Have you heard the news? Zürich has a massive new food festival. With over 100 events running from September 8 to 18, FOOD ZURICH kicked off yesterday with an Opening Night party at the Jelmoli FOOD MARKET. In the Jelmoli department store basement, you could sample foods from the various food vendors typically stationed at this market. Or, you could also take advantage of culinary specialties prepared by chefs from restaurants at some of Zürich’s finest hotels.
FOOD ZURICH developed lots of new food events, such as cooking workshops, special meals and culinary exhibits. However, it also pulled some existing festivals into its line-up, such as the Craft Beer Festival, Street Food Festival and The Epicure. The organizing committee for FOOD ZURICH includes Zürich Tourism and others from the hospitality industry.
For this year’s edition, the Basque region served as a guest and partner of FOOD ZURICH. Cuisine from this geographic area will be highlighted during the festival. One event in particular, the Pintxos Tram, which will be offered multiple times. It allows participants to take a tram ride through Zürich while feasting on Spanish tapas (CHF 95).
FOOD ZURICH’s Kick-Off Event
I gladly accepted an invitation to FOOD ZURICH’s Opening Night (CHF 95) — an event whose tickets had sold out. My evening started out with a glass of champagne and the opportunity to wander through the Jelmoli FOOD MARKET. the market has an impressive selection of Swiss foods, and especially those from the Zürich area. For example, I sampled some of Suter’s Züri Tirggel. This thin, sweet and very crispy biscuit has been produced in Switzerland since 1840. I also visited the cheese humidor, a small refrigerated cheese market for purchasing local Swiss cheeses to enjoy at home. The next time I’m in Zürich, I look forward to returning to this foodie basement paradise to do some shopping.
After exploring through the marketplace, I visited the tables of the restaurants from five Zürich hotels. These included the Baur au Lac, Park Hyatt Zürich, Storchen Zürich, Dolder Grand and Widder Hotel. While I didn’t try everything, my favorites of the evening came from the Dolder Grand. Their dishes seemed like very elegant comfort food. The chefs served stewed beef, spinach dumplings (Spinat Knödel) and polenta flavored with coarse-grained mustard.
Along with the buffet of small plates, the ticket price included drinks. Mövenpick Wein, which has a shop at the Jelmoli FOOD MARKET, supplied the wine. I sampled two Swiss wines, both from Staatskellerei Zürich: a 2015 Compleo Pinot Gris and a 2013 Éo Noir. The Pinot Gris was too sweet for my palate. In comparison, I really enjoyed the red wine — a mix of Gamaret (75%) and Merlot (25%). Cocktails were also poured that evening, but I opted for a Hell beer from Chopfab instead. This smooth Swiss blonde beer is one I would definitely have again.
Finally, I took on the dessert aisle and sampled a few macarons from Fauchon and two mini-cakes — carrot and chocolate from the Buchmann bakery. These two businesses have permanent shops in the Jelmoli FOOD MARKET.
With a DJ, musical performances and speeches, the Opening Night for FOOD ZURICH had a fun atmosphere with fantastic food and drink to launch this major new culinary festival.
Dozens of Culinary Events
The dozens of events scheduled during the next 10 days include free events and activities that require you to purchase tickets or make reservations. The topics vary tremendously, from learning how to cook and bake with animal blood to going on an urban truffle hunt and to viewing chocolate sculptures. And, if you’re looking to learn about Swiss food, you could enjoy a traditional meal from Swiss Tavolata, learn how to make Swiss biber with Leibacher or taste different kinds of fondue at Restaurant Swiss Chuchi.
FOOD ZURICH runs from September 8-18, 2016. For more information, you can visit their website — available in German and English.
Updated: December 30, 2022