• 600 mls (1 pint) good dry white wine
  • 1 kg ( lbs) hard or semi-hard cheese, grated
  • 2 tablespoons potato flour or arrowroot
  • freshly ground pepper
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 miniatures or 70 mls ( pint) kirsch


Reserve a couple of tablespoons of the wine and pour the rest into the pot, the proportions generally being one part wine to two parts cheese, and heat gently. Gradually add the grated cheese, stirring all the while. Bind the mixture with a little potato flour or arrowroot mixed with the remaining 2 tablespoons of the white wine. Season the cheese dish with ground pepper and nutmeg. Stir in the kirsch, and transfer the fondue from the stove, while bubbling, to a spirit lamp on the table.

There are, of course, many variations on the above. The genevoise fondue contains finely chopped dried morels, which add a delicious flavour to the cheese, that of the eastern cantons of Switzerland uses dry cider instead of wine. I have even come across a recipe for pink fondue in which a dry rosé wine is used instead of white.

Not far from the alpine farm I visited is the Refuge de Frience, a simple chalet restaurant where I tasted a very good fondue that I was curious to try when I returned to England. This was the fondue de tomate, which I made to the traditional fondue recipe above, and added a homemade tomato sauce. Instead of bread, I served the fondue with small potatoes boiled in their skins. The main feature about the tomato sauce is that you use very ripe, sweet tomatoes, and char them, either under the grill, on a griddle, in the oven, or whatever is most convenient.