A long-standing tradition has come to an end in two Swiss cantons whose citizens have previously been able to turn to a fungus expert to avoiding eating poisonous mushrooms. 

"/> A long-standing tradition has come to an end in two Swiss cantons whose citizens have previously been able to turn to a fungus expert to avoiding eating poisonous mushrooms. 

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Swiss cantons bid farewell to mushroom inspector

A long-standing tradition has come to an end in two Swiss cantons whose citizens have previously been able to turn to a fungus expert to avoiding eating poisonous mushrooms. 

Swiss cantons bid farewell to mushroom inspector
Red~Star (File)

Mushroom inspector Paul Arnold, a guardian angel for mushroom pickers in central Switzerland’s Nidwalden and Obwalden cantons, has retired at the age of 70 and the authorities are not willing to pay for a replacement with public money, newspaper NZZ reports.

For two decades, his job was to help mushroom lovers distinguish the good from the bad. The mushroom inspector would also help doctors in hospitals to identify unfriendly fungi in the leftover meals of poisoned patients.

Although mushroom inspectors enjoy a long tradition in both cantons, authorities said they consider mushroom picking a private matter for which individual citizens must take personal responsibilty without the luxury of expert assistance.

The Free Democratic Party and the Christian Democrats did not oppose the decision, but the Green Party expressed regrets, arguing that treating patients for poisoning could prove more expensive than employing a mushroom inspector.

Mushroom season in Switzerland runs from July to October, and mushroom collecting is regulated by the local authorities. Each picker is limited to 800 grams per day in Obwalden and one kilo in Nidwalden.

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Where are the ‘best’ restaurants in Switzerland?

Switzerland is home to some top restaurants, many of which have earned the prestigious Michelin stars. But where are they all and does this mean they are the best? Share your own recommendations below.

Where are the 'best' restaurants in Switzerland?

In October, Michelin presented this year’s renowned restaurant selection of the Michelin Guide Switzerland 2023 at the EHL Hospitality Business School in Lausanne.

The guide introduced five two-star restaurant newcomers (three of which are based in French-speaking Switzerland), while Michelin handed out a total of nine MICHELIN Green Stars for environmentally conscious gastronomy.

In addition to the newly crowned restaurants, Michelin also announced that a further 15 Swiss restaurants had been awarded the Bib Gourmand – which highlights good-value-for-money restaurants – prior to the award ceremony.

Overall, Switzerland’s local gastronomy includes 138 starred restaurants as well as 33 MICHELIN Green Stars-eateries.

So, where can you find the crème de la crème of Swiss restaurants?

Top of the list

The gourmet restaurant Memories, located in the Grand Resort Bad Ragaz (St. Gallen), is among Michelin’s four three-star restaurants this year and a great start for indecisive eaters with an appetite for Swiss alpine cuisine.

Under the kitchen management of Sven Wassmer, Memories’ offers customers seasonal menus consisting of several surprise taste experiences in place of an à la carte menu.

Schloss Schauenstein in neighbouring Graubünden – where Andreas Caminada and Marcel Skibba run the kitchen – is also among Switzerland’s three-star Michelin restaurants, alongside the Cheval Blanc by Peter Knogl in the city of Basel with Peter Knogl as head chef and the Restaurant de l’Hôtel de Ville in Crissier (Vaud) with Franck Giovannini at the helm of the kitchen.

Two-star newcomers

This year also saw five Swiss restaurants snag two Michelin stars for the first time, of which The Japanese Restaurant at the luxurious The Chedi Hotel (Uri) is particularly noteworthy. Swiss twin chef duo Dominik Sato and Fabio Toffolon took the reins of the Andermatt-based restaurant in the spring where they serve up an exciting blend of Japanese cuisine and timeless European influences.

While in the Deutschschweiz, you may also want to check out the region’s second two-starred newcomer: Mammertsberg.

