Swiss Selling Cheese Fondue In Economy, But…

Filed Under: Swiss

We’ve increasingly seen airlines in Europe modify their business models for short-haul flights, as we’ve seen some full service airlines introduce a “buy on board” service concept in economy.

While British Airways has added this on virtually all short-haul flights, Swiss has only done so for their short-haul flights out of Geneva. That’s the smaller of their two hubs, and it’s also an interesting choice, given how affluent Geneva generally is.

Swiss introduced this concept about nine months ago, and it’s still going strong — they haven’t expanded it, but also haven’t discontinued it.

Swiss is doing something that seems pretty cool on the surface. As of December 1, 2018, Swiss is selling cheese fondue in economy on select flights within Europe as part of their winter menu.

Cheese fondue will be available for purchase in economy on flights from Geneva to Athens, Gothenburg, Hurghada, Lisbon, Malaga, Marrakech, Moscow, Stockholm, and St. Petersburg.

The fondue will consist of 50% Vacherin Fribourg and 50% Gruyère cheese, and will be served with bread and can be accompanied by a charcuterie board with dried meats, cured ham, and Gruyère salami.

You can find Swiss’ full buy on board menu here.

What’s my take? At first I thought “how awesome.” There’s nothing quite like going to Switzerland and having a big pot of hot cheese for dinner, followed by a big pot of chocolate. #HealthyLiving

But then I thought to myself “wait a second, this is not only being served on a plane, but being sold in economy… how good can it really be?”

Looking at the pictures from the buy on board menu, it seems like it’s being served in a small plastic cup. So it will be pre-heated (obviously), and I question if they’re actually melting the cheese, or if it’s just the cheese “sauce” that’s being heated. They claim they’ll serve it hot within 20 minutes, but that doesn’t necessarily tell us a whole lot.

Here’s the thing. There are some types of food where even a bad version of the food is good. For example, of course there’s a big difference between good and bad Indian food, but even bad Indian food can be pretty good, in my opinion.

Sushi and fondue? Not so much. I’ll only have fondue if it’s actually excellent, and it seems like they’re setting people up for disappointment with this.

So if I were to fly Swiss on a flight where this is offered, I’d probably order it for the novelty, though I wouldn’t actually expect it to be good.

What do you think — would you order Swiss’ buy on board cheese fondue?

(Tip of the hat to Live and Let’s Fly)

  1. I don’t think they’re setting anyone up for disappointment per se. It may not be as good as you would find in a mountainside alpine Swiss restaurant, but at the end of the day it is bread dipped in cheese… how bad could it be. Will be yummier than 99% of other plane food available.

  2. Hi Lucky,

    I‘m Benjamin (no jokes) and I live in the beautiful city of Luzern.
    From what I can see on the picture it’s fondue made by Gerber, you can buy those small portion in Swiss supermarkets and microwave it.
    I never tried it so I don’t know if it’s good or not, but that doesn’t seem very appealing to me.

  3. No thanks to the microwave Cheez Whiz. And I find “good Indian food” to be bad and also stinky in the cabin.

  4. this is a trial offering only valid on select flights out of Geneva. Lucky, quality of the blog has really gone down-hill lately….

  5. Nacho cheese sauce! 100% plastic.

    Which, relative to the real thing, is probably a good thing. Fondue cheese can be pretty pungent. Imagine a whole plane reeking of it…

  6. It‘s a test phase and here in Switzerland the most consumed brand of cheese fondue… None of the fake US cheese/‚milk produce‘.

  7. The smell of that will be akin to someone opening a can of sour cream and onion pringles on a flight….which I still think should be illegal *vomit*

  8. I am Swiss. It is not cheese sauce but actually cheese. And it tastes not too bad. There are many different fondues in Switzerland and I would bet that a lot of foreigners could not taste any difference. Normally cheese is heated up in the fondue pot over a fire. This is some sort of microwave fondue that is heated too. Fondue need heat to be melted so it’s not too different. Cheese out

  9. Your taste is questionable.

    Indian food, when not prepared well, is terrible.

    For that matter, just about any food served at 36000 ft is terrible (include any first class meal in this category).

    Lastly, cheese fondue? Totally disgusting.

  10. I tried the fondue in Swiss F a few years ago — it certainly wasn’t as tasty as what they had on the terrace of the lounge, or what you’d have in a more traditional fondue venue, but it was fun to have as a different and seasonal offering.

  11. Good cheese fondue has a very intense smell. Some people will say it’s disgusting. Impossible to serve that on a plane.

  12. Gerber cheese fondue is well known in Switzerland. You can buy it all over the country. You don’t have to worry about the cheese itself, it’s really good. Moitié moitié is simply the best kind of fondue it gets (just my personal opinion). But yes, having microwaved it, eating it in a plane with non-traditional alpine cheese is just not the way to savor it. And yes I ate one of them last year with lx first, and really enjoyed it. It was fun!

  13. Why are Americans so concerned with smells? It’s not like someone took a dump in the cabin, it’s just cheese.It’s no wonder that most of them don’t travel anywhere out of their comfort zone. Heaven help them if they encounter something unfamiliar.

