Fondue savoyarde: a brief history - Tufts European Center (2024)

Fondue might be Switzerland’s national dish, but fondue savoyarde hails from the French Alps region of Savoie. Fondue savoyarde is one of the most famous dishes to come from this region, which lies at the heart of the French Alps and is home to many of France’s most fashionable ski resorts and summer hot spots—including our very own European Center. The food in this region is often qualified as “heavy,” meaning that it incorporates large quantities of meat and cheese, hearty dishes which are the perfect way to end a strenuous day on the slopes.

According to Webster’s Dictionary, fondue is a preparation of melted cheese, usually flavored with white wine and kirsch, also featuring small pieces of food (such as meat or fruit) cooked in or dipped into a hot liquid. Fondue was first described in Homer’s Iliad as a mixture of goat cheese, flour, and wine. The name “fondue” comes from the French word “fondre,” meaning “to melt.” The dish initially served as a way for farm families to stretch their sparse resources during the long winter months. It was later introduced to America during the 1964 New York World’s Fair, and reached the height of its popularity here during the late 1960s and 1970s.

Fondue is eaten by spearing food on the end of a long fork and swirling it in the fondue pot. Various food writers recommend that you use the long fork only to cook and transport your food, and not for eating. If any food drops off a person’s fork while they are swirling it in the fondue pot, it is tradition for that person to buy a round of drinks for the table or sing a song.

There arefourcommonly prepared types of fondue: cheese fondue, chocolate fondue, oil fondue (also known as meat fondue), and broth fondue. Fondue savoyarde traditionally includes the cheeses comté,beaufort,reblochon, and abondance. What should you dip into a cheese fondue? The obvious favorites are bread, fruit, and vegetables, but don’t let that limit you! Almost everything tastes better with cheese. A fondue main course traditionally consists ofpieces of raw or par-cooked vegetables and sliced or cubed raw meats or seafood, all of which get cooked in either hot oil or a flavorful broth. At the end of a meal or for a special treat, you may want to serve a traditional chocolate fondue. Some favorite items to dip are cookies, graham crackers, pound cake, brownies, angel food cake, Rice Krispie Treats, meringues, and even candy. Whatever version of fondue you choose, enjoy the meal – but more importantly, enjoy the company of those sharing the meal with you!

Fondue savoyarde: a brief history - Tufts European Center (2024)
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