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04-03-2023 | Jean-Marie Henckaerts en Ronald Brugmans

The best Swiss cycling food

A Switzerland week cannot be complete without a foray into Swiss cuisine. What is a typical Swiss dish to refuel energy during a bike ride or to recuperate after a training? Since I've lived in Switzerland most of my life, I'm happy to share my best tips.

Switzerland of course borders Italy and is also partly Italian-speaking. So the influence of Italy is very strong. Many riders therefore prefer pasta and pizza after a long bike ride, with, for example, one of the many local beers or the special cycling beer from Velosophe. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but it's not typically Swiss.


My favorite Swiss dish during or after a long trip is undoubtedly rösti (or roesti) with a fried egg, and preferably with some tasty vegetables on the side. Rösti are pieces of potato fried into a pancake. It is the Swiss version of a Spanish tortilla. The potatoes provide the necessary carbohydrates and the egg provides the protein. A well-known version of the rösti is Bern's (with bits of bacon) but there are numerous variations such as with mushrooms.

It's deliciously flavorful and it digests easily (because gluten-free) so you can continue cycling well after your meal. You can then drink a Rivella with that, which is a typical Swiss lemonade based on milk serum.


Another typical Swiss dish are spätzli (or spaetzli). These are a kind of soft dumplings based on flour, milk, and eggs, which are boiled and then fried in oil or butter for extra flavor. It can be made from spelt flour so it is low in gluten and easily digestible. It can actually be served with anything, such as with cheese, fried onion and applesauce.


But of course, whoever says Switzerland thinks of cheese. And the dish known far beyond Swiss borders is, of course, cheese fondue. It is especially recommended in autumn or winter. You can of course eat it any time of the year but personally I am not a fan of a fondue in the summer. A fondue also does take time to digest, so it is best if you eat it at the end of a trip, not during. White wine is often drunk with it, but a sportier version is just tea, or even water. It is a myth that you can't drink water with a cheese fondue because the cheese would be difficult to digest.


As mentioned, Swiss cuisine has many Italian influences, so it is not surprising that the Swiss put their own version of Italian pasta on the menu. The story goes that the original dish would only contain ingredients that grow in your garden. You might wonder to what extent that is true. In any case, there is no shortage of carbohydrates, because in addition to pasta, the dish contains potatoes. Also bacon, onion, cream and of course a good portion of Swiss cheese. The calories rush down your throat. You'll be lucky if you can still walk when you eat a big plate of this.

The updated recipe

My fellow MTB administrator and professional chef Ronald made the below updated recipe for you. Lighter digestible, so suitable for during or after riding. Will you let us know how it tasted?

Ingredients (for 4 people)

  • 500 grams tagliatelle
  • 2 zucchini
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 potatoes (floury)
  • 4 dl (light) cooking cream
  • 2 dl white wine
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2x 200 grams Emmentaler
  • 1 white onion
  • olive oil


  1. Chop the onion and garlic fry it with olive oil over low heat.
  2. Peel the potato and dice it. Add the potato to the onion and garlic.
  3. Sauté for 5 minutes over low heat and do not let it brown. Deglaze with the white wine.
  4. Reduce the mixture by half and add the cream.
  5. Cook gently until the potatoes are tender, adding a little water if necessary.
  6. Cut half of the Emmentaler into small cubes and add to the sauce.
  7. Heat the oven to 180 degrees, cut the rest of the Emmentaler into thin slices. Heat the slices for about 30 minutes on baking paper in the oven.
  8. Cut the carrot into thin slices and cut it julienne (=into long thin strips). Do the same with the zucchini. Briefly cook both vegetables separately in boiling water with salt, al dente. Rinse cold and store in a sieve or colander.
  9. For the tagliatelle, bring water to a boil with salt and cook al dente. Drain and rinse cold.
  10. Make the sauce smooth using a hand blender. Dress the tagliatelle with some of the sauce.
  11. Sauté the spaghetti of carrot and zucchini briefly in olive oil. 
  12. Drag the tagliatelle in a circle on a plate and add the spaghetti of carrot and zucchini over it. Top with the sauce and garnish with the crunchy Emmentaler.

Eat well!

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