Fondue, which comes from the French “fondre”, meaning “to melt,” had its origins in 18th century Switzerland as a means for farm families to stretch their limited resources during the winter months. With some remaining cheese, some stale bread, and a dash of wine the family could gather around the hearth. In Alpine farm villages, bread was baked only occasionally so whatever bread was on hand was usually stale. By dipping the bread in the melted cheese, the bread was softened and became delectable. From these simple beginnings, fondue became a Swiss winter tradition.
Fondue was popularized as a Swiss national dish by the Swiss Cheese Union in the 1930s as a way of increasing cheese consumption.
There is no standard recipe, nor is there even a single type of cheese that’s universally favored for Swiss cheese fondue. One popular rendition is an equal blend of Gruyère and Vacherin Fribougeois, known as "moitiè-moitiè" or "half-half." But if you’re in eastern Switzerland it’s just as likely to be Gruyère mixed with an aromatic Appenzeller. In Valais, more often than not you’ll enjoy a blend of Gruyère and Raclette, while in canton Bern, Emmentaler seems to most commonly appear. All are great melting cheese and exude a wonderful aroma as they melt.
When dunking a cube of bread into the Fondue, should a lady lose her grip and let the bread slide off the fork into the pot, she must turn to the man on her right and give him a kiss. If a man does the same, he must kiss the hostess or buy the next round of drinks.
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Breckenridge, CO 80424
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