(China Daily)
Updated: 2010-12-06 10:02
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Chesa's cheese fondue is cooked in champagne or beer, and served with sourdough or rye bread.


The hot Mont d'Or cheese with Calvados is on promotion at Classified.


Hong Kong

While other cities may be heading for the hot pots now, cosmopolitan Hong Kong has more choices in winter warmers. Donna Mah drops a hunk of bread.

A pot of hot bubbling melted cheese flavored with garlic and wine, beer or even champagne is a great way to fend off the blustering cold.

In Hong Kong, cheese fondue is not a common meal choice, but there are some exceptional fondue restaurants waiting to be explored.

The Chesa in the Peninsula Hotel at Tsim Sha Tsui is a longtime favorite. The Peninsula was opened in 1928 and is a legendary icon along the Kowloon waterfront. It is also better known for its high tea, which attracts the most glamorous crowds every afternoon.

The hotel's lesser known but equally popular Chesa has been serving Swiss cuisine since 1965 - including an impressive selection of cheese fondues. There is a basic Emmentaler and Gruyere cooked with roasted and crushed garlic, served with baguette cubes.

You can also ask for the Emmentaler fondue with a dash of champagne, served with sourdough bread. Or try a spiced up fondue of gruyere cooked in beer and served with rye bread, or the milder goat cheese or brie fondues.

The cozy atmosphere at Chesa is very welcoming and makes you forget you are at the Peninsula in Hong Kong. Instead, you feel as if you have been magically transported to an alpine chalet in Switzerland.

My husband grew up in Europe eating cheese fondue, and it remains one of his favorite meals. It reminds him of childhood and enjoying this much-loved meal with family and friends. To him, it is a dish best shared, but can also be enjoyed by one.

Another good place to bring the family for a fondue meal is Swiss Chalet along Hart Avenue in Tsim Sha Tsui. Here you can get very typically Swiss dishes like raclette, deer carpaccio, air-dried meat, chocolate fondue and of course, cheese fondue. The dcor is meant to recreate a warm and cozy chalet and it succeeds, with lots of wooden furniture, knick-knacks and other little touches.

They have a very colorful menu that is a bit hard to read at first, but once you've figured it out, you may find yourself wanting to try everything. The cheese fondues here are served with cubed bread, and it's not uncommon to see one on every table in the room. Popular among locals and expats, this small bit of Switzerland in Hong Kong appeals to a wide range of diners.

For melted cheese and bread on Hong Kong Island, Classified on Hollywood Road is the place to go.

They serve cheese fondues and boast Asia's first walk-in temperature- and humidity-controlled cheese room. Classified is not only a place to eat, it is also a gourmet shop. They are currently promoting the Mont d'Or cheese with Calvados (French apple liqueur), served hot from the oven with green apples, sweet potatoes, and fresh crusty bread for dunking.

You can, of course, also choose to buy the cheese from them and make fondue at home.