by Ellen Wallace
My first potato plant has just poked its head above the mound where it grows, and my thoughts immediately turned to that Swiss favourite, roesti.
We grow enough potatoes to last the family from July to late January, and while my preference remains boiled and salted for fresh-out-of-the-ground spuds, roesti is an easy second favourite.
The June wedding season will soon be upon us, and if you’re looking for a particularly Swiss gift, consider these. If your budget is under CHF50 another option is always a lovely padded Swiss potato basket with top to keep them warm.
Two fine kitchen gifts: a roesti hand-crafted dish or a Swiss Diamond breakfast pan
Two kitchen items that make the roesti experience nicer also make excellent wedding gifts, if they are in your budget.
I have a roesti dish from the Heimatwerk shops, of which there are several in Switzerland. They do beautiful hand-crafted ceramics.
The dish is designed so you can cook the potatoes on a griddle, on one side, slip them into the dish, then turn it back over into the pan to cook the other side. We put the pan on top of the dish, as if it were a lid, then in one quick motion reverse it.
The gently curved surface is perfect for the job, and the roesti doesn’t break up. Prices vary, but expect to pay CHF85-150: these are practical items, but also works of art.
It was a birthday present for my husband, the Sunday fried egg man in the house, and it is equally good for turning omelets. Once I realized that, I knew it would be good for roesti. It makes a slightly smaller amount than a large griddle, but it’s perfect for two to three people.
The company is based in Sierre, canton Valais, although its biggest markets are the US and France, and the cookware is made at the factory in Sierre. I bought mine at the factory outlet shop, for a small discount, but they are generally sold through butcher shops. Expect to pay about CHF150 for most of their pans.
Note: they have a line for induction stoves, which is what mine is, and the breakfast pan for induction cooking works very well (more on Swiss Diamond cookware, by Jonell Galloway-White)
You probably aren’t going to put a sack of potatoes in the wedding gift box, but if you want to know more about the best potatoes to use, here is the latest, from swissinfo, on research being done by the Swiss Agriculture Department. Swissinfo also offers a video on how to make roesti, from the kitchen of a Swiss farmer.