All about fondue: origin, variations and traditions

Throughout North America, the word “fondue” evokes the appetizing image of a fondue pot filled with melted cheese. And for a good reason!

Fondue has become an essential dish for meals with family and friends, and it’s available in many forms depending on the country where it’s prepared. But originally, where does the idea of fondue come from?

The origin of traditional fondue

This dish of Swiss origin was historically prepared by peasants in the heart of winter to make their leftover hardened cheese and stale bread more palatable. It’s usually made with a mix of Gruyère and Vacherin Fribourgeois, typically Swiss cheeses. A pretty far cry from the broth fondues that we eat here!

Fondue made a remarkable entrance into the United States in 1964, during the New York World’s Fair. Consumers then discovered the pleasure of dipping pieces of bread skewered on long forks into a tasty combination of processed cheese.

Many Americans were charmed by this enjoyable dish, and it was widely adopted during the 1970s, especially when hosting friends and family at home.


Variations on traditional fondue

Since then, new types of fondue have been brought over that are very popular with the general public in America.


In the Burgundy fondue, the caquelon is filled not with cheese… but oil! Often associated with France in reference to the region of Burgundy, it’s actually also of Swiss origin.

Its name refers to the Charolais meat used in the dish, since cubes of beef – and pieces of vegetables – are dipped in very hot oil to fry them.



Swiss-born (yeah!) restaurateur Konrad Egli is credited with creating chocolate fondue on American soil. The owner of the Manhattan-based restaurant Chalet Suisse first began serving Burgundy fondue in 1956.

In the mid-1960s, Egli invented chocolate fondue as part of an advertising campaign for Toblerone chocolate. This creation ended up being very popular with the American public and its sweet tooth!


What about Chinese fondue?

The “Chinese” fondue is not like cheese fondue or chocolate fondue. It starts with a broth, in which we cook the ingredients we want.

Its origin goes back more than two millennia. Also known as hot pot (火锅, huo guo), Chinese fondue allows you to eat a wide variety of local products. This same ancient recipe inspired our cooking style and Fondussimo recipes!


Meanwhile in Québec

Fondue pots and fondue forks quickly found additional uses in French Canada. Inspired by the Chinese culinary tradition, the modern Quebec fondue uses broth to cook the ingredients with a flavour profile drawn from its French culinary heritage.

The broth for a Québec Chinese fondue is prepared using beef consommé, red wine, garlic, shallot or onion, bay leaves, and black pepper. Traditionally, a Québec Chinese fondue meal involved thin slices of beef wrapped around a fork, cooked, and then dipped in an assortment of cold sauces and mayonnaise.

Fondussimo: the era of reinvented fondue

In 2017, young Québec entrepreneur Dany Bernard launched a brand-new fondue pot design, replacing fondue forks with perforated baskets: the Fondussimo fondue set was born! No more tangled forks and floating food to deal with!

This innovative new design has enabled Canadians and Americans to enjoy many additional dipping ingredients that could not previously be eaten with fondue forks. While somewhat similar to the Asian hot pot, Fondussimo helps you better control the cooking of your food to achieve perfection with every bite while also eating healthier!

Although the Fondussimo fondue set is not compatible with traditional cheese fondue, it’s still possible to use it to incorporate cheese in an innovative and gourmet way! It also allows the preparation of delicious sweet fondues.

Thanks to a revolutionary recipe program, Fondussimo has also introduced the opportunity to enjoy fondue in any culinary style, regardless of preferences or dietary restrictions. Italian fondueGreek fondueSugar Shack fondue or Hunter’s fondue… The only limit is your imagination – and your guests’ hungry appetites!

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