Forks dipping into a fondue pot.
Angela Pham

Is fondue pandemic-safe? Switzerland melts into heated debate

Written by
Time Out editors

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Switzerland knows how to do winter properly, but one of the great Swiss winter traditions could be taking a backseat this year. A debate about just how Covid-safe fondue is has erupted, causing some fiery opinions to be put forward.

Reported primarily by AFP (Agence France-Presse) on various online news platforms, the main issue stems around hygiene levels associated with sharing a fondue pot, where common practice is to dip pieces of bread into the melted cheese using a long fork. Fondue is traditionally a communal meal, with the same pot being shared by diners, usually groups of friends or family – all of which begs the question of whether this method increases the risk of Covid transmission.

To mitigate the risk, some have suggested using two forks and a knife: one fork to dip, the knife to remove the cheesy bread, and the other fork to eat. Didier Pittet, the renowned Swiss infectious diseases specialist, has even been called in, reportedly saying that there is “certainly not” an infection risk linked to fondue.

The bigger issue may in fact be the size and proximity of the group eating the fondue, which could very easily make it difficult or impossible to maintain social distancing, especially when sat around a table in a small room or restaurant.

Infectious diseases specialist Christian Ruef has apparently tried to reassure fondue-fanatics that the temperature of the cheese in a hot pot is sufficient to kill any viruses, although he does also recommend sticking to smaller groups when eating fondue.

If that’s got you craving melted cheese, here’s our pick of where to eat fondue around Switzerland, but just remember to stay safe while doing it.

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