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Liechtenstein

Food, Dining, & Drinks

Dining Etiquette

Dining in Liechtenstein is fairly formal and, if invited into a local's home, bringing a gift, like a local wine or one from your home country is an appreciated thought. You should arrive on time and dress conservatively; if in doubt, dress more formally.

Once seated, your host might give a short toast and the guest of honor is expected to reciprocate, although no one else tends to give toasts. This, and the words "guten appetit," symbolize the start of the meal and your invitation to begin eating. Eating is done in the continental style, meaning you should keep your knife in your right hand and your fork in the left. If possible, cut your foods with your fork, which is a testament to the tenderness of the food.

As you finish your meal, eat all the food off your plate and place your knife and fork together at the 5:00 position. If dining at a restaurant, the host is expected to pay for everyone, but many times the host may excuse him or herself to pay at the bar or cashier station. If you dined at a local's house, it is appreciated to send a hand-written thank you note the following day.

Most restaurants and bars include a service charge in your bill, but if not, about 10-15% is standard. When tipping at a restaurant though, never leave the money on the table, instead give the money to the server and tell them how much you want to pay (bill and tip together).

History & Influences

Liechtensteiner cuisine is little more than that of their neighbors. Being a very small country with primarily German ethnicity, Liechtenstein's foods are essentially that of their Austrian and Swiss neighbors. From the Swiss, Liechtensteiners integrate a large number of cheeses into their foods, but use local varieties. Similar to the Austrians, pork is the most common meat used in Liechtenstein dishes.

A strange influence however is that of French cooking styles. Being a small and fairly prosperous country, the capital of Vaduz is home to a number of high end restaurants, which have brought French-style cooking techniques to the people. Despite this influence, many people eat at home and integrate few to none of these techniques in their daily cooking.

Staple Foods

Asparagus: although not truly a staple, asparagus is grown in Liechtenstein and is commonly found in many local dishes

Regional Variations & Specialties

Many of Liechtenstein's most popular dishes have been borrowed from neighbors, then slightly altered, such as schnitzel or fondue. A couple more authentically Liechtensteiner dishes, but also harder to find include:

Hafalaaban: a soup or broth with ham or bacon and cornmeal dumplings
Kasknopfl: small dumplings topped with cheese
Rebi: cornmeal or a mixture of cornmeal and semolina served as a side dish

Drinks

Although small, Liechtenstein has access to every popular drink in the world, including soft drinks, juices, tea, coffee, and milk.

International alcoholic drinks are also widely available, but many people have a preference for their locally produced wines. Although the country is little more than a mountain valley, grapes are grown on the valley's slopes and from those grapes, red wine is produced and is fairly popular.

Generally speaking, the tap water is safe to drink in Liechtenstein, but check with locals for any particular regional differences. Also, many people may have troubles adjusting to the local tap water, as it will most certainly be different from what your system is used to.

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This page was last updated: September, 2011