In praise of … fon­due

The Guardian Weekly - - Comment & Debate - Rosie Sykes

The fon­due is back and Britain is see­ing a resur­gence of a 1970s din­ner­party set piece. It’s the fon­due’s po­ten­tial as a shar­ing dish and con­ver­sa­tion piece that is part of the at­trac­tion, say re­searchers from Ox­ford Univer­sity, along with the com­fort­ing na­ture of all that melted cheese.

In the 1930s, fon­due be­came the na­tional Swiss dish and was cham­pi­oned by the Swiss Cheese Union as part of a cam­paign for the “spir­i­tual de­fence of Switzer­land”. Could the fact that the dish comes from a small thriv­ing na­tion out­side the EU be ap­peal­ing to the UK’s post-Brexit fears?

Its ori­gin is traced to iso­lated com­mu­ni­ties who had lim­ited ac­cess to fresh food in the colder months so used old bits of cheese and bread, turn­ing them into a rich, warm­ing meal with the help of some lo­cal high-acid­ity white wine. The clas­sic is usu­ally a mix of a nutty meltable cheese such as comté, em­men­thal or gruyère with a creamier one such as fontina, re­blo­chon or port sa­lut.

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