Thursday, February 23, 2006

Traditional Cheese Fondue

With temperatures being pretty cold around here recently, we've decided to do another fondue before the summer comes back. In Switzerland, we usually only do this dish in the winter, preferrably in the mountains, with snow falling outside and a fire crackling in the fireplace. It's a wonderful dish for several people gathering around the table. It's best served with either a dry white wine or tea.

It is most romantic in a spec
ial fondue set, but you could also serve it in a regular pan on any hotplate you can place on your table. Please feel free to email me if you have any questions about what kind of fondue set you should get.

Ingredients per person:

150 g (about 5.5 oz) gruyère cheese (from Trader Joe's, make sure it's not cave aged otherwise your fondue will get too salty)
75 ml (2.5 oz) white wine (cheap one like Charles Shaw from Trader Joe's is fine)
1/2 teaspoon corn starch
1 shotglass of Kirsch (Bristol Farms usually sells it, any brand is fine)
1 big clove of garlic
pepper and freshly ground nutmeg
bread (baguette, not sourdough) cut into about 1 inch cubes


Before you start, make sure you have a hotplate arranged on the table where you'll be eating your fondue. Basically, you'll need to start eating immediately after it's ready, so make sure your guests are all ready to eat by the time you'll serve the fondue.

Peel the garlic, cut it in half lengthwise and thoroughly rub it all over the inside
of your fondue dish or pan. Leave the garlic in the dish.

Mix the corn starch with th
e kirsch in a cup until it's completely dissolved.

Grind the cheese in a food processor or manually. Put it into the fondue dish, pour in the wine and start heating it up over medium-high heat. From now on, until the end, constantly stir the cheese. You might want to have a second person around to assist you with stirring, while you add the rest of the ingredients.

Once the cheese started to melt a bit, add the kirsch with the dissolved corn starch and stir strongly. Bring it to a quick boil, then reduce the temperature to keep simmering the fondue until it has reached a creamy thickness. To test if it's ready, stir and lift your tool to see how liquid the cheese is. Season with pepper and nutmeg to taste.

Move the fondue onto your medium-low heat hotplate (or fondue gas burner) on the table and start eating immediately by stirring bread pieces with your fondue forks. Make sure the fondue always slightly simmers while you're eating, but it shouldn't boil.


At 4:23 PM, Blogger Andrea said...

Hey Dan,

I was wondering two things:

What other kinds of cheese can you substitute for this recipe, keeping in mind that the cheaper the better?

What else can you use the fondue with instead of bread?

This looks like a great, simple recipe to try and since tomorrow is pay day, I can go look for a fondue set!

At 6:11 PM, Blogger Dan said...

Hey Andrea,

first of all, i would suggest that you only use one type of cheese. often, we mix different cheeses in switzerland, but you'll run into the risk that they separate.

i've never done it with another cheese than gruyère around here. and i used the cage aged (much more expensive gruyère one time, and it turned out horrible. it didn't melt right and it was too salty).

that being said, i can highly recommend the regular, cheapest kind of gruyère. i guess you don't have a Trader Joe's up there, but you should probably be able to find gruyère somewhere else?

the traditional cheese fondue is always eaten with bread, but some people use veggies like broccoli or cauliflower which i don't particularly like for fondue.

if you're looking for a fondue set, i like the ones which have a little gas burner underneath. the pot itself, i like in ceramic instead of stainless or cast iron. but i'm a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to fondue.

please let me know what you ended up doing and how it worked out. or feel free to ask if you have any more questions.


At 1:51 PM, Blogger Andrea said...

Hey Dan!

I just received the spices in the mail! Thank you so much!


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