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Switzerland’sfamous fare


Story by Allyson Angle Photos by Alden Jones


Over a century old, Restaurant Stagerstübli is


a popular gathering spot for locals and tourists in Mürren. During winter the table centers are adorned with baskets full of bread cubes and bright orange pots resting on hot oil canteens. Stagerstübli’s chef of 25 years said that his recipe


incorporates the region’s mountain cheese, which is typical of authentic fondue. Local Nicole Stucki has been a waitress at Stagerstübli for seven years. She said their popular four-cheese fondue is only served in the wintertime. Pascal Cueni, the head chef down the street at


Mürren’s only four-star hotel, said fondue originated in the early 19th century and was designed to be a meal to share with friends. Cueni started working at the Hotel Eiger at the


beginning of the 2010 winter season. T ough he has only been there for 4 months, he has at least 15 years experience making the traditional meal found throughout the Swiss Alps. Cueni learned the recipe from his father when


he was a boy growing up in Lucerne. Mixing white wine and garlic, he uses three types of cheese — one from Bern, one from Austria and a local cheese from a factory in the Nordwand region. “What type of cheese you use is the most


important thing every time,” Cueni said. He gets a shipment of cheese twice a week and


80| ALPINE LIVING 2011


estimated that in the middle of the season, he gets 9-16 pounds a week. T e most popular fondue at the hotel’s


restaurant is chinoise, or meat fondue, and the original cheese fondue follows it in popularity. Cueni explained that people usually eat fondue during the day or early evening. “I think it’s important for tourists to have


it the fi rst time just as much as it’s important for the locals to have it,” Cueni said. “It’s the diff erence between the mountain and lake regions of Switzerland. It’s a warm meal that warms you up aſt er being out in the snow. It’s like a little fi re in the middle of the table.” Cueni said it takes about 15 minutes to cut


two pounds of cheese, and then the cheese mixture melts in 5-6 minutes. Two pounds of cheese can make several pots that can be served throughout the day. A long, two-pronged fork is used to dip and swirl the bread cubes in the hot pool of cheese. “When you taste it, you smell the white


wine and garlic all mixed into the diff erent cheeses,” Cueni said. As many Swiss would say, “Guten appetit!”


Top: Chef Pascal Cueni and the three cheeses used to make fondue at the Hotel Eiger. Right: Restaurant Stagerstübli in Mürren.


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