This is the *classic* cheese fondue. If any of you are guilty of using the pre-fab cheese fondue, please just stop it now. This is so superior in taste, and so easy to make, it is ridiculous. It is a great make-ahead. This recipe on its own will make enough for a fondue for 4-6 people. A good rule of thumb is to allow about 6 ounces (about 200g) of cheese per person. Serve with a simple green salad on the side, and you are done.
To enjoy fondue properly, you will need certain equipment. A fondue pot designed for cheese fondue, made of ceramic or cast iron, is a must. Ensure that you use the correct type of pot – the metal ones, unless they are heavy cast iron, are meant to hold oil or broth for meat or fish fondues, not cheese.
A stand with a burner on the bottom will be sold wherever you purchase the pot. This burner will be filled (at a SEPARATE location, not at the table) beforehand with fondue fuel. ****DO NOT put the fuel in the burner at the table where you will be eating, or attempt to re-fill it when it is hot. To do so will expose you to risk of fire.**** I fill mine in the kitchen sink, away from any flame or flammable materials. If you decide to be clever and fill it at the table, you may spill the odourless, clear fondue fuel and not be aware – and will find out that you did the hard way, when you light the burner. I repeat – do it somewhere SAFE.
Cut your bread into 1″ cubes a few hours ahead of time. I like baguettes because you can leave a piece of the crust on each cube, which makes it more likely that the cube will stay on the fork when dipping.
There are also special forks used for cheese fondue – set one at each place setting, along with a regular dinner fork. The diners may dip their bread with the long, skinny cheese fondue fork, and then transfer the dipped, cheesy bread onto their plates and eat with a regular fork. It’s rude to eat with your dipping fork 😉
Traditionally, the bread is speared onto the fork and swirled in the cheese in a figure-8 pattern. If you should happen to lose your bread, you either pour wine for everyone or kiss the person next to you – consider this when arranging seating 😉
At the end of the meal, when the cheese is gone, you will see a “crust” of cooked cheese on the bottom of the pot. Don’t throw this away! Give it to your guest of honour (if you have one, and if they want it) or give a bit of it to everybody…it’s yummy!
12 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated
6 ounces Emmental cheese, grated
1 clove garlic, minced
3 teaspoons cornstarch
1 to 1-1/2 cups dry white wine
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 cup Kirschwasser (a Swiss schnapps made from cherries – it is not sweet and is absolutely integral to the authentic taste of this fondue)
pinch each freshly ground pepper and nutmeg
2-3 baguettes, which you have cut into 1″ cubes several hours ahead of serving so that they can dry out a bit
In large bowl, combine cheeses, garlic, cornstarch and seasonings. When well combined, place mixture into ceramic or heavy iron fondue pot.
In a measuring cup, measure one cup of the wine, and add the lemon juice and Kirschwasser. Keep the remaining white wine in the bottle – you can drink it if you don’t use it. 🙂
When you wish to eat, simply pour contents of measuring cup into fondue pot, stir well and heat the pot over very low heat. If, once the cheese has melted, you would like a runnier consistency, add more wine, a tablespoonful or so at a time, stirring after each addition.
If you overdo the wine and it is too runny, you can mix a bit of cornstarch with a bit of wine and stir that in – it will thicken it up.
Heat this right before you wish to serve – fondues do NOT “keep” and will separate if left for a period of time.
Transfer pot carefully to the table and set on a burner, which you have set in the middle of the table where all can reach. Set the flame to the lowest setting.
An additional treat is “le coup du milieu” – a tiny container with kirschwasser in it. You dip the bread quickly in that (don’t soak it), and then into the cheese. Mmmmm. This would be for kirschwasser aficionados, and is not necessary for this fondue to be fabulous.