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Authentic Swiss fondue recipe


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Cheese fondue for me is not just any meal, but a wonderfully intimate meal with family or friends - cheese fondue is wonderfully filling and helps to reinforce the friendships of all those involved. The rule of thumb for the ratio of cheese to wine is: 200g cheese to 100ml wine.

9 people made this

IngredientsServes: 4

  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 300-400ml Vaudois wine (or other Swiss dry white wine)
  • 600-800g coarsely grated Gruyere cheese, preferably from 2-3 different stages of maturity
  • 1 measure kirsch
  • 4 level tablespoon cornflour
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • grated nutmeg to taste
  • baguette, cut into bite-sized cubes

MethodPrep:10min ›Cook:20min ›Ready in:30min

  1. Rub fondue pot with garlic rub and pour in the wine. Heat the wine slightly and add the cheese. Melt the cheese whilst stirring.
  2. Stir together cornflour and kirsch and pour into the boiling fondue. Season with pepper and nutmeg to your liking.
  3. Let boil 2-3 times, then place the pot on the heater on the table. Adjust heat so that the fondue is always simmering.

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Where do we start first? Switzerland has 26 cantons, so it’s no surprise that you will find so many choices in traditional Swiss food. However, let’s check 10 out of the most famous ones among them.

1. Fondue

Surely, the most epic cheese there is. That’s why it makes our top choice of traditional Swiss food you need to try. Fondue is a Swiss melted cheese dish served in a communal pot over a portable stove heated with a candle or spirit lamp and eaten by dipping bread into the cheese using long-stemmed forks.

The easiest recipe for Swiss fondue is mixing wine, garlic, and lemon juice in a ceramic pot over medium-low heat, or you can even use a heavy saucepan instead. Then, you add the cheese to the simmering liquid a little at a time, stirring well between each addition to ensure a smooth fondue. Sounds delicious even when explained, right? Imagine tasting it.

2. Tarts and Quiches

The quiche and Swiss cheese tarts are only superficially related. Both have pastry, cheese, and custard however, the quiche is really about the custard, whereas the Swiss tart is more about cheese. Swiss cheese tarts come in all sizes, yet the small ones are more petite and even eye-pleasing. You can pick a little one up and eat it picnic-style. Little cheese tarts look so cheerful and tasty on small, pretty plates. The quiches can also be loaded with fish, meat, or vegetables, whereas tarts can be topped with different flavors from onion to sweet apple. These dishes are typical for anniversaries and birthdays.

3. Landjager

All those mountains and trails to hike in Switzerland, one has to have some snacks on the way up, right? This is exactly where the semi-dried sausage (Landjäger) comes in. This traditional Swiss snack is prepared with a combination of pork, beef, lard, red wine, sugar, and selected spices. The name landjäger means land hunters, referring to the fact that these sausages are especially convenient and popular among backpackers and hunters who carry them while traveling.

4. Älplermagronen (Alpine Macaroni)

The Älplermagronen or as it is translated ‘the Alpine macaroni’ is a rustic Swiss dish. It is called this way because the ingredients used to make the dish were used to feed herdsmen who were keeping an eye on their cows grazing on the Alp’s pastures. Ever since then, in the 1930ies, this dish is one of the tastiest Switzerland traditional food options. The key ingredients used include macaroni pasta, cheese, onions, and potatoes, although there are numerous variations of this Swiss classic.

5. Raclette

Behold, cheese lovers. Another jaw-dropping cheesy dish of Switzerland. Raclette is a semi-hard cheese made from Alpine cow milk. Historically, it has been the main food of peasants who lived in the regions of Valais. An entire wheel of cheese would be held up in front of a fire, and as the cheese melted, it was scraped off onto a plate to be eaten. Thus, the name derives from the French word racler, meaning, to scrape. Nowadays, slices of raclette are melted and escorted with small potatoes cooked in their skin, onions, pickled gherkins, and vegetables. Raclette is often known as a Geneva traditional food choice.

