But since I get such a kick out of the food and wine onboard (and taking photos of it) I’ve decided to start splitting my trip reports into two parts– one about the plane and service, and a separate one about the food.
The SWISS inflight dining experience is, as expected, very European. It’s also very Swiss, which to me means it’s very filling and satisfying, heavy on cheese and cream, and served in a very sophisticated way.
Meals in both transoceanic legs were really outstanding, but I liked the service on the return (ZRH-SFO) flight best because it’s a long, spread out, relaxed and convivial experience. While the food on the flight to Zurich was great, I always feel in a bit of a hurry to eat lightly and try to get in some zzzz’s on the way to Europe.
So let’s take a look at these tasty morsels!
First off, take a look at that shrimp starter above… then move on to the next courses…
My economy class roundtrip fare was $1,380, but my contacts at SWISS were able to finagle last minute business class upgrades in both directions for this review.
I chose to go native and have the spaetzle- but other main course choices were seared beef tenderloin or grilled chicken with mushroom cream sauce, rosti and green beans.
What seemed strange to me is that the cheese course was served with the appetizer at the beginning of the meal instead of afterwards with liqueurs and coffee. Is that a Swiss thing? To eat the cheese first? I’m not sure. In any case, the berry tart for dessert was delightful and light after that creamy spaetzle.
Fine Swiss chocolates served after the meal– which I declined, sadly, because I think chocolate might affect my sleep on the plane. But they sure look good, don’t they?
On this flight I was able to get several hours of sleep on the nice SWISS lie flat business class seat. Details on the SWISS seat here.
After some good shut-eye, I awoke to a service cart in the aisle with a pile of french pastries, bircher muesli, fruit and these nice little cups of eggy delight. However, I was still full from the night before, so got by on a few bites of muesli and some coffee.
After the overnight flight from SFO to Zurich, I changed planes for the trip to Madrid. While it still felt like morning to me, it was about 5 pm in Europe. This light salmon salad was perfect as I was now getting hungry. Note the ever present strip of Swiss Gruyere 🙂
That’s it for my flight over. After getting off the plane in Madrid, I spent 4 days there and in Barcelona. Here’s my story about taking a new type of tour in Barcelona here.
Now, let’s take a look at the meals on my Barcelona-Zurich-San Francisco flight, which began at about 9 am in Barcelona and ended around 5 pm in San Francisco.
It was a very long day of eating SWISS food- and taking photos of it!
Breakfast on BCN-ZRH– perfect portions, and yep, more gruyere! 😉 Then it was on to a SWISS A340 in business class for the Zurich-San Francisco leg.
The flight attendant could tell I was very interested in the wine list, so he pulled out two more glasses and said, “Why don’t you try all three?” And I said, “Why not?” We have nine more hours to go 🙂
I tried: Oro Rosso 2011 Tenimento dell’Or – Arzo (a Swiss blend); Red 2013 Heinrich-Gols from Burgenland Austria and Chateau Lauriol 2011, a French Bordeaux.
I really wanted to like the Swiss red the best, but the French Bordeaux clinched the competition.
Other choices for this all day flight included a braised lamb shoulder with dumplings or perch meuniere with lemon and sun-dried tomato butter.
In the background is Tiramisu Tentazioni with salted chocolate crumble. YUM!
Just as I was feeling like I was dining at a classy European restaurant, these feet popped up across the aisle. I could not resist taking a photo.
After a few hours of digestion, a nap and some work, flight attendants rolled out a cart of ice cream. I’ve had ice cream sundaes, but never a cone inflight.
After all that, flight attendants fit in one more very nice meal service just as we were flying over northern California before landing at SFO.
What do you think? How do you think the SWISS meal service you see here compares to your business class dining experiences? Please leave your comments below!
Disclosure: Paid economy class fare on this flight was $1,380 and SWISS provided Chris with a complimentary standby upgrade to business class.