Cyprus is acknowledged to have the one of the highest grocery costs in Europe. Even if you grow your own veg, shop at markets, and do the rest in Lidl’s middle aisles, you’re still spending way more than you should on basic items. But, just be glad you don’t live in Switzerland!

Not even the gorgeous scenery (soaring mountains, verdant valleys, and glass-clear lakes) is going to offset the prices! It’s no wonder Swiss women have their first child at a later age than their European counterparts (31 years, compared to 30 in Cyprus, for example). If you can’t afford to feed yourself, you think twice about starting a family!

whats eaten2That said, once you’ve come to terms with the cost of your food, there’s some very good eating to be found, starting with a cheese fondue, of course – Switzerland’s national dish since the 1930s. Traditionally, this was stale bread dipped in melted Gruyère. Nowadays, it’s often crusty loaf and a mix of Emmentaler and Appenzeller, along with a splash of kirsch and a swirl of spicy seasonings.

Rosti Valaisanne is another iconic Swiss concoction, consisting of thinly-grated fried potatoes topped with salty bacon, fried egg, and melted cheese, and served with gherkins and pickled onions. And cheese pops up again in roasted flour soup: flour, butter, onion and beef stock, topped with a grating of Gruyere.

But it’s the sweet stuff that’s the country’s best-known fare: Swiss chocolate is widely acknowledged to be the best in the world. It’s largely thanks to Rudolf Lindt (who, in 1879 invented the conche – a flavour development process that evenly distributes cocoa butter within the chocolate) and Henri Nestle (who discovered how to add milk to chocolate). Their pioneering work led to the milk chocolate we know today.

Of course it’s not all chocolate. Leckerli (sweet and spicy biscuits made with honey, hazelnuts, almonds, candied peel, and Kirsch) are famous in the capital, Bern. And a good cup of coffee is a favourite nationwide – although, in that four of the world’s five most expensive cities for coffee are in Switzerland, you might be better off with a glass of water. Even that won’t come cheap – like groceries, Swiss tap water is among the most expensive in Europe!