Walk past almost any restaurant in Geneva and you just may get a glimpse of drooling patrons dipping chunks of bread in a pot of bubbling cheese, then twirling the skinny forks in mid-air to make sure the bread has been properly coated.
It is a dish that is not for the health conscious, but it’s okay to be a little bad in Switzerland, especially when we are talking about cheesy fondue.
About Swiss Fondue
Fondue was invented as a way to use stale bread and aged cheese in the cold winter months, when fresh produce was unavailable. It is now one of the most recognized Swiss dishes and quite possibly the most delicious.
Can you really go wrong with a pot of gooey cheese and basket of bread?
There are several different blends of cheeses used for fondue around the world, but arguably the most traditional in Switzerland is moitié-moitié (half gruyère and half vacherin cheese). If you are in a different country, like France, you will most likely get a totally different blend.
Where to Eat Fondue in Geneva
In Geneva, you can easily get your fondue fix at the five-star hotel restaurant Les Armures, the top-rated Le Gruyerien or Café du Soleil which is near the United Nations.
Or you can simply make it yourself.
Fondue Making Class
If you want to really get to the root of fondue, take a class at the lively Edelweiss, where you can learn to cook your own pot of cheese at a traditional Swiss restaurant as musicians perform with classic instruments in the background.
With the expert instruction of the Edelweiss chef, I learned that making this traditional Swiss dish is pretty darn easy. It takes about 20 minutes. It pretty much consists of melting cheese and a handful of other ingredients in a special Caqquelon pot by stirring it in a figure eight motion.
The trickiest part is making sure you hand does’t get a cramp.
After we labored over the dish for almost a half hour, the cooking table turned into our dining table. We sat down and as I was going to order myself a glass of red wine with a side of water to go with my pot of cheese, I was stopped.
It is a Swiss tradition to not drink water or red wine (gasp!) with fondue. That would be like eating sushi with a fork! Faux Pas. You should either drink white wine or hot tea. On that evening, I temporarily abandoned my beloved red wine to swap it for white. Can’t ruin tradition.
Edelweiss Restaurant Fondue Recipe
You don’t need to travel all the way to Geneva to eat fondue (though you definitely should if you can!), Edelweiss gave me their traditional Swiss recipe to share. All you need is a fondue cooking set.
4 dl White Wine
600 g Shredded Gruyere Cheese
600 g Shredded Vacherin Cheese
Potato or Corn Flour
One Clove of Minced Garlic
Black Pepper to Taste
600 g of Day-old bread, cut into cubes
1 Caqquelon and Stove (Fondue Cooking Set)
1 Wooden Spoon
4 Fondue Forks
Start the flame under the caquelon. Rub the caquelon pot with the clove of garlic and leave in the caquelon. On medium heat, pour half of the white wine in the caquelon and heat it up to a light boil. Add half of the Cheese and tie gently in a figure eight motion. When the Cheese has melted, add the remainder of the wine and cheese. Stir until melted and smooth. Cooking slowly, add the potato flour/corn flour. Cook for about 3-4 minutes. Serves 4
Time to eat!!
Put the caquelon on the stove in the middle of the table. Using your own special fork, soak the bread pieces in the fondue. Whoever loses the bread in the fondue has to pay for another bottle of wine. I made sure each of my cubes was tightly secured to my fork!
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