Live Better with Bonviva Freshly Served: the Latest Food Trends
With its wide range of regional specialties, Switzerland is a culinary land of milk and honey. From rustic to fine cuisine, pleasure is paramount. The latest food trends such as insects, local specialties, and "nose to tail" complement this diversity. Bonviva tells you what lies behind these ideas and where you can savor the new cuisines.
These days, some trends should actually be referred to as rediscoveries rather than innovations. As is well known, such trends in the fashion world change at regular intervals. However, while fashion cycles are quite short, in other fields they last much longer. And so people may long since have forgotten that a supposedly new trend was once seen as entirely commonplace. The same applies to some foods that are presently being rediscovered: Our grandparents are still familiar with many of the recipes. In other countries, these "new" foods are part and parcel of everyday life. They may still be unfamiliar to us, but experimentation is worthwhile.
The New Superfood: Insects
Every bite delivers a bit more health – that's the superfood promise. Stinging nettles, chia seeds, goji berries, and many other indigenous or exotic foodstuffs have an above-average proportion of nutrients. The promise is that the extra dose of vitamins, minerals, and secondary metabolites will have a positive impact on our bodies.
Insects too contain an appreciable quantity of minerals and proteins. So why some and not the others? First of all, a change in the law was required for this culinary trend. Because until then, mealworms, crickets, and house crickets were only known and permitted as pet foods in Switzerland. Since May 1, 2017, they may be bred and imported for consumption, provided that conditions comply with food hygiene standards. They are found processed in energy bars, burgers, hacktäschli meat balls, and potato chips. They are not only good for your body, but are also more environmentally friendly than many other sources of protein.
In countries in Africa and Asia, insects are an everyday food. Anyone who has tried bee larvae, sautéed in soy, honey, and salt will understand why they are regarded as a delicacy in Asia. As the beekeepers dispose of the male larvae in any case, because they don't produce any honey, this also avoids garbage. So far, it is not permitted to sell them in Switzerland, but some beekeepers are happy to give them away.
In accordance with the new law, dishes such as fried spaghetti with house crickets and mealworms may now be served up. Or simply grasshoppers fried with lemon juice and chili.
Insects on a Plate in Basel
The Basel restaurateur Roger Greiner has taken no time in putting the new superfood on his menu. At present, you can savor mealworms, crickets, and locusts at Buvette am Bollwerk. Other excursions into insect cuisine will soon follow, right up to multi-course menus.
Healthy Dishes from the Region
Many foodstuffs that we used to enjoy have been forgotten, and they can't be found in the supermarkets. But the trend toward local varieties is now putting them back on our tables – and hence a completely new kind of pleasure.
Just the different varieties of potato will be enough to win some people over. There are blue potatoes such as the Blaue Ludiano, which is especially healthy because it contains anthocyanins, so-called radical catchers. They are full of flavor, ranging from intense and spicy to nutty and delicate. In addition to potatoes, there is a whole array of other delicacies from the region, such as chard, Good-King-Henry, the Narbon bean, chickweed, and evening primrose.
Such diversity cannot be found in industrial mass production. Moreover, homemade and artisan foodstuffs often taste better, and are also fresher and healthier – and they are igniting new creativity in the kitchen. How about artichoke hearts on black radish, garlic, and chickweed, for example?
Fresh and Creative in Zurich
At Wirtschaft im Franz, all the ingredients are seasonal and regional. To ensure this, the restaurateurs work with local organic farmers and a vegetable cooperative. You can choose from two four-course menus, one of which is vegetarian and the other with meat or fish.
Holistic Consumption Philosophy: "Nose to Tail"
It was once completely normal to process everything derived from the slaughtering process. We are still familiar with certain regional specialties today, such as calf's brain in Western Switzerland or zampone, stuffed pig's trotters from Ticino.
Such dishes are back in fashion today. In 1999, the architect and later chef Fergus Henderson wrote the book "Nose to Tail Eating." It was translated into German a few years ago and the idea is increasingly catching on here too: An animal is slaughtered and is turned into delicious dishes from its snout to its tail. Out of respect for our resources, it is wrong for half of it to end up as meat and bone meal, or be burned.
So it's time to start asking for such products at the butcher's. To start off with, maybe you could try a burger made with pig's heart, bacon and a honey-mustard sauce. Or you can have it cooked for you: The trend has spread to both simple eateries and gourmet restaurants. Café Babel is a Geneva institution. They've been pursuing the "nose to tail" concept for years now – and serving authentic Swiss cuisine.