From the Alps to the Peaks of Whistler

Fondue and raclette have rich histories deeply intertwined with mountain culture. With Whistler’s white-settler influx in the early 1900s coming predominantly from Europe, it’s not surprising a few cheese-based traditions have made their way to the Coast Mountains.

“I probably had my first fondue and raclette at age two,” says Tobi Lonfat, a Swiss native who’s been in Whistler for 14 years. “When you eat out of the same pot there’s an interaction every time. It’s to bring people together. That’s the main goal. It reminds me of times at home with friends and family.”

Both fondue and raclette originated in Switzerland, but they are subtly different. In the 18th century, fondue was a clever way to utilize aged bread and cheese when fresh food was scarce in the winter. The cheese was melted with wine, garlic and other seasonings, creating a warm, communal dish that was perfect for a cold climate.

“The beauty of fondue is that you can add your own flavours to it,” explains Tobi. “I like peppercorn and mushrooms, my mother adds tomatoes. At the halfway point we take a break and clear the stomach with a shot of schnapps. In Switzerland, we’d serve it with a fendant, a dry white wine, but here I like to pair it with a viognier.”

Someone reaching into a cheese fondue pot on a table laden with delicious items.
Ooey gooey goodness at The Chalet by Fairmont Chateau Whistler. PHOTO JULIE ZONEY

The name “raclette” derives from the French word “racler,” meaning “to scrape”. Raclette is a semi-hard cheese traditionally melted before a fire and scraped onto potatoes, pickles and other accompaniments.

“Every time you eat a raclette it’s different, because every cheese is different,” exclaims Tobi. “From one valley to the next the cheese changes. Every part of Switzerland has their own way to making it and they’re proud of it. I like to bring this part of my culture, my home, to Whistler, and see people from other countries try it. I could eat it forever.”

Raclette’s roots can be traced back to medieval times when Swiss shepherds would melt the cheese while camping in the mountains.

“I like to take a candle raclette to work sometimes,” says Tobi, who works for Whistler Blackcomb in Engineering. “I stop at a patrol hut or maintainence shop, put on some Swiss music and enjoy the alpine atmosphere as I eat.”

As Tobi tells us, with fondue and raclette, it’s not just about the cheese, but the social dining experience it offers. They reflect the resourcefulness of mountain communities and symbolize warmth, camaraderie and a connection to the rustic, alpine way of life. Although, in Whistler, you may have to use your imagination for the rustic element (given that it’s offered at some of the resort’s award-winning restaurants) it’s definitely a place that knows how to connect and celebrate after a day well spent in the mountains.

But is there any specific etiquette you need to be aware of when eating fondue or raclette?

“If you lose your bread in the fondue you could be in trouble,” explains Tobi. “One tradition is that you have to kiss the person on your right, but these consequences can differ depending on the group! Some are known to involve nudity…”

Oh, the Swiss.

Where to Get Fondue and Raclette in Whistler

Après Experiences


Available from 3 to 5 PM, Friday through Sunday you can get cave-aged, gruyere fondue in Araxi’s funky bar and lounge area, or if it’s sunny, their patio. Swiss gruyere and Emmentaler are mixed with white wine and Kirsch (brandy), and served with toasted, house-baked breads, gherkins and pickled veggies from Pemberton, just 20 minutes north of Whistler. You can also add truffle, Okanagan apples and chorizo sausages. Our tip is to go full Euro and order a Glühwein (mulled wine), which means glow wine in German because of the way it makes you feel!

Wild Blue

Available daily in peak winter, from 3 to 5 PM, the cheese fondue is on Wild Blue’s après menu. Enjoy the beats from a live DJ as you dip baguette and potato into a mix of Emmental and Gruyere with a kick of Kirsch. They have some incredible cocktails you should try while you’re there, take a read of Whistler’s Must-Try Winter Cocktails for inspiration.

La Brasserie

Located right on the Whistler Village stroll, La Brasserie is a great place to enjoy a fondue while people-watching. Starting at 3 PM daily, their classic fondue comes with baguette bread, but you can also get apple slices, cured meats, baby potatoes and Brussels sprouts!

Dinner Experiences

Alpha Cafe

French Refuge is a pop-up for the winter run by the team behind French’eese Whistler. Hosted at Alpha Cafe they bring Savoy to the northwest on Monday and Friday evenings from 6 to 9 PM (no reservations needed).

They called the evenings Refuge as this is what the French call their small, mountain huts, a literal refuge from the elements. Chef Mickael Loiodice, founder of French’eese, was born and raised in the French Alps.

“My grandfather told me, ‘We don’t have a mountain without cheese’,” says Mickael. “After I gained my engineering degree, I helped my parents in the family restaurant in Morzine. They served cheese fondue, raclette and 20 different cheese dishes. I wanted to bring that same cheese experience to Whistler. For me, it’s important to share my culture and show the beautiful products we have from farms, small businesses and co-ops.”

