Alpine Cheese Fondue

Alpine Cheese Fondue

It perplexes me when the subject of cheese fondue comes up, and it’s often accompanied by a smile and a reference to the ‘70s. This quintessential alpine dish should not be relegated to that bygone era evoking images of shag rugs, shaggier hair and textured bell-bottoms. This was certainly not intended when the rural inhabitants of Swiss and French mountainous villages devised a warming winter dish incorporating their local cheese and winter staples.

Switzerland will always be considered home to our family. I lived there for 10 years following my stint at cooking school in Paris. My husband and I were married in Switzerland, and our children were born there. As an expat in Geneva, it was a delicious pleasure to embrace Swiss specialties, namely cheese, which we enjoyed in all of its forms. The Swiss tradition of melting cheese in deep pots with wine and spirits quickly became a family favorite. When we eventually moved away from Switzerland, I became more reliant on making my own version of fondue for wintry family dinners to satisfy our cravings.

This recipe has been tweaked and fine-tuned over the years, influenced by taste and available ingredients. In addition to serving it with the usual bread, I like to pass around bowls of parboiled baby potatoes, cauliflower and broccoli florets for dipping. Do not skimp on the cheese. Buy the best-quality, cave-aged Swiss or French alpine cheese you can find, such as Gruyere, Emmental, Comte or Beaufort, and feel free to blend them to your taste. I like to use a blend of two-thirds Gruyere to one-third Emmental.

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Lynda Balslev is the co-author of “Almonds: Recipes, History, Culture” (Gibbs Smith, 2014). Contact her at TasteFood, c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106, or send email to Or visit the TasteFood blog at

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