Fondue
Overview
 
Fondue is a Swiss
Swiss cuisine
Swiss cuisine bears witness to many regional influences, including from Italian, French, and German cuisine, and also features many dishes specific to Switzerland...

 dish of melted cheese served in a communal pot (caquelon
Caquelon
A Caquelon is a cooking vessel of stoneware, ceramic, enamelled cast iron, or porcelain for the preparation of fondue.The word is from a Swiss French term originating in the 18th century derived from the Swiss German word Kakel meaning an earthenware casserole...

) over a spirit lamp (rechaud), and eaten by dipping long-stemmed forks with bread into the cheese. It was promoted as a Swiss national dish by the Swiss Cheese Union in the 1930s and became popular in North America in the 1960s.

Since the 1950s, the name "fondue" has been generalized to other dishes where a food is dipped into a communal pot of hot liquid: chocolate fondue, where pieces of fruit are dipped into a melted chocolate mixture, and fondue bourguignonne, where pieces of meat are cooked in hot oil.
The word fondue is the feminine passive past participle
Participle
In linguistics, a participle is a word that shares some characteristics of both verbs and adjectives. It can be used in compound verb tenses or voices , or as a modifier...

 of the French verb fondre ('to melt') used as a noun, probably influenced by a Franco-Provençal
Franco-Provençal language
Franco-Provençal , Arpitan, or Romand is a Romance language with several distinct dialects that form a linguistic sub-group separate from Langue d'Oïl and Langue d'Oc. The name Franco-Provençal was given to the language by G.I...

 word.
Encyclopedia
Fondue is a Swiss
Swiss cuisine
Swiss cuisine bears witness to many regional influences, including from Italian, French, and German cuisine, and also features many dishes specific to Switzerland...

 dish of melted cheese served in a communal pot (caquelon
Caquelon
A Caquelon is a cooking vessel of stoneware, ceramic, enamelled cast iron, or porcelain for the preparation of fondue.The word is from a Swiss French term originating in the 18th century derived from the Swiss German word Kakel meaning an earthenware casserole...

) over a spirit lamp (rechaud), and eaten by dipping long-stemmed forks with bread into the cheese. It was promoted as a Swiss national dish by the Swiss Cheese Union in the 1930s and became popular in North America in the 1960s.

Since the 1950s, the name "fondue" has been generalized to other dishes where a food is dipped into a communal pot of hot liquid: chocolate fondue, where pieces of fruit are dipped into a melted chocolate mixture, and fondue bourguignonne, where pieces of meat are cooked in hot oil.

Etymology

The word fondue is the feminine passive past participle
Participle
In linguistics, a participle is a word that shares some characteristics of both verbs and adjectives. It can be used in compound verb tenses or voices , or as a modifier...

 of the French verb fondre ('to melt') used as a noun, probably influenced by a Franco-Provençal
Franco-Provençal language
Franco-Provençal , Arpitan, or Romand is a Romance language with several distinct dialects that form a linguistic sub-group separate from Langue d'Oïl and Langue d'Oc. The name Franco-Provençal was given to the language by G.I...

 word. It is first attested in French in 1735, in Vincent la Chapelle
Vincent la Chapelle
Vincent La Chapelle was a French master cook to Phillip Dormer Stanhope, fourth Earl of Chesterfield, to William IV, Prince of Orange, to John V of Portugal then to Madame de Pompadour, the mistress of Louis XV of France.-Biography:...

's Cuisinier moderne, and in English in 1878.

History

The earliest known recipe for cheese fondue as we know it today comes from a 1699 book published in Zurich
Zürich
Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland and the capital of the canton of Zurich. It is located in central Switzerland at the northwestern tip of Lake Zurich...

, under the name "Käss mit Wein zu kochen" 'to cook cheese with wine'. It calls for grated or cut-up cheese to be melted with wine, and for bread to be dipped in it.

However, the name 'cheese fondue', until the late 19th century, referred to a preparation including eggs and cheese, as in la Chapelle's 1735 Fonduë de Fromage, aux Truffes Fraiches and Brillat-Savarin's 1834 recipe; it was something between scrambled eggs
Scrambled eggs
Scrambled eggs is a dish made from beaten whites and yolks of eggs . Beaten eggs are put into a hot pot or pan and stirred frequently, forming curds as they coagulate.-Sample preparation:...

 with cheese and a cheese soufflé
Soufflé
A soufflé is a light baked cake made with egg yolks and beaten egg whites combined with various other ingredients and served as a savoury main dish or sweetened as a dessert...

