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Cheese Fondue Ediquette

April 20, 2010

Fondue Rituals

In Europe it is proper to serve guests with a glass of dry white wine or english tea and a few slices of prosciutto with white pepper to be nibbled on during the fondue party.

Setting the Table

Fondue is perfect for a relaxing and social evening with family and friends.  The warmth of the flame, dipping in cheese, and drinking of wine sets the stage for a special evening.

Set your table with a bright and earthly colored cloth and dishes with colors or patterns of flowers.   A bouquet can also bring nature indoors and set the stage for a relaxing meal.

Ideally, you will plan on having 2 to 4 people per pot.  More than that will cause the cheese to be over stirred and the pot to be crowded with too many forks.  Each person should have their own fondue fork and small saucer or plate.  Have napkins available for each person.  Give each person some wine or tea while eating along with some proscuitto if desired. (No water, as that would cause them to feel bloated.)  Keep a pepper mill on the table with white pepper in it.

Put your bread in a basket lined with cloth napkins.  Serve your veggies on a plate for passing.

How to Dip

The proper method for dipping your bread in cheese is to scrape the bread on the bottom of the pot in a slow zig zag or figure eight.  The idea is that each person who dips should help to stir the pot a little and get the full flavor of the cheese. 

Once you lift your bread above the cheese, let the excess cheese drip a little back into the pot to prevent wasting cheese while allowing it to cool for a moment before eating.

It is in very bad taste to double dip in the cheese or to put your mouth directly on your fondue fork.   When eating your bread directly off the fork, just grab the bread with your teeth without touching the fork.  Or, you can slide the bread off of your fork and onto your saucer and use a regular fork to stab and eat your bread.

Just For Fun

Some people like to establish some ground rules before serving fondue to make it more interesting.  Here are some fun ideas you might want to try at your next fondue party.

  • If anyone loses their bread in the cheese, they have to drink a shot of Kirsch.
  • If someone forgets to stir the pot when they dip, they have to properly stir their next piece of bread and serve it to the person on their right.
  • If someone puts their mouth on their fork, they have to kiss the person on their left.

Traditional “Shot in the Middle”

Another tradition: the “coupe d’midi”, or “shot in the middle”, for when you get full: a thimbleful of Kirsch, knocked straight back in the middle of the meal, usually magically produces more room if you’re feeling too full. Don’t ask us how this works…it just does. 

What To Do With The Hard Cheese On The Bottom Of The Pot

Once you have eaten most of the cheese, you will find a film of hardened cheese on the bottom called “la courte” or “la religuese”.  Don’t throw it away!  The Swiss consider it a treat to break it off the bottom and eat it with their guests once the pot is empty.  Hey, don’t knock it until you try it!

Don’t Drink Water With Cheese Fondue

It reacts unkindly in your stomach with the cheese and will cause the bread to swell. Dry white wine or tea are the usual accompaniments.



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