With its colorful painted facades and rolling green hillsides, the Appenzell region of Switzerland also has a number of culinary specialties that are unique to this area.
Two half-cantons make up this region, Appenzell Ausserrhoden and Appenzell Innerrhoden.
To help you discover some examples of the food & drink from this corner of northeastern Switzerland, please check out my list below. How many of these items from Appenzell have you already tried?
Philenbrot originated in the canton of Appenzell Innerrhoden. One possible theory for its name is that “Pfile” is a variation of the Greek word, “philo” for friend (“brot” means bread in German). Made with an enriched dough filled with milk and butter, bakers make this seasonal bread during the Christmas holidays. If you want to try making it yourself, please check out my recipe.
2. Appenzeller Cheese
You can find Appenzeller cheese throughout Switzerland, but when you go to this region, I recommend going to the town of Stein to visit the Appenzeller Schaukäserei. At this show dairy, you will learn about the tradition and production of this semi-hard cheese with a long history in Switzerland. There’s also a restaurant onsite serving dishes made with this special cheese, such as fondue and Appenzeller Toast with ham and pear. While you’re in Stein, you can also visit the local Appenzeller Volkskunde-Museum (Folklore Museum), located next door to the Schaukäserei.
Appenzeller Schaukaserei, Dorf 711, 9063 Stein, +41 (0)71 368 50 70
The Schlorzifladen is a special sweet tart from Appenzell, as well as the canton of St. Gallen, that has two layers. Held together with a shortcrust pastry, the bottom layer has a velvety purée made with dried pears, Dörrbirnen. On top, there’s a layer of baked custard. It’s delicious with a dusting of powdered sugar, or with a scoop of ice cream and some whipped cream, or all three! A great place to enjoy a slice of Schlorzifladen is the Säntisgipfel Restaurant on the summit of Mount Säntis.
Alpenbitter generally refers to a dark liqueur seasoned with herbs that has an alcohol content of about 30 percent. In Switzerland, there are different types and brands of Alpenbitter — such as Luzerner Alpenbitter or Glarner Alpenbitter, but the Appenzeller Alpenbitter is arguably the most famous. Patrimoine Culinaire Suisse has reported that people sometimes refer to the Appenzeller version as the Swiss national drink. In the town of Appenzell, you can visit the factory tour and shop.
Appenzeller Alpenbitter, Weissbadstrasse 27, CH-9050 Appenzell, +41 (0)71 788 37 88, firstname.lastname@example.org
A special pastry with a sweet hazelnut filling and a long name, the Landsgmendchrempfli typically has a design pressed into the dough before baking. The first written documentation of these pastries comes from the 1930s. Their name refers to the Landsgemeinde, one of only two outdoor public voting practices left in Switzerland (the other takes place in Glarus). Held on the last Sunday in April, the Appenzell Landsgemeinde incredibly only allowed women to vote for the first time in 1991. You can find these pastries throughout the year at bakeries in Appenzell, but they traditionally were eaten on the day of this open-air assembly.
Biber refers to a style of gingerbread from Appenzell, which also exists in St. Gallen. Most often filled with almond-paste, you can find this spiced treat throughout the year, but it’s especially popular during the Christmas holiday season. Biber comes in all shapes and sizes. It will often have a design pressed into its surface, or in the case of the photo below, a traditional Appenzeller scene has been painted on a sugar-paste disk.
Mostbröckli comes from both of Appenzell’s half-cantons. This smoked dried beef is served very finely sliced. The oldest mention of this meat product dates back to 1905. Today, you can find it throughout Switzerland. It earned an IGP designation (Indication géographique protegée) in 2018. Mostbröckli bearing this label must be produced in Appenzell or some parts of nearby St. Gallen. It works well for sandwiches or as part of a platter of dried meats and cheese.
In Appenzell, there’s a hard caramel candy known as nidelzeltli. Popular with children, these little candies contain sweetened condensed milk, sugar, glucose syrup and whole cream. You can find different types of Appenzeller nidelzeltli, but the Appenzeller Nidelzeltli 212 with the man wearing traditional Appenzeller clothing on its packaging is arguably the most well-known.
9: Salami: Bauernschüblig & Pantli
In Appenzell, there are two types of dried salami that you might like to try. First, you’ll find the Appenzeller Bauernschüblig. This smoked sausage made with beef and pork is long and slender with a very dark casing. You will actually find Schüblig sausages in several regions of German-speaking Switzerland. They usually come in pairs and sometimes need to be cooked. This version from Appenzell is eaten raw. The Pantli, which received an IGP designation in 2018, also contains beef and pork and is seasoned with garlic. This rectangular shaped sausage has a history dating back to at least the late 19th century.
10. Appenzeller Hosenknöpfe
Tiny round biscuits known, known as Hosenknöpfe (trouser buttons), are found in a few different regions of Switzerland, but Appenzell has its own version. The Appenzeller biscuits are somewhat compact little disks of meringue. Generally made with egg whites, powdered sugar and flour, additional ingredients can vary depending on the baker. You can enjoy these little biscuits with a cup of coffee or tea.
The Appenzeller Siedwurst is a beef and pork sausage seasoned with caraway seeds. When you’re served this white sausage, please remember that the casing must be removed before eating. Like the other meat products in this list, the Siedwurst received an IGP designation in 2018. The sausage meat has a soft texture because the filling is finely ground. This saussage closely resembles the St. Galler Bratwurst, a white veal sausage from St. Gallen.
A cinnamon cake baked in a shortcrust pastry, but sometimes with puff pastry, the Zimtfladen can also be found in the neighboring canton of St. Gallen. Sometimes bakers will spread jam, typically made from raspberries or currants, on the bottom of the pastry before adding the cake batter filling. This cake has been made in Appenzell for over 100 years, according to Patrimoine Culinaire Suisse.
13. Appenzeller Beer
In northeastern Switzerland, Brauerei Locher makes Appenzeller Bier with spring water from the Alpstein mountains. This independent, family-owned brewery makes Quöllfrisch, a well-known lager with a traditional Appenzell landscape on its label. You can sign up for a tour and tasting of the brewery, located in the town of Appenzell. If you like Swiss alpine whisky, this brewery also produces Säntis Malt.