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Food guide: Swiss and Basel specialities

Learn everything there is to know about the traditional Swiss and Basel dishes – and find out the best places to enjoy them.

Basel cuisine has a long and fascinating tradition. In fact, some of Switzerland’s oldest restaurants are right here in Basel. The Gasthof zum Goldenen Sternen, for example, has been around since 1412.

Basel specialities

The list of sweets and desserts Basel is famous for is pretty long – so long, in fact, you might think it’s all the locals eat. To be fair, they do have a sweet tooth, especially during the Carnival in Basel, the Basel Herbstmesse (autumn fair) and Basler Weihnacht. Some Basel specialities are only available on these occasions.

What specialities is Basel famous for?

Basler Läckerli aus der Confiserie Bachmann.

Basler Läckerli

Basel’s famous sweet treat combines the delicious flavours of honey, almonds and candied fruits, and tastes quite similar to lebkuchen. You can get freshly baked Läckerli at Jakob’s Basler Leckerly, the Läckerli-Huus and Confiserie Bachmann.

Magenbrot

Magenbrot is a kind of soft, glazed lebkuchen that is best enjoyed fresh at the Basel Herbstmesse (autumn fair). This Basel classic gets its name thanks to ingredients like cloves, cinnamon, star anise and mace, which aid digestion (“Magenbrot” translates literally as “stomach bread”).

Basler Herbstmesse 2017

Mässmogge

Mässmögge are a type of elongated boiled sweet. Each colour has a different flavour. They are available in two different varieties – one with a hazelnut filling and one without – from stands at the Basel Herbstmesse (autumn fair).

Basler Herbstmesse 2017

Rosekiechli

These little rose-shaped cakes dusted with icing sugar have been a favourite at the Basel Herbstmesse (autumn fair) for hundreds of years. Rosekiechli are still freshly made at stands on Petersplatz and Barfüsserplatz to this day.

Basler Rahmtäfeli

These soft cube-shaped sweets have a consistency similar to that of fudge and a delicious caramel flavour.

Brunsli

Brunsli – Christmas treats made from chocolate and ground nuts – are popular throughout Switzerland.

Where to buy?

Fastenwähe

Fastenwähe are similar to pretzels and topped with caraway seeds. You can get them at Basel’s best bakeries from mid-January to Easter.

Where to buy?

Salm

Basel salmon used to be fished in the Rhine. Salm, as it is known in Basel, was a popular (and expensive) fish delicacy in the guild taverns as far back as the sixteenth century.

Restaurants serving Basel specialities

Want to try some classic Basel dishes – maybe suuri Läberli (sour beef liver), salmon or Wurstsalat (a cold dish made with chopped sausage, gherkins and other ingredients)? The following restaurants specialize in traditional Basel cuisine:

Swiss specialities

The best Swiss specialities and national dishes are restaurant classics in Basel, and are often pepped up with innovative ideas.

Which Swiss specialities can I try in Basel?

Fondue

You can’t have a classic Swiss fondue without melted cheese, bread and a group of good friends. In Basel, you can try some new interpretations of this traditional dish, for example with beer or truffles.

Where to eat?
Impressionen vom Weihnachtsmarkt auf dem Münsterplatz in Basel.

Raclette

Raclette cheese is heated until it melts and served with potatoes and gherkins. At the Basel Christmas market, you can watch the melted cheese being scraped off a half cheese wheel.

Where to eat?

Cordon bleu

A cordon bleu is a schnitzel filled with ham and melted cheese. If you want to combine several different Swiss classics, head to the Gifthüttli and order a cordon bleu with Bündnerfleisch (air-dried beef) and raclette cheese.

Where to eat?

Cervelat

The sausages being flame-grilled here are actually called Cervelas in Switzerland. In Basel, we call them Chlöpfer, and our favourite way to eat them is in a Wurstsalat with cheese.

Where to eat?

Rösti

Golden-brown fried rösti are truly a Swiss classic. Try them as a main course with a fried egg or cheese – or as a side with a meat dish.

Where to eat?
Die Bar mit Salami- und Käsespezialitäten und über 100 Weinen – im Herzen der Kleinbasler Altstadt. Das umfangreiche Angebot und die lebendige Atmosphäre machen das Consum zu einem unkomplizierten Treffpunkt. 
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The bar offers salami and cheese specialities and over 100 wines in the old quarter of Kleinbasel. The extensive selection and lively atmosphere make Consum a casual meeting place.

Cheese

We make more than 450 different types of cheese in Switzerland. That’s why you should definitely try a cheese platter if you get the chance – whether it’s a snack with a nice glass of wine or the final course after a delicious dinner.

Where to eat?

Chocolate

There are still a number of small businesses that have been making chocolate in Basel for generations. Beschle Chocolatier Suisse is one of them.

Where to buy?

Vermicelles

This autumn dessert is made from chestnut or sweet-chestnut puree. It’s perfect served with meringue and whipped cream.

Where to eat?

Buttergipfel

Gipfel is the Swiss word for croissant, and they fly off the bakery shelves in Basel every morning.

Where to buy?
Taste my Swiss City - Baeckerei Kult in Basel.

Zopf

Nothing beats the delicious aroma of a freshly baked Hefezopf (plaited bread) on a Sunday morning. The Swiss version doesn’t contain any raisins or almonds, and tastes fantastic with butter, jam, marmalade or honey.

Where to buy?

Bircher muesli

In Switzerland, we still prefer to prepare our muesli according to Mr Bircher-Benner’s recipe – with oats, milk and fresh fruit. 

Where to eat?

Traditional Swiss restaurants in Basel

Fancy a fondue in summer? Want to order a Zürcher Geschnetzeltes in Basel? One of the following restaurants could be the perfect place for you:

Discover the wide range of culinary delights in Basel