It's getting cold again. That means it's fondue season again! Swiss fondue is the ultimate winter comfort food. Usually this dish is best served with a larger group of people. That's why every fondue set you buy have so many little forks. It's such a fun social dish, I always think of it as European hot pot. Unfortunately it's social distancing season again, so I have to scale it down to, let's call it romantic dinner for two. It's boozy. It's intimate. It's great served with more booze.
Rule of thumb for cheese fondue: start with a good amount of white wine, that's about 1/3 of the weight of the cheese. For the cheese, usually it calls for a mix of 3~4 cheese, for some complexity. You're technically supposed to use alpine cheese here. A mix of Gruyere, Comte, Emmental, and Appenzeller would be lovely - but could get expensive depending on where you live. I found that as long as you include at least one sharp, aged alpine cheese, you can use a milder, melty cheese for the rest 2/3 of the cheese, and still get that signature Swiss flavor coming through. I've mixed Gruyere with Edam, Gouda, Fontina, and they all came out lovely. So grab whatever's on sale at Aldi.
While wine and cheese are the only mandatory ingredients, they will come together easier with the help of a little starch. For every cup of white wine, I would use about a tbsp of corn starch to help with emulsification. Rubbing the inside of the pot with a clove of garlic is a fun quirky tradition that I like to include. Although I personally don't really notice the garlic until the very end, it does make the toasted bottom of the pot taste extra delicious. The splash of kirsch at the end really makes the fondue extra special. You can omit it if you don't have any, but if you come across them next time you go liquor shopping, definitely grab a bottle!
- 200g cheese (use at least one alpine cheese such as gruyere or appenzeller)
- 1/3 cup white wine
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tsp corn starch
- splash of kirsch (optional)
- cubed artisan bread
- cured meat
- boiled potatoes
- apple or pear slices
Chop or grate the cheese. Rub the inside of the pot with a clove of garlic. Add white wine and corn starch. Whisk until starch is completely dissolved. Heat the starchy wine until thickened and bubbling. Add the cheese. Heat until melted. Add splash of kirsch. Serve with dipping sides. Enjoy!