Mazza: a meaty feast
The Ticinesi love their soil. Many families have their own vineyards, make their own nocino (walnut brandy), and in summer send a few pigs up to the alp – which are then slaughtered in the autumn. From them comes the famous Ticino "mazza" – meats including lardo and pancetta, and homemade sausages such as salami, luganighe and liver-enriched mortadella.
Valais air-dried beef IGP: sublime
One of the celebrated icons of the region's gastronomic heritage is Valais air-dried beef IGP (Indication Géographique Protégée, Protected Geographical Indication). The production process was first described as far back as the 14th century: salt, herbs and spices are rubbed into the raw beef, which is then air-dried in wooden barns for at least six weeks. Only first-class leg of beef may be used. It tastes especially good with rye bread and a fruity Fendant – on a sunny terrace.
Räuschling: the crisp white
The Räuschling is an old variety of grape that is still cultivated in only a few places in Switzerland. It thrives on the sunny slopes above Lake Zürich, and the resulting crisp, fruity white wine has evolved into something of a regional speciality. Zürich's house wine goes well with fish dishes, and also makes a popular aperitif.
Giraffentorte: what is its secret?
Shining white icing, with spots of chocolate: such is the Giraffentorte (giraffe cake) from Winterthur. Its filling is a mystery. It certainly contains chocolate, eggs, butter, salt and sugar, as well as almond and hazelnut – and some brandy, for sure. But until now, the giraffe's secret has never been fully revealed. Investigating it, however, is a guaranteed treat…