News & Blog

Cheese news

All You Need to Know about French Fondue Cheese

Ah, the Savoyard fondue… A typical mountain dish that delights the taste buds in winter and beyond. In this article, we’re going to reveal all the secrets behind this dish and, of course, the cheeses that go with it. To find out all you need to know about Savoyard fondue, keep reading!

Where does Savoyard fondue come from?

The origins of French Savoyard fondue can be traced back several centuries to the Swiss Alps (or French Alps, as the mystery is still unfolding…). During the long, harsh winters, the inhabitants of this mountainous region ingeniously used leftover cheese to create a comforting, nourishing dish. Savoyard fondue was a practical solution for reusing leftover cheese, transforming it into a warm and delicious dish.

The cheese leftovers used in Savoyard fondue were often pieces of cheese that were either too small to be served on their own, or had begun to dry out or harden. In mountainous regions like Savoie in France, where resources were sometimes limited, it was important not to waste food, and this included dairy products such as cheese. Cheeses that were frequently used were often pressed cooked cheeses, as they lent themselves well to melting and offered a rich, pronounced flavor once melted. 

What type of cheese is best for fondue?

Let’s talk about the cheeses! French Savoyard fondue is traditionally prepared with a blend of pressed, cooked cheeses, offering a variety of rich, complex flavors. Among the most popular cheeses used are: 

  • Abondance, from the Abondance valley in Haute-Savoie (France), 
  • Beaufort, a cow’s milk cheese produced in the Alps,
  • Emmental de Savoie, a classic French cheese (and not Comté, as many people think…).
  • A variation on the traditional: add Tomme de Savoie or Tomme des Bauges AOP (young).

These cheeses are selected for their ability to melt perfectly and provide a creamy, flavorful texture to the fondue. Yum… 😋

How do you eat Savoyard fondue?

Now let’s get on with the tasting! Savoyard fondue is a convivial, interactive experience. It’s usually enjoyed in a group around a heated fondue pot containing the melted cheese mixture. Each guest uses a long fork to dip pieces of bread into the melted cheese, ensuring that each bite is well coated. It’s a moment of sharing and conviviality, where everyone can feast while enjoying each other’s company.

What’s the difference between French fondue and Swiss fondue?

The two recipes for Savoyard (French) fondue and Swiss fondue share some similarities, but they also have their differences. In addition to the cheeses used, Swiss fondue is often prepared with Gruyère and sometimes Vacherin Fribourgeois, giving the fondue a distinctive flavor. 

What goes well in cheese fondue?

Want to know what goes best with fondue? Here’s a numbered list of some of the best accompaniments to enjoy a Savoyard fondue to the full:

  • Pain de campagne (country-style bread): There’s nothing like delicious pieces of fresh bread to dip into melting cheese.
  • Boiled potatoes: Potatoes are a delicious alternative to fondue, offering a soft texture that blends perfectly with the cheese.
  • Pickled gherkins and onions: These tangy condiments add a touch of freshness and contrast to the rich flavors of fondue.
  • Charcuterie: Slices of dry sausage, cured ham or viande des grisons are the perfect savory complement to Savoy fondue.
  • Green salad: A light, fresh salad can balance the richness of the fondue, offering a palette of contrasting flavors.

Our top 10 tips for preparing a wonderful French fondue

Here are our top 10 tips for preparing a Savoyard fondue (made in Paroles de Fromagers):

  • Choose the best cheeses: Opt for a variety of quality cheeses for a savoyard fondue rich in flavor. Ideally, buy our cheeses if you live in Paris, or go to your favorite cheesemonger if you live elsewhere!
  • Grate cheeses finely: For a smooth, even fondue, grate the cheese finely before melting.
  • Rub garlic into fondue pot: Rubbing a clove of garlic into the sides of the fondue pot before pouring in the cheese adds a subtle garlic flavor to the fondue.
  • Add a touch of white wine: A drizzle of dry white wine can add depth and complexity to the fondue’s flavors.
  • Use a gentle flame: Make sure the flame under the fondue pot is gentle to prevent the cheese from burning.
  • Stir regularly: Stir the cheese gently during cooking to achieve a smooth, even consistency.
  • Add a pinch of nutmeg: A pinch of freshly grated nutmeg can subtly enhance the fondue’s flavours.
  • Serve with a variety of accompaniments: Offer a selection of accompaniments to allow everyone to personalize their enjoyment.
  • Keep warm: Use a fondue warmer to keep fondue warm throughout the meal.
  • Enjoy slowly: Savoyard fondue is a dish to be savored slowly, taking time to savor every bite and enjoy the company of your guests.

Learn how to make your own cheese, or visit us at the Musée Vivant du fromage in Paris!

From June 3, 2024, Paroles de Fromagers officially opens its Living Cheese Museum in Paris! Visit us and immerse yourself in an immersive experience where all your senses will be awakened. 

You can learn how to make your own cheese thanks to our courses and workshops!

We look forward to seeing you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *