Classic Cheese Fondue
You'll melt after just one bite of this ultimate cheese-and-wine mashup.
Fondue literally means “melted” in French. It was Swiss mountain herders who created this dish of necessity, getting by on what they had available. Scraps of cheese and wine were melted in a clay pot called the caquelon, and bread was dipped in the liquid cheese. Fondue eventually made its way down the hills of Switzerland to domestic servants who improved the dish by using finer cheeses and wines accessible to them where they worked. The well-traveled aristocracy helped to spread this dish across Europe. A popular party dish in America in the 1960s, fondue is always in style on a cold winter's day. Making it is easy as can be...it's all about technique, not torture! A Family Friendly Cheese Fondue can be made without the wine but with all the classic flavor and fun!
Equipment: cutting board; chef’s knife; dry and wet measuring cups; measuring spoons; mixing bowl; wooden spoon; medium saucepan; fondue pot and forks
Fondue Ingredients: 8 ounces grated Gruyere 8 ounces grated Emmentaler 2 tablespoons cornstarch 1 clove garlic, smashed 11⁄2 cups dry white wine 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice ground white pepper, to taste ground nutmeg, to taste
Fondue Accompaniments: cubed bread cubed apples or pears cubed cooked potato pieces
1. Combine the grated cheeses with cornstarch in a large mixing bowl. Toss well to coat and set aside.
"Preparing classic cheese fondue at home requires only one thing: high quality, freshly grated Gruyere cheese. A special fondue pot is not necessary, though elegant for service. Rubbing a garlic clove along the inside of the pot perfumes the cheese mixture. Dry white wine adds depth of flavor and helps to break down the cheese as it melts. Cornstarch provides an even and thick texture that perfectly coats and holds onto the bread. White pepper is superior to black pepper here not just for its sharp flavor but also because it disappears in the cream-colored fondue."
2. Rub the inside of a fondue pot or small Dutch oven with the smashed garlic. Pour wine into the pot and heat over medium heat until warm. Add the lemon juice. Then add the cheese by the handful, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Once each handful is melted, add more cheese until all the cheese has melted and the mixture has the consistency of a creamy sauce. Add pepper and nutmeg to taste.
3. Bring to a boil, then remove the pot from heat and transfer to table burner. Adjust the flame so fondue continues bubbling lightly. Alternatively, bring the pot to the table and set on a trivet. Serve with cubed bread on fondue forks or long skewers. Dunk and stir well to cover bread with cheese mixture.
Makes 8 servings.
ILOC tip: dunk the bread, apple, or potato in the fondue and twirl to coat with cheese. Thanks to the cornstarch, the cheese will cling to what was dunked. Just lift from the fondue and turn to help the cheese to coat while any excess cheese falls back into the pot.