Christmas time in Switzerland mirrors some customs and traditions from other European countries like Germany and Austria.
However, Switzerland has a few traditions and regional specialties of its own to help bring the Christmas season to life. Certain foods become the highlight of the holiday and can vary depending on the region of Switzerland.
But one of the main similarities is the amount of food served for Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve rather than Christmas Day. You can also expect to find a fair share of Christmas cookies made with different cookie doughs.
Tip: If you want to experience a white Christmas in Switzerland, visit Leukerbad, high up in the Swiss Alps. Visit St. Gallen for a laid-back Christmas.
Here’s the scoop on Christmas foods in Switzerland!
A popular tradition among the Swiss people is the celebration of Advent, which usually kicks off the Christmas holidays in the country. Some villages in the alp country have advent calendars and houses with advent windows or an advent wreath.
When your home is chosen, you are expected to hold a party for the rest of the swiss town, which includes Mulled wine (vin chaud), music, and food.
A Christmas activity that many people take part in is the Christmas markets with fairy lights where you can buy decorations, a hot drink, and different types of foods.
If you visit Switzerland, be on the lookout for parades and people singing Christmas carols. Just like Germany, Switzerland is one of the best places to visit during the Christmas season due to its extravagant display of Christmas lights and traditional food in the town squares.
Even though Germany started the Christmas tree tradition in the 16th century, Switzerland didn’t pick up the tradition until the 19th century. The tree can sometimes be decorated with large candles on Christmas Eve. Place the first candle on the real tree and let the holiday season begin!
For small children, ‘Star Singing’ is a tradition that allows the Swiss children to sing Christmas songs from the last week of Advent to Epiphany while carrying a star that represents the star that the Wisemen followed to see baby Jesus from the nativity scenes.
You can also expect a bell ringing from the big cow bell and midnight mass to increase the Christmas spirit.
St. Nicholas or also known as the Swiss Santa Claus will possibly visit on December 6th. If you’re lucky, baby Jesus will also visit to drop off presents. Depending on the region of Switzerland, the present bringers can vary with Southern Switzerland expecting to be visited by the Three Kings.
1. Filet Im Teig
One of the most popular culinary traditions in Switzerland is the Filet Im Teig which is a roasted pork fillet with potato salad that is seasoned with yellow curry powder, salt, and pepper.
Most people in the German-speaking region of Switzerland have this dish for the holidays. The dish also includes sausage meat spread on top of the pastry with chopped parsley and egg whites on the side of the dough.
2. Basler Brunsli
These swiss chocolate spice cookies can make a living room smell like the holidays. Basler brunsli are great Christmas cookies that consist of almond flour, which is great for people who are on gluten-free and dairy-free diets. So, people on diets don’t have to miss out on Christmas cookie baking.
The chewy cookies can be cut into any shape depending on the holiday or event.
Originally from Italy, these macaroon almond cookies combine almond flour, sugar, whipped egg whites, and almond extract for a delicious nutty flavor. You can choose to make these biscuit-like cookies either soft or chewy.
4. Fondue Chinoise (Meat Fondue)
One of the best Christmas foods in Switzerland is a fondue Chinoise. This classic dish is often seen in Swiss households as part of a Christmas meal or for New Years and can be made in different ways for the winter months.
This Swiss cuisine with a frying pan combines meats, sauces, and veggies cooked in hot broth or oil. Depending on your preferences, you can switch out veggies to include your favorites like artichokes and asparagus.
Chestnuts make up an extensive part of the festive season in Switzerland. The tree nut tastes like potatoes with the option to soak them in syrup or roast them by an open flame.
This staple food in Swiss homes reminds the Swiss people of the dark times in their history involving famine and invaders.
6. Basler Mehlsuppe
Known as flour soup, this holiday dish blends flour, butter, onions, and broth for a warm and comforting journey for the taste buds. The soup is usually paired with red wine and can be eaten several days afterward.
7. Grittibanz (Swiss Christmas Bread)
The little bread men known as Grittibanz often appear in Switzerland just in time for the holidays. This street food combines egg and milk dough to have a glistening golden appearance with raisin eyes.
8. Raclette Cheese
Raclette cheese is one of the best Christmas foods in Switzerland and in other Alpine countries. The dish consists of melted cheese and boiled potatoes. It can also come with onions and pickled fruit. In one restaurant in Lake Geneva, the solid cheese is on a spike with a fire to make the cheese melt.
9. Pain D’epice
Popular in Western Switzerland, this french-style cake consists of rye flour, honey, and spices. The ingredients used to make this bread are nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, and aniseed.
10. Basler Lackerli
These hard spice cookies were originally created by spice merchants a long time ago and have stuck to culinary traditions in Switzerland. Experience Swiss love with this rectangle shape dough with sugar glaze, honey, almonds, candied peel, and kirsch is a seasonal sugary delight.
11. Croute au Fromage
A dish found in French-speaking Switzerland, the croute au fromage is comfort food for Switzerland households. The cheesy toast has hints of white wine and is a basic recipe with slightly different variations depending on the region. Tuck ham under the cheese or top it with a sunny-side egg or sauteed mushrooms.
12. Christmas Birchermuesli
To start off the Christmas season, birchermuesli is an ideal breakfast dish that is sometimes in swiss households. The five-minute dish perfectly blends condensed milk, grated apples, oat flakes, almonds, and lemon juice.
Originally from Germany, this bread made of exotic fruits is a staple dish in Switzerland. The stollen is a bread that also has a mixture of nuts, powdered sugar, and spices. This dish is especially popular in the German-speaking part of Switzerland for the winter season.
14. Stuffed Turkey
Turkey is often a part of Christmas food traditions in various countries like the United States. If a swiss household doesn’t make fondue, they will usually celebrate the holidays with a roast turkey. The turkey is served with walnut mayonnaise and bread.
15. Swiss Chocolate
Switzerland is popular for its chocolate and comes as no surprise that many recipes and traditions involve chocolate. An example of a popular swiss dessert is the chocolate bars with the number one brand being Lindt. You can add delicious sweets to your meal by making cookies or cake out of local swiss chocolate.
In late November, Switzerland and other parts of the world begin to tune into the holiday season by visiting light displays and an ice rink, shopping for presents, planning out good food to cook, visiting ski resorts, and decorating their homes.
If you want to spice up your Christmas dishes compared to last year, have a Swiss alps Christmas with these healthy and delicious dishes for next year!
You can also bake different types of cookies or fix a delicious drink that reminds people of Switzerland.
Did you know that Merry Christmas is the German word, Schoni Wiehnachte and in French, it is Joyeux Noel?
That’s the scoop on the best Christmas foods in Switzerland!
For more holiday food posts, visit these:
- 25 Traditional Italian Christmas Foods from Italy
- 25+ Texas Food Gifts for Christmas 
- 90 Best Christmas Party Food Ideas For Buffet And Appetizers
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