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Cheese fondue
Cheese fondue

Fondue (au fromage) (UK: /ˈfɒnd(j)uː/, US: /fɒnˈd(j)uː/,[4][5] French: [fɔ̃dy]) is a Swiss[6] melted cheese dish served in a communal pot (caquelon or fondue pot) over a portable stove (réchaud) heated with a candle or spirit lamp, and eaten by dipping bread into the cheese using long-stemmed forks. It was promoted as a Swiss national dish by the Swiss Cheese Union (Schweizerische Käseunion) in the 1930s, and was popularized in North America in the 1960s.

Since the 1950s, the term "fondue" has been generalized to other dishes in which a food is dipped into a communal pot of liquid kept hot in a fondue pot: chocolate fondue, fondue au chocolat, in which pieces of fruit or pastry are dipped into a melted chocolate mixture, and fondue bourguignonne, in which pieces of meat are cooked in hot oil or broth.

Etymology


The word fondue is the feminine passive past participle of the French verb fondre ("to melt") used as a noun.[7] It is first attested in French in 1735, in Vincent la Chapelle's Cuisinier moderne,[8] and in English in 1878.[9]

History


The earliest known recipe for the modern form of cheese fondue comes from a 1699 book published in Zurich, under the name "Käss mit Wein zu kochen", "to cook cheese with wine".[10] 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 nineteenth century, referred to a dish composed of eggs and cheese, as in la Chapelle's 1735 Fonduë de Fromage, aux Truffes Fraiches;[8] it was something between scrambled eggs with cheese and a cheese soufflé.[11] Brillat-Savarin wrote in 1834 that it is "nothing other than scrambled eggs with cheese".[12] Variations included cream ("à la genevoise") and truffles ("à la piémontaise") in addition to eggs, as well as what is now called "raclette" ("fondue valaisanne").[13]

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.[14] 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 which peasants could not afford to eat.[15][16]

The introduction of cornstarch ("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.[17]

Fondue was popularized as a Swiss national dish by the Swiss Cheese Union (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 defence of Switzerland".[18][19] After World War II 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.[18]

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, in Swiss German) "Fondue isch guet und git e gueti Luune" 'fondue is good and creates a good mood' – abbreviated as "figugegl".[20]

Fondue was promoted to Americans at the Swiss Pavilion's Alpine restaurant at the 1964 New York World's Fair.[21]

The extension of the name "fondue" to other dishes served in a communal hot pot dates to 1950s New York.

Preparation


Cheese fondue consists of a blend of cheeses, wine and seasoning.

When it is ready, diners dip cubes of bread speared on a fondue fork into the mixture.

A cheese fondue mixture should be kept warm enough to keep the fondue smooth and liquid but not so hot that it burns.

Cheese fondues


Refrigerated fondue blends are sold in most Swiss supermarkets as convenience food and need little more than melting in the caquelon. Individual portions heatable in a microwave oven are also sold.

Other fondues


Fondue chinoise (lit. "Chinese fondue") is a common name for hot pot, where meat and vegetables are cooked in a shared pot of broth, or just dip the sliced meat with fondue fork into boiling broth with salad as side dish[28]. Various sauces are provided on the side. After all the diners have finished cooking, they eat the now well-flavored broth.

Slices of fruit or pastry are dipped in a caquelon of melted chocolate, often flavored with rum or kirschwasser. Dessert fondues may also be made with coconut, honey, caramel, or marshmallow.

Fondue bourguignonne consists of a fondue pot filled with hot oil into which diners dip pieces of meat to cook them. Various dipping sauces are provided on the side.

"Fondue vigneronne" or "Fondue Bacchus" is like fondue bourguignonne, with wine rather than oil.

Consists of a metallic or stone slab.

Traditions and etiquette


A tradition says that if a man loses his bread in the pot, he buys drinks all around.[22]

Fondue is eaten by spearing a piece of bread on a fork, swirling it in the pot, and putting it into the mouth.[29]Fabulous%20Fondues%3A%20Appetizers%2C%20Main%20Co]]ome writers recommend that the dipping fork be used only to transport the food from the pot to one's plate, not to eat from.

The choice of beverage to drink with fondue is specified in several conflicting traditions; some demand that white wine should be drunk, while others specify black tea as the beverage of choice.

See also


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