The manager of a Swiss fondue restaurant has won a three-year legal battle over the smell of his cheese after a court decided he did not have to pay a £135 police fine.
The fine was imposed on Florian Kurz after two boutique clothes shops either side of his Zunfthaus zur Zimmerleuten restaurant in Zurich complained that the smell of melted Swiss cheese was driving their customers away, contaminating their products and ruining their business.
Kurz, 35, refused to pay the fine. His lawyer, Lorenz Erni, told the court in Zurich that the neighbouring business owners had used “underhand tactics” to retaliate against the restaurant, including bringing smelly fish on to the premises.
“One of them brought a speciality smelly fish from Norway into the restaurant and started eating it in front of customers. It was really bad,” Kurz told the Guardian. “They also talked badly to the customers and told them that our fondue is not as good as that in other Swiss fondue restaurants.”
The court ruled that the fine should be cancelled and ordered the two neighbouring businesses to pay Kurz £2,600 in costs and £100 in personal damages.
Erni said the court had decided that the smell was not enough to uphold the complaints. “Sure, they are serving cheese fondue, but the smell is not excessive,” he said. “The judge decided that it was normal, and that they have the permission to serve what they want.”
Kurz said the outcome was a victory for fondue. “It’s definitely a good win for the Swiss cheese,” he said. The neighbouring boutique shops were not available for comment.