Cheese Fondue

James Beard

Author and Educator

Originally a Swiss creation, cheese fondue is most often associated with Savoie (Savoy), the Alpine region of France that borders Switzerland. A fondue is a fun and easy party dish, with guests dipping their chunks of French bread into the pot of bubbling cheese. The fondue pot itself, which can be made of glazed pottery, earthenware, or enameled iron, is known in Switzerland as a capuelon.


  • 1 pound Swiss Emmenthaler cheese (or a combination of Emmenthaler and Gruyere), shredded, grated, or diced
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups white wine
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Freshly grated nutmeg
  • Crusty French bread, cubed


Dredge the cheese in flour, then place it in a strainer to remove excess flour. Set aside. Rub the inside of the fondue pot with a cut garlic clove. Place the pot on medium heat and pour in white wine. Swiss wine makes it all the better, but any good dry white wine will do. Heat the wine until it is warm, but don’t let it boil. Add the cheese by handfuls, and stir it with a wooden spoon until the cheese melts and the mixture has the appearance of a light creamy sauce. Add a little freshly ground black pepper and a few grains of nutmeg, and let it boil up for a minute. Transfer the pot to low heat—and this can be an electric table stove or alcohol burner—and adjust the heat so that the fondue continues to bubble.

Arrange small cubes of French bread around the pot or in a bread basket that's close at hand. Invite guests to help themselves, spearing the bread cubes with the fondue forks or with handled skewers, and stirring right down to the bottom as they dip. This ritual continues, of course, until the fondue is gone, at which point there will be a crust at the bottom of the pot, which is called a religieuse. This is a very special treat, and it can be removed with a wooden spoon or spatula.


4 servings