A new breed of intrepid traveller—the adventure foodie—is striking out along the alpine trails of Switzerland. In the shadow of majestic mountains, they traipse terraced vineyards, trek to remote cheesemakers, and probe the moist woodland soil of the Alps.
The adventure foodie's quest is to taste and touch Swiss food right where it's made—the working farm, high alpine meadow, timbered chalet, or rustic kitchen. The foodie is naturally curious about regional culinary traditions, ancient techniques, authentic flavour—and the history that created them.
Adventure foodies, hungry for rural gastronomy, farm-to-table dining, and agro-tourism, can experience traditional Swiss production methods in authentic settings. A groundswell of consumer consciousness about food quality and sourcing has generated increased appetite for authentic Swiss food experiences which tour operators now provide.
Famous for hearty farm fare as well as haute cuisine, travellers try their hand at creating Swiss favourites while rubbing shoulders with local chefs, artisans, vintners, and bakers. Adventure foodies crave active experiences that connect them with the culture and cuisine of the Alps. They harvest fragrant alpine herbs, bake bread with wild yeast in a wood-fired oven, forage mushrooms, or make raw milk cheese over an open fire.
A few lucky ones are led to rich moist forest soil where they unearth a hidden culinary treasure: Truffles. This rare and knobby fungus has enthusiastic fans across the globe, with good specimens fetching hundreds of dollars per kilo.
Guided truffle hunts are a popular new option for adventure foodies visiting Switzerland. One US tour operator, Alpenwild, provides a truffle hunt as part of their food tours in the Alps. Accompanied by a truffle specialist and truffle-hunting hound, guests are guided through the forests of the Jura Mountains while learning the history and methods of truffle hunting.
After the hunt, guests stop in a chalet to prepare the fragrant fresh truffles, which are served in paper-thin slices with freshly-made truffle butter on a chunk of crusty baguette.
Alpenwild offers truffle-hunts, along with farmstead cheesemaking, bean-to-bar chocolate making, or creating a meal from scratch in a farmhouse kitchen outfitted as it would have been over 200 years ago. These and other culinary adventures are featured on Alpenwild's Swiss food tours from May through October.