The History of Fondue

By Anjali Dhanekula and Shira Rosenberg

Fondue is a very popular food, enjoyed by many Americans. Restaurants such as The Melting Pot are rising up in the food industry. However, fondue has some interesting origins.

Cheese fondue comes from Switzerland in the 18th century as a way to feed poor families that didn’t have access to fresh foods during winter. Cheese and bread producers saw that their food could be saved to be used in winter if they heated cheese with wines, garlic, and herbs and dipped the stale bread in the cheese. The Swiss winter tradition of cooking together over a pot and eating by the fire became known as fondue. The word itself stems from the french verb fondre which means “to melt.”

Meat fondue comes from France in the middle ages. This was a way for the workers who worked in the vineyards to eat a meal, because there would be a pot of oil boiling in the vineyard, and whenever the workers got a break, they could go boil their piece of meat, so they could have time to eat while working. This fondue originated from the French region of Burgundy, which is why the real name of meat fondue is Fondue Bourguignonne.

The lighter version of meat fondue, known as Fondue Court Bouillon, originated in Asia. A Swiss man visited China and ate a dish very similar to fondue, but the liquid used to dunk was broth. He went back to Switzerland and reported his findings, thus the Fondue Court Bouillon was born.

Chocolate fondue was created in America in the mid-20th century, although there are also reports that it was created in Switzerland.

Have fun eating fondue!! 🙂