How (and where) to eat fondue

Few visitors leave Switzerland without dipping into a fondue (from the French verb 'fondre', meaning 'to melt'). Get clued up on how to expertly tuck into this dish with our guide to the dish, taken from Lonely Planet Magazine.

  • The main French contribution to the Swiss table, a pot of gooey melted cheese is placed in the centre and kept on a slow burn while diners dip in cubes of crusty bread using two-pronged fondue forks.
  • The classic fondue mix is Emmental and Gruyère cheese melted with white wine and/or a shot of kirsch. Fondue moitié-moitié (half and half) mixes Gruyère with Vacherin Fribourgeois, while fondue savoyarde melts equal proportions of Comte, Beaufort and Emmental.
  • Traditionally a winter dish, the Swiss only eat it as long as there's snow on the ground; visitors are forgiven for eating it all year round.
  • If you lose your chunk of bread in the cheese, you buy the next round of drinks or, should you be in Geneva, get thrown in the lake.
  • Drinking water while dipping is said to bring on unpleasant gut ache as it coagulates the warm cheese in your stomach. While this isn't necessarily true, there's no harm in going for a local white wine such as Fendant from the Valais region instead.
  • Should you be feeling stuffed, down a trou normand (Norman hole), a shot of high-octane liquor, often Calvados (apple brandy) - it's supposed to burn some space in your stomach!

Where to get your fondue on: tasty picks from Lonely Planet

No doubt you're now eager to dip your fork in. If you can't convince a local to invite you in from the cold for a pot of cheese, here's our guide to some of the restaurants where fondue is on the menu:

Adler Swiss Chuchi, Zürich - It may be touristy, but it serves very decent versions of Swiss classics

Engiadina, St Moritz - A locals' joint, famous for its fondue

Fribourger Fondue Stübli, Zürich - A cosy spot, and one of three branches around town

Le Dezaley, Zürich - This tucked-away restaurant is regarded as one of the best places to try fondue

Café du Vieil Ouchy, Lausanne - A simple but charming spot for fondue

Whymper Stube, Zermatt - Fondue includes variations based on gorgonzola and pears

Le Mazot, Bern - This cosy spot offers half-serves for fondue first-timers

Pinte de Pierre-à-Bot, Neuchatel - Famed for its 20 fondues

For more fondue options, pick from the list of Swiss restaurants on lonelyplanet.com.