More than just delicious melted cheese, fondue offers the intoxicating aroma of wine and kirsch and the intimate experience of literally sharing a meal. Throw in dreamy views of Switzerland’s iconic Alps, and you’ve got a romantic getaway you’ll never forget. To really knock the socks off the one you love this Valentine’s Day, take a few cues from the way the Swiss do fondue.
Imagine coming in from the cold and sitting down to a steaming pot of melted Gruyère and Emmentaler cheeses. You’re in a restaurant just off one of those idyllic cobblestone streets in Zurich’s Altstadt (Old Town). All you have to do is accidentally drop one piece of bread into the pot, and the romance starts. After some prodding and poking, you realize that the cheese goes deeper than you’d thought. There is more to be discovered. Soon, you and your love cross forks, and you craftily remember an article that you read here, on EuropeUpClose.com offering this anecdote: In Swiss tradition, if a person drops their bread into the fondue, their companion chooses their penance.
More explicitly, Hamlyn Press, publishers of The Fondue Cookbook says, “If a woman drops a cube of bread into the fondue, she has to kiss all the men; if a man drops the bread cube, he has to buy a bottle of wine.” I’m sure you can be more creative.
Another way to earn points is to offer your loved one la religieuse—the delectable patch of cheese that forms on the bottom of the fondue pot. The term means “the nun” in French. Often given as an honor to one’s guests, la religieuse can make any gourmet fall in love.
So, you’ve tried the above tips and still aren’t getting lucky? Try eating fondue with an extra side of kirsch, the strong spirit derived from cherries that is used when making fondue. (But don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s sweet!) For the adventurous, an extra shot of kirsch can be placed on the table; dip your bread into it, then into the cheese. It gives quite a kick—one that’s sure to heat things up.
February is National Fondue Month, and there’s no better way to end a Valentine’s Day than by ordering chocolate fondue with strawberries. It’s gooey; it’s sweet; it’s playful. Afterward, escape back into the streets of Zurich. There, the shop windows twinkle, and you can stroll lakeside on the way back to your hotel.
Written by Mattie Bamman for EuropeUpClose.com