. Variations included cream ('à la genevoise') and truffles ('à la piémontaise') in addition to eggs; and also what we now call 'raclette
Raclette
Raclette is both a type of cheese and a Swiss and French dish based on heating the cheese and scraping off the melted part.-Cheese:Raclette is a semi-firm, cow's milk cheese - most commonly used for melting...

' ('fondue valaisanne').

The first known recipe for the modern cheese fondue under that name, with cheese and wine but no eggs, was published in 1875, and was already presented as a Swiss national dish
National dish
A national dish is a dish, food or a drink that is considered to represent a particular country, nation or region.A dish can become a national dish for a variety of reasons. It can be the national dish because it is a staple daily food for the majority of the population. It can also be the national...

. Despite its modern associations with rustic mountain life, it was a town-dweller's dish from the lowlands of western, French-speaking, Switzerland: rich cheese like Gruyère was a valuable export item
Cash crop
In agriculture, a cash crop is a crop which is grown for profit.The term is used to differentiate from subsistence crops, which are those fed to the producer's own livestock or grown as food for the producer's family...

 which peasants could not afford to eat.

The introduction of cornstarch
Cornstarch
Corn starch, cornstarch, cornflour or maize starch is the starch of the corn grain obtained from the endosperm of the corn kernel.-History:...

 ("Maïzena") to Switzerland in 1905 made it easier to make a smooth and stable emulsion of the wine and cheese, and probably contributed to the success of fondue.

Fondue was popularized as a Swiss national dish by the Swiss Cheese Union
Swiss Cheese Union
The Swiss Cheese Union was a cartel in Switzerland engaged in the promotion of cheese and cheese products from Switzerland....

 (Schweizerische Käseunion) in the 1930s as a way of increasing cheese consumption. The Swiss Cheese Union also created pseudo-regional recipes as part of the "spiritual defense of Switzerland". After World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 rationing ended, the Swiss Cheese Union continued its marketing campaign, sending fondue sets to military regiments and event organizers across Switzerland. Fondue is now a symbol of Swiss unity.

The dish became popular in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 through the late 1960s and early 1970s. In the meantime, fondue continued to be promoted aggressively in Switzerland, with slogans like "La fondue crée la bonne humeur" 'fondue creates a good mood' and (1981) "Fondue isch guet und git e gueti Luune" 'fondue is good and creates a good mood'--abbreviated as "figugegl".

The extension of the name 'fondue' to other dishes served in a communal hot pot dates to 1950s New York. Konrad Egli, a Swiss restaurateur who had popularized cheese fondue, introduced fondue bourguignonne at his Chalet Suisse restaurant in 1956. Then in the mid 1960s, he invented chocolate fondue as part of a promotion
Promotion (marketing)
Promotion is one of the four elements of marketing mix . It is the communication link between sellers and buyers for the purpose of influencing, informing, or persuading a potential buyer's purchasing decision....

 for Toblerone
Toblerone
Toblerone is a chocolate bar brand owned by Kraft Foods, who acquired the product from former owner Jacobs Suchard in 1990. It is well-known for its distinctive packaging, its prism shape and its ubiquity in duty-free shops.The triangular shape of the Matterhorn in the Swiss Alps is commonly...

 chocolate. A sort of chocolate mousse or chocolate cake had also sometimes been called 'chocolate fondue' starting in the 1930s.

Preparation

Cheese fondue consists of a blend of cheeses, wine and seasoning. To prepare the caquelon it is first rubbed with a cut garlic
Garlic
Allium sativum, commonly known as garlic, is a species in the onion genus, Allium. Its close relatives include the onion, shallot, leek, chive, and rakkyo. Dating back over 6,000 years, garlic is native to central Asia, and has long been a staple in the Mediterranean region, as well as a frequent...

 clove. White wine, cheese, and often kirsch are added and stirred until melted. A small amount of cornstarch
Cornstarch
Corn starch, cornstarch, cornflour or maize starch is the starch of the corn grain obtained from the endosperm of the corn kernel.-History:...

 or other starch is added to prevent separation. The mixture is stirred continuously as it heats in the caquelon.

When it is ready, diners dip cubes of bread
Bread
Bread is a staple food prepared by cooking a dough of flour and water and often additional ingredients. Doughs are usually baked, but in some cuisines breads are steamed , fried , or baked on an unoiled frying pan . It may be leavened or unleavened...

 speared on a fondue fork into the mixture.

