Ski season is also fondue season, the glorious time of year when dunking cubes of crusty bread, tart slices of Granny Smith apples and rounds of cured meats into melted cheese counts as a meal.
Often made with a generous splash of white wine in a garlic-rubbed pot, piping hot fondue is a staple on après-ski menus. But we’d be remiss to not also mention raclette in this niche alpine food grouping. A staple associated with European ski lodges and Christmas markets, rich cheese is scraped from a heated wheel, providing a gooey blanket over crispy potatoes.
Wondering where you can find the gooey goodness this winter? Here are five great spots in the mountains and Mile High City where you can indulge in fondue and raclette.
Swiss Chalet at Sonnenalp in Vail
It almost feels like a meal here should require a passport stamp. At Swiss Chalet in the Sonnenalp hotel, cheeses are imported from Switzerland and the alpine vibe carries through in the restaurant’s uniforms and the honey blonde wood furnishings.
“Hearty favorites such as schnitzel, fondue and raclette transports you to a chalet in the Swiss Alps,” executive chef Josh Marshall says.
Diners can customize their fondue experience with add-ons like truffles and champagne or, for some heat, jalapeños and chile pepper flakes. On the raclette route, you can order the cheese with potatoes and balsamic mushrooms or opt for meats including beef tenderloin, bacon, chipolata (a spicy sausage) and smoked Polish sausage.
20 Vail Road, Vail; sonnenalp.com/dining/swiss-chalet
Wyld at The Ritz-Carlton, in Avon
Nestled against Beaver Creek Mountain, The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch has the ambience of an upscale ski lodge (think: three-story, wood-burning fireplace, cozy leather furniture, live music and large windows that frame views of the snowy mountain).
A favorite winter dish, the fondue is made with alpine cheese that’s been aged 12 to 18 months and served with apples, torn pieces of fresh-baked bread and kielbasa. The fondue is served at Wyld, the hotel’s upscale restaurant, as well as The Great Room lounge.
0130 Daybreak Ridge Road, Avon; ritzcarlton.com/en/hotels/colorado/bachelor-gulch
Through its design and dining outposts, The Hythe Vail pays tribute to the area’s history: Elite soldiers once trained near the Vail Valley before deploying to fight alpine battles during World War II. Margie’s Haas, the hotel’s breakfast restaurant, for instance, a nod to a home cook who prepared meals for the troops driving through the valley.
At Revel, an après hangout within the hotel, diners can order the $29 Raclette Epicurean Experience that comes with venison tips, smashed potatoes and raclette cheese.
The menu also has a New York steak grilled cheese served on sourdough for the fromage obsessed. Pair it with the Figgy Smalls cocktail that’s made with a fig-infused gin, strawberry syrup, lemon and balsamic pearls.
715 W. Lionshead Circle, Vail; thehythevail.com/dining/revel-lounge/
The Truffle Table in Denver
A fromage-focused bar in LoHi, The Truffle Table is the sister outpost to the wildly popular cut-to-order Truffle Cheese Shop in Cherry Creek. The cute bar has plenty of fine cheeses to sync up with wine, beer or a classic cocktail — just ask for a pairing recommendation.
While the menu changes with the seasons, expect meat- and cheese-loaded charcuterie boards, baked brie, grilled cheese sandwiches and fondue, too, served with bread, sausage and some greens. You can also buy paintings from local artists straight from the walls.
2556 15th St., Denver; truffletable.net
Alpinist & The Goat in Telluride
At the foundation of the Alpinist & The Goat’s fondue menu are European cheeses and bread that’s been sautéed in creamy, slow-churned Plugra-style butter. Turophiles have choices, from a basic fondue with a dash of nutmeg, to Cortina D’Ampezzo that’s a blend of European cheeses and gorgonzola great for pairing with filet mignon, to the Telluride Scrappe with aged Irish cheddar and Swiss Gruyère plus crispy bacon and chives.
The restaurant also serves raclette with imported Gruyère cheese that’s melted on a hot stone and served with housemade croutons, a mashed potato panoply and grilled vegetables.
204 W. Colorado Ave., Telluride; alpinistandthegoat.com