3 cloves garlic
600 millilitres dry white wineunoaked
800 grams gruyere cheesegrated
200 grams Emmental cheesegrated
100 grams Vacherin Fribourg cheese
30 grams corn starch
30 millilitres kirscheau de vie, non sweet
1 pinch nutmeg powder
pepper from the mill
100 grams Tilsit cheesegrated
1 pinch paprikapreferrably hungarian
1200 grams crusty breadcut in cubes with crust, Baguette or other bread will work
Having left Switzerland some 20 + year ago, Fondue and Raclette are still one of the things I do miss and usually have as soon as I return for holidays. I am not too sure if it is just the food that I miss at times, as Fondue dinner, at least in our family, always was a great family affair.Everybody had to be at the table ahead of mother bringing out the fondue from the kitchen, as it needed to be stirred at all time as soon as it got on the table to avoid it getting burnt.
The cheese used in the Fondue is of vital importance. Every cheese store or “Fromagerie” in the French part of Switzerland has it’s own “house” mixture, but you will be most welcome and order your own recipe and the staff will grate the cheese for you. Almost all Swiss are considered cheese experts and will be glad to part with a recipe of “the best Fondue”, but firstly no two persons will agree on a single best recipe and secondly, regional cheeses and fondue mixtures are all but unavailable to me here in Asia. This recipe is calculated on 180 g Cheese per person. This is perhaps suitable for good cheese eaters, but you may just want to cut down a little, if your family or guests are not really used to eat cheese fondue.
It is important that you do have a Fondue set, especially the crockery cooking pot called “Caquelon” and the “Rechaud” (heater) is a must.
- Mix the cornstarch with the kirsch.
- Break the garlic cloves and rub the crockery fondue pot (caquelon) with it. Add the white wine and bring to boil.
- Sprinkle in the cheese mixture gradually, stirring the mixture constantly with a wooden spoon.
- Slowly bring the cheese to temperature (do not boil). At this stage it is important that you keep the cheese hot, but not boiling and stir it to a homogeneous mass. If the cheese mass would split or separate, it can often be mended by adding a little lemon juice.
- Season the cheese with pepper, paprika powder and freshly grated nutmeg.
- Thicken with the kirsch diluted cornstarch, bring one more time to boil and serve immediately on the prepared Fondue Rechaud (in general a Fondue set includes a Rechaud, meaning a alcohol burning heater where the fondue is set on top of it. The fondue will continue to keep warm on it until the end of the dinner.
- Serve the bread cubes separate in a basket.
Note: A finished cheese Fondue is supposed to be a thick coating, creamy mass. It is important to get the right wine for an authentic outcome of the dish. The wine can have a high acidity, as it needs to “cut” the rather rich and fatty cheese. The above recipe uses 4 different semi hard cheeses, but you may alter the cheeses as you please, but it is wise to keep Gruyere as your main cheese. Too much Emmental cheese will make the Fondue very stringy. Depending on the cheese used, the amount of thickening agent (cornstarch/kirsch) needs to be adjusted.