Temperature and la religieuse

A cheese fondue mixture should be held at a temperature
Temperature
Temperature is a physical property of matter that quantitatively expresses the common notions of hot and cold. Objects of low temperature are cold, while various degrees of higher temperatures are referred to as warm or hot...

 warm enough to keep the fondue smooth and liquid but not so hot as to allow any burning. If this temperature is held until the fondue is finished there will be a thin crust of toasted (not burnt) cheese at the bottom of the caquelon. This is called la religieuse (French for the nun). It has the texture of a thin cracker
Cracker (food)
A cracker is a baked good commonly made from grain flour dough and typically made in quantity in various hand-sized or smaller shapes. Flavorings or seasonings, such as salt, herbs, seeds, and/or cheese, may be added to the dough or sprinkled on top before baking...

 and is almost always lifted out and eaten.

Swiss

  • Neuchâteloise: Gruyère
    Gruyère (cheese)
    Gruyère is a hard yellow cheese, named after the town of Gruyères in Switzerland, and originated in the cantons of Fribourg, Vaud, Neuchâtel, Jura, and Berne...

     and Emmental
    Emmental (cheese)
    Emmental or Emmentaler is a cheese from Switzerland. It is sometimes known as Swiss cheese in North America, Australia and New Zealand, although Swiss cheese does not always imply Emmentaler....

    .
  • Moitié-moitié (or half 'n half): Gruyère and Fribourg vacherin
    Vacherin (cheese)
    Vacherin is a cow's-milk cheese. Two main types of French or Swiss Vacherin cheeses exist.-Mont d'Or:One is a soft, rich, seasonal cheese made from cow's-milk in Switzerland or France, usually in villages of the Jura region , and has a grayish-yellow washed rind and is called Mont d'Or, or...

    .
  • Vaudoise: Gruyère.
  • Fribourgeoise: Fribourg vacherin wherein potatoes are often dipped instead of bread.
  • Innerschweiz: Gruyère, Emmental and sbrinz
    Sbrinz
    Sbrinz is a very hard cheese produced in central Switzerland. It is often used instead of Parmesan cheese in Swiss cuisine.The cheese is produced in only 42 dairies in central Switzerland. Only local cow's milk is used when producing this cheese...

    .
  • Appenzeller: Appenzeller
    Appenzeller (cheese)
    Appenzeller cheese is a hard cow's-milk cheese produced in the Appenzell region of northeast Switzerland. A herbal brine, sometimes incorporating wine or cider, is applied to the wheels of cheese while they cure, which flavors and preserves the cheese while promoting the formation of a...

     cheese with cream added.
  • Tomato: Gruyère, Emmental, crushed tomatoes and wine.
  • Spicy: Gruyère, red and green peppers, with chili
    Chili pepper
    Chili pepper is the fruit of plants from the genus Capsicum, members of the nightshade family, Solanaceae. The term in British English and in Australia, New Zealand, India, Malaysia and other Asian countries is just chilli without pepper.Chili peppers originated in the Americas...

    .
  • Mushroom: Gruyère, Fribourg vacherin and mushrooms.

French alpine

  • Savoyarde: Comté
    Comté (cheese)
    Comté is a French cheese made from unpasteurized cow's milk in the Franche-Comté region of eastern France.Comté has the highest production figures of all French AOC cheeses, making around 40,000 tonnes annually...

     savoyard, Beaufort
    Beaufort (cheese)
    Beaufort is a hard, rather sharp cheese made from cow's milk and is similar to gruyère. It is produced in the area around Beaufort located high in the French Alps in the Savoie region of France...

    , and Emmental.
  • Jurassienne: Mature or mild Comté.

Italian alpine

  • Fonduta: Fontina, milk, eggs and truffles, known as Fonduta valdostana in the Aosta
    Aosta
    Aosta is the principal city of the bilingual Aosta Valley in the Italian Alps, north-northwest of Turin. It is situated near the Italian entrance of the Mont Blanc Tunnel, at the confluence of the Buthier and the Dora Baltea, and at the junction of the Great and Little St. Bernard routes...

     valley and Fonduta piemontese in Piedmont
    Piedmont
    Piedmont is one of the 20 regions of Italy. It has an area of 25,402 square kilometres and a population of about 4.4 million. The capital of Piedmont is Turin. The main local language is Piedmontese. Occitan is also spoken by a minority in the Occitan Valleys situated in the Provinces of...

    , both in northern Italy
    Italy
    Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

    .

