© Jeremy Wilson Photo
You'll find you're unable to resist the urge to eat half a kilo of molten cheese.
The word 'fondue' comes from the French 'fondre', which literally means to melt. Popular in the 1800s in the French and Swiss Alps, it was borne out of the necessity to use up aged cheeses and dried up bread during the winter months when fresh food was scarce.
Today the ritual of the cheese fondue is an integral and unmissable part of any ski holiday, and after skiing around a mountain in sub-zero temperatures, you merit the zillion calories in this ultimate cheese-fest.
Lots of restaurants in the valley offers Fondue Savoyard, but here are the ones which we think really stand out.
This is my personal favourite and go-to place for fondue anytime I have friends or family visiting. If you get to Le Boccalatte before 20:00 then you can easily get a table; otherwise it starts to fill up fast, so you may want to book ahead - also a good idea if you're in a larger group.
The choice of fondues includes the traditional "Savoyard", one with cèpe mushrooms, one with tomatoes or one with herbs. You also have the option of having a fondue for one person - something you don't find in many restaurants.
The food is all reasonably priced, the portions are a decent size, and if cheese isn't your thing they do a good steak and have an à la carte selection too.
Best for: Fondue for one and a wide range of choice.
Location: Just up the road from l'Aiguille du Midi lift.
Like the tardis, La Caleche is a lot bigger on the inside than it looks from the street with seating for around 300 people.
If you don't mind dining whilst being stared down on by a menagerie of stuffed animals, and enjoy a more traditional and cosy setting to eat your fondue, then definitely add this to your list.
The staff are happy to talk you through their extensive menu which includes a number of choices for fondues too - you can have Swiss fondue (with Gruyere) French fondue (with Comté) and Fondue cèpes - our favourite.
Best for: Quirky, cosy interior.
Location: On the main street not far from the post office.
'Monchu' means 'monsieur' in the local patois Savoyard language, but Chamoniards used the word to refer to rich Parisian tourists who came to the mountains in the 19th and early 20th century in search for some fresh Alpine air.
This restaurant, founded in 1972, is full of quirky knick-knacks, including old coffee grinders, 18th century agricultural tools and Savoyard objects, which create a rustic and cosy atmosphere.
Their fondues range from the traditional Savoyard to the Royale, which includes champagne in the mix!
Best for: Tasty fondue in a rustic setting.
Location: Set just by the river, in front of the Saussure and Balmat statue.
L'Adret de la Flégère
Sadly you can't have a fondue at the Aiguille du Midi for safety reasons, but if you fancy a cheese-fest at altitude, you can get great views of the Midi and Mont Blanc from L'Adret de la Flégère situated at 1,913m.
If the weather is good you can enjoy the views from their terrace, or sit inside and admire the view from their large windows instead.
Best for: Great mountain views.
Location: At the top of the Flégère cable car (turn left).
Le Café Comptoir
You will definitely want to book ahead to get a table at the Café Comptoir as it's an incredibly popular place to eat, especially at lunch time.
A small family run restaurant not far from the Vallorcine gondola, it has a lovely modern chalet-style interior.
Their Fondue Savoyarde is flambéed with armagnac and comes with Italian ham on the side.
Best for: Piste side fondue.
Location: Close to the train station and gondola in Vallorcine.
Hotel l'Aiguille du Midi
The restaurant at the Hotel Aiguille du Midi is a charming, relaxed place to eat, and the bonus is that it's away from town and less crowded.
They serve a fondue with a mix of Beaufort and comté cheese which comes with local smoked ham and a side salad. If you're staying at the hotel you can opt for the fondue over the 'menu du jour' - just ask for the local speciality menu instead.
Best for: French style fondue.
Location: Les Bossons.
Le Bistrot des Sports
Another place that's popular with locals is Le Bistrot des Sports.
It's a no frills, traditional style restaurant that often has sport playing on the screen above the bar. They do a great fondue with cèpes, but our favourite is the one with morelle mushrooms.
If you manage to finish it all you may even get an egg cracked into the bowl to help you finish off every last bit.
Best for: Local atmosphere.
Location: At the top end of the main street.
La Crèmerie du Glacier (Argentière)
La Crèmerie du Glacier restaurant in Argentière is a hidden gem and well worth a visit in either winter or summer.
Tucked away up a single track road to the side of the Pierre a Ric (homerun) piste of Grands Montets, it can be a bit of a challenge to get to in winter, but don't let that put you off.
As well as a choice of five different fondues, including one with champagne, they also serve the best Croutes (in my opinion) that you'll find in Chamonix.
Best for: A mini adventure to get there in winter.
Location: Alongside the home run of Grands Montets in Argentière.
DIY fondue night
Why not enjoy a fondue in your accommodation?
The dish is simplicity itself to make, and you can buy the ready-grated ingredients from most of the supermarkets in town.
Top tip: Go to one of the Refuge Payot shops in Chamonix or Les Houches to get your cheese - they stock an excellent selection of local produce and can help you put together your recipe for a traditional French or Swiss fondue. And if your place doesn't have a fondue set, you can rent them in certain places, again enquire at the Refuge Payot stores.
Best for: Budget-conscious skiers.
Our top tips for fondue night
- Try a fondue at lunchtime rather than in the evening. This way you will avoid hot sweats and broken sleep as you metabolise all that cheese.
- Pimp up your fondue with a side of charcuterie and salad, mostly known as the "Fondue Complet".
- If you're in a group of four, try two different types of fondue between you as most restaurants offer fondues for a minimum of two people sharing.
- According to the locals, you should drink white wine and not red, with your fondue. Savoy whites, e.g. Aprémont or Rousette, have the necessary acidity to aid digestion.
- Don’t drink water with your meal! Water solidifies the cheese and makes it harder to digest.
- Agree in advance on the forfeit if you drop your bread into the cheese: the French generally have to buy the next bottle of wine. British forfeits are often less civilised, and generally involve doing something embarrassing.