by The Urban Grocer in New Food and Packaging on Saturday 3 October 2009

In Geneva, Switzerland, where the weather is just beginning to hint at cold, the time for indulging in hearty fondues is around the corner. And for a real authentic fondue experience, bypass the fake chalet-type restaurants and head straight for the Buvette des Bains. Set on a pier in the middle of Lake Geneva, this summer beach hotspot is transformed into a local fondue-eating institution during the chillier months. Here, rowdy locals pack long communal tables, next to wood burning stoves, where the very pungent aroma of melted cheese pierces the senses.

Sitting shoulder-to-shoulder, happy diners dip, twirl, dunk, and stir crusty, rustic bread into gooey, creamy ‘fondue au crémant’. The taste is buttery and rich, full of garlic and slight after tones of kirsch. With a real depth of flavor, it’s perfectly paired with local dry white wines from the neighboring Valais region. At the end of the meal, the sometimes friendly staff scraps up golden, burnt cheese from the pot’s bottom, to be shared amongst now even happier guests. Finish off this local dinner right, with an absolutely necessary digestive, such as a simple mint tea, or better yet, a shot of some cool, strong grappa.