101/365: National Cheese Fondue Day

I’ll spear you the suspense and get right to the point: April 11th is National Cheese Fondue Day!

Fondue originated in Switzerland as a method of using up hard cheese. One can only have so many paperweights, you know? It comes from the French word fondre, which means “to melt.” OK, logical enough. It was a traditional peasant dish, made with white wine and served in a communal pot; stale bread is most often used for dipping. Stale bread and old, hard cheese, eh? Those Swiss really knew hot to stretch leftovers. Fondue really took off in the 1950s when Konrad Egli introduced it at his Chalet Suisse restaurant in New York. We’ve discussed him before; he’s the dude who invented chocolate fondue as a promotion for Toblerone. Before long, every bell-bottom and polyester-clad cook in the 1970s was serving fondue; it’s as much a symbol of that decade as disco, Watergate, and Farrah Fawcett. It remains popular in Switzerland, too, where it is a symbol of Swiss unity; the Swiss Cheese Union promotes it aggressively with marketing campaigns featuring slogans like Fondue isch guet und git e gueti Luune – “fondue is good and creates a good mood.”

I happen to agree. Fondue IS good and it DOES create a good mood. Tara and I met for lunch at Gustav’s, a German restaurant down the street, midway between where we both work. It doesn’t get more convenient than that. This is the second food holiday we have celebrated here; we also had the fondue for National Cheese Lover’s Day. What can I say? Their fondue is really good! And I’m thinking Tara and I need to break down and buy our own fondue set already. Hey…maybe we’ll get one as a wedding gift!

When the check arrived, I asked our waiter if he knew it was National Cheese Fondue Day, and he had no idea. Then he said, “The cheese fondue is our most popular dish…this would be a great marketing idea!”

Yeah. No kidding. It still amazes me how rarely people in the food business realize when there’s a food holiday celebrating a dish they are known for. Talk about a lot of missed marketing opportunities. Maybe I should consider becoming a food consultant or something…

Cheese Fondue

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Categories: Dairy | Tags: , , , , , | 9 Comments

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9 thoughts on “101/365: National Cheese Fondue Day

  1. We went to The Grizzly over the Christmas Holiday’s which is a very wonderful fondue restaurant in the Heart of Banff. It was two hours of delicious heaven and beer!

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  2. The year AFTER I did this, about 11 or so restaurants and companies that I went to for food were advertising meals and foods telling customers to come out and buy for National….whatever day. When I went the year earlier I mentioned the holidays to them and they claimed to not know!!!

    I felt so used! Tell them you want a thanks at least lol

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    • Interesting. I’ve told a bunch of people this year already…it’ll be interesting to see if Gustav’s advertises National Cheese Fondue Day next April 11. They did thank me on their Facebook page, at least.

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  3. Momma Tracy

    They have a place called “The Melting Pot” up here and if they weren’t so spendy, we would probably go. All they do is fondue.

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    • We’ve got The Melting Pot down here, too – and it’s every bit as expensive. Which is why I have gone exactly once, when I first moved up here, nearly 20 years ago.

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  4. The Melting Pot does buy one cheese fondue, get a second portion free [I believe] for National Cheese Fondue Day. The offer may be more than just one day also

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  5. Pingback: 152/365: National Cheese Day | Eat My Words

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