Welcome to this travel blog which is inspired by the wandering clouds effortlessly gliding through distant lands. Sometimes almost still as if watching the beauty of the earth below and at times rushing to some place far away – as if on an endless travel mission. This is where I share my observations, experiences and thoughts gathered during my travels

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sinful yet Divine!

The first time I had a cheese fondue in an authentic style was at Fribourg, Switzerland. Last January, when I was at the University of Fribourg for a lecture, the students planned to go out in the evening for a fondue and I gladly joined in with the other faculty. I don’t think most of us were particularly in need of building excess fat or carb reserves, given that academic life is generally sedentary. One of the women colleagues accompanying us confessed that she treated herself to cheese fondue only on the weekends after cycling up the hills and only after building up a serious appetite. Generally, the Swiss people are known to claim their right to eat a fondue only after first exhausting their body reserves through some serious physical exercise. And here I was, sitting at the table waiting for the fondue to arrive – having done no physical exercise in the past couple of days and without any intention of doing so over the next two days given the snowfall outside. 

Sculpture with Swiss products
Enjoying the fondue

The restaurant was one of the best ones serving fondue and had some interesting sculptures made out of Swiss products-like knives, sewing machines, special pots and pans etc. Soon the special cutlery was laid out and a portable stove with a pot of molten cheese was kept in such a way that two people could share from a single pot. One had to stir the cheese continuously to prevent it from sticking to the bottom and getting burnt. Pieces of bread or whole small boiled potatoes are dipped in the molten cheese and eaten immediately. I was told to opt for potatoes instead of bread as bread tends to absorb more cheese and gets heavy. I found there was a gender divide with the men going for the bread and women going for potatoes. The fondue was completely divine. The thought that it was absolutely sinful to eat the fondue without earning it perhaps made it more enjoyable. 

I realized that eating fondue is also a social thing-sharing from the same pot of molten cheese brings folks together. There is plenty of light-hearted fun   and competitiveness associated with it like who eats the most or who cleans the pot first. If your bread or potato happens to drown in the molten cheese, you are expected to sing a song. Amazing how sharing a hearty meal together can melt down boundaries!

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