Fondue: Wednesday food word

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The word fondue comes from the French verb “to melt.” It started to gain popular use in English in the early 1900s — about the same time that a Swiss dairy association started having its way with it.

The dish, of course, is a classic: dunking morsels of food into molten hot cheese, oil or chocolate.

The original cheese fondue was an early 20th-century marketing scheme concocted by a Swiss-cheese trade association who connived to make it a national dish and promoted only a few Swiss cheeses from the hundreds made in the country. It was the same with raclette.

Thanks to the now-defunct Swiss cheese cabal, a regional dish of fondue became a highly marketable, but ultimately contrived, national one.

Creamy, cheesy fondue with a Riesling (Photo/

It’s one reason fondue became extremely popular, but nonetheless delicious, in North America in the 1960s.

For more about a local fondue, please see my Waterloo Chronicle column this Friday.

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