Fondue - the national dish of Switzerland

In this guide about fondue you will learn everything you need to know about the Swiss national dish. In addition, we present 14 outdoor experiences with fondue fun to make your winter perfect. What could be better than warming up in a warm hut or around a campfire after active winter adventures?

Crispy cubes of bread pull golden threads of fragrant, melted cheese. But fondue is not only a culinary delight. It is also the Swiss national dish par excellence. In the fondue pan, the caquelon, you will also find three typical products of the country: bread, wine and cheese

Cheese fondue is uncomplicated, versatile and stands for tradition. It conveys Swiss coziness and embodies values that define our country: Equality and sharing in solidarity

Eating from the same caquelon connects. Fondue tastes especially good when you enjoy it in company. If you are invited to eat it in Switzerland, it is a clear sign of friendship.

What is fondue?

The word "fondue" comes from the French "fondu" and means melted. In Switzerland, when you say fondue, we understand cheese. Cheese fondue is a mixture of melted cheese and white wine.

With a dash of kirsch, cornstarch also enters the fondue mixture as a binder, as well as pepper and nutmeg. A fondue should be nice and creamy. When preparing it, make sure that it is neither too thin nor too thick.

It should also be stringy. Just enough so that the cheese stays on the piece of bread. A crust of bread strengthens its hold on the fork. The remaining cheese crust at the end of the meal is considered a delicacy by connoisseurs and is highly sought after.

You tend to eat fondue mainly during the colder seasons. Winter is therefore considered the fondue season throughout the country, but it is by no means a fixed rule. Even a summer evening can inspire you to enjoy a convivial fondue.

Zurich Felsenegg (Photo: Best of Switzerland)Zurich Felsenegg (Photo: Best of Switzerland)
Zurich Felsenegg (Photo: Best of Switzerland)Zurich Felsenegg (Photo: Best of Switzerland)

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How do you eat fondue?

The cheese mixture, previously melted in the kitchen, is kept warm at the table in the caquelon, over a tabletop stove, the rechaud. You put cubes of bread cut to size on a long fork. Then you hold them in the creamy cheese and let them circle in it until the bread is coated with it. That way, you're eating with everyone from the same pan.

After a bit of cooling, you bite the cheese-covered piece of bread right off the dipped fork. Sometimes the guests slip it from the long fork onto their plate to enjoy it afterwards with a dinner fork. This emerging custom is considered hygienic and stylish.

Instead of bread, you can also use potatoes. As with raclette, another popular Swiss cheese meal, they go very well with fondue. For this you need to boil the potatoes beforehand or cook them in a pressure cooker.

What else pairs with fondue?

Fondue is a full meal in itself. Nevertheless, you can offer dried or smoked meat from the region as an appetizer. To further enrich the palate, serve pickles, silver onions, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, hot peppers, asparagus tips or corn on the cob to accompany the fondue.

Perhaps there's room for a light dessert afterward. Delicious sorbets, fresh fruit salad or an airy mousse are perfect for dessert. With such delicacies you complete a successful fondue evening.

What types of fondue are there?

  • Among the most common types of cheese fondue is the currently trendy Moitié-Moitié, made half from Gruyère and half from Fribourg Vacherin
  • Another classic is the Fribourgeoise made from pure Vacherin. It is easier to digest, has a distinctly creamy consistency and is popular with connoisseurs
  • You will also find a single type of cheese in the racy Appenzeller: Appenzeller.
  • The Neuchâteloise from the beautiful Lake Neuchâtel region consists of half Gruyère and half Emmental cheese
  • From the heart of Switzerland comes the authentic Innerschweizer fondue. In it you will find one third each of Gruyère, Emmental and Sbrinz
  • The Walliser cheese blend is as hearty as the people there. You use half Vacherin, one quarter each Gruyère and Raclette cheese
  • To enjoy the Eastern Swiss fondue, you need one third each of Gruyère, Appenzeller and Tilsiter

Also worth mentioning are the related types of fondue, but not based on cheese and bread

  • In Fondue Bourguignonne (fat fondue) meat is deep-fried in hot fat. For this you use sunflower, canola, soybean, peanut oil, special fondue oils or fondue fats
  • Also with the somewhat lighter version, the Fondue Chinoise (Brühfondue), you use a, for meat Fondues particularly intended metal pot. But in it bubbles more digestible broth instead of the strong fats and oils.
  • Wine fondue is the meat pleasure of the special kind. Here you cook thinly sliced meat in boiling red or white wine. Herbs, broth or spices round off the culinary delight
  • With Schoggi-Fondue you dip pieces of fruit ceremoniously into hot chocolate. Therefore, it is well suited as a dessert and is highly popular at festive occasions.