Two “scrapes” from the raclette are included with your plate, which includes potatoes, pickles and green salads. You can add on additional scrapes and charcuterie, as well as order wines from Savoy for that well-rounded Alps experience.

“We have a friendly rivalry with Switzerland over fondue and raclette,” he laughs. “The dish might be the same, but the recipes and cheeses are different. Raclette comes from Valais, in the French part of Switzerland and the border is only 20 minutes from where I grew up. In Savoy, we have a lot of different flavours; cognac, smokey, white wine, garlic and more. I am the only person in Whistler to offer all those distinct raclette flavours.”


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Crêpe Montagne

This cozy eatery on Main Street serves both fondue and raclette. Crêpe Montagne’s owners are originally from France and they pride themselves on bringing these symbols of French cuisine to Whistler.

They use Comté cheese, which is French but is from the eastern region that borders Switzerland. They gave it a BC twist by adding locally sourced, dry, white wine and you can add tomatoes and olives, mushrooms, or my personal favourite the Old Fashioned, which includes dijon mustard and herbs de Provence.

Their raclette is served with either black forest ham, smoked bacon, salami and prosciutti, or if you’re opting for the vegetarian raclette it’s served with broccoli and cauliflower. Both are served with a mixed greens salad, baby potatoes, gherkins and pearl onions. It’s also good to note that their dark chocolate fondue comes from Belgium, yum!

The Chalet

Going to The Chalet at Fairmont Chateau Whistler for fondue is a magical winter experience. This is how to do fondue in true decadent style. It’s a three-course menu with the cheese to start, a tasty broth to dip meats and/or fish into, and then a chocolate fondue to finish. There’s also a schnapps cart! Another thing to note is they have gluten-free crusty bread, and dairy-free cheese and chocolate fondue.

Someone reaching into a chocolate fondue pot on a table laden with delicious items.
Just look at the biscotti, fresh fruit, meringues and other goodies that you get to dip into chocolate at The Chalet. PHOTO JULIE ZONEY

Nicklaus North

Just north of Whistler Village, Table Nineteen sits on the edge of Green Lake, which makes for a beautiful setting for a fondue après or dinner. Their classic, alpine fondue is a blend of Emmental, Gruyere, aged white cheddar, white wine, garlic and fresh herbs, served with bread and potatoes. It’s a three-course menu with a salad to start and dark chocolate fondue for dessert.

Adventure Dining Experiences

Canadian Wilderness Adventures Fondue

Earn your fondue by snowmobiling or snowcating to a rustic cabin 6,000 feet up Blackcomb Mountian. As the lights of Whistler Village twinkle below you and the moon shines above, you weave your way into the alpine toward dinner. At the Crystal Hut, a chef will then serve you family-style fondue (cheese and broth) with a fresh-baked pie for dessert. A memorable mountain experience.

Where to Get Good Cheese in Whistler

French’eese has a Cheese Shop filled with European cheeses located in Function Junction, currently open only on Mondays (check the opening times before you go), where Mickael is serving up raclette sandwiches along with guiding people through their cheese purchases.

A photo of chef Mickael behind the counter of his cheese shop in Whistler's Function Junction.
Visit Mickael at his Cheese Shop in Function Junction. PHOTO FRENCH’EESE WHISTLER

“People love to learn what’s on their plate; where the cheese is from, how it’s made. That’s what makes it an experience. It’s so much fun to share this knowledge; it’s all about good times and good food,” says Mickael. “Most of the cheese in the store is from France; it’s unpasteurized and high-quality produce,” he explains. “I love to talk to people about the cheese they want. I can make suggestions, recommend things to go with it and what wines to serve. We also have saucisson (French sausage) coming in from a French chef based on Vancouver Island and I’m bringing in French pastas soon.”

It’s good to note that they offer free delivery on orders over $80. It’s also worth noting that they do cater events and offer cheese tastings and private chef services, so if you’ve got a celebration that needs some cheese they’re your go-to.


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In Whistler Village, The Deli by Picnic Whistler is the place to go. They do incredible cheese and charcuterie boxes (with vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options), but they also sell a selection of individual cheeses. We’re also eagerly awaiting the opening of a new eatery, Flute & Fromage (slated for spring 2024), which will be another locale for high-end cheeses in Whistler. And, in the spring, summer and fall you’ll find local cheese mongers at the Whistler Farmers’ Market.

Life is great. Cheese makes it better.

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You can often find Dee exploring all Whistler has to offer with her three-kid tribe in tow. Originally from the UK, Dee enjoys balancing out high-thrills adventures with down-time basking in the beauty of the wonderful place she now calls home.