The Swiss Confederation (lat. Confederatio Helvetica or CH) is located in the center of Europe, covers an area of 41,284 km², inhabited by 7.7 million people, includes 20 cantons and 6 half-cantons, and borders on five countries: in the north – with Germany, in the east – with Liechtenstein and Austria, in the south with Italy and in the west – with France. The country’s territory is divided into three natural regions: the Jura mountains in the north, the Swiss plateau in the center, and the Alps, located in the south and occupying 61% of the entire territory of Switzerland. 25% of the country’s territory is covered with picturesque dense forests. Switzerland is also famous for its amazing and crystal clear lakes, among which the most famous are: Geneva, Firwaldstet, Zurich, Biel, Neuchâtel, and lakes of glacial origin, such as Lago Maggiore and Lugano.
According to Bridgat, the climate in Switzerland is mainly continental, however, with significant fluctuations depending on the height above sea level. This country is amazing for its climatic contrasts, for example, in the area of the city of Ascona, the lowest point in Switzerland (193 m above sea level), a mild Mediterranean climate reigns, in which palm trees, cacti and other heat-loving plants grow, and only 70 km away air is the highest point – Mount Dufour (4634 m above sea level), where the arctic climate zone is located. One of the determining factors in Switzerland is the Alps, which are a kind of barrier from the cold northern winds, so there is a difference between the weather in the northern and southern parts of the country, and in the west, the climate is significantly influenced by the currents of the Atlantic Ocean. In the northern cantons, winters are mild and can last up to three months, with an average temperature of -2 to +5 °C. During the summer months the temperature reaches +25°C in the north and +28°C in the south. The weather in the mountains depends on the height of the area, there is a snowy winter here – with round-the-clock negative temperatures and cool summers (up to +10 ° C), while almost 65% of the annual precipitation in the Alps falls in the form of snow.
A bit of history
The name of the country is derived from the name of the German-speaking canton of Schwyz, located in the center of Switzerland, which means “burn”. Man began to settle in Switzerland, in a lowland north of the Alps, back in cave times – by the end of the Paleolithic. During the era of the Roman Empire, the west of Switzerland was inhabited by the tribes of the Helvetians, and the east by the Rhaetians. In the Middle Ages, under the rule of Charlemagne, Switzerland was divided into ten counties, and in 843 it was divided into parts by the Vvedensky Treaty – the western one with Burgundy and the southern one with Italy went to Emperor Lothair, and the eastern one – to King Louis the German, and then, during three centuries, before the strengthening of the Swiss Union, the fate of Switzerland depended on the German emperors. The Swiss Union was concluded in 1291, and by 1513 it already included 13 cantons. Only by 1848 Switzerland was formed as a federal state with a centralized system of power. In 1919 Geneva became the permanent seat of the League of Nations, and in 1920 Switzerland joined the League of Nations with a declaration of neutrality. Today Switzerland is a developed and prosperous country with a high level of prosperity, the financial, cultural and tourist center of Europe with many museums and monuments under the protection of UNESCO.
When it comes to Swiss cuisine, of course, the first thing that comes to mind is Swiss cheese and Swiss chocolate. But about them later. First – about those dishes that are traditionally prepared and served in restaurants and in the homes of Switzerland. National Swiss cuisine has developed under the influence of the culinary traditions of three countries – Italy, France and Germany, as well as Alpine cuisine. The two main Swiss dishes are fondue and raclette, originating from French-speaking Romandie. Fondue – which means “melted” in French – is made from cheese and wine, and each canton has its own fondue recipes. This dish is cooked on an open fire in a special heat-resistant dish called kaquelon or catnelone. There are many varieties of fondue, for example, fondue made from Gruère and Friborgian vacheran cheeses is called “moitié-moitié” (fr. moitié-moitié), which means “in half”; French fondue is made with Savoy cheeses, Italian fondue is made with soft Piedmontese fontina cheese, milk, eggs and truffles, and sweet chocolate fondue includes chocolate, fruit, spices, cream, cognac and biscuits. Cheese cut into cubes or slices is melted in boiling wine seasoned with spices – usually garlic, nutmeg, kirsch, etc.. Fondue is eaten hot – dipping pieces of bread, potatoes or other products (gherkins, olives, etc.). p.), impaled on a long fork. Another Swiss dish that is also made with melted fatty cheese is called raclette. Raclette is made from soft cheeses, mainly from those produced in the canton of Valais, and when cooking, they use a special device with a heating coil, which melts the cheese, forming a golden crust on it. Raclette is served with jacket potatoes and pickled cucumbers. In addition to “national” dishes, each of the cantons of Switzerland boasts its own culinary traditions. So, Bern is famous for Berneplatte – assorted fried meat and sausages, served with sauerkraut or green beans; Basel – Christmas macaroons and honey cakes; in Geneva, longeole are prepared – raw sausages made from pork and pork skin, and attriaux – liver sausages with herbs; Graubünden is famous for its dried beef, lamb stew and walnut cake, in the Jura for the holidays they cook grellate – a mouth-watering pork jelly and a hearty meat pie with leeks, and in Zurich – excellent veal stew with mushrooms.