Fondue Bread – Nidwaldner Bratchäs

I’m really proud to be Swiss. To be Swiss holds a lot of beautiful memories and also, I guess, a lot of knowledge (or at least understanding) about Switzerland. Most of you (especially those who follow me along on instagram) know: I grew up in the heart of Switzerland, near Lucerne, with a typical swiss view of the mountains and the beautiful lake Vierwaldstättersee.

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We attended a Bavarian wedding party last weekend, and to see the Bavarian customs (that i love – from Brezn to Tracht and even the quirky music) made me think of our very own Swiss traditions… Sadly, the Swiss aren’t as good with celebrating their roots, or at least just a couple of really dedicated “Älpler” (Swiss Alpine People) keep traditions alive. It’s not mainstream to wear Tracht – traditional costumes – although we have really pretty ones, too, and not just the Bavarians!

Of course, I also used to wear our traditional Swiss uniforms when i was a child, but, growing up, we look more to our german neighbor for their more universally implemented garments, the dirndl and the lederhosen. but really, the light blue edelweiss shirt, that we have here, for instance, is still something i love to see. particularly on men! It suits everyone, young and old alike. In addition to that, I used to be in a dance crew, Step Dance, actually, but apart from the more Broadway Musical inspired dances we sometimes also danced in the Swiss step dance version, called “Bödälä”, wearing a traditional hooded white blouse. And I did my fair share of Yodeling (for real). My mom is actually quite into it. It’s something really beautiful. I’m not very good at remembering our Swiss Folk Songs, but I am no stranger to “la haut sur la montagne” or “luegid vo Bärge und Tal”.

You might ask where all this is taking me… Well, all this thinking about traditions and Swiss customs has been brooding in me for a while. Maybe because of all the babies and kids that are being brought up around us. It kind of made me reflect upon the values that we pass on to our children. And since my love and I are both from the same part of Switzerland, and since I have this channel to reach you from all over the world and tell you about my life, I kind of see it as my mission to bring introduce you to the Swiss customs that are so dear to me and that, sometimes, I take for granted.

Luckily, traditions include culinary aspects as well, ha! And one particularly “yummy” such custom is the “Nidwaldner Bratchäs”. It’s basically a Fondue (melted cheese) on crusty bread. You melt the specific Bratchäs (an intense, hard cheese) in a pan together with some Apple Cider (or, more specifically, the “Migi Most”) and season it with Paprika. We eat this with Pickles! You can switch up the bread for potatoes, but the bread is more fancy (otherwise it’s just a raclette, and everyone already knows that). So simple and delicious and fun! I associate all the best memories with my Bratchäs.

Because… We eat this on seasonal fairs like the “Chilbi” or on occasions like the Alp Descent (when the cows are brought back from the mountain regions after summer) in fall. It’s a very comforting dish. It’s rarely made at home but rather consumed at such Fairs or village events and other outdoorsy occasions, which, of course, makes it all the more special to us. But in my home region you still get the bratchäs in the conventional shops and as we recently stopped by one in Stans, we figured it was time to show you how to make what we’ve known since we were kids and what we grew to love so much: the Bratchäs! We translated it to English as “Fondue Bread” – but it would literally translate to “Fried Cheese”, because you make it in the pan, but it’s not very appealing and it doesn’t do the Bratchäs justice *smirk*… So we liberally dubbed it the “Fondue Bread” instead for you guys. We hope you like. En guete – Bon Appetit!

Fondue Bread – Nidwaldner Bratchäs
Serves 2

Ingredients:
300 g Bratchäs or other hard Raclette style cheese, grated
1 dl Apple Cider – we used Migi Most
4 slices of good, crusty bread
Paprika & pickles (we used cornichons and silberzwiebeli) to your heart’s content

Directions:
Grate the cheese. Place it in a large pan, drizzle with the Cider and melt on low heat, while stirring constantly. When the cheese is fully melted, pour it over a slice of bread, dust with paprika and serve with pickles. Enjoy immediately.

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