Diners at this exclusive boutique hotel and restaurant, with Silvio Germann as head chef, get to enjoy elaborate meals with deep flavour while overlooking Freidorf (Thurgau) with views reaching all the way to Lake Constance. A three-course meal at the restaurant will set you back 184 Swiss francs per person and needs to be prebooked.

Those looking to enjoy fine dining in French-speaking Switzerland will find themselves spoiled for choice as three new restaurants have joined Michelin’s two-star ranks.

L’Atelier Robuchon in the city of Geneva, which is housed in the basement of the luxury hotel The Woodward, offers diners a cuisine inspired by regional and seasonal products cooked up by executive chef Olivier Jean.

In neighbouring Vaud, the menu at La Table du Lausanne Palace – with an unmatched panorama overlooking the rooftops of Lausanne, the mountains and the lake – includes anything from delicious frog legs to salmon from Graubünden and wood-fired venison, while La Table du Valrose in Rougemont (Vaud) wows diners with its modern French-influenced menu.

19 new one-star restaurants

2023 also saw a total of 19 Swiss restaurants added to the country’s list of one star Michelin-rated eateries, bringing the total number of one-star restaurants to 108.

Among them is the Wiesner Mysterion – Zauber in Romoos (Lucerne) with its unique alchemical natural cuisine – as chef Stefan Wiesner puts it, for which the restaurant was awarded one star on its first try. The restaurant’s exceptional nine course menu – which is introduced with a short story by Wiesner and tailored to reflect each season – costs 225 Swiss francs per person.

The restaurant ZOE in Switzerland’s capital Bern – which also received the green star for its sustainable concept – is renowned for its modern and creative vegetarian dishes prepared by operational duo Fabian Raffeiner (kitchen) and Mark Hayoz (service).

Restaurants with sustainability at heart

With sustainability gaining importance worldwide, many on the lookout for their next perfect night out also choose to consider a restaurant’s sense of responsibility.

This year, nine Swiss restaurants were newly granted a MICHELIN Green Star for their commitment to the environment and resources and acting as role-models within sustainable gastronomy.

Among them is the modern Zurich-based elmira. Based in the basement of a former silo on the Löwenbräu brewery site, elmira’s cuisine places importance on choosing seasonal products – meat, fish or vegetarian – as well as ingredients sourced from the immediate vicinity where available.

Meanwhile, the La Tapis Rouge in Brienz (Bern) relies on its 2-hectare vegetable garden for fresh produce which is supplemented by local farms and small-scale producers. The produce the restaurant does not manage to use up for either its vegetable-focused or completely vegetarian menu is not wasted, but rather fermented or marinated.

READ MORE: Swiss government wants residents to eat less meat to protect the climate

15 affordable restaurants

In this year’s edition of the MICHELIN Guide Switzerland, 15 new restaurants have received Bib Gourmand award, which highlights restaurants that stand out for the particularly good value for money they offer.

Not surprisingly, most of them are located in rural areas and offer a good assortment of Swiss and international – particularly Asian – delicacies.

If you’re looking for inventive cuisine on a (Swiss) dime in a cosy setting, then you may want to visit the Le Mont-Rouge in Haute-Nendaz (Valais). At the restaurant, guests can order local, authentically homemade dishes paired with a selection of fine wines from the Valais region.

In German-speaking Switzerland, the rustic Schüpbärg-Beizli may be in the middle of nowhere, but it is well worth the trip to Schüpfen (Bern) if it’s Swiss specialties you have your eye on.

The restaurant – or Beizli (tavern) as it’s called in Swiss German – aims to delight guests with a range of traditional Swiss dishes with a modern twist. Its current menu includes cheese ravioli, Swiss salmon, and beef fillet to be followed by a pumpkin pie, plum compote and a variety of ice creams.

You can find a comprehensive list of the remaining restaurants featured on the MICHELIN Guide Switzerland 2023 here.

READ MORE: How many of these must-try Swiss regional delicacies have you tasted?

Is your favourite restaurant in Switzerland in this list? If not where would you recommend for readers?