In Switzerland, winter is the time when people gather, share a cheese fondue, drink wine and kirsch and have fun. In Hong Kong the winter chill and the New Territories mountains inspired executive chef Hongman Cheung to launch an Alpine menu including fondue at the Hyatt Regency Sha Tin. 'Since there's a hotpot culture in Hong Kong and Asia, the concept of sharing a family-style fondue pot is not that foreign,' he says. At its simplest fondue is cheese melted with a little kirsch (Swiss cherry liqueur) in a caquelon (ceramic fondue pot) and is then kept warm on asmall brazier on the table. Each diner dips chunks of bread in the cheese. In the middle of last century fondue was promoted heavily by the Swiss Cheese Union to boost cheese sales and became a national dish. Outside Switzerland, fondue became a food craze in the 1960s and '70s, thanks in part to early television celebrity chefs such as Julia Child, Fanny Cradock and Graham Kerr, better known as The Galloping Gourmet. Like many trends from the '70s it fell out of favour, but is now enjoying a revival. At The Peninsula Hong Kong's Swiss restaurant, Chesa, fondue never went out of fashion. Opened in 1965, cosy Chesa serves fondue vaudoise made with Gruyere cheese only. Some chefs and Swiss say only cheese fondue or chocolate fondue is true fondue. The Peninsula's Swiss-born executive chef Florian Trento, takes a more liberal view. 'Strictly speaking, fondue, the French for 'melted', originally applied to cheese. Today, it is widely accepted that food dipped and cooked in liquid in communal pots is called fondue,' he says. 'Good examples include fondue Bourguignonne, beef cubes dipped in hot oil, and fondue Chinoise, sliced meats and seafood dipped and cooked in a bouillon - a close relative of the Chinese hot pot. Chocolate fondue is a popular children's birthday party dish in Switzerland. In Chesa, we serve fondue Bourguignonne regularly and fondue Chinoise on occasion.' Founder of wine and food importer Finessa, Thomas Egloff, is from Baden near Zurich. A trained chef and graduate of Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne, Egloff once made cheese fondue for 300 people using 80 caquelons. In Hong Kong, Egloff's favourite venue for fondue is The Swiss Chalet in Tsim Sha Tsui. 'For me, the most traditional recipe for a great fondue is moiti? moiti?(half and half) aged Gruyere, and Vacherin Fribourgeois, a semi soft cheese from Fribourg in the western part of Switzerland.' 'The secret of a good fondue is to achieve a great and balanced cheese taste and silky, creamy consistency,' he says. To stop the cheese separating, Egloff adds corn starch, as well as lemon juice and kirsch. The fondue revival seems to have reached Hong Kong. Fondue sets are selling well in kitchen supplies store, Pantry Magic. Company founder Robert Esser regularly makes fondue for a relaxed evening at home with friends in winter. Esser likes to serve a cheese fondue, a meat fondue and a green salad. 'Bread is traditional, but there's no reason why you can't dip vegetables in there - raw or blanched broccoli, carrot and cauliflower with the cheese is nice.' He typically makes three dipping sauces for the meat. Classic options include, black pepper and Bearnaise sauce, but Esser likes serving lighter romesco or chimichurri sauces. Chocolate fondue is a dessert that caterer Liz Seaton makes when entertaining at home. Originally from Scotland, the Gingers founder jokes that for those who remember the '70s, 'Fondue is like chardonnay, they simply had too much of it'. For Liz's Chocolate Orange Fondue she uses two bars of dark chocolate (at least 80 per cent cacao) and one bar of orange chocolate, with chocolate crunchies in for texture. 'I love it with bananas, marshmallows, strawberries and boudoir biscuits.'