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.
Merlot: ruby-red delight
Merlot and Ticino go together just like brasato (braised beef) and polenta. 80% of vineyards are given over to the Merlot grape – with growing success, thanks to innovative winemakers: wines such as Sassi Grossi can compete with the best from Bordeaux. Ticino's liquid sunshine tastes superb in a romantic grotto (traditional inn), enjoyed with alp cheese and salametti sausage, but Merlot also goes well with gourmet dishes. And it makes exciting blends, too – such as with Bondola, Ticino's only native grape variety.
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…