The cheesy goodness in a pot is about sharing no matter the size of the partyYou could probably identify if someone ever got married by whether or not they have a fondue pot that they received as a wedding gift.
Swiss cheese fondue always comes back around into fashion when there are special events, because it’s a delicious fun meal to share with friends, whether it’s an intimate dinner for two (St. Valentine’s Day) or an appetizer for a crowd (Super Bowl LIII.)
The recipe can be easily multiplied or divided depending on the number you want to serve and whether it’s for a meal or a snack. You could make the fondue ahead of time and reheat it when you’re ready to eat.
Leftovers are delicious reheated and served over hot potatoes or pasta. Or spread the fondue on bread and broil until bubbly to serve with soup.
A fondue pot makes the entire process easier.
If this is your first time making cheese fondue, you might not want to buy a fondue set. Borrow one or you easily can make do other containers, such as an enameled cast iron or earthenware pot because they will hold the heat for quite a while.
A large slow cooker or other cooking-and-serving pot with a low heat setting could work for a larger group. Small or mini-slow cookers would work better for a more intimate dinner. You’ll need to check the specifications on these kinds of pots. If the heat is very low, you might need to melt the cheese on the stove and transfer them to the prewarmed pot.
For the cheese, choose Swiss cheeses for the most authentic flavor. This recipe calls for half Gruyère, half Emmentaler, but you can play around with the proportions. You also can exchange some of those cheeses for another semi-soft cheese that will compliment them. Consider some Comté. Ask for advice where you buy cheese by the pound.
The dry white wine adds flavor and acidity, which helps the cheese to melt and stay smooth. Kirsch, a cherry brandy, adds more flavor.
If you don’t want to use alcohol, you could omit the kirsch and try a nonalcohol wine or a very dry apple or pear cider to which you add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Make sure the cider isn’t sweet or you’ll ruin the taste of the fondue.
For pairing, drink that same white wine or small glasses of kirsch with the fondue.
Tradition dictates dunking bite-size pieces of bread and swirling them through the fondue to keep the mixture smooth and evenly hot. Branch out with your dunkers, but keep them bite-sized.
Try blanched broccoli florets or pea pods, slices or chunks of crisp apples or pears, diced ham or dry salami, whole tiny thin skinned potatoes (cooked) or diced larger waxy potatoes (cooked).
Sour cornichon pickles or other pickled vegetables are a good compliment to the creamy cheese.
When serving as meal, add a green salad on the side, if you like. Serve fruit for dessert or a light fruit sorbet.
Serves 4 for a meal, 8 as an appetizer.
- 1 3/4 pounds (1 pound, 12 ounces) half Gruyère, half Emmentaler cheese, grated
- 1 clove garlic, cut in half
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 1/3 cups dry white wine (Sauvignon blanc, dry riesling or pinot grigio)
- 1/4 cup kirsch (Can substitute a nonalcohol wine or a very dry apple or pear cider (not sweet) to which you add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice)
- Freshly ground black pepper (white pepper is less visible, if you have it)
- A couple of gratings of fresh nutmeg
- An artisan loaf, cut into bite-size pieces
- Diced or sliced apples or pears
- Broccoli florets, momentarily steamed to a bright green
- Asparagus spears, steamed until just tender and cut into pieces
- Diced ham
Tiny whole new potatoes, cooked, or cooked larger waxy potatoes, in a large dice
Rub the fondue dish with the clove of garlic and discard it. Turn the heat on to medium low and add the cheeses to the pot. Sprinkle on the cornstarch and toss to coat the cheese. Stir in the wine and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the cheese has melted and the mixture is smooth. Stir in the kirsch, add a few grindings of pepper and grate on a bit of nutmeg. Stir again and serve.
- Cornichon pickles
- Green salad with vinaigrette dressing