Alpine cuisine at Edelweiss

By Korea Herald

Homemade sausage and knopfli in Haebangchon

  • Published : Mar 7, 2014 - 19:46
  • Updated : Mar 7, 2014 - 19:46
Edelweiss Swiss Deli and Kitchen co-owner Hans-Bernhard Merforth and his friend opened their small eatery in Seoul’s Haebangchon last May.

“I teamed up with an old friend,” Merforth said, explaining how he, a German native, and his partner, who hails from Switzerland, joined hands to bring home-style eats from the Alpine region to Seoul.

Merforth elaborated on how the aim was to offer “good quality food at reasonable prices.”

“All things here we produce ourselves,” he added.

Europe’s Alpine region encompasses areas of Austria, Germany, Switzerland, France, Italy and Slovenia. Food from the region, according to Merforth, includes dishes like smoked meat, schweinshaxe and sauerkraut. 
Edelweiss’ smoked meat platter features decadent hunks of salt-cured and smoked bacon and pork with sauerkraut, potatoes, Champagne vinaigrette and beer-bolstered mustards (Yoon Byung-chan/The Korea Herald)

Because edelweiss naturally grows in the area, Merforth and his friend named their restaurant after the well-known alpine flower.

A short five-minute walk from Noksapyeong Station, the restaurant, with its cheery white and red exterior, is hard to miss.

The food ranges from takeaway-friendly sandwiches to sit-down-and-linger eats like three-cheese fondue.

Though the spot only sports 12 indoor seats, eating in-house is ideal, especially when digging into Edelweiss’ rich knopfli.

Robed in a Gruyere cheese sauce, the knopfli ― basically tiny pasta ― is chewy, buttery and slightly crisp in texture.

Edelweiss chef Hwang Woo-joo revealed how the whole dish was made from scratch.

First the dough is made before being pressed through a special sieve into boiling water and cooked briefly. The small bits of cooked dough are then “sauteed in oil, butter, salt and black pepper.” 
Edelweiss’ handmade knopfli is served up robed in a rich Gruyere cheese sauce with green beans. (Yoon Byung-chan/The Korea Herald)

“Knopfli means ‘little button,’” said Merforth, explaining why the tiny dough noodles are round. He added that the dish is prevalent in German-speaking Switzerland.

At Edelweiss, sausages, meatloaf and smoked bacon are all made in-house, along with sauerkraut and German potato salad.

House-made bratwurst has been generously spiced with herbs, for a juicy, fragrant bite. The thick sausage goes great with the establishment’s house-made champagne vinaigrette or beer-bolstered mustards.

The smoked bacon is another treat, and one that begs to be paired with a frosty pint of beer.

“We cure the bacon in salt for one week then smoke it for one to two hours,” Hwang said.

Velvety ribs of fat lacing all that rich meat makes for some seriously decadent eating. 
Edelweiss’ warm, spiced and potent Gluhwein (Yoon Byung-chan/The Korea Herald)

Gluhwein is also served up, steamy, spiced and potent for a wallet-friendly 5,000 won.

In addition to the usual day-to-day menu, Edelweiss also offers weekend specials like beef stroganoff and apple strudel from Fridays to Sundays.

Edelweiss Swiss Deli and Kitchen opened in Seoul’s Haebangchon last May. (Yoon Byung-chan/The Korea Herald)

Edelweiss Swiss Deli and Kitchen

- 45-13, Yongsan-dong 2-ga, Yongsan-gu, Seoul
- (02) 797-7990
- Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekends
- Knopfli costs 8,500 won; sausage, meatloaf and smoked meat dishes cost 9,500 won to 13,000 won; gluhwein costs 5,000 won (4,000 won when ordered with a dish)

By Jean Oh (