For many, a trip to Switzerland wouldn’t be complete without melted cheese. While fondue has become an international favourite – especially on the aprés ski scene – raclette is far less famous outside the country’s borders, despite being a celebrated Swiss tradition. Stay on the shores of Geneva’s Lake Leman at the luxurious Hotel d’Angleterre, and take your pick from Geneva’s best fondue and raclette restaurants, which each bring indulgent alpine cuisine to the city.
Named after the cheese it uses, raclette originates from the mountain regions and is the ultimate hearty filler for a cold climate. As early as the thirteenth century, mountain dwellers would gather around a roaring fire, heating the cheese on its flames and scraping off what had melted before passing the raclette on.
And to this day, it’s a tradition that’s still in full swing. But instead of melting the cheese on an open fire, a small heater or grill is used. As the raclette is passed between friends, the hot melted cheese is layered onto steaming hot potatoes, charcuterie and vegetables, and washed down with a glass or two of local white wine.
Fondue is another indulgent social specialty in Swiss alpine cuisine, with roots in Italy and France, too. Diners gather around the communal hotpot of white wine and melted cheese, dipping chunks of crusty bread in for a fun and truly warming treat.
In cosmopolitan Geneva, cosy eateries buzz with joviality as patrons indulge in these two culinary traditions, bringing city dwellers a taste of the mountains that surround them. Here’s our pick of the city’s best fondue and raclette restaurants to try next time you’re in Geneva.
Restaurant Le Gruyérien
Using both Gruyére and Vacherin Swiss cheese, Restaurant Le Gruyérien puts out a fondue that’s become known as one Geneva’s best. The eatery serves this dish up all year round, while many others save it solely for the winter months.
Café du Soleil
Another front runner for fondue is the welcoming Café du Soleil, where Gruyére cheese from the village of Roche is served with great pride. Pair your fondue with a white wine from the restaurant’s selection of mostly Swiss and French labels.
Les Amures Restaurant
Both fondue and raclette are on offer at Les Amures Restaurant. Whether you sit indoors in the wooden-beamed interior or outdoors amidst the old town’s historic architecture, gather round these authentic cheese dishes and choose from a variety of local wines.
Auberge de Saviese
Just moments from Lake Geneva, Auberge de Saviese serves up both fondue and raclette, and is another that’s renowned for its offering. The restaurant has a wider choice of fondues than most of its counterparts, including one made from 12 different mature cheeses, and another made with Champagne instead of still wine.
Particularly popular with visitors to the city, Restaurant Edelweiss specialises in authentic Swiss cuisine, with raclette and a choice of cheese fondues. In the style of a Swiss chalet, dinner is served amidst yodelling and live folk music.
As days are spent embracing Geneva’s great outdoors – whether out on the lakes or hiking in the mountains – what better way to warm up than with this Swiss culinary tradition? And as you step out of these traditional Swiss eateries, you know you can return to the comfort and warmth of the luxury Hotel d’Angleterre, right beside Lake Leman.
Header image: Seek out Geneva’s best fondue restaurants © iStock / donstock