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The cheese fondue

The cheese fondue, liquid cheese with bread, Switzerland did not invent it.

The exact origin of the cheese fondue is unclear. In Switzerland, Italy and France, cheese has always been melted into a kind of soup. The cheese fondue as a Swiss national dish has only been around since the 1950s.

In 1914, Switzerland founded a marketing and trading organization to better sell Swiss cheese abroad: the Cheese Union. The Cheese Union. which marketed the entire milk and cheese production at home and abroad, began promoting fondue as a Swiss specialty in 1930 in order to promote the sale of hard cheese. “The Swiss cheese fondue” gained its international reputation through its presentation at the World Exhibition in New York in 1940.

With the inclusion of the dish in the army cookbooks, the fondue became known throughout Switzerland. The soldiers brought the recipe from their military service into the families. The company Zingg AG brought the first ready-made fondue onto the market in 1955. But this was not feasible in an apartment without the appropriate utensils. For a cheese fondue you need a set of caquelon, this is the name of the special clay pot for the cheese, rechaud, this is the name of the frame with the flame that is needed so that the cheese remains liquid until the end and extra long forks, otherwise you can't dip the bread in the cheese.

It was again smart advertisers who, from the 1970s, established the cheese fondue through a wide-ranging advertising campaign throughout Switzerland. You could not only buy the cheese in almost every cheese shop, but also rent the necessary utensils for a small fee. (Photo: Obi cheese fondue set)

Fondue fit wonderfully in the time of the economic miracle, when eating was no longer primarily a matter of eating, but became a sociable affair. There was something rustic about eating all of them from the same pot. The flame of the rechaud is reminiscent of a campfire, it reeks of gasoline and cheese. Each canton created its own recipe with its own type of cheese. Since eating liquid cheese per se quickly becomes boring, rituals with cheese fondue eating were soon established. There were no limits to the invention of punishments for lost pieces of bread.

The word fondue, which means “melted” in French, soon became a word for a meal together, in which everyone dipped something in the same pot. For example, with Fondue Bourguignonne, in which thin pieces of meat are cooked in fat, or Fondue Chinoise, in which meat, fish, vegetables and pasta are cooked in small baskets in a bouillon. The main thing is that everyone was busy, the food had to be worked out and success does not depend on the cooking skills of a single person.

Over time, other types of "event dining" were invented that we still know today. Slices of cheese are melted in the raclette oven, meat and vegetables are cooked on the party grill, meat is skewered on the Mongolian pot (a mixture of party grill and fondue chinois) and vegetables are dipped in bouillon. Individual pizzas or pancakes are baked at the table. Potatoes, vegetables or fruits are dipped into the cheese fondue. The main thing is that everyone cooks and eats what they want, according to their taste.



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