6. Rosti

Locally known as rööschti, this Swiss dish consists mainly of potatoes but in the style of a fritter. Originally, it used to be a breakfast dish historically eaten by farmers in the canton of Bern. That’s why the name of it was initially röstis bernois. However, nowadays, it is eaten all over Switzerland. Rosti potatoes are legit known as the Swiss version of the classic potato pancake. The secret to the perfect rosti is cooking the first side covered with a lid or foil until crispy, then carefully turning and cooking the second side without the lid to golden perfection! At least that’s what people say in the Swiss country.

7. Saffron risotto

Did you know that the quality of the Swiss Saffron is among the best and most expensive in the world? The dark red saffron strands—the stigma of a variety of crocus—are hand-picked, and that’s why the saffron risotto is in such popular demand. The Swiss make good use of this unique ingredient that they cultivate in the canton of Valais.

The saffron risotto is mainly known as a traditional dish of Ticino and is usually served with a Luganighe sausage, a raw sausage made with pork, spices, and red wine. Or you can also cook it at the comfort of your home, adding any other ingredients to it upon your choice. We totally recommend onions!

8. Malakoff

A Malakoff is a ball of fried cheese typically found in Western Switzerland, more specifically in the villages of Eysins, Begnins, Bursins, Luins, and Vinzel on the shores of Lake Geneva. The recipe was brought by the Swiss mercenaries who joined the Crimean War under the French-British forces fighting against Russia. This Swiss cheese bread was particularly named after the major battle of Malakoff that resulted in the fall of Sevastopol, thus ending the battle. The malakoff is typically served as a first course and enjoyed with served cornichons, pickled onions, and mustard. Surely, wine is its best companion!

9. Polenta (Cornmeal)

Polenta is a yellow cornmeal dish that is cooked over low heat until it becomes a delicious, homogenous mash. Along with chestnuts and risotto, this dish also belongs to the traditional peasant foods of Ticino. It can be eaten out of a bowl or spread on a wooden board, cooled, and cut with a piece of thin thread. You can serve it with butter, cheese, a stew, a sauce, or simply a splash of cold milk. Once considered food for the poor, but now polenta is basically an identifying dish of the traditional Swiss cuisine.

10. Zürcher Geschnetzeltes

Zurich Ragout, or Zürcher Geschnetzeltes, is a stew recipe in a white sauce, made with mushrooms and white wine. It contains many of the typical Germanic flavorings, including parsley and lemon zest.

This traditional dish might look delicate, but it’s really easy to make, finding its way into your heart through your stomach. Veal loin is traditionally used, but pork loin may be substituted. It is usually served with Rösti (Swiss Hash Browns) and white Swiss wine (or try a Pinot Grigio or Grüner Veltliner). The first mention of Zürcher Geschnetzeltes is in a cookbook from 1947. That recipe describes the ingredients as sliced veal strips, white wine, cream, and demiglace. Some contemporary recipes may also call for mushrooms and sliced veal kidney.

The Swiss cuisine will certainly amaze you with its delicate servings and high-quality recipes. Don’t let this narrowed down list stop you from conducting some research and getting to know more about some of Switzerland’s most famous dishes. You can become your own chef, with the right ingredients. Yet, we recommend you go try these food choices personally, to get a taste of magic.


The Epicurious Blog

This time of year, what could be more perfect than gathering a group of close friends, getting some good wine and bread, and huddling over a vat of gently bubbling hot cheese? (Besides teleporting all those friends, wine, and vat of gently bubbling hot cheese to a ridiculously charming, cozy lodge in the Alps and plopping them in front of a roaring fireplace, that is?)

While naysayers may dismiss fondue as a kitschy throwback-type trend, remniscent of Ice Storm-era jumpsuits and Dorothy Hamill haircuts and the like, fondue is of course a highly traditional food, originating in the Alps and enjoyed year-round in Switzerland (where it&aposs been the national dish since the 1930s). Not only is it the embodiment of our favorite type of meal--a communal one, centered on a shared group dish--it&aposs also not nearly as difficult to prepare as some people assume.

In fact, when I asked Chef Terrance Brennan, chef/owner of New York City&aposs Artisanal Fromagerie & Bistro--famous for its excellent fondues, even dedicating the whole month of February to varying takes on the dish--his thoughts on the most important thing beginners need to know about making classic fondue, he replied: "That it&aposs very easy."

