Buckwheat is an example of a pseudocereal: a plant that isn’t actually a cereal, but can be used like one. A favourite among many food lovers, this traditional crop is now being grown once again by Swiss farmers.
Buckwheat is found in traditional dishes all over the world: blinis in Russia, soba noodles in Japan, galettes bretonnes in France and pizzoccheri in Val Poschiavo in southern Switzerland are all made with buckwheat seeds. Apart from these traditional dishes, buckwheat is eaten relatively rarely in Switzerland.
But it’s gradually making a reappearance, with chefs at least showing enthusiasm for this traditional ingredient. The aromatic flour can be added to other types of flour for pastries or pancakes. Buckwheat is also gluten-free – another reason why we could well see a rise in demand.
This is certainly one reason why Swiss farmers are returning to buckwheat, especially in mountain regions. I recently discovered a buckwheat flour from Schams, the product of three farmers who went into production together in 2017. I also like using whole buckwheat seeds: you can roast the in a non-stick pan without oil over a moderate heat for five minutes and then scatter them over a salad, for example. They’re beautifully crunchy and wonderfully aromatic.