Instant

Refrigerated fondue blends are sold in most Swiss supermarkets and need little more than melting in the caquelon. Individual portions heatable in a microwave oven
Microwave oven
A microwave oven is a kitchen appliance that heats food by dielectric heating, using microwave radiation to heat polarized molecules within the food...

 are also sold.

Meat

  • Fondue Bourguignonne consists of a fondue pot filled with hot oil into which diners dip pieces of meat to cook them. Various sauces are provided on the side. The dish is first attested in the mid-1950s.
  • Bressane: Small cubes of chicken breast are dipped in cream, then in fine bread crumbs and at last deep fried, as with a bourguignonne.

Chocolate

Slices of fruit
Fruit
In broad terms, a fruit is a structure of a plant that contains its seeds.The term has different meanings dependent on context. In non-technical usage, such as food preparation, fruit normally means the fleshy seed-associated structures of certain plants that are sweet and edible in the raw state,...

 or pastry
Pastry
Pastry is the name given to various kinds of baked products made from ingredients such as flour, sugar, milk, butter, shortening, baking powder and/or eggs. Small cakes, tarts and other sweet baked products are called "pastries."...

 are dipped in a caquelon of melted chocolate
Chocolate
Chocolate is a raw or processed food produced from the seed of the tropical Theobroma cacao tree. Cacao has been cultivated for at least three millennia in Mexico, Central and South America. Its earliest documented use is around 1100 BC...

. Other types of dessert fondues can include coconut
Coconut
The coconut palm, Cocos nucifera, is a member of the family Arecaceae . It is the only accepted species in the genus Cocos. The term coconut can refer to the entire coconut palm, the seed, or the fruit, which is not a botanical nut. The spelling cocoanut is an old-fashioned form of the word...

, honey
Honey
Honey is a sweet food made by bees using nectar from flowers. The variety produced by honey bees is the one most commonly referred to and is the type of honey collected by beekeepers and consumed by humans...

, caramel
Caramel
Caramel is a beige to dark-brown confection made by heating any of a variety of sugars. It is used as a flavoring in puddings and desserts, as a filling in bonbons, and as a topping for ice cream, custard and coffee....

 and marshmallow
Marshmallow
The marshmallow is a confection that, in its modern form, typically consists of sugar, corn syrup, water, gelatin that has been softened in hot water, dextrose, vanilla flavourings, and sometimes colouring, whipped to a spongy consistency. Some marshmallow recipes call for egg whites...

.

Traditions and etiquette

A tradition says that if a man loses his bread in the pot, he buys drinks all around, and if a woman does, she must kiss her neighbors.

Most writers recommend that each morsel be put in the pot only once (no double-dipping) and that the dipping fork be used only to transport the food from the pot to one's plate, not to eat.

See also

  • Fondue chinoise is a common French name for Chinese hot pot
    Hot pot
    Hot pot , less commonly Chinese fondue or steamboat, refers to several East Asian varieties of stew, consisting of a simmering metal pot of stock at the center of the dining table. While the hot pot is kept simmering, ingredients are placed into the pot and are cooked at the table...

    , where meat and vegetables are cooked in a shared pot of broth.
  • Bagna càuda
    Bagna Cauda
    Bagna càuda, is a warm dip typical of Piedmont, Italy, but with numerous local variations...

    , a similar olive oil
    Olive oil
    Olive oil is an oil obtained from the olive , a traditional tree crop of the Mediterranean Basin. It is commonly used in cooking, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and soaps and as a fuel for traditional oil lamps...

    -based Northern Italian dish.
  • Chocolate fountain
    Chocolate fountain
    A chocolate fountain is a device for serving chocolate fondue. Typical examples resemble a stepped cone, standing 2–4 feet tall with a crown at the top and stacked tiers over a basin at the bottom. The basin is heated to keep the chocolate in a liquid state so it can be pulled into a center...

  • Hot pot
    Hot pot
    Hot pot , less commonly Chinese fondue or steamboat, refers to several East Asian varieties of stew, consisting of a simmering metal pot of stock at the center of the dining table. While the hot pot is kept simmering, ingredients are placed into the pot and are cooked at the table...

  • Raclette
    Raclette
    Raclette is both a type of cheese and a Swiss and French dish based on heating the cheese and scraping off the melted part.-Cheese:Raclette is a semi-firm, cow's milk cheese - most commonly used for melting...

  • Welsh rarebit, a similar Welsh dish.
  • List of cheese soups

Further reading

  • Isabelle Raboud-Schüle, "Comment la fondue vint aux Suisses", Annales fribourgeoises 2007?
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK