The fertile countryside and award-winning chefs are a perfect combination.
The area around fertile Lake Lucerne is where the classic Älplermagronen
(baked macaroni with potatoes) and many other regional
specialities were first made. The creative cooks of Central
Switzerland have turned this little-known gem into a world-class
gastronomic destination. In the city of Lucerne alone, the concentration
of top chefs is striking: 16 restaurants have 250 Gault-
Millau points among them. More than two dozen other wellregarded
restaurants are scattered throughout the region.
These top chefs have taken their inspiration from the unique
and highly fertile landscape and have evolved the finest regional
cuisine. The mild climate of the lake, the rugged slopes of the
nearby Napfgebiet, and the soft green hills of Lucerne’s countryside
are perfect for growing fruit, vegetables and grains. Little
surprise, then, that the market in Lucerne’s Old Town (every
Saturday and Tuesday) is one of the most attractive in the country.
Locals flock here to buy fresh perch and whitefish fillets,
distinctive Dallenwiler mountain cheese, and the irresistible
Engelberg goat cheese brought by producers in the Entlebuch
UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. And don’t neglect to try Central
Switzerland “Suurteigbrot” (sourdough bread) – this crisp,
flavourful treat is a gastronomic classic.
Temptations around every corner
Of course, we should not forget Lucerne’s “national dish”: the
Luzerner Chügelipastete, a historic speciality which was originally
served during the city’s celebrated Carnival. The popular
“Kafi Luz” – coffee with Kirsch or other fruit brandy – also has a
history, and dates back to the days when farmers and dairymen
would drink Schnapps before breakfast. The authorities banned
the habit – and so the inventive farm folk would surreptitiously
pour their favourite tipple into their coffee. A good taste for
Schnapps has lingered: the distilleries around Lake Lucerne
produce top-quality Kirsch – cherry – as well as other fruit brandies.
Some of them still use traditional stills over wood fires. A
suitable climax to a gastronomic tour is a slice of “Lozärner Birewegge”
(Lucerne pear bread) or the award-winning Wetterfroschtorte
(a coffee and plum brandy-scented cake) from Muotathal.
These belong just as much to the culinary highlights of the region
where you’ll also find up-to-date dishes such as beef entrecote
with beetroot-orange chutney in a thyme sauce; potatoherb
ravioli in a lobster broth, or lobster tempura. Lucerne
restaurants bewitch visitors from all over the world.