Many fondue restaurants, as well as cheese and delicatessen stores, keep their cheese blends secret. Accordingly, Swiss families like to get their fondue from a source they trust. One of the family traditions you'll often encounter in Switzerland.

Chocolate fondue is very popular...Chocolate fondue is very popular...
... especially for children's birthday parties... especially for children's birthday parties

What's important in a fondue?

Want to dip your bread in authentic Swiss cheese fondue? Then be sure to use real Swiss cheese. The younger, the better its melting properties.

Take special care with the highly prized, easier-to-digest fondue made with pure Fribourg Vacherin. Because it's so delicate, you must never bring the melted cheese to a boil. That's why its rechaud has only one candle.

In addition to your good mood, cheese fondue also requires white wine. Dry wine with increased acidity is suitable for the preparation. This gives the cheese mixture its creamy consistency. On the other hand, a dry white wine with low acidity is suitable as an accompanying drink to the fondue.

Rumor has it that drinking water with fondue is not a good idea. Whether this actually causes a lump to form in the stomach, as children are often told, is not proven. But you're on the safe side here with a cup of warm tea.

What do you need to consider when buying fondue equipment?

It pays to invest when it comes to fondue. High-quality workmanship and materials are also crucial here. With the Caquelon applies: the material should pass the heat slowly into the interior. Accordingly, your cheese melts slowly

Cast iron is a good choice, as long as you don't overdo it when heating. The material proves to be robust and retains heat for a long time. This keeps your cheese fondue creamy longer. Earthenware or ceramic caquelons are also suitable, but are more prone to burning your fondue. A thick bottom helps against this.

Classic fondue pots can be filled with methylated spirits, while modern fondue pots can be filled with fuel paste. Fondue plates, fondue cups, fondue forks and many other fondue gadgets can be found in a large selection. Fondue is not only food, fondue is also culture.

Are there non-alcoholic or vegan fondues?

There are. You can easily find numerous alternatives without alcohol. So you don't have to miss out on the creamy treat even with small children. Milk is often used as a substitute for wine. Butter and flour round off the whole thing.

You can also find vegan fondue without cheese. But with numerous special ingredients such as vegan white wine, vegan butter, unsweetened plant milk, cashew mousse, turmeric or white miso paste, to name just a few.

How do I make a fondue myself?

Once you have the necessary utensils, making fondue is easy. Now you need a solid recipe to get started. For a classic East Swiss cheese fondue for 6 people you need:

  • About one kilo of bread cut into small pieces
  • 200 g Gruyère (grated)
  • 200 g Tilsiter (grated)
  • 200 g Appenzeller (grated)
  • 300 ml dry white wine
  • one tablespoon of cornstarch (Maizena)
  • two tablespoons of kirsch
  • one clove of garlic
  • ground pepper
  • grated nutmeg

Rub the caquelon with half a clove of garlic. In the fondue pan, melt the grated cheese in the wine over medium heat, stirring regularly. Once the cheese is melted, add the cornstarch dissolved in the kirsch with the pressed garlic, pepper and nutmeg, stirring vigorously. Then let it simmer, stirring regularly, until it reaches the right consistency. It should be a nice creamy cheese mass.

Then there are the ready-made fondues. Convenient, quick and easy to prepare. You can read on the package how to do it. You also get a creamy fondue and it tastes good too. Some even swear by it and do without the conventional cheese mixtures altogether.

Make a fondue yourself...Make a fondue yourself...
... is quite simple!... is quite simple!

Which fondue rules should be followed?

Drinking a lot of warm water is recommended for cheese fondue, as it helps you digest the food. However, the fondue tradition and the social gathering invite you to drink dry white wine. As a supposed digestive drink, you are also often offered kirsch in a shot glass.

Unfortunately, this is a common misconception, because alcohol slows down stomach activity. Instead of cold alcoholic drinks, we recommend plain, hot black tea with fondue. An ideal drink for digestion and well-being.

If you lose your piece of bread in the melted cheese, it's bad. According to unwritten fondue rules, this misstep is "punished". From drinking schnapps to singing songs, there is no limit to the imagination of the participants. But it doesn't have to be like in "Asterix with the Swiss"..

