I grew up loving fondue, and I still love it. It turns out that so do my children, so I make it from time to time. Not only is it delicious, but it has the advantage of being fairly quick to make. Sure, the dippers can take time, but on lazy nights like tonight we just default to bread. Bread and cheese, what can be better?
I no longer make the “classic” fondue recipe because I have little desire to hunt for the right cheeses – plus they are expensive! Instead I wing it with whatever cheeses I find that I think can combine well. I like going for two mildish-to-medium cheeses, one slightly sweet, and then a sharper one to elevate the flavor. But really, I wing it. To the grated cheeses I add just 1/2 a cup of white wine (hunting after kirsch is too much trouble), and some nutmeg if I remember.
Today’s fondue was phenomenal, much better than the classic fondue. It had
This serve 4 of us and we had more than enough.
For those who actually need a recipe, what you do is: Shred or chop the cheese (I just put it in my food processor), mix it with a little cornstarch and set aside. Meanwhile rub the fondue pot with a garlic clove. Set on medium-high and add the wine. Wait until it boils and then add the cheese by the handful, mixing well and making sure it all melts. Bring down the temperature to a simmer, and enjoy!
During the 1970’s the fondue sensation reached Argentina and it quickly became one of our biggest “special occasion” treats. My parents would make it from time to time using the recipe below. Instead of the traditional havarti and emmental cheeses, which I assume were not available in Argentina (or at least in our town), it uses the Argentine cheese Talhuet, which melts nicely. Otherwise it’s rather traditional
My parent’s cheese fondue recipe
- 1 tsp. corn starch
- 1/2 liter white wine
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 cup kirsch
- 1 lb. Gruyere cheese, grated
- 1 lb. Talhuet cheese (an Argentine cheese), grated
- White pepper to taste
Dissolve corn starch in 1/4 cup of white wine, set aside.
Rub garlic on pot. Put on the burner and add the rest of the wine and kirsch. When it boils, add the grated cheeses bit by bit, mixing with a wooden spoon until they melt, then add the white pepper. If it cools down, add more wine. Once it’s ready, add the corn starch. Mix well and serve.
During the 1970s fondue became a craze not only in America, but in Argentina as well. My parents got a beautiful fondue set and on rare and special occasions they’d go to the expensive cheese shop and create this wonderful dish that we all could share. As a kid I LOVED it – and I still do. As a kid we always ate it with toasted bread crumbs. In Geneva, I discovered that fresh bread was even more authentic – and as a grown up I experimented on different things I could dip in it.
The following is the recipe that I use now. The traditional liqueur for fondue is kirsch. That’s not always easy to find and you may hesitate at buying a whole bottle when you only need a little bit for this dish. I’ve substituted it with Calvados or just plain cognac or brandy with great results. BTW, in America all these cheeses are usually available at Trader Joe’s.
As a kid, and for many years, I used a regular fondue set with an alcohol burner. A few years ago I bought an electric fondue set and I LOVE it! It’s so much easier to keep the temperature at the right setting! I highly recommend getting one.
Traditional Cheese Fondue
- 1/2 lb Havarti cheese
- 1/2 lb Gruyere cheese
- 1/2 lb Emmental cheese
- 2 tbsp. cornstarch
- 2 cloves garlic, cut in two
- 1 glass white wine
- 3 tbsp. kirsch or another brandy
Shread the cheeses, put in a bowl, add the cornstarch and mix together. Set aside.
Rub the garlic on the interior of the fondue pot and leave in. Add wine and heat until boiling. Add the cheese, a handful at the time, stirring until it melts. When all the cheese melts down, turn down the temperature and add the brandy. Take to the table. Maintain temperature to just bubbling while you eat.
Serve with: French or sourdough bread, raw broccoli, apple and/or pear slices, sausage slices, mini-meatballs, cooked tortellini and anything else you can think of.