Savouring Switzerland.

Fonction Lifestyle: regional cuisine

There are 856 Gault Millau restaurants in Switzerland with almost 70 having 17 or more points. The diversity of regional produce, wines and spirits amongst the different cantons provides the gourmet with a variety of excellent dining possibilities. There are, though, alternatives to sitting down to enjoy a meal. Some choose to get out and about and enjoy a wholesome walk, whilst feasting on regional delights.

The journey is the destination

As most people consider wining and dining as two of the greater pleasures in life, Swiss tourism offices have discovered it would be very exciting for the uninitiated to be introduced to the unique cuisine of its regions. To whet the appetite, as well as to aid digestion and ensure that not too many calories are gained in the process, these discovery programs take the form of walks or hikes from one course to the next. There are guided as well as self-discovery walks. These hikes occur in historical, cultural and natural beauty settings. Thus, one gets to walk the walk, talk the talk and even have the additional benefit of eating, all in one package. Real value for money!

This is "Slow Food" in the truest sense as it can take about eight hours to complete a meal. There is a decadent luxury in being able to savour and appreciate each course in all its glory; in the surroundings in which it was grown or reared, prepared and cooked. Truly organic! One meets the farmer who makes the sausages that you are about to partake, as well as stroke the calves, which will eventually become these veal sausages; it's sometimes hard to swallow but delicious, nevertheless.

The walks are also designed to feast the eyes as you wander in beautiful landscapes or cultural heritages between courses. For example, the lovely Lake of Constance could be the focal point of a culinary trail and fish caught in the lake would be served as an entree.

A moveable feast

There is an array of gourmet walks to choose; from easy to strenuous, Western or Eastern Switzerland, German or French influenced cookery, high Alpine to lowland trails. There is a hike to suit all physical conditions, eating preferences, time and budgets. We decide to try the gourmet hike offered by the canton of Appenzell Ausserrhoden, in order to discover more about this picturesque area and its cuisine. This hike promised to be easy and appetizing. Armed with a healthy appetite, good walking shoes and appropriate all-weather wear, we gather at the lovely restaurant Linde...

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