Fondue: From Swiss Tradition to Global Sensation

Fondue: From Swiss Tradition to Global Sensation


Welcome to a journey into the heartwarming world of fondue.

Fondue, with its origins rooted in Swiss tradition, has transcended culinary boundaries to become a global sensation. In this article, we delve into the art of describing fondue – a dish that goes beyond mere sustenance, captivating hearts and palates alike.

From the bubbling cauldron of melted cheese to the rich chocolate indulgence, join us as we explore the nuances, history, and cultural significance that make fondue a cherished culinary experience.

What is Fondue?

Fondue is a culinary delight that originates from Switzerland, gaining international acclaim for its communal and interactive dining experience. The word “fondue” is derived from the French word “fondre,” meaning “to melt.”

At its core, fondue involves melting a mixture of cheese, wine, and often garlic in a communal pot over a low flame. Diners then use long forks to dip and coat various accompaniments like bread, vegetables, and meats into the velvety, melted goodness.

Beyond the iconic cheese fondue, there are variations such as chocolate fondue, where sweet treats are dipped into a melted chocolate concoction. Fondue has become a symbol of conviviality, bringing people together to share in the joy of a unique and flavorful dining experience.

A Typical Fondue Dish
A Typical Fondue Dish

Types of Fondue

There are four main types of fondue: Cheese fondue, oil, broth fondue and chocolate fondue.

Cheese Fondue

Cheese fondue is the most classic version of fondue. Its origin dates back to the 18th Century. It was a dish created in Switzerland where peasant communities in the Alps used their leftover hardened cheese and stale bread during the harsh winter months to provide warmth and nourishment.

The cheese used in a traditional Swiss fondue is often Gruyere and Emmental but different regions in Switzerland, as well as France and the Italian Alps, use a variety of their local cheeses, including Vacherin, Appenzeller, and Sbrinz in Switzerland; Comte, Beaufort and Reblochon in France; and Fontina in Italy. 

To make this cheese fondue, white wine is warmed in a pan or fondue pot that has been rubbed inside with garlic and combined with a variety of cheeses and cornflour. Once the cheese has melted, a drop of Kirsch, a cherry-based spirit and black pepper can be added and the mixture is transferred to a warmed fondue pot and set over a small burner. Long forks are used to spear the bread and dip into the melted cheese. 

Oil Fondue

Fondue bourguignon is a savoury variation featuring hot oil instead of cheese, and meat in place of the bread. It originated from the Burgundy region of France and became popular in the 1950s. Unlike broth fondues, oil fondues cook meat and seafood that are skewered and dipped in oil at high temperatures and served with a variety of dipping sauces such as Bearnaise, alioli, chimichurri and horseradish sauce and can be flavoured with garlic and herbs such as parsley and thyme.

Classic oil fondues use vegetable or peanut oil. Peanut oil has lower cholesterol and saturated fats. The best cuts of beef include filet mignon, top sirloin, ribeye, chicken breast and pork tenderloin. Vegetables such as cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers and baked potatoes are a great choice to serve alongside a Fondue Bourguignonne. 

Broth Fondue

The fondue chinoise, known as the Chinese fondue is one of the most popular party and family meals in Switzerland. It is a lighter version of the Fondue Bourguignonne as the pieces of meat, seafood and finely chopped vegetables are boiled in a broth and not cooked in oil.

You can choose a beef, chicken or seafood broth and the broth can be flavoured with a variety of herbs and spices such as a bay leaf, thyme and garlic, thinly sliced fresh ginger, orange-flavoured yoghurt, mango chutney and even fresh fruit can be used.

The broth is heated in a fondue pot into which the raw ingredients like meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables and noodles are immersed until cooked and then eaten. Meats must be sliced thinly when cooking in a broth as opposed to cubes of meat that can be cooked in the fondue Bourguignonne.

Chocolate Fondue

Yet another popular variation on fondue is fondue au chocolat, or chocolate fondue. This dish was invented in New York in the 1960s by Swiss-born restaurateur Konrad Egli, the owner of the Manhattan based restaurant Chalet Suisse and consists of a pot of high-quality melted chocolate, into which pieces of fruit, cake or pastry are dipped. Popular dippers for chocolate fondue include pretzels, marshmallows, vanilla wafers, Oreos, strawberries, bananas, apples, rice crispy treats and basically anything you may wish to coat in chocolate.

