Food & Drink

An introduction to Swiss Fondue

Fondue is as Swiss as the decadent chocolate and alpine grazing cows. A cold-weather favourite, the creamy, silky fondue is not only reserved for when the snow is falling. Yes, we are known to have had fondue while camping in the middle of summer – shhh don’t tell anyone. But typically when summer is a distant memory and winter is just around the corner, it’s time to dust off your fondue pot and FIGUGEGL …

FIGUGEGL

Fondue isch guet und git e gueti Luune

Fondue is good and gives a good mood.

 

This famous Swiss saying, FIGUGEGL, was created in the 1950s by a Swiss advertising agency on behalf of the Swiss cheese union. The aim was to encourage the Swiss to eat more cheese! The campaign can be hailed as a roaring success with FIGUGEGL becoming synonymous with eating Fondue amongst the Swiss. The Swiss cheese union were also instrumental in elevating the Fondue as a Swiss National dish in the 1930s.

Still today, Fondue, of the cheese variety (more on that down below) is a popular winter dish all Swiss families enjoy at home. Want to give it a go yourself?

 

 

Fondue First-timer? Here are 12 Fondue Tips:

  1. Keep on stirring!! You don’t want the cheese to stick to the bottom and burn, so each time you dip your bread into the pot, stir the bottom to make sure it doesn’t stick.
  2. Chop your bread such that each little bite-size piece has a little bit of crust – if you stick your fork through the crust, you are less likely to lose your bread in the fondue.
  3. Don’t lose your bread in the fondue! Our family rule is that if you lose your bread in the fondue you will have to wash the dishes.  Other families may make you take a shot of Kirsch (clear cherry brandy), buy everyone a round of drinks or even kiss the person sitting next to you.  You can make up your own funny tradition.
  4. Fondue is traditionally served with white wine, and for the more adventurous, Kirsch. The non-alcoholic beverage of choice is tea, black or herbal (I like peppermint).
  5. And lest anyone is confused, although delicious, when most Swiss say fondue, they mean cheese fondue. No chocolate fondue here. other types of fondue include Fondue Chinoise (raw meats and vegetables cooked in boiling broth) and Bourguignonne (oil is used instead of broth)
  6. No double dipping! Stir your bread in the melted cheese until the bread is coated. To prevent the cheese from slipping off the bread twist the fork around a bit as you bring it to your plate.
  7. Our favourite type of cheese fondue is Moitié Moitié which is equal parts of Gruyère and Fribougeois Vacherin cheese but there are plenty of variations. If you can’t find Swiss cheese, look for strong cheese that melts easily.  A bit of corn starch will help prevent the cheese mixture from splitting when it gets hot.
  8. But honestly, we don’t make our own fondue often. Look out for the ready-made mixtures that require no more than a lot of stirring. Our favourite is from Käse Dubach in Zug (who also ship nationally)
  9. Cheese fondue however can be really stinky. Your entire home will quickly smell like a cheese shop. So before you get started make sure all the bedroom doors are closed and give your dining room a good “lüfta” afterwards.
  10. Keep a spatula at hand helps remove the last little bit of sticky fondue and soak your pot and forks as soon as you’re done
  11. Fondue isn’t just reserved for inside, why not find a picnic table with a view and enjoy some melted cheese while the sunsets. It does take a little longer to get the fondue mix melted when using just the burner outside, so consider making a fire and using a castiron pot.
  12. Don’t own a fondue set? No worries, we have been known to use a saucepan, camping burner and forks!

 

Don’t have a local cheese shop that can mix up fondue for you? You can get adventurous with my father-in-law’s “famous” fondue recipe!

Swiss Cheese Fondue Recipe

  • 150-200g cheese per person. grated. Our favourite is an equal mixture of Gruyère, Fribougeois Vacherin, Tilsiter and Bachtaler, but any mixture of good melting cheese will do.
  • 100ml white wine
  • a nip of Kirsch (clear cherry brandy)
  • Cornflour (full teaspoon per 2 people)
  • Knife tip of Baking Soda
  • Pepper, paprika and a touch of nutmeg for seasoning.
  • 1/2 clove of garlic.

1. Rub the fondue pot with the half clove of garlic.

2. Mix the Kirsch and cornflour together set aside. Use enough Kirsch to help the cornflour dissolve.

3. Pour the wine into the pan and add pepper, seasonings and baking soda. Mix in the grated cheese and move to the stove.

4. Mix the cheese mixture on high heat until it starts to melt. Turn the heat down and continue to stir. Never stop.

5. When the mixture has melted, add in the Kirsch/cornflour and stir well.

6. Move the pan immediately to the burner and start to eat straight away.

FIGUGEGL – En Guete

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