How Fondue Started

Fondue has evolved into something that people love to have at parties and even pay for in restaurants. But do you know how fondue got its start? Learn more about the history of fondue and the traditions that go along with it.

What is Fondue?

Traditionally fondue was a Swiss, Italian, and French dish of melted cheese served in a pot on a portable stove. People would eat out of the pot with long-stemmed forks by dipping pieces of bread into the cheese. The Swiss eventually turned fondue into a national dish for the Swiss Cheese Union in the 1930s. But fondue didn’t become popular in America until the 19060s. Nowadays fondue has become synonymous with dipping pieces of fruit into melted chocolate, or cooking pieces of meat in oil.

Fondue History

One of the earliest known recipes for cheese fondue came from a book published in 1699 in Zurich, which translated in English as “To Cook Cheese with Wine”. It basically called for grated or cut up cheese, melted with wine, with bread to dip in it. The first known modern recipe for cheese fondue was published in 1875 and was presented as a Swiss national dish. This dish wasn’t always readily available for a town-dweller, as richer cheeses like Gruyere were expensive to export. Something townspeople couldn’t afford.

Fondue Traditions

There are some fun traditions that go along with eating fondue. The next time you have fondue with some of your friends see if you can incorporate the following traditions and etiquette:

  • If a man loses his bread in the pot he buys everyone drinks
  • If a woman loses her bread in the pot she has to kiss her neighbors
  • There should be no double dipping in the fondue pot
  • You shouldn’t eat off of the fondue fork
  • Some traditions say that only white wine can be drunk with fondue
  • Others say that black tea is the right drink