The Many Faces of Swiss Fondue and Chasselas wine

Published by Friday, October 14, 2011 Permalink 0
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by Jonell Galloway

The word “fondue” means literally “melted” in French. In Switzerland, fondue is made by melting cheese with white wine, pepper, garlic and kirsch (cherry schnapps).

Photo courtesy of Fribourg Tourist Bureau.

Different regions use different cheeses and have different recipes however. In the canton of Valais, no starch, butter, or eggs are added, while in many other regions they are used for thickening. Today, many people use corn starch.

Fribourg fondue is different from other cantons in that it uses Fribourg Vacherin cheese. Both Gruyère and Fribourg make what is referred to as “half and half”, meaning they use half Gruyère and half Fribourg Vacherin cheese.In central Switzerland, it is common to use Gruyère, Emmental and Sbrinz, a hard cheese from central Switzerland that is claimed to be the oldest cheese in Europe.

In Appenzeller, they often add cream to the fondue.

In Gruyère and Emmental, they make a version using crushed tomatoes. Gruyère fondue can also contain red and green peppers and hot chili peppers.

Mushroom fondue is made with Gruyère cheese, Fribourg Vacherin and wild mushrooms, often cepes.

Swiss fondue is eaten with either chunks of bread or small potatoes steamed with the skin left on.

Fondue etiquette is to put your fondue fork into the bread or potato, dip it in the communal fondue pot, then slide it onto your plate and eat it with other utensils, so as not to eat off the fork you dip into the fondue. This is of course a matter of hygiene.

Traditionally, one drinks white wine made from Chasselas vine stock with Swiss fondue.  In the canton of Valais, this is referred to as Fendant. In German-speaking Switzerland, it is known as Gutedel.

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