The Swiss climate is invigorating and varies with the altitude. Ticino is Switzerland’s Italian corner, where in the shadow of the Alps palm trees grow. Zermatt lies below one of the best known of mountains, the Matterhorn. More people live in the zone with the moderate climate than in all of the rest of Switzerland.
Schaffhausen-on-the-Rhine is just about where you would think it would be on the Rhine but not in Germany as might be suspected by the name, but in Switzerland. The residents do speak German just as inevitably as French is the mother tongue of Geneva and Italian is what is heard around Lake Lugano in the southernmost province of Switzerland. The Rhine Falls are just above Schaffhausen in Switzerland, close by where the Rhine emerges from Lake Constance (the Germans call it Bodensee). The Falls is the mightiest in Europe. Two million Europeans visit the place each year. It has not yet been discovered by many Americans.
A sign outside a restaurant in the Canton of Valais, Ici raclette, makes many a mouth water. For inside, a half wheel of cheese made from whole milk is being toasted before a fire. As the sliced part of the cheese melts it is scraped off, served with boiled potatoes in their skins along with a white wine. These cheese scrapings, with their smoky flavor, eaten between bites of a boiled potato are beginning to acquire followers as enthusiastic as are cheese fondue lovers. For a do-it-yourself raclette, buy fromage a raclette.
It is difficult to put a label on Swiss cookery because it blends with the cuisines of its neighbors, Germany, France, Italy, and Austria. Suffice to say that dairy products and the local wines are featured. Swiss chocolate has an international reputation. The Swiss,a very practical people, do not live for the table as do the French. Neither do they favor sausage as much as the Germans, nor pasta as do the Italians.