The Strange Reason Anthony Bourdain Never Ate In Switzerland

During his career, Anthony Bourdain visited upwards of 80 countries, often eating, meeting friends, and waxing poetic about whatever filming location he was in for the various travel shows he hosted. He had a way of exposing the most unassuming places, looking beyond their stereotyped exteriors to their actual spirits through the local people, culture, and cuisine. Filming in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Myanmar, and Iran, the Emmy-winner boldly explored the world. This makes it all the more puzzling why Bourdain harbored a terrifying fear of Switzerland.

During a sit-down with Conan O'Brien, Bourdain admitted he had traveled for 16 years and never made a show in Switzerland because, "I have a morbid fear of everything Swiss, I don't know why ... I must have had some, like, terrible childhood experience while watching 'The Sound of Music' that I blocked out," further stating that he found images of Alpine vistas unnerving, and the concept of yodeling horrifying.

Indeed, as evidenced in his writings and TV shows, he seemed to be very comfortable in gritty places, the underbellies of urban areas, and questionable locales, none of which describe Switzerland, which is ranked first in the U.S. News Best Countries rankings.

Bourdain feared everything Swiss, even the food

Anthony Bourdain ate some pretty adventurous things on camera, most notably a still-beating cobra heart in Vietnam, a Filipino street food called balut, and fermented shark in Iceland. However, the professionally-trained chef wouldn't touch Swiss cheese, which he found scary. Perhaps he was uneasy about where all those holes come from. Many fans noticed the absence of a Swiss-based episode in his repertoire; after all, he frequently visited the surrounding countries of France, Germany, Austria, and Italy.

Switzerland wasn't the only country the globe-trotting chef never visited during his impressive career. Some fans were surprised that he never filmed in popular locations like Athens, Poland, Munich, Norway, Seville, or Wales, and we can only speculate as to whether Bourdain would have ever faced his fear and booked a plane ticket to Zurich. It would have undoubtedly made for a memorable show, given his feelings about the Land of Milk and Honey. In his true style, he would have shown us hidden gems and the best off-the-beaten-path chalets to enjoy fondue and the Alpine liquor called génépy. And, if a delightfully seedy place that serves mystery meat and cheap beer until the early morning hours exists in Switzerland, you can bet he would have found that, too.