They are the most inscrutable of all the European races. Bret Dawson updates his classic series of reports.
Why, you are forever asking yourself, are the Swiss so persnickity about etiquette? Why do they object so fiercely when I use my oyster fork on the salad? It is a good thing you asked, for here you will find the answer. Here it is:
The Swiss are loath to admit it, but their bivalves are filthy.
Eat an oyster in Switzerland and you court death, or if not death then certainly an evening of loud unpleasantries in the WC.
Eat an oyster drenched with "kirsch," the Swiss disinfectant of choice, and you considerably diminish your risk of such consequences. Unfortunately for you, and also unfortunately for the Swiss, "kirsch" is a brackish, highly-volatile ethanol solution that smells of cirrhotic livers and maraschino cherries, in that order. So a Swiss oyster is to be avoided, even if it has been appropriately sterilized. Either it will tax your constitution and your septic system or it will make you smell like a Manhattan.
(Note: A Manhattan is a cocktail favoured by old ladies who give money to art galleries and wear furs with the heads still on. Be sure not to confuse a Manhattan with Manhattan, which is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, and which, while notably dotted with areas where the smell of human urine wafts freely, is mostly inoffensive.)
Assume you actually ate a Swiss oyster or at least poked at it with your fork. Would you want, come the next course, to get any of that goo in your sorbet? No you would not. So on this count the Swiss are quite right to be strict with their flatware protocol.
On the larger question of why Swiss mollusk hygeine is so atrocious, answers are neither quick nor simple. Although it would probably not hurt if one day the Swiss stopped pumping untreated sewage into their lakes and streams.
Caution: The preceding paragraph may have contained a poo libel.