The possibilities are endless. The quality of the chocolate impacts the end result of the fondue, so high-quality chocolate is recommended. You can choose between dark, white or milk chocolate and some chocolate fondue recipes include milk or cream to make the mixture more luxurious and smooth. The chocolate is melted slowly with milk or cream to prevent scorching and the mixture is transferred to a fondue pot and kept warm over a low heat to maintain a liquid state. Chocolate fondue is a popular dish at parties and special occasions.

Fondue Recipes

Cheese Fondue Recipe

Cheese Fondue
Cheese Fondue

Indulge in the rich and classic experience of cheese fondue with this delicious recipe. Perfect for sharing with friends or as a cozy date night treat.


  • 1 clove garlic, halved
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 8 oz (about 2 cups) Gruyère cheese, shredded
  • 8 oz (about 2 cups) Emmental cheese, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • A pinch of nutmeg
  • 3 tablespoons kirsch (cherry brandy)
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Cubed crusty bread, apple slices, and blanched vegetables for dipping


  1. Prepare the Fondue Pot:
  • Rub the inside of the fondue pot with the halved garlic clove.
  1. Make the Cheese Mixture:
  • In a bowl, toss the shredded Gruyère and Emmental cheese with flour until evenly coated.
  1. Heat the Wine:
  • In the fondue pot, heat the white wine and lemon juice over medium heat until it’s hot but not boiling.
  1. Add Cheese Mixture:
  • Gradually add the cheese mixture to the pot, stirring continuously in a figure-eight pattern until the cheese is melted and smooth.
  1. Season and Flavor:
  • Stir in the dry mustard and nutmeg.
  • Add the kirsch (cherry brandy) and continue to stir until the mixture is well combined.
  1. Adjust Consistency:
  • If the fondue is too thick, you can add a bit more wine. If it’s too thin, mix a little more flour with wine in a separate bowl and then add it to the pot.
  1. Serve:
  • Season the fondue with freshly ground black pepper, and place the pot over a fondue burner at the table.
  1. Dip and Enjoy:
  • Serve with cubes of crusty bread, apple slices, and blanched vegetables for dipping. Enjoy the gooey goodness of cheese fondue!

This cheese fondue recipe is perfect for creating a convivial atmosphere at any gathering. Customize your dipping items to suit your preferences and savour the delightful experience of this classic Swiss dish.

Oil Fondue Recipe

Oil Fondue
Oil Fondue

Enjoy a flavorful and interactive dining experience with this oil fondue recipe, perfect for cooking bite-sized pieces of meat and seafood at the table.


  • 1.5 to 2 quarts vegetable or peanut oil (for frying)
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1.5 to 2 pounds beef sirloin or tenderloin, thinly sliced
  • 1.5 to 2 pounds chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1.5 to 2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Dipping sauces (e.g., barbecue, teriyaki, garlic aioli)


  1. Prepare the Fondue Pot:
  • Fill the fondue pot with vegetable or peanut oil, leaving enough space at the top to avoid overflow when adding ingredients.
  1. Infuse Flavor:
  • Rub the inside of the fondue pot with the halved garlic cloves.
  • Add the rosemary, thyme, and bay leaf to the oil for flavour infusion.
  1. Heat the Oil:
  • Heat the oil in the fondue pot over a fondue burner until it reaches a temperature of around 350°F (175°C). Use a cooking thermometer to monitor the temperature.
  1. Season the Meats:
  • Season the sliced beef, chicken pieces, and shrimp with salt and pepper.
  1. Cooking Process:
  • Spear a piece of meat or shrimp with a fondue fork and cook it in the hot oil until it reaches your desired level of doneness. Cooking times may vary, so check for doneness based on personal preference.
  1. Dipping Sauces:
  • Serve the cooked meat with a variety of dipping sauces, such as barbecue, teriyaki, or garlic aioli.
  1. Enjoy:
  • Invite guests to cook their own meats at the table, creating an engaging and delicious dining experience.

Remember to exercise caution when working with hot oil, and keep the fondue pot on low heat during the meal. This oil fondue recipe is a fantastic way to enjoy a social and flavorful gathering with friends or family.

Broth Fondue Recipe

Broth Fondue
Broth Fondue

Elevate your dining experience with a delightful broth fondue, perfect for cooking an array of meats and vegetables. This recipe introduces a flavorful broth that enhances the natural tastes of the ingredients.


  • 6 cups beef or vegetable broth
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 1 celery stalk, sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1.5 to 2 pounds thinly sliced beef or chicken
  • Assorted vegetables (e.g., mushrooms, broccoli, bell peppers)
  • Dipping sauces (e.g., soy sauce, teriyaki, garlic aioli)


  1. Prepare the Broth:
  • In a large pot, combine the broth, minced garlic, sliced onion, carrot, celery, bay leaf, and thyme.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  1. Infuse Flavor:
  • Bring the broth to a gentle simmer and let it simmer for at least 15-20 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. Adjust seasoning as needed.
  1. Heat the Broth Pot:
  • Transfer the flavoured broth to a fondue pot and keep it warm over a fondue burner.
  1. Prepare Meats and Vegetables:
  • Slice beef or chicken thinly and arrange the assorted vegetables on a platter.
  1. Cooking Process:
  • Spear a piece of meat or vegetable with a fondue fork and cook it in the hot broth until it reaches your desired level of doneness. Cooking times may vary, so check for doneness based on personal preference.
  1. Dipping Sauces:
  • Serve the cooked meat and vegetables with a variety of dipping sauces, such as soy sauce, teriyaki, or garlic aioli.
  1. Enjoy:
  • Invite guests to immerse their chosen ingredients into the flavorful broth, creating a communal and interactive dining experience.

This broth fondue recipe provides a healthy and customizable way to enjoy a variety of proteins and vegetables. It’s perfect for gatherings where everyone can participate in the cooking process and savour the rich flavours of the broth.

Chocolate Fondue Recipe

Chocolate Fondue
Chocolate Fondue

Here’s a simple and delicious chocolate fondue recipe that’s perfect for dipping fruits, marshmallows, and more.


  • 200g (7 oz) good-quality dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt


  1. Prepare the Dipping Items:
  • Wash and cut fruits like strawberries, bananas, and pineapple into bite-sized pieces.
  • Arrange other items such as marshmallows, cubes of pound cake, or pretzels for dipping.
  1. Melt the Chocolate:
  • In a heatproof bowl, combine the chopped chocolate and butter.
  • In a small saucepan, heat the heavy cream over medium heat until it just starts to simmer. Be careful not to boil it.
  • Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let it sit for a minute to melt. Then, gently stir until smooth.
  1. Add Flavor:
  • Stir in the vanilla extract and a pinch of salt to enhance the chocolate’s flavour.
  1. Serve:
  • Transfer the melted chocolate to a fondue pot or a heatproof bowl that can be placed over a fondue burner.
  • Place the pot on low heat to keep the chocolate warm and smooth.
  1. Dip and Enjoy:
  • Invite your guests to dip their favourite items into the luscious chocolate. Enjoy the delightful experience of chocolate fondue!

Feel free to get creative with your dipping items and adjust the thickness of the fondue by adding more cream if needed. This chocolate fondue is perfect for parties, gatherings, or a cosy night in.

Fondue Dipping Items

Fondue, with its interactive and communal nature, offers a delightful array of dipping items that enhance the experience. Here are some popular choices for fondue dipping:

  1. Bread Cubes: Cubes of crusty bread are a classic choice, perfect for soaking up the rich, melted cheese or chocolate.
  2. Vegetables: Blanch or lightly steam vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and cherry tomatoes for a refreshing and crunchy contrast.
  3. Meat Slices: Fondue aficionados often include bite-sized pieces of cooked meats such as chicken, beef, or sausage for a savoury twist.
  4. Fruits: When it comes to chocolate fondue, fruits like strawberries, bananas, and pineapple become delectable choices, adding a sweet and juicy dimension.
  5. Potatoes: Boiled or roasted potato chunks are excellent for cheese fondue, offering a heartier option for dipping.
  6. Pickles and Pickled Onions: These add a tangy kick that complements the richness of the fondue.
  7. Apples and Pears: Sliced apples and pears provide a sweet and crisp option, balancing the flavours of both cheese and chocolate fondue.
  8. Pretzels and Crackers: For a salty crunch, pretzels and crackers can be delightful additions, especially with cheese fondue.

Feel free to mix and match these dipping items to create your perfect fondue feast, catering to both savoury and sweet cravings. The beauty of fondue lies in the versatility and creativity it allows at the communal table.


In summary, fondue emerges as more than just a culinary dish; it’s an experience that transcends borders.

Originating from Swiss tradition, fondue has evolved into a global culinary experience, captivating palates with its versatile variations. Whether it’s the rich and velvety embrace of cheese fondue, the interactive sizzle of oil fondue, or the wholesome goodness of broth fondue, each rendition tells a story of shared moments around a bubbling pot.

Fondue embodies conviviality, encouraging friends and family to gather, dip, and savour the unique fusion of flavours. As we’ve explored the art of describing fondue, it becomes clear that this timeless dish is more than a culinary delight; it’s an embodiment of togetherness, flavour, and the joy found in shared dining experiences.