48 hours in... Zurich, Switzerland
A brief account of 48 hours in and around Zurich, featuring... marrow! wienerschnitzel! pork with a generous helping of salt and fat! beer! chocolate! Is there more to life than that??
Lots of photos at http://flickr.com/photos/kaplanbr/set...
To start with, Zurich is a lovely town full of charming architecture and interesting culture, on a lovely lake, in sight of the lovely Alps covered in snow.
One thing Zurich is well know for is Sprungli chocolates and patisseries. They are all over the place, and the Luxemburgli cookies are justifiably famous - a kind of creme filled macaron in assorted flavors. All delicious. They even have a wikipedia entry - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luxembur.... When you go, try as many as you can, you'll be glad.
Sprungli also happens to be a part of the Lindt family (bet you didn't know that!), and their factory happened to be just down the road from my hotel. Chocolate aromas filled the air, locals filled the factory store shopping for specials on Easter chocolates. We didn't get to see the production itself, but it was a nice stop nonetheless, and I purchased a good deal of chocolate to bring home. Some of which you can get here in the US, some unique to Europe.
My first meal of the trip was a basic street cart, that I assume is a part of a chain - Brezelkonig - for a pretzel sandwich with "coppa" (basically prosciutto), butter and salt! Gotta love anyone who adds salt and fat to prosciutto to make a sandwich. It hit the spot. I washed it down with a strange Swiss soft drink called Rivella, made from "serum de lait" which is apparently some sort of super skimmed milk derivative. Only in Switzerland...
For dinner that night, we hit one of the city's top restaurants, Kronenhalle, which was traditional, fancy, expensive Swiss/German food. I went for something I'd never had before to start - Soup with Bone Marrow - then something very traditional - Wienerschnitzel. Both were fine, but I wouldn't go back to Kronenhalle on my own dime. The marrow was strangely lacking in the rich flavor I expected, and the wienershnitzel was, well, wienerschnitzel, but a huge huge huge piece of veal. I could not finish it. The Rioja we had along with the meal was the highlight, actually, quite nice.
The next night, I got to choose, and we hit a much more enjoyable spot for beer, wurst, and great bread and mustard - Zeughauskeller. It's in a former armory, and the decor leans to guns and hatchets, which is not quite so reassuring in a room full of heavily drinking folks. Great stuff all around, highly recommended.
One final culinary stop worth noting - there's a shop in the old town that is full of empty bottles and various kegs/barrels/vats of wines, alcohols, liqueurs, oils, vinegars, etc. that you can pick and choose from. Very cool idea. Didn't buy anything mainly due to US customs regulations, but would love to get back there some time.
Photo of the luxembrugerli cookies at Sprungli...
All good tips. I would add that your should make sure to have a Bratwurst or Cervela (another kind of sausage shorter, thicker, firmer and red) at the Sternen Grill in Bellvue. The sausages a fine, but the Brötli (little breads included in the chf 6.50) and mustard are the best in Zürich.
I think I might have to go have one now.
Based on my experience with food in Zurich, I'd immediately recommend going to the French part of Switzerland to experience good food. I found none in Zurich.
Zurich is, unfortunately, a rather expensive city. The mediocre food here is expensive. So you might as well go for the good (but hard-to-find) stuff. Often it is no more expensive than the run of the mill...
I can recommend: (1) Bü's, just off Bahnhofstrasse, 044 211 94 11
(2) Caduff's Wineloft, 044 240 22 55 (3) La Rocca, 044 271 02 77
(4) Hotel and Restaurant Engimatt, 044 284 16 16. I'm sure there are other good places, but these are the ones I choose when I feel like going out. None of these are cheap, but they offer good value for the money. Engimatt is probably the most moderately priced of the four. Reservations are recommended in all of them.