By Ratha Tep
Updated May 01, 2014
Credit: © Ratha Tep

Here, we spotlight American expats around the globe and get their insider tips on the best places to eat and drink in their adopted cities.

The Expat: Native New Yorker Kerrin Feldman Rousset lives in Zurich’s Old Town in a nearly 1,000-year-old stone building that couldn’t be better situated—it’s around the corner from her favorite chocolate store. Rousset blogs at and runs Sweet Zürich chocolate tours.

The first question is an obvious one: What’s your favorite chocolate shop?

Truffe in the Old Town. Elisabetta Capei, the passionate Italian owner, specializes in dark chocolate. I’m a dark chocolate person and she has the highest quality you can find, like bars from Reichmuth von Reding, Max Chocolatier and Nobile Cioccolato, which all use creamy, cocoa butter–rich dark chocolate couverture from Felchlin, Switzerland’s best chocolate manufacturer. Any bar of dark chocolate will stay good for six months to a year, but Elisabetta keeps glass jars of Nobile chocolate meant to be eaten within days—that changed my concept of what fresh chocolate means.

Dining in Zurich is notoriously expensive. What’s your favorite cheap eat?

Sternen Grill’s roast chicken. I love their sausages; everyone loves them. But the chicken has a secret blend of spices and the skin gets nice and crisp. You get a half chicken to yourself and a bread roll for just 11 Swiss francs (~$12).

You love picnics. What’s your favorite picnic spot and what’s in your dream picnic basket?

There’s a little island on the western side of Lake Zurich called Saffa. You turn one way and you’re facing the city; turn the other way and you get the Alps. For my dream picnic basket, I’d go to Delicatessa, the gourmet grocer at the department store Globus, for little fillets of hot-smoked salmon and Bordier salted butter from France; my favorite salads of crunchy radishes and sweet beets at Hiltl the amazing bread rolls studded with all sorts of dried fruit at John Baker; dried Medjool dates and figs from Schwarzenbach…and freshly baked chocolate chip cookies!

What food would you miss the most if/when you leave Zurich?

Pretzels! I love them. I always get a sunflower seed–studded pretzel from the Brezelkönig stands; one is in front of the Globus near Hauptbahnhof and there’s another at the Stadelhofen train station. The pretzels are so amazing when they’re hot; you burn your fingers, but it’s so worth it. The ones here are different from the ones in the US. They’re boiled in a lye bath, which gives them that dark color and distinct flavor.

Not chocolate?

I’ll always have access to chocolate.

Ratha Tep is a former Food & Wine editor who lives in Zurich.