We can share a friendly mood when we eat Swiss cheese fondue from one pot
by Mika Iwasaki
(Mitaka, Tokyo, Japan)
Recipe for cheese fondue: Put some cheeses and wine in the pot and heat them. Prepare a lot of pieces of bread and vegetables. Soak a piece of bread or vegetable in melting cheese in the pot.
I went to Zurich in Switzerland via Italy by train several years ago. Zurich was a wonderful place, because it had clear air and beautiful fine rows of houses and streets.
And I remembered especially the cheese fondue we ate during my stay. The pot containing melting cheese was put on the table. We held a long stem fork, and stuck a piece of bread, and dipped the piece of bread into the melting cheese, and ate it.
It was the first time that I experienced eating cheese fondue. I felt it was delicious and I enjoyed the friendly mood eating from the same one pot together. The mood resembled a Japanese "nabe" party, a so-called a kind of hot pot cooked at the table in Japanese style.
The style of eating from one pot might be rare in Europe, I guess. The taste and style was unforgettable for me. After returning to Japan, I began to cook cheese fondue in my home in the cold season.
Cheese fondue was originally a traditional home meal in the mountainous region of Switzerland. The main ingredient of cheese fondue is Swiss cheeses made from the milk of cows on mountainous farms. Swiss cheeses are matured with great care, I heard.
It might correspond to Japanese soybean paste (Soybean paste is often put in Japanese nabe).
I guess that both cheese fondue and Japanese nabe were made with traditional local ingredients to survive the hard natural environment during cold season. Now eating dishes from one pot cultivates affinities among people at the same table, not merely surviving in Nature. I feel the friendly spirit of Swiss people through this kind of traditional hot pot cooking.
Winter will come soon in Japan. The cold season reminds us to have hot pot cooking and friendly human relationships. This evening I am going to cook cheese fondue and eat it!
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