Here are 5 key tips to perfect Swiss fondue.

1) It really is all about the cheese. For a quintessential alpine fondue, Chef Brennan says that any of the high-quality traditional firm mountain cheeses would work. "Try Emmentaler, Gruyère, Comté--you can use just one, or try different combinations," notes Chef Brennan. And make sure you grate it (don&apost chop it), as "grated cheese melts more easily and quicker," he adds.

2) A good, dry white wine works best in a fondue. For your base, choose a dry Sauvignon Blanc, or any dry white that&aposs high in acid. "The acid helps keep the cheese smooth--it gives the fondue a homogenous texture," notes Chef Brennan, who recommends adding a dash of lemon juice for insurance.

3) Toss your thickener with your grated cheese, making sure that all of the cheese is lightly dusted with it. "Adding the corn starch [Chef Brennan prefers to use corn starch over flour, as the flour takes longer to cook] at that point prevents the cheese from lumping," he says.

4) Add the cheese to the pot in little handfuls, taking time to slowly stir in each handful and make sure it melts before adding the next handful. The classic fondue stirring technique is the figure eight, which ensures that you cover the whole pot.

5) If you don&apost have Kirsch, it&aposs not the end of the world. "The Kirsch [cherry brandy] isn&apost necessary--it&aposs just classic," says Chef Brennan. He suggests trying an apricot brandy, or playing around with different flavored ones--like pear or apple. But if you do include brandy in your fondue, do what the Swiss do and pour yourself and your guests each a shot of it. "Dip the bread into the Kirsch, then dip it into the cheese."

As for what you should dip into your fondue, you&aposll need cubed crusty bread, of course, along with crudites and perhaps some fingerling potatoes. But Chef Brennan also recommends apples, garlic sausage (like kielbasa), beef tips, and--our favorite dipping idea--Gougères. Cheese dipped in cheese: Genius!

Are you ready to make perfect Swiss fondue? Here are some excellent recipes, all highly rated:


Traditional Swiss Cheese Fondue

Using no fillers allows this Traditional Swiss Cheese Fondue to be so creamy and really soak into the bread. Each bite, a delight . .

Traditional Swiss Cheese Fondue

My family story – Behind the making of Traditional Swiss Cheese Fondue

A printer-friendly recipe card can be found at the bottom of this post

Full Disclosure – This recipe for Traditional Swiss Cheese Fondue is not so traditional.

It IS traditional because this is the way my family has made fondue all my life.

It’s NOT traditional in that, it contains no flour or cornstarch or other thickeners as most other recipes you find do.

Our’s is a homogeneous creamy gooey cheesy pot of yum .

My grandparents on my father’s side were Swiss. My grandfather, a watchmaker, was solicited to come to America by Bulova Watch company. He moved with my grandmother, a country girl, to NYC in 1926. My father was born there in 1929.

Being Swiss they knew their fondue and my grandfather taught my father the family recipe which we enjoyed every Christmas Eve. As a small child, it was limited to a few bites after we had had a proper dinner. As we got older, the tradition of fondue was so ingrained in our Christmas Eve festivities that the three of us children would eschew any dinner prior, insisting on joining the adults at the “fondue table”. Fondue in my home was a stand-up dinner.

But being a part of the adult fondue table, we were limited in our choices of drink. My grandmother believed that if you drank a cold drink, the cheese would “harden in your stomach causing great amounts of pain”. Science might not have been her strong suit. So we were offered either wine, with some water mixed in, or hot tea.

Hot tea with hot cheese…no thank you very much.

So the three of us would opt for the watered down, but still very much winey tasting cold drink and make frequent runs to the bathroom where we would gulp down large mouthfuls of water from the tap.

Not a tummy ache amongst us.

Although these days, I opt for the wine. Sans water.

Each year we would make the fondue the traditional way and stand around the table saying how “this is the best fondue EVER”.

That was the year my mother read a recipe to my dad for fondue, from Redbook or some such, which had you “tossing the cheese with 2 tablespoons of flour”.

Interesting. Would thicken things right up.

Yep, it did. Worst Fondue EVER.

So don’t do this. Don’t add any flour or cornstarch. It makes the fondue grainy. It makes it so it doesn’t soak into the bread properly.

It’s horrible. OK, maybe not horrible, but certainly not as good as mine. Our traditional Swiss cheese fondue is the best.

Ours is a homogeneous creamy gooey cheesy pot of yum.

So here are the basics of making an excellent traditional Swiss cheese fondue, the proper way

The Cheese

Being a cheese fondue, you can imagine the cheese is important. The cheese is actually the key ingredient with your choice of wine being a close second. We’ll get to the wine in a minute.

There is really no such thing as “Swiss” cheese. It’s a generic name given to cheese that is riddled with holes, and it’s only called Swiss cheese in North America. So for the Swiss cheese, I use the Swiss named cheese for Swiss cheese, which is Emmental. Along with that, I use an equal amount of aged Gruyere, another type of Swiss cheese. For added creaminess, I add a small amount of Fontina. While not traditional to the family recipe, I found it does add to the richness of the dish. My mother and sister use a bit of Jarlsberg cheese, a Swiss cheese derivative from Norway.

Buy the best cheeses you can.

Grate the cheese at least an hour before you plan to make the fondue so it has time to come to room temperature. It doesn’t work so well trying to add cold cheese to the wine as with each addition you compromise the wine’s heat. I usually grate mine in the morning and let it sit for hours.

So step one, good cheese, grated, at room temperature. Toss it with a little salt and freshly ground pepper.

The Wine

Fondue is wine and melted cheese. Therefore the wine you use will certainly affect the flavor. While the wine doesn’t have to be expensive, it should be a fairly good bottle of wine. I like to use a Fume Blanc which is really a derivative of Sauvignon Blanc. If using a Sauv Blanc do notuse one that is from New Zealand as those have a tendency towards being grassy. You want a non-grassy wine. Another good choice is Pouilly-Fume, a French wine.

The Bread

The bread you choose is also a factor. Get a good French baguette with a hard crust and a lot of nooks and crannies. Cut the bread so that there is crust on EACH piece, this is for sticking the fork into it to hold it on while you are dunking it into the hot liquid. It’s best to cut your bread at least 2 hours before you want to serve so it crisps up a bit and isn’t too soft.

The Rest

A couple cloves of garlic.

A shot of Kirschwasser, a clear brandy liqueur made from cherries.

Some freshly ground nutmeg. Just at the end, and just a dash.

What else is key?

A pot. I have a handy fondue pot that was a gift from my parents when I moved into my own home. If you don’t, you could use some Corningware or another glazed earthenware pot. I don’t find metal to hold and distribute heat properly, although I’m sure a Dutch oven would, but the pot itself cannot be too large. I would say not more than a 2-quart pot.

A heat source. Once the fondue is hot and ready to serve, it must be kept hot, and bubbly. The best way to accomplish this is by using sterno. Other ways would be to keep it hot over a low flame on the stove-top and you could all stand around and dip and eat there or use a candle under the stand, although the heat would not be quite as good as sterno. If the fondue isn’t bubbling, it’s going to become a cold hard piece of cheese quickly.

To Prepare – the ratio cheese to wine

To each pound of cheeseyou use, you will need 1 1/4 cups of wine. Rub the bottom and sides of the pot with a clove of garlic that has been lightly smashed. You can remove the garlic, or, if you are like us and like garlic, leave it in. Place the pot over medium heat and add the wine. When the wine comes to a simmer start slowly adding the cheese very slowly, a handful at a time, and stir the cheese in until each addition has melted before you add the next one. When stirring use a figure 8, a circular stirring will only cause the cheese to fold onto itself into a ball. So a figure 8 is key to keeping the cheese in motion. Keep adding the cheese until you have a nice thick sauce, with still a little wine on top usually about 15 minutes from the first addition of cheese then add the Kirsch and nutmeg. Put the fondue over your heat source and dip away. Be sure to stir the pot with your bread each time you dip to keep it from burning.

*A pound of cheese is about right for 4 people. The amounts are guesstimates I almost always grate too much cheese so only add as much as you need and save the rest for a nice omelet or ham and cheese sandwich.

The Tradition

Sharing a fondue is a fun way to spend an evening with friends. It encourages conversations while you dip and enjoy the cheesy goodness and a glass of wine, or two. In my family, we always ate standing around the table, but now, we sit around the coffee table while we enjoy the bowl games. Yes, Fondue has moved from Christmas Eve to New Year’s Day. But it’s still a tradition.

And make sure you get that bread onto the fork well. If you drop it into the cheese, you must kiss the person on your right. Of course, if you really really like the person on your right, maybe loose bread is a plus.


Fondue Ingredients

Ingredients:

1.5 pounds of Cheese, grated

  • ½ pound of Gruyere
  • ½ pound of Emmenthal (Jarlsberg also works here)
  • ½ pound of Appenzeller

1 clove sliced in half, 4 cloves diced very thinly

1 ½ tbsp of Kirsch (If you don’t have Kirsch you can skip this – the fondue is pretty boozy already with the 2 cups of wine!)

For the croutons:

2 day old French Baguettes, cut into bite-sized pieces. (If you haven’t tried making your own, I highly recommend trying out my recipe for beginners)

Instructions:

Spread the Baguette pieces on a cookie sheet (or 2 if need be) and set aside.

Rub the halved clove of garlic, cut side down, all over the inside of a cast iron enameled pot or a fondue pot. Discard.

In the garlic coated pot, heat the butter together with the remaining chopped garlic on medium heat. When they become lightly brown, add the wine. Careful not to let the garlic become dark brown.

In a large bowl, Mix the cornstarch in with the grated cheeses– you will want to ensure that there is a little bit of cornstarch all over the cheese.

Once the wine begins to lightly simmer then start adding the cheese, one handful at a time, allowing to melt before adding another handful. At the same time, stir the fondue continuously with a wooden spoon in a figure “8” formation. NEVER stop stirring! This technique is the difference between a smooth, rich, creamy fondue and globs of cheese stuck to the bottom of a pot. Trust me, I have been there. The entire process should take about 10-15 minutes – feel free to tag team with a family member if your arm starts to get tired. If ever you feel the cheese sticking, bring the heat down a little.

Never stop stirring!

Once all the cheese is added it is time to stir in the kirsch and continue stirring for another 2 minutes.

5 minutes before I am ready to serve, I put the Baguette pieces in the hot oven to warm.

Voilà! Your Authentic Swiss Cheese Fondue is ready!


FN Authentic Swiss Cheese Fondue Recipe

Prepare the bread and potatoes first. Cut the French Bread into 1 in. square cubes. Prepare the potatoes by bringing them to a boil with water 2 inches above the potatoes in a saucepan. Boil until a fork can easily spear them. Drain. Return to the pot, salt lightly with Fleur de Sel, and cover until ready to serve. Prepare the garlic, set aside. Prepare the lemon juice, set aside. Mix the Kirsch with the corn starch and set aside.

Rub the pot with a whole piece of fresh garlic. Put the 1 ¼ cups Wine in the Pot on top of the stove

Add the minced garlic and lemon juice.

Heat this mixture carefully on medium high heat, stirring with a wooden spoon. When the wine is warm enough, begin adding the shredded cheese using a figure eight motion.

Turn up the heat if the cheese is not melting. (It is important to stir the cheese almost all the time while it is melting to prevent the cheese from burning on the bottom)

When the cheese is melted, and starts to bubble a bit, add the Kirsch and Corn starch mixture and continue to stir for 2 to 4 minutes. Turn the heat down to low and add plenty of fresh ground black pepper and cayenne to taste.


Authentic Swiss fondue recipe - Recipes

We're talking here about authentic Swiss fondue, not to be confused with Savoyard fondue. Giving the real recipe risks opening up a number of debates, because depending on whether you live in Fribourg, Neuchâtel or Zurich, you'll always find a special little "signature" flavor in the pot. So we're approaching the subject carefully to better understand this Swiss icon that has spread worldwide.

Some Swiss collaborators have come to add their own suggestions.

With a good mixture, you don't need cornstarch or baking soda. Choose your cheeses to create a nice smooth, creamy fondue that isn't stringy. This is why a dry cheese is often paired with a fatty cheese.

If you end up with cheese that separates, or if the fat separates to the surface, usually you just need to raise the temperature while stirring vigorously, or add a little wine. But be careful - you can always add more wine, but you can't take it out!

"Personally, I always start by heating some of the wine, which I add very gradually to the cheese," says one of our contributors. "I add just as much wine as needed to obtain the desired texture. It's important to stir constantly without heating the mixture too aggressively, so that it doesn't burn or stick to the bottom."

For 2 people, allow 450 g (1 lb.) cheese, adding another 180-200 g (6-7 oz.) per additional guest.


What is the Original Swiss Fondue Recipe?

There are few foods that are more identified with Swiss culture than fondue.

The Dictionary.com definition of fondue is: “a saucelike dish of Swiss origin made with melted cheese and seasonings together with dry white wine, usually flavored with kirsch: served as a hot dip for pieces of bread.”

The recipe was labeled the national dish by the Swiss Cheese Union in the 1930's, and it gained popularity in North America and around the world in the 1960's.

Other similar dishes have been grouped under the fondue name, though they are not traditional in nature and would probably technically be called a “hot pot.” These may include gatherings where oil, broth, chocolate or other substances are kept at a warm temperature and meat, vegetables, bread or dessert items (as appropriate) are dipped in the hot substance either coating them or cooking them.

In fact, there are a number of restaurants based around this concept that has grown in popularity around the world.

The reality is, for most Swiss, the only “real” fondue is the original cheese fondue.

While there are as many recipes as there are great Swiss chefs, a basic recipe (courtesy of geniuskitchen.com) includes:

  • 6 ounces of shredded gruyere,
  • 6 ounces of shredded emmentaler cheese,
  • 2 ounces shredded Appenzeller cheese,
  • 2 -3 tablespoons all-purpose flour,
  • 1 garlic clove,
  • 1 cup of dry white wine,
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice,
  • 1 dash of kirsch, to taste,
  • 1 pinch nutmeg.

The recipe is prepared in a steel pot. All the ingredients should be carefully added and cooked only until hot, not boiling. The result is a delicious, rich cheese sauce that is unlike anything else imaginable. It is perfect for pairing with chunks of crusty bread and your wine of choice.

Swiss Fondue is a dish that requires a bit of practice to get it “just right". Spend some time reviewing different recipes and checking out the options to find what tastes just right to you. Remember, this is a dish that is meant to be shared, so give it a try next time you plan to have friends or family over for a special night of fun and laughter.


Traditional Swiss Cheese fondue and a wonderful Christmas dinner with Habitat

Traditional Swiss Cheese Fondue is deliciously rich and the perfect retro sharing dish to share at your Christmas dinner party.

I don&rsquot often have time to attend events any more. I get some wonderful offers through the blog, but an insane workload, two children and a dog usually prevent me from getting out of the house. I had to make an exception for the Habitat Christmas Supper Club though &ndash invitations like this one don&rsquot come across very often!

Habitat was one of the first stores I was introduced to as a college student &ndash one of our assignments in my media course was to design the packaging for an (imaginary) Habitat film brand. Film as in 35mm &ndash yes, I know how much this ages me&hellip I have been a huge fan ever since, aspiring to the beautiful homeware in my salad days and eventually, years later, feeling grown up enough to introduce them into my first home.

The Habitat Christmas Supper Club surpassed my expectations to rank highest amongst the most enjoyable events I have ever attended. A beautiful festive table was set out for us in the Tottenham Court Road store &ndash heaving with covetable glass and tableware as well as sparkly decorations and unavoidable Christmas crackers.

The menu was inspired too, a hot smoked salmon starter merely setting the scene for the main event &ndash a traditional Swiss cheese fondue which was an incredible hit with everyone at the table.

Fondue has certainly lost its retro lustre in recent years, but I think it is ripe for a big comeback. It is such a sociable dish &ndash perfect for uniting guests over the bubbling cheese and just the ticket to soak up all the free-flowing wine and cocktails.

The evening was punctuated with a spot of cocktail making &ndash the guests took turns to mix a totally amazing mulled mojito. By the time the chocolate mousse dessert rolled round I was almost too full to indulge.

I promised myself I would recreate the Swiss cheese fondue experience at home and share the recipe with you all. Not only is it really easy to make, your dinner party will be the talk of the town &ndash among your friends at least! All you need is Swiss cheese, wine and a selection of dipping options &ndash from crusty bread and charcuterie, to potatoes and crudités.

A fondue pot is also very useful &ndash mine came from Habitat of course! Use your favourite Swiss cheese &ndash Emmental, Gruyère or Beaufort all work well &ndash although I am also partial to less traditional, and usually French, Comté.

A big thank you to the Habitat team for inviting me to the Christmas Supper Club and providing the wonderful props in this post.


Meat Fondue (Fondue Chinoise)

Christmas Eve is the start of the peak of the Swiss Fondue Chinoise season – the peak lasts until New Years’ Eve. This fondue and the Filet im Teig (pork or veal fillet wrapped in pastry) are the two main Christmas and New Year’s eve dinner meals in Switzerland. When I was a child in the 1980ies, Fondue Chinoise, a meat fondue made with sliced meat cooked in beef or chicken stock wasn’t as popular yet, instead people preferred its less healthy sister, Fondue Bourguignonne. The latter uses hot oil instead of a broth, and cubed beef instead of sliced beef, pork and chicken. Fondue Bourguignonne is tasty but it has two significant drawbacks – one is that afterwards the entire house smells of cooked oil, the other one is that meat deep-fried in oil can feel a little too filling. These days Fondue Chinoise is far more popular and in both mine and my husband’s family and in many others all across the country it’s the go-to meal for Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Here’s our guide to the Swiss way of eating Chinese hotpot, or as we call it, Fondue Chinoise.

One: The pot. Fondue Chinoise pots can be bought in any supermarket (note: it’s a different pot than the cheese fondue one). There are several types of heat sources, the two most popular ones these days are the gel-like fuel that comes in a little pot, the other one is gas that is refilled from a bottle. I like the gas more as it’s easier to refill and it burns more efficiently (that is it gets hotter).

Two: The meat. You can find pre-sliced frozen meat in any supermarket. However, I would strongly advise not to use this kind of meat. It’s too thin and the freezing of these thin slices takes a lot of the taste away. I’d always go for various kinds of my own sliced meat (chicken breast, beef fillet or rump steak, pork fillet or veal fillet) or if pressed in time I’d order it sliced from a butchery. You’ll taste a big difference and I think it’s worth it. Personally I’d rather have no Fondue Chinoise than one with frozen sliced meat.

Three: The sauces. You’ll need a few dipping sauces for the meat. Again, there is a lot of readymade sauces that can be bought but I prefer mine made from scratch. Popular ones in our house are the coctail sauce, garlic sauce and the curry sauce, all based on sour cream and mayonnaise. Some sauce recipes can be found here (German).

Four: The preserved vegetables. A Swiss meat fondue, whether chinoise or bourguignonne, needs a good selection of pickles and other preserved vegetables – choose your favourites from gherkins, silverskin onions, aspargus, mini corn cobs, mini mushrooms, artichoke hearts, and whatever else you can find in the preserved vegetables food aisle of your supermarket.

Five: The other side dishes. Small potato balls made of mashed potatoes and baked in the oven are a common side dish for meat fondue, as these can be dipped into the same sauces. My favourites are the Pommes Noisettes from Migros or the Naturaplan Bio Kroketten from Coop (both to be found in the frozen aisle). Plain white rice or bread are very common too. But you can choose any side dish you like. You can also add some salads to make it less meaty. Another popular addition are steamed vegetables which can also be cooked in the broth.

Six: The broth. There are many recipes for the broth. For a deluxe version you can make your own. If you’re too busy or too lazy like me, just use some beef, chicken or vegetable stock powder mixed with water. You could also add some vegetables to the broth.

Seven: The soup in the end. The meat fondue broth makes an exellent soup. We often eat the soup straight after the fondue or on the following day – add some sherry for an even more delicious soup. You can also re-use it the next day for eating the leftovers of your meat, or freeze the broth for another week.


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