A History of Fondue

Who invented Fondue?

 Many sources claim to have invented what today is known as Fondue. First indications go back to the end of the 1600 century! But was this Fondue as we know it today? Of course not! Over the following centuries, it all evolved regarding the cheese used, the preparation and the ingredients added to refine the taste.

The western part of Switzerland, the alpine French-speaking region, where the very rich Gruyere cheese comes from, played a major role in the development of fondue. Plenty of milk and cheese were naturally available in the alpine regions and it was obvious that, not wishing to waste any food, people found different ways to use up old bread and started dipping it into melted cheese. We believe that this is how Fondue, as we know it today, was born!

What about the equipment?

In the old times, people mainly used stoneware cooking pots. The Caquelon – the stone fondue pot – was used to melt the cheese over the fire. In more modern times the Caquelon, containing the hot melted cheese is placed in the centre of the table and standing on a portable stove called a Réchaud (to keep the Fondue cheese mixture hot and melted). So that everyone sitting around the table could reach the Fondue Caquelon in the centre, longer forks with just two or three prongs were introduced. This helped to avoid the pieces of bread dropping off the fork and into the melted cheese (which still to this day has serious consequences!).

Why did it become so popular?

Everyone knows that Switzerland has huge mountains but not everyone knows that there were also huge mountains of cheese stored in caves and deep underground tunnels! This was simply due to the fact that so much cheese had been produced! The “Swiss Cheese Union” became very active and began to actively promote Swiss cheese.

Swiss Cheese Fondue soon became a real trademark of Switzerland as a result and is now regarded by many people throughout the world as a Swiss National dish. In the 1980s a famous slogan was created which became very popular and actually reflects what Fondue is all about: “Fondue isch guet und git e gueti Lune” which basically means “Fondue is good and creates a good mood!” This is still the case today, when an evening spent enjoying a Fondue with friends and family, complimented by a glass of good white wine and maybe a small glass of Schnapps guarantees a great time for all!

Further developments

The classic cheese Fondue has undergone quite some refinement in terms of taste, cheese mixture, herbs added, and so on. Bread is still the classic dipper but you can use almost any kind of vegetables too.

Children these days have great fun with a chocolate Fondue, which of course is not to everybody’s taste!
As well as cheese Fondue the so-called Fondue Bourguignon became very popular. Dipping a small piece of beef or chicken into very hot oil or bouillon leads to a unique taste.

This kind of meal complimented by different dipping sauces and boiled potatoes is just delicious!


Fondue Sets