Updated: Apr 7, 2022
Fondue comes from fondre, the French verb for to melt, and the fondue is a melted dish or a dunk. In Switzerland, the Fondue is made in a round metal or earth-ware pot called a caquelon. It is put in the middle of the table on a fondue-warmer, which may be a mild alcohol flame, a candle-warmer or an electric hot plate. Long-handled forks are necessary to hold the bread or the potatoes that will be dunked into the cheese.
The Cheese and Wine
The choice of cheese is very important. The best mix of cheese is 1/3 Vacherin Fribourgeois cheese and 2/3 Gruyère cheese. The Vacherin Fribourgeois can be replaced by Emmentaler cheese. The wine should be slightly acid, preferably a Swiss one from Neuchâtel canton.
How to eat the fondue:
Spear with a fork a small boiled potato or a piece of bread, going through the soft part first and securing the points in the crust. The idea is not to lose your bread when you dip it into the fondue (‘First loser pays for the works," say the Swiss).
Dunk the bread in the fondue in a stirring motion until your neighbour takes over to give you a chance to enjoy your morsel. While each one takes his leisurely turn in rotation the stirring helps maintain the proper consistency of the fondue and will assure that each piece is thoroughly coated with melted cheese.
225 g Grated Gruyère cheese
225 g Grated Vacherin Fribourgeois cheese
1 1/2 Tablespoon cornstarch
470 ml White wine
1 Tablespoon lemon
3 Tablespoon Kirsch (or Brandy)
1 Baguette (French stick loaf)
1 Kg New potatoes, boiled but firm
Pepper and nutmeg
🍷 Recommended Wine: Pond Paddock Zarathustra Sauvignon Blanc
👩🏻🍳 Cuisine: Swiss 🇨🇭
👨👩👧👧 Yield: 4 servings
Preparation: 20 minutes
😰 Level: easy
💰 Cost (NZ): $$$$
How to cook the fondue:
Rub the fondue pan with a cut garlic clove. Pour in the wine. Put the pan on low heat on the kitchen stove if the fondue is to be made in the kitchen and then taken to the warmer at the table or placed over the heat of the chafing dish. Warm the wine, but do not boil it. Dredge the cheese with the Hour. Add the cheese gradually, stirring constantly, not clockwise but in the shape of the figure 8. Increase the heat to moderate. Keep on stirring and don't worry if the cheese does not thicken at once.
Flavour the fondue with pepper and nutmeg to taste; most likely, it won't be necessary to salt it since the cheese itself will be salty enough. Stir a little Kirsch (or, faute de mieux, another spirit such as brandy, gin or whisky) into the fondue until the mixture is smooth and creamy. If you want to, add a pinch of baking soda, which will make for a lighter fondue.
Now bring the fondue to the table if it has been cooked in the kitchen and is to be put on a warmer. Once the fondue has been made, it must be kept bubbling. Regulate the flame of the warmer so that the fondue keeps on simmering while it is being eaten. A candle-warmer or an electric hot tray at low heat is good for keeping fondues warm. Toward the end of the meal, some of the melted cheese in the caquelon will form a brown crust at the bottom of the pot. At this stage, keep the heat as low as possible, because an earthenware pot might crack otherwise. The crust can be lifted out with a fork and it is justly considered a special treat.