Deliberately raising the rechaud flame for a quick crust is frowned upon. A good cheese crust takes time before you can carefully scrape it out and eat it. Energetic scraping not only displeases any host, but your table mates as well. Besides, the crust, popularly known as "grandmother," is shared at the end.

What is a Fondue-Plausch and where do I eat fondue?

Fondue-Plausch means a cheerful, shared fondue meal in good company and a cozy atmosphere. You spend pleasant hours with friends and family and enjoy the moment. It stands for a culinary experience that you will remember with pleasure.

It doesn't have to be in a snow-covered alpine hut when it's storming outside. Cheese fondue can be enjoyed almost anywhere and at any time of year. Be it on a picnic boat, on a horse-drawn sleigh or in a streetcar, on a lake steamer or in a tuk-tuk

Can I eat a fondue outside?

You can eat fondue anywhere. In the garden, in the forest, on the lakeshore, in a creek, on a mountain top. Enjoying a fondue in the mountains is a special experience. You can enjoy it at a barbecue or around a campfire outside. In the company of others, it is something you will remember for a long time.

Here you will find 14 suggestions to experience your ultimate fondue party outside

Fondue fun in the igloo village with winter hike

Why not enjoy a fondue in an igloo? Take the Gornergratbahn to the mountain landscape above Zermatt and hike through the fairytale landscape. The Matterhorn is always in view. In the highest igloo village in Switzerland, a fondue party awaits you.

Suitable for: Families, Groups

Igloo Village (Photo: Zermatters)Igloo Village (Photo: Zermatters)
Fondue (Photo: MySwitzerland)Fondue (Photo: MySwitzerland)

Paragliding with fondue fun Davos

In Davos, the snow-covered 3000-meter mountains offer the right backdrop for a tandem paragliding flight. Before the paragliding flight, you will enjoy a fondue fun in the mountain restaurant Jakobshorn at 2590 m above sea level. You will overcome about 1000 meters of altitude before you land in Davos. If you have booked as a couple, you will start two tandem flights in parallel.

Suitable for: Couples, friends

Paragliding Davos Winter (Photo: Joyride)Paragliding Davos Winter (Photo: Joyride)
Fondue fun paragliding Davos Winter (Photo: Joyride)Fondue fun paragliding Davos Winter (Photo: Joyride)

Snowshoeing, sledding and fondue fun Isenfluh

The pleasure in Isenfluh is a triple. First you experience a two-hour snowshoe hike from Sulwald with a panoramic view of the Lauterbrunnen valley. In a rustic mountain restaurant you enjoy a fondue and afterwards you sled down into the valley

Suitable for: Groups, individuals, active connoisseurs

Sledding Isenfluh (Photo: Outdoor Interlaken)Sledding Isenfluh (Photo: Outdoor Interlaken)
Snowshoeing Isenfluh (Photo: Outdoor Interlaken)Snowshoeing Isenfluh (Photo: Outdoor Interlaken)

Night sledding with fondue fun on the Niederhorn

Your adventure begins (Fridays and Saturdays) with a fondue fun in the mountain restaurant. After 3 km of night sledding on the illuminated piste, you will be served a mulled wine in the Vorsass restaurant at the middle station to round off a successful evening.

Suitable for: Groups, families, active connoisseurs

Fondue fun Niederhorn (Photo: Interlaken Tourism)Fondue fun Niederhorn (Photo: Interlaken Tourism)
Starlit sledding Niederhorn (Photo: Interlaken Tourism)Starlit sledding Niederhorn (Photo: Interlaken Tourism)

Llama and Alkapa Trekking with Outdoor Fondue Fun Liechtenstein

You hike with torches through the night alongside llamas and alpacas. After the two-hour hike, you'll be treated to a fondue in the fresh air. In case of rain, you will change to a teepee that is standing by.

Suitable for: Families, groups, animal lovers

Fondue fun alpaca and llama trekking (Fondue fun alpaca and llama trekking Triesenburg)Fondue fun alpaca and llama trekking (Fondue fun alpaca and llama trekking Triesenburg)
Alpaca and llama trekking (Photo: Lama and Alpaca Trekking Triesenburg)Alpaca and llama trekking (Photo: Lama and Alpaca Trekking Triesenburg)

Carriage ride with fondue fun Bündner Herrschaft

A romantic carriage ride with the "Rössliposcht" lets you enjoy both for two hours. During the ride with the horse carriage through the winter landscape you will eat a wonderful fondue inside the carriage.

Suitable for: Couples, groups, families, horse lovers

Rössliposcht (Photo: Heidiland Tourism)Rössliposcht (Photo: Heidiland Tourism)
Rössliposcht (Photo: Heidiland Tourism)Rössliposcht (Photo: Heidiland Tourism)

Hike Outdoor Fondue Fun Zermatt

After a short, evening hike, you will be rewarded in the forest with a Zermatt outdoor fondue. This is accompanied by a hot drink and dessert.

Suitable for: Families, groups, night owls

Fireplace Zermatt (Photo: 4478 Events GmbH)Fireplace Zermatt (Photo: 4478 Events GmbH)
Fondue Zermatt (Photo: 4478 Events GmbH)Fondue Zermatt (Photo: 4478 Events GmbH)

Game watching and fondue fun in the Engadine

Every Wednesday you have the opportunity to go wildlife watching together with a hunter. On this day hike you will walk through the Val Sinestra in the Engadin. After the hunt you will have a fondue party in a maiensäss before you hike back

Suitable for: Animal lovers, families, active bon vivants

Game observation (Photo: Engadin Samnaun Val Müstair)Game observation (Photo: Engadin Samnaun Val Müstair)
Fondue with game viewing (Photo: Engadin Samnaun Val Müstair)Fondue with game viewing (Photo: Engadin Samnaun Val Müstair)

Quad tour in the snow with fondue fun at Lake Constance

With the quad you experience a driving fun over snow-covered forest paths at Lake Constance. Afterwards you enjoy a fondue fun in the Appenzeller Chalet. The view goes to the Lake Constance and to the Alpstein mountains.

Suitable for: Groups, team events

Quad Tour (Photo: ATV Quad Tour)Quad Tour (Photo: ATV Quad Tour)
Fondue (Photo: MySwitzerland)Fondue (Photo: MySwitzerland)

Snowshoe hike with fondue fun at the summit in Prättigau

You hike in St Antönien to the summit and build a table and chairs out of snow at the top. You will be rewarded with a Fondueplausch at the summit including a beautiful panoramic view.

Suitable for: active connoisseurs, hungry winter sports enthusiasts

Gipfelplausch (Foto: Prättigau Tourismus)Gipfelplausch (Foto: Prättigau Tourismus)
Gipfelplausch (Foto: Prättigau Tourismus)Gipfelplausch (Foto: Prättigau Tourismus)

Snowmobiling in the SnowXpark followed by a fondue on the Titlis

You'll spend 25 minutes on an electric snowmobile at the SnowXPark in Trübsee on the Titlis and enjoy the ride through the swirling snow. If you like, you can crown this experience with a fondue party.

Suitable for: Families, groups, active connoisseurs

Titlis snowmobile (Photo: Titlisbahnen)Titlis snowmobile (Photo: Titlisbahnen)
Fondue fun Titlis (Photo: Titlisbahnen)Fondue fun Titlis (Photo: Titlisbahnen)

Snowshoeing into the sunset with fondue fun in Hohsaas

A snowshoe hike takes you over the Hohlaub glacier to the Lagginjoch. You will also master a short path over a via ferrata before you are rewarded with a delicious fondue party. Downhill you can take the cable car or a rented sled from Kreuzboden.

Suitable for: Couples, groups, families, active bon vivants

Hohsaas sunset (Photo: Chris Valder Hohsaas Bergbahnen)Hohsaas sunset (Photo: Chris Valder Hohsaas Bergbahnen)
Fondue fun Hohsaas (Hoohsaas mountain railroads)Fondue fun Hohsaas (Hoohsaas mountain railroads)

Fondue fun at sunset in Zurich

Here you will be seduced twice: First you will visit the Lindt Museum "Home of Chocolate" in Zurich. Then you take the cable car to the Felsenegg lookout point. Here you can enjoy a fondue with a panoramic view.

suitable for: Epicureans, Switzerland lovers_

Fondue fun in eTukTuk during Zurich city tour

This is a pleasure without any physical effort. You sit with friends or family very cozy at the Fondueplausch, while you are driven in the eTukTuk through Zurich.

Suitable for: Groups, team events, cozy bon vivants

Fondue cheese in the eTukTuk (Photo: eTukTuk)Fondue cheese in the eTukTuk (Photo: eTukTuk)
Fondue wine in the eTukTuk (Photo: eTukTuk)Fondue wine in the eTukTuk (Photo: eTukTuk)

Fondue is known all over the world, but you can enjoy it most originally in Switzerland. Where not only milk and honey flow, but also wine and cheese.

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