If you’re visiting Switzerland, eating fondue is an absolute must. While cheese fondue is the most popular, there are multiple different kinds of fondue that you need to try. Here is your ultimate guide to fondue in Switzerland!
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History of Fondue
Fondue comes from the French word “fondre” which means “to melt.” It originated in the 18th century in Switzerland as a way for farmers to stretch their resources throughout the cold winter months. They would dip stale bread into a mixture of melted cheese and wine in order to soften the bread and make it edible. That’s how fondue in Switzerland was born!
Cultural impact of fondue
In 1930, fondue was named Switzerland’s national dish by the Swiss Cheese Union, an organization that previously existed to control cheese production. Still today Fondue is considered a staple wintertime meal in Swiss culture. (Apparently, in the summer it’s really only eaten by tourists.) Fondue is seen as a symbol of Swiss unity.
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What is fondue?
In Switzerland, “fondue” mostly refers to cheese fondue. Cheese fondue is a dish most commonly made of melted cheese, wine, and seasoning. It is made and enjoyed in a pot called a caquelon. There is not a standard type of cheese that is used, but it is usually Gruyère mixed with another time.
You take a skewer and dip bread, potatoes, gherkins, onions, etc. into the warm mixture and swirl it around for a few seconds. Then enjoy! It’s usually served in fondue-specific restaurants because the smell of the cheese is so strong, and eaten as a main course and enjoyed with white wine.
But you must know, there are other types of fondue in Switzerland – and you can’t take a trip without trying them.
What are the types of fondue?
There are four main types of fondue: cheese fondue, oil fondue, broth fondue, and chocolate fondue. I already told you all about chocolate fondue, so let’s jump into the two other types.
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Oil fondue, also called fondue Bourguignonne, consists of a pot of very hot oil in which you cook meat, seafood, or vegetables. The food is cut into small pieces to shorten cooking time. The cooking time for meat differs from 20-60 seconds depending on how well done you want it. The meal also comes with a variety of different dipping sauces. This type of fondue is also Swiss in origin, even though its name comes from the Burgundy region of France.
Broth fondue, also known as Chinese fondue, is all about cooking meat, seafood, or vegetables in a pot of broth. It’s similar to hot pot! This is the one type of fondue we didn’t try during our trip to Switzerland. But it looks delicious!
Chocolate fondue is a melted chocolate, sometimes mixed with cream. Into the warm chocolate you typically dip bread, fruits, marshmallows, and cakes. The pot is usually held over a candle to make sure the dip stays warm but doesn’t get too hot and burn. Chocolate fondue first originated in the U.S. by a Swiss man creating an advertisement for Toblerone chocolate.
What fondue is the best?
If you’re only in Switzerland for a short time, go for cheese fondue as it’s most classically Swiss. However, out of the three types of fondue we eat while in Switzerland, the oil fondue with beef was by far our favorite! We had a lot of fun cooking the meat and it was so delicious – tender on the inside and a bit crispy on the outside. It was probably the best meal we had during our three week trip in Switzerland! We went to a place in Geneva called Auberge de Savièse.
Very fond of fondue
I had to add one cheesy pun! Jokes aside, you absolutely can’t miss eating fondue in Switzerland. You can either reserve a restaurant on your own or take part in a tour experience. I always enjoy food-related tour experiences because you get to learn more about the history and cultural significance of what you’re eating.
Enjoy your time in Switzerland, and save some fondue for me!
If you are looking for places to explore in Switzerland, check out my blog post: 7 BUCKET LIST THINGS TO DO IN ZURICH.