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Fondue - Dead or alive?

is cheese fondue in or out of fashion today?

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  1. Food fashion? LOL! Who cares! Honestly it's all a function of environment. In certain circles, yes, I think fondue is past it's prime. In others, it's experiencing a renaissance. It's all about your perspective, my friend.

    1 Reply
    1. re: madgreek

      We do fondue several times a year and it always includes 3 different kinds: cheese for starters, a broth or oil for mains, and a chocolate for dessert. Winter's great for a warm snuggly evening but summer's just as good when fruit and produce is at it's best and we don't heat up the kitchen

    2. I think it's called Queso now...

      1. Surprisingly alive here in Guatemala. This surprised me when I first arrived, but in Antigua where I live it is very easy to find.

          1. re: billyjoe00

            We are actually getting a Melting Pot chain restaurant here in Rhode Island in the coming months, so who knows...

            1. re: Sean

              We have them here in Seattle and they aren't half bad! Lots of food and I wanted to roll in the cheese fondue! I have been twice and each dinner ran about three hours because of the courses and the time it takes to cook the food. I wolf my food, a bad habit I can't break, so enjoyed this as it made me slow down. I was really waaaay to full when I left though, lots of food.

              Which brings me to is cheese fondue out of style...it's cheese, it's melted and you dip bread, vegis and fruit into it. To me, that never goes out of style!

              1. re: Sean

                The Melting pot in Naples FL was in, out, and back in.

                ....Opened, closed, and then re-opened with different mgmt. Still don't see a lot of people there.

                It is alive and kickin' at my house but my husband wished it would die...

            2. Did not see anyone wearing any cheese fondue at the Oscars the other night but it would have been more entertaining than John Stewart.

              Jfood's last cheese fondue was in 1973, at his father's apartment after he bought one for a gift for his dad. Made it up, had some bread ate it, cleaned it, placed it in the closet. RIP.

              Fast forward to 2003 when a neighbor had a few people over for dinner and the meal was a cook your own in hot oil at the table. Everyone had a blast, lots of raw and overcooked food, good laughter and at least dessert was pre-made.

              Then some creative sort "deconstructed" the fondue and came up with, you guessed it, the chocolate fountain. What a great invention. It serves two purposes at events. It keeps the kids active for a while and then when the suger hits their system it keeps the kids active for hours.

              Would jfood have a cheese fondue at the house, maybe for a retro party, but if he is going to serve cheese and bread, he'd rather have some really good cheeses and some really good bread versus that melted stuff.

              1. Timely post for me! Last night we had fondue for dinner- my neice loves it, and comes over a few times a year to make it. We had ham, small red potatoes, broccoli, baby carrots, green apples, boiling onions and bread for dipping. Not sure if it is dead or not, but we enjoy it sometimes.
                Now that we got out the fondue pot, I think I will make a chocolate fondue this weekend for the kids.

                1. We love it and eat it still. As a matter of fact cheese fondue is on the menu this week. It makes a very easily put together meal for me, the cook, and we all like it.
                  Now that you mention it, though, I have noticed while shopping for raclette grills that there are lots of fondue sets available out there now. Maybe it's enjoying new life? We also make chocolate fondue, especially when the kids have friends over, but we adults like it, too.
                  While we dig the chocolate, cheese is really our bag, man.

                  1. Cheese fondue reminds me of platform shoes. Big in the seventies, brief retro return recently, flashy, funky and cool, people like it but there is a time and a place.

                    I actually love a good cheese fondue, and we usually do at least one cheese fondue over the winter season. It is a wonderful meal after a long day of cross-country skiing, yes it is a cliche, but dang, it goes down well and makes you feel like all is right in the world. Good food is good food, fashion be hanged.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: moh

                      Great post! AGree completely. Last night we were fighting over the last bits of fondue on the bottom of the pot. So good.

                    2. I made my first one for Valentine's Day dinner this year. It was amazing. Hubby and I have had it at the Grizzly house in Banff (and I've had one in Switzerland when I was 17) so we knew what we were in for. I used Emmental and Gruyere. It turned out amazing and was so much fun.

                      This also gave us a knew appreciation for this type of cheese. I'm already adventurous with my cheese options but, I've stayed away from Swiss for so many years because I was put off by the strong taste it left in my mouth. Now I'm putting the stuff in my lunches at work! :)

                      1. I don't know if it is in or out of fashion, but I make cheese fondue several times every winter.

                        1. It's certainly never gone out of fashion with me! In fact next weekend a friend and I are having a big group over for a fondue party. We plan to make 3 different cheese fondues and probably one chocolate.

                          1. I dunno about fashion, but I have a fondue pot from the '70s (harvest gold!) that I break out once every 5 years or so to make a cheese fondue. The last one had smoked cheddar and apple cider as the main ingredients. It was awesome. I don't know why I don't think about using it more often.

                            1. Cheese fondue is very much alive in my world.

                              And I certainly don't mean "Melting Pot" fondue -- that stuff is awful.

                              1. I love my fondue pot, although I dont' use it much (my husband doesn't eat cheese, so I don't make fondue unless a lot of people are coming over). I think there is just such a wonderful feeling that comes from fresh bread and melted cheese together.

                                Anyway, who cares if it's fashionable? People tend to like it regardless.

                                1. It's not what it was in the '70's but the '70's had a lot going for it, besides bad disco and clothing that refused to breathe. Fondue is more than strange pots that every couple that married from 1975 - 1980 got as a gift. It's a whole experience in Switzerland, as it should be. I love fondue and have made it often. I make the cheese kind and we dip veggies in it. The best way to get my boys to actually eat said green things.

                                  Oh, and what's a trendy chocolate fountain, besides a way to spread germs, spend an extra five hundred bucks at your wedding and a moving river of chocolate fondue?

                                  1. Fondue is timeless, just like devilled eggs, grilled cheese, tomato soup, and Elvis. There are plenty of places that still have it on the menu in NYC and there will always be a space in my kitchen cabinets for a fondue set.

                                    1. Thanks to all for your responses. I'm planning a cooking demo in honor of St. Patrick's Day and was half thinking of a cheese fondue so people could have some quick and easy bites to eat!

                                      1. I had a chocolate fondue party at my office to thank everyone for donating to the United Way- everyone loved it... and my mother-in-law served a hot oil fondue which got rave reviews... its like meat on a stick... it never gets old.

                                        1. According to some in the food media, it's IN.

                                          For me it's always been in. A pot of cheese fondue made with really good cheese is the nectar of the Gods.

                                          1. Years ago we visited some Swiss friends who served fondue to us in their 300-year old farmhouse overlooking Lake Neuchatel, on a unseasonably cold and rainy night in July. The combination of the hot cheese pot, local white wine, and blustery outside weather, finally make us understand the logic of this simple dish. With a simple salad and a few pickles, it made a complete meal. Since then we've been using their recipe (mixture of gruyere, emmenthaler, and appenzeller, lots of wine, a little kirsch, and an onion and a garlic at the bottom of the pot).

                                            We also learned from out friends how to make raclette, which we make even more often than fondue. At first we melted the raclette at our fireplace, but on one of out trips to Switzerland we brought back a modern electric raclette grill with 6 trays and a top grill surface for optional veggies. (that's the way the modern Swiss do it now). Now you can buy them here in the States. I actually like raclette better than fondue now.

                                            13 Replies
                                            1. re: TomOHaver

                                              Your description of your meal has made me drool. I agree the pickles are key! Some good sour cornichons, pickled pearl onions, the tartness of the pickle makes a wonderful foil for the richness of the cheese.

                                              We always include some lightly steamed vegetables though. The fibre is very helpful the next morning...

                                              1. re: moh

                                                moh, sounds like you'd love raclette, too. It is usually served with boiled potatoes, cornichons, pickled onions, and thinly sliced ham but we always add vegetables like leeks, onions and mushrooms and whatever else we have around that sounds good. The vegetables get tossed on the grill top for a bit while your cheese melts in a little pan underneath and it is so, so delicious.

                                                1. re: fern

                                                  I don't have a raclette grill, but when I get a craving, I boil potatoes, put in a gratin dish, top with slices of (Swiss) raclette and melt the cheese in the oven.

                                                  1. re: MMRuth

                                                    Perfect! This converstaion has made me hungry for it. I think I have everything so we'll be having it soon.
                                                    The thing about getting a second grill is not only the cost (they're around $100.) but the space! I have a small kitchen that already feels packed to the gills. Still, when we have friends over for raclette I always wish I had 2 grills for the table. We'll see.

                                                    Love your solution, though.

                                                    btw, I'm really enjoying your Dunlop COM posts, you and TDQ the others are making me hungry for that, too. To the kitchen!

                                                    1. re: fern

                                                      The cheese isn't *quite* the same this way, because to get enough to go with the potatoes, you have to slice it a bit thicker than the equivalent that you'd get off the grill, if that makes sense, but it does satisfy the craving. I wonder how well it would work if melted in thinner slices on a silpat in the oven ...

                                                      1. re: MMRuth

                                                        I know the cheese is soft but I wonder if you could pop it into the food processor and sort of shred it up and add it to the potatoes that way? or would it just make a big mess?

                                                        Or could you melt it in a non-stick skillet stovetop and then pour over? It'd act just as the little grill pans do.

                                                        1. re: fern

                                                          When it comes to raclette, I like to go well beyond just melting the cheese. I really love to toast the heck out of it and get a nice brown crusty bubbly thing going. This is especially great when there is some of the rind still on the cheese, which toasts up very crunchy and tasty. In Swiss raclette restaurants, this toasted rind is called the "religieuse", literally the "nun", and it is not served to women diners! Don't ask. My wife was incensed and I had to give her some of my nuns. Damn.

                                                  2. re: fern

                                                    Oh yes, I adore raclette as well! We have a Swiss friend whose father makes raclette with a homemade device. I especially love the air dried beef, grison I think is is called! One word of advice, though. I have officially put raclette on the top ten list of "Foods you should not eat just before playing hockey". Raclette and wine in the stomach turn into a big indigestible ball, and it does not settle in the three periods of a game! Very hard to skate hard with raclette in the stomach. Best to play and eat after. Then you can just roll over and fall asleep and let time do its number on the raclette ball. ummm, hockey then raclette. That sounds so perfect!

                                                    1. re: moh

                                                      Oh rats, you're blowing my theory. I always figure that plenty of wine avoids the ball of cheese in the belly problem and therefore allow myself to sip rather freely. ;)

                                                      I'm just going to pretend I didn't hear you.

                                                      1. re: fern

                                                        FWIW - I don't ever recall having this issue ...

                                                        1. re: fern

                                                          the wine-cheese bezoar phenomenon is only really relevant when you are trying to score goals and hop over boards! So sip freely away! Just don't plan on doing a Wayne Gretzsky impression right after the meal...
                                                          (unfortunately, hockey ice time is at a premium, and the women tend to get stuck with the Saturday night at 8:00 pm time slot - not ideal, you can't eat before, you have to wait a long time to eat after. Eating a large meal at 5:00 then rushing off to the game has prompted the Top Ten list above. Still, better than the midnight on a weekday time slot!)

                                                  3. re: TomOHaver

                                                    Oh, did they actually place a garlic clove and slice of onion or whole small onion or what in the pot? I want to try it.

                                                    Like you, we were first served raclette by friends, a French family living just across the border and with a view from above of Lake Geneva. What a spot! We still love fondue but raclette is just absolutely wonderful. I have a raclette grill but it's sort of a cheapie although it works fine. I still shop around for a Swissmar or other that is heavier, probably like one you brought back, because we could really use 2 grills when having company but it's not in the budget just yet.

                                                    We just had fondue last week and I have raclette cheese in the fridge so that's coming soon. SO good. Cheese, glorious cheese.

                                                    1. re: fern

                                                      Yep, our Swiss hosts did just that, and so do we. We usually add a medium quartered onion and one or two cloves of garlic to the bottom of the pot. It's great to fish out those bits at the end, when the remaining cheese starts to get good and gloppy and you;ve had plenty to drink.

                                                  4. In at our house. We love to make a smoked fontina fondue. Served with bread cubes, proscuitto, & assorted veggies. My oldest daughter ususally makes it while my youngest daughter makes the chocolate fondue. (Pound cake, angel food cake, fruit, marshmallows) Mmmmmm, so so good

                                                    1. I just noticed there's a recipe for Irish Cheddar and Guinness fondue over in the recipe section:


                                                      I am so trying that!