hüppen have a tradition dating back to the 14th century when they were considered a poor man’s food. Only thanks to the availability of sugar, these wafers got a popularity boost.
Today, the Straumann family manufactures Straumann Hüppen in the second generation. Their twist is to fill these fine waffle straws with chocolate cream. Who can resist the sensation of biting into a Hüppen? It is ultimate crunchiness followed by utter creaminess! Nicely wrapped in multiples, Hüppen make for a popular souvenir to take home.
Honey Tirggel biscuits
If you want to try a traditional Zürich Christmas delicacy, don’t forget to taste Tirggel! Sure, the locals will patiently wait until Christmas season or the city’s Sechseläuten festival in spring to take a bite.
But there is hardly a legit reason for the wait. Indulge in this honey biscuit any time of the year! It is a handcrafted biscuit made of flour, honey and spices. My advice: Break off a piece of Züritirggel and let it melt in your mouth because you might bite your teeth out... Find Tirggel at Globus year-round.
Local Zürich physician Dr. Maximilian Bircher Benner believed that a diet based on fruits and vegetables in better for humans than a meat-based diet. In 1895, he invented the Birchermüesli, a mix of fruits, vegetables, cereals, nuts, lemon juice and milk. His patients suffering from stomach problems and jaundice would benefit from this power food.
Only by the 1950s, Birchermüesli had gained wide popularity among the Swiss. This breakfast or dinner meal had conquered Swiss households, military chow halls and even prison canteens. Still today, many Swiss will eat Birchermüesli once a day, and many bakeries or take-out places cater to their healthy taste. Here is a recipe to make your own.
There is good reason gin has experienced a rebirth as of late. Lots of artisanal gin distillers have made a name for themselves in Switzerland, including the local Turicum Gin. It is exclusively produced in small batches, uses only natural ingredients and is the only gin distilled within the Zürich city limits.
One of my favorite lookout spots in Zürich is Lindenhof. This is where the Turicum Gin distillers originally sourced the linden flowers which are still responsible for the aroma today. For a unique experience, sign up for the Turicum Gin Lab and create your very own blend of gin.
Find Turicum Gin at Globus or taste it Stubä.