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International Spotlight: Swiss Company Marché Combines Fast Food and Farm to Table

When we hear of a meal prepared with seasonal and local ingredients, we are likely to think of that upscale restaurant that has a month-long waiting list for reservations. When we imagine sitting down to enjoy a foamy cappuccino made with organic coffee beans and a homemade piece of carrot cake, our minds will take us to that renowned corner cafe that whose prices reflect its prestige. When we wonder where we can pick up a freshly baked loaf of focaccia, free from additives or preservatives or colouring, we brace ourselves to wait amongst the masses until the local artisan bakery opens. 

When it comes to any of those offerings, a highway rest stop is probably the absolute last place any of our minds would go. And yet, Marché Restaurants Switzerland AG offers all of those things and more. Marché is the leading force in the Swiss market for highway catering with its 29 dining establishments, singular catering division, and one hotel. When you walk into a Marché, you are met with an open marketplace filled with vibrant produce, a beautiful array of tempting baked goods, live cooking stations, and the warm aroma of coffee. 

Each restaurant is unique to the region of its location, so its prepared food highlights the freshest products from local vendors. The variety in buffet offerings ensures there is something there for everyone. You can enjoy bright salads, consciously prepared vegetables, and earthy soups all in one sitting. If you want to get a taste of local flavor, you can stop by the Rosti station and for a chance to try this specialty Swiss potato dish (they recommend with a fried egg or raclette cheese) and watch as they pan fry it fresh for your plate. The grill station entails a similar experience, allowing guests to choose their meat before it is grilled by the cook at hand. For a heartier meal, the pasta station is portioned to your appetite and lets you choose from any number of shapes and colors of this well-loved carb. The sauces are also rotated daily. 

Marché’s offerings do not stop there. Hand squeezed juices and refreshing beverages are made every morning for your enjoyment. All coffee is ground from fair trade and/or organic beans, and there is an additional wide selection of teas. Marché Natural Bakery also takes care of anyone who has a sweet tooth with its homemade chocolate, carrot, lemon, or black forest cake. One bite into these will have you wondering how something so indulgently good could also be (relatively) good for you. The Bakery also puts out stunning crispy breads and focaccia and only ever uses the following ingredients: flour, salt, yeast, water and a few selected ingredients based on the bread. This commitment to freshness and quality across all its items is not something you would expect to find when pulling off the road for a quick bite. And yet, Marché has never once wavered in providing its customers with the best that the local Swiss region has to offer. 

Fast food and fresh food have long been thought of as complete opposites, but this restaurant has proven that they can exist in perfect harmony. By preparing everything in front of our own eyes (we finally see how much effort goes into kneading our beloved breads), Marché goes beyond the simple farm-to-table concept. It involves us in every step of the way, so we can finally see the importance in truly knowing our food. If you find yourself cruising down a Swiss highway or passing through the Zürich airport, be sure to pull off or find the time to stop at Marché. 

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