During my time traveling this summer, I was reminded of several foods you can find in the United States that use the word “Swiss” in their name. Some are brand names, while others are terms commonly used to describe certain foods. Maybe you know them all?
Please keep in mind that this list is not meant to portray, in any way, Americans’ awareness of Swiss food (that would be a separate blog post!). Instead, I am purely sharing foods in the United States that use “Swiss” in their name. Here is my list of five foods that meet this criterion from my home country, in no particular order:
1. Swiss Cheese
In American supermarkets, if you look for “Swiss cheese,” you will find a white cheese with holes in it — either imported from Switzerland or made in the United States. For example, Land O Lakes sells an American-made Swiss cheese that you can purchase at deli counters. At a restaurant, you might ask for “a ham and Swiss sandwich.” In Switzerland, however, this cheese goes by the name of Emmentaler, after the region where it is made.
2. Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa
In the United States, when Americans hear “Swiss Miss,” they think of a popular hot cocoa mix. The boxes of Swiss Miss I recently saw at a New Hampshire supermarket included a special note on the label: “We use real milk from Wisconsin.” The state of Wisconsin is known for its dairy industry. We definitely had some Swiss Miss in our pantry from time to time when I was growing up in Minnesota.
3. Swiss Chard
In French-speaking Switzerland, this green leafy vegetable is referred to as côtes de bettes. In the Swiss canton of Ticino, where Italian is spoken, you call it Bietola da costa. Finally, in German-speaking Switzerland, it is known as Krautstiel or Mangold. To contrast, Americans refer to this vegetable as “Swiss chard,” or simply as “chard.” While not native to Switzerland, the story goes that it earned its moniker in the United States from a Swiss botanist named Koch, who coined its scientific name.
4. Swiss Rolls
A thin sponge cake spread with a soft, creamy or fruit filling that is rolled into a spiral is called a “Swiss roll” in the United States. You can make one at home or buy a store-bought version made by McKee Foods, the company that owns the Little Debbie brand. This company debuted its Swiss Roll in the early 1960s, after its owner and founder, O.D. McKee, went to a trade show in Europe. According to the company’s website, he saw a Swiss rolled-cake dessert that led him to introduce an American version, which has become a household name.
5. Swiss Meringue
In American cuisine, there are three types of meringue — Swiss, French and Italian. According to Cooks Illustrated, you begin to make a Swiss meringue “by gently beating egg whites and sugar in a pan that sits above boiling water.” In the United States, Cooks Illustrated indicates that a Swiss meringue can be used in buttercream frosting. In Switzerland, this same process leads to those deliciously light, crisp baked meringues, particularly famous in Gruyères.
Have you tried all of these foods in the United States with “Swiss” in their name? Am I missing any others? If so, please leave a comment below or send me an email. Thanks!
Updated: January 7, 2023