  14. I’ve tried these pots for one from a supermarket in Switzerland . They’re pretty good, in line with gerber fondue regular fare, but most Swiss usually don’t buy those (for tourists or Swiss living abroad). I would definitely go for it on board. A far improvement to the cardboard sandwiches Swiss usually serves for free on flights from Zürich. I avoid flying Swiss on short haul flights nowadays. It’s become a low cost airline in full service packaging. May as well fly the low costs.

  15. How can bad Indian food be good?? Maybe you meant to say it’s something that’s hard to mess up because bad food is never good.

  16. While I would claim that the Migros Moitié-Moitié is much better (in my opinion, excluding any artisanal fondue), I agree that this one is alright and you would probably get the same Gerber fondue in numerous restaurants…

    (Plus, AFAIK, also food in F is reheated and not prepared à la minute on a tiny gas stove (or maybe even an AGA for BA – how cool would that be…) in the galley. Just sayin’.)

  17. Big rant here !

    Ignorant people who claim to be Swiss and said Gerber industrial brand is good, never tried a REAL fondue.

    Stop to claim so ridiculous things, go to Switzerland/Gruyère area one time in your life, buy 50% Vacherin (Alpage one) and 50% Gruyère (not the supermarket cheese).
    Then you will KNOW what is a real fondue.
    If the smell is not STRONG, that’s industrial product nothing close with REAL fondue.

    Gerber is part of Emmi group. 1.6Billions Net sales, 6150 people are working for Emmi.

  18. It’s one thing to offer buy-on-board. But at those prices?!
    I mean, a hot meal with chips and a drink on Ryanair for €10 is fine. A €10 pasta salad on Brussels is fine. But CHF 17 for microwavable fondue in a cup? Seriously??

  19. I am Swiss so I guess I know a thing or two about cheese Fondue. @Chris: Emmi is a great company and they produce good products. Yes, on a large scale (so?), and while the Gerber Fondue is a convenience product it’s quite ok – if it is convenience you are after. Of course your alpage mix is much better! Personally I don’t think cheese Fondue on any flight is a good idea but tastes are obviously different.

  20. @ Peter Käser
    The trend with many airlines is to do partnership and to propose good product (and value added), this is not the case here (maybe a missed opportunity ?) and I do not talk about the price for this industrial product.
    Emmi is just a large scale company and in no way representative for good cheese, but I agree they have some good/correct product related to milk.

  21. I’m from Switzerland as well and I’ve had maybe one or two of these Gerber microwave fondues back when I was a student. It’s not like real fondue but it’s not that bad actually. I’m more worried about the smell for your neighbors haha

  22. @CraigTPA
    Personally I regard tea and coffee from big pots on ‘planes (E.g. BA) as unnecessarily dangerous – a spill onto a person is pretty unpleasant.
    But then I don’t drink either of those, and many people do.

  23. @Chris
    Don’t go so much on the offensive, that’s not very swiss 😉
    I’m one of those who said in a previous post that the gerber fondue is good, and I’m sticking on it although I’m fribourgeois. Every swiss has probably eaten unknowingly (or not) a dozen or more of this fondue in her/his life. It’s the easy (and still tasty) way to go.
    I totally agree with you of course, that the cheese (from the friend who spent the summer in his chalet d’alpage guarding his cows) fondue is the real one and the one I appreciate the most ! But having this in an airplane is just not possible.
    By the way, have you tried to make a fondue 2/3 vacherin and 1/3 gruyère? It’s just succulent.

    @Phong The smell (for the other passengers) was also my biggest concern before I’ve tried it last year. But the FA told me since the air in a airplane is continually recycled (sorry can’t recall exactly what word he used), the smell won’t stick as it usually does at home. And he was right! On the other side, when it’s in economy, it may be different as someone sits right next to you.

  24. Buy on board in Europe has a major problem as BA has discovered. Many flights aren’t long enough for the full cabin to be served. When ‘free’ food was dished out, everyone was served far quicker. I have been on several flights where at least some rows missed out on the chance to pay double store cost for an M&S delight, assuming it was in stock.

  25. Well I am from Switzerland and i actually eat this kind of fondue a lot… It’s kinda tasty but you have to “pimp” it as my mom says…

    But over all this is pretty damn good chäsfondue 😉

  26. As others have written, Gerber Microwave Fondue – whilst not the height of gourmet cuisine – is actually pretty ok for what one might expect from microwave fondue. And I‘m saying this as a Fondue snob from Switzerland.

    As for the smell – Swiss actually serves Fondue and Raclette (the other melted cheese thing from Switzerland) since several years in longhaul C and F (at least they did a few years back when I flew to / from US several times), and my first reaction too was „wow, that will be intense“. Actually, it was not. Ventilation systems on a plane seem to be up for the challenge, probably even more so as it‘s likely not to be expected that each and every passenger in eco will order Fondue.

    Overall, I like it a lot when airlines try to introduce some „home country spirit“, even in eco. Makes flights more entertaining if nothing else.

  27. For whatever it’s worth, Fairways in NY sells it for $ 5.29. Trust LX for the decent mark-up.
    It’s not the worst fondue I have eaten but it’s not very good. And I tried it both in the microwave and under the grill. IT DOES SMELL A LOT. I happen to like the smell. But on a plane among total strangers….

    I expect a lot of people to turn to their neigbors and make clear that “